THE MORNING LIST
Rich proposals in theaters this week. With, among others, a masterpiece by Albert Serra, in which Benoît Magimel portrays a high commissioner from Tahiti immersed in a troubled postcolonial universe. A film by James Gray in which the filmmaker revisits his childhood in a New York Jewish family in the 1980s. An animated feature that brings the work of the young painter Charlotte Salomon, who died in Auschwitz, back to life. 26 years old.
“Peace. Torment on the Islands”: paranoid thriller in a lost paradise
On December 5, 1766, Louis Antoine de Bougainville left Brest aboard the frigate The Sulky for a first French world tour. In 1771, the work drawn from this journey, Trip around the worldparticularly touches consciences for the pages that the author devotes to Tahiti, where he landed, in April 1768. This “New Kythera” seems to him an earthly Eden, and the tolerant and aphrodisiac mores of its inhabitants inspire him with a painting which increases the myth of the “good savage”.
Nearly three centuries later, it is the turn of Albert Serra, the most resolutely Baroque of Spanish filmmakers, to land in this territory, which has become French Polynesia. The landscape, meanwhile, has darkened. Admiral Abel Aubert du Petit-Thouars, Paul Gauguin and Mururoa have been there. Either the violence of the colonial influence, the voluptuous distress of paradise lost, the criminal cynicism of nuclear tests. It is under these auspices that Serra signs his most insolent and majestic film.
In its center, a white suit matching the diplomatic Mercedes, casualness of the owner: the High Commissioner of the French Republic of Roller has been appointed. Benoît Magimel, never better, embodies it. All around, the postcard decor lends itself to drifting. Between the blaze of the skies and the shimmering turquoise of the sea, the prefectural M. Homais exudes in the Flaubertian sequence picturesque views and a power that is crumbling. Jacques Mandelbaum
Franco-Spanish film by Albert Serra. With Benoît Magimel, Pahoa Mahagafanau, Matahi Pambrun, Marc Susini (2 h 43).
“Armageddon Time”: the loss of innocence of a generation
Transparency is the most direct route to emotion. James Gray, 53-year-old neoclassical American filmmaker, proves it once again with Armageddon Time. This childhood story revisiting the disillusionment of the 1980s through the nipped-in friendship of two classmates, one white, the other black, has sometimes been reduced to its postulate and considered as schematic. However, at Gray, everything is won over time.
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