After having signed two seasons of the series “Top of the lake”, the New Zealand director Jane Campion (remained famous for her Palme d’Or awarded to “The piano lesson”, returns to the cinema with an atypical western, produced by Netflix but visible first in our theaters before being put online in a fortnight on the platform. “The Power of the Dog” won him the Silver Lion for best staging at the Venice Film Festival.
The Power of the Dog
In Montana, brothers Phil and George Burbank seem inseparable when it comes to driving their cattle and managing their ranch, the biggest in the valley. But when George marries and brings home Rose, a young widow, and Peter, her teenage son, Phil takes the gesture as a treason and decides to do everything in his power to darken the daily life of the young woman.
“The Power of the Dog” a all the appearances of a western : the great outdoors – even if, instead of Montana, the film was actually shot in New Zealand -, a certain folklore. But in reality, Campion stages an open-air camera, where the psychological pressure is more and more suffocating. Next to Jesse plemons and Kirsten dunst, Benedict Cumberbatch achieves an impressive composition in the role of Phil, macho cowboy, perverse and cruel.
Campion, which has always been a great creator of sublime images (“The piano lesson”, “Bright star”) sometimes sacrifices the rhythm of its story for aestheticism but, despite these small weaknesses, succeeds in its return to the cinema with an original and often spellbinding drama. Even though the film will be available December 1 on Netflix, it deserves a big screen discovery.
The worst person in the world (Julie in 12 chapters)
Presented in competition at Cannes, the new film by Joachim Trier allowed a near-unknown, Norwegian actress Renate Reinsve, to win to everyone’s surprise the festival’s female interpretation prize. In this column, she plays Julie, a young girl soon to be in her thirties, who can not choose, neither professionally nor sentimentally. She begins studies which she gives up, she vegetates, she gets into a relationship with Aksel, a 40-year-old cartoonist… When she thinks she has found a certain balance with him, she meets Eivind, a younger man… Where is she going she find the secret of happiness ?
Trier’s film is both shiny and horrifying. It is an eminently generational film, which will remain as a very true testimony of the 2020s, and of a certain fringe of young adults. But the character of Julie, in her endless procrastination, is hardly bearable for a part of the audience (older than she no doubt) who grew up with values such as commitment and surpassing oneself. She is, of course, the reflection of an era plagued by doubt and the collapse of certainties. But – to use a fashionable adjective – he’s a definitely divisive character, like the film.
Esther, hard and demanding woman, leads the Maison Dior sewing workshop, and prepares his last parade; she will have to resolve to retire. One evening, while she was returning to her little suburban pavilion, she made herself steal his bag by two young “Arab” from the suburbs. One of them, Jade, seized with remorse, returns the stolen object to him. Touched by the gesture, Esther wants to bring Jade out of the gloomy greyness of her daily life, and decides to take her as an intern in the Dior workshop …
The script for “Haute Couture”, written by the director of Tunisian origin Sylvie Ohayon, is a priori – without a bad pun – sewn of white thread : the meeting between two women that everything separates, age, culture, social background. But the interest of the film is elsewhere: in the spirit of the dialogues and the correctness of the interpretation. With Esther, Nathalie Baye finds one of her best roles for ages, and Lyna Khoudri (“Papicha”, “The french dispatch”) confirms the hopes that are placed in her. Film on transmission, praise of a profession, “Haute couture” turns out to be more moving than expected …
Filmmaker Jason Reitman (“Juno”, “In the air”, “Tully”) was a kid when his father Ivan achieved worldwide success with “Ghostbusters” in 1984. More than thirty-five years later, he delivers a unexpected sequel to this blockbuster of the eighties. The grandchildren of one of the ghost hunters (the one played by Harold Ramis, actor / screenwriter / director who has since died) inherit his house lost in the countryside, and discover the secrets of his laboratory. Secrets that will be very useful to them when new ghosts appear.
Jason Reitman does not hide it: he grew up with “ET”, “Gremlins”, “The Goonies”, these adventure films featuring teenagers in the 80s. And even if his “Ghostbusters” takes place today, he emerges a charming “vintage” perfume as if it had been produced by Steven Spielberg in his youth. Even if it does not invent anything, the film is the intergenerational entertainment par excellence, capable of seducing nostalgia like the new generation fan of “Stranger things” …
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Hugues Dayez’s critics: “The Power of the Dog”, Jane Campion’s return to cinema