Last day at the Cannes Film Festival: in anticipation of tonight’s palmarès, some films that closed the official competition were screened yesterday.
Among these, the long-awaited “Showing Up”, a new film by Kelly Reichardt, an American director who has always stood out for a very personal touch and a decidedly unconventional style, shown in films such as “Wendy & Lucy” (2008), ” Meek’s Cutoff “(2010) and” Certain Women “(2016).
In these three undoubtedly successful feature films, it is perhaps no coincidence that the protagonist was always Michelle Williams, an actress who, under the direction of Kelly Rechardt, is always capable of giving her best: and it is so also in this fourth collaboration between the two, where Williams plays the role of a sculptor about to propose an exhibition that could change her life forever. Her family and existential difficulties are many, but they could also become a form of inspiration for her art.
Three years after the highly acclaimed (anti) western “First Cow”, the American director returns behind the camera to once again represent the hardships of the United States, recounting a group of characters who soon become emblematic for much broader reflections. Narratives focused on economic and psychological difficulties for artists are certainly not new, but here the bar often rises, thinking about how the crisis of affections and that relating to creativity go hand in hand.
A film that grows over the distance
Initially, it struggles a bit to set up “Showing Up”, a film that plays on a static but functional rhythm to the story: it is the times, not always immediate, of artistic creation that Kelly Reichard tells in this script signed together with Jonathan Raymond, his usual collaborator and author of the novel from which the aforementioned “First Cow” was taken. The more you continue with the vision, the more the film manages to involve and be more and more intense, to give life to an overall functional and incisive design All the cast does their duty well, but a special mention goes to the excellent performance of Michelle Williams, one of the most intense actor performances of the whole competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Among the other competing titles – from Lukas Dhont’s elegant but overly academic coming-of-age short story “Close” to the allure of Albert Serra’s torrential “Pacifiction”, to Leonor Serraille’s touching but somewhat scholastic “Un petit frére” – the real surprise of the last few days of the Festival came far from the spotlight of the competition: «As bestas», inserted in the Cannes Première section. This is the new effort by Spanish director Rodrigo Sorogoyen, an author who had already demonstrated his talent with films such as “The Kingdom” and “Mother”, although perhaps the best product he has directed to date is the series “Antidisturbios”, available on Disney +. A growing author, Sorogoyen tells the story of a middle-aged French couple who move to a village in the heart of the Galician countryside. Their intent is to get in touch with nature as much as possible, growing vegetables and renovating abandoned houses; their presence and their idyllic vision, however, somewhat disturb the locals and hostilities will intensify when the two oppose the realization. of a wind farm: their refusal will trigger not only hatred but also violence from their neighbors.
A very hard and very high-tension film, “As bestas” is one of the most shocking visions of the entire French event: thanks to an always well-calibrated montage and a photography that plays very well with lights and shadows, Sorogoyen has created a real and his own staging lesson, managing at the same time to involve the viewer from start to finish. Also noteworthy is the soundtrack in this film that really deserved to be among the titles of the main competition of the Festival.