The effervescence in Cannes over, the cinema industry, which is facing the crisis, is getting back to work on releases. By making fun of herself copiously, as in the Argentine comedy Official Competition, or by declining portraits of women. A savage struggling with her sensuality in Costa Rica (Clara Sola), a courageous widow in Kosovo (La Ruche), a royal Elizabeth in England (Elizabeth, singular gaze(s)).

‘Official Competition’: a playful satire of the film world

As soon as the Cannes Film Festival ends, a caustic fiction on the star system arrives in theaters, the aptly named Official Competition, by Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat. From film to film – The Man Next Door (2009), The Artist (2011), Honorary Citizen (2016) – the Argentinian duo explores the world of art, design or the hushed universe literature, in a burlesque and satirical vein.

Penélope Cruz embodies Lola Cuevas, a fashionable director, who has already won a Silver Lion and a Palme d’Or. Thanks to an old boss of the pharmaceutical industry, seized with a sudden desire to produce a film, the filmmaker will be able to bring together on the same poster two great actors who have never played together. A tall order, because they are very different: Felix Rivero (Antonio Banderas), handsome, middle-aged, self-confident, star of mainstream, action movies; Ivan Torres (Oscar Martinez), an aging theater actor, very identified on the contemporary scene, belongs to a cultivated elite. In the script, Felix and Ivan embody two enemy brothers, who cannot see each other in painting, a thinly veiled metaphor for the incommunicability that reigns between the two actors. Clarisse Fabré

“Clara Sola”: A Wild Woman’s Awakening to Desire

Occupied with nothing, except observing animals and nature, Clara lives with her mother, Fresia (Flor Maria Vargas Chaves), who takes care of her, and her niece Maria, pretty of a girl in blooming adolescence (Ana Julia Porras Espinoza) whose presence radiates throughout the house. Clara finds in nature an enveloping and moist cradle to which she entrusts her flesh. This sensual body-to-body, filmed with extreme delicacy by the director, could appear as an ideal return to the Garden of Eden. It is actually a minefield where Clara, until then forced to remain a saint in the eyes of all, learns through enjoyment to get rid of her chains. It will take the arrival in the vicinity of a boy for her to manage to free herself from it definitively. In other words, so that the Madonna becomes a woman.

Around this metamorphosis of a chrysalis into a butterfly, Nathalie Alvarez Mesén is directing a first feature film of intense and uplifting beauty. By standing as close as possible to the living, to a grain of skin, to the coat of an animal, Clara Sola revives our senses, brings us back to the origins, to this primitive state of desire which makes us sensitive to the slightest quivering of a wing. or a leaf. It is on this desire – from its birth to its satisfaction – that the story hangs. And it is through him that the filmmaker traces her path to lead, seemingly nothing, her heroine to emancipation. Veronique Cauhape

“La Ruche”: A Widow in the Undertows of History

1999. In the small village of Krushe e Madhe, in Kosovo, after the war with Serbia-Montenegro, Fahrije tries to take care of the beehives that her husband, reported missing, had installed in front of their house. She does not have her dexterity and each of her attempts ends in an injection. To support her family, in this case her two teenagers and her sick father-in-law, she decides to start a small agricultural business. The object of its production: homemade ajvar, a condiment prepared with red peppers, grilled eggplant and garlic, nicknamed “the red caviar of the Balkans”. Her initiative disturbs the villagers, who are not used to seeing a woman working, even less when she replaces the head of the family.

The austerity maintained by the director and her actress tells the appalling episode that preceded and caused this story. On March 25, 1999, in the small Kosovar village of Krushe e Madhe, Serbian troops landed and forced the villagers to leave. After being searched and stripped, they are taken to the mosque, where the men are separated from the women. Nearly 250 men are killed or disappear without a trace. Fahrije’s husband, Hoti, is among 64 people whose bodies have never been found. His saw remains on the table, which the family refuses to part with, in case he returns. Thus, Fahrije’s almost monastic face, which seems to want to express nothing, fully testifies to her inability to mourn and plunges us into the abyss of those who live without knowing what has happened. Maroussia Dubreuil

“Elizabeth, singular gaze(s)”: the queen, from all angles

No one knows if the excitement of the platinum jubilee, the celebration of the seventy years of reign of Queen Elizabeth of England, from June 2 to 5, will reach France. The fact remains that Roger Michell’s documentary in the form of a tribute, Elizabeth, singular regard (s), distributed by Pathé, will be released on Thursday June 2 in several hundred theaters. Born in 1956 and died on September 22, 2021, the British director of Love at first sight in Notting Hill (1999), with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, and more recently of The Duke (2020), still in theaters, did not hide his enthusiasm for “Her Majesty,” now 96.

With a certain sense of humour, Roger Michell mixes images from the royal archives, film extracts, sketches by comedians too, which compose an impressionistic and benevolent portrait of the lady with the hats. Many images of her travels, her visits to Commonwealth states, the Queen, through the ages, in her immutable outfits, greeting the people with a movement of the forearm, mechanical, or leaning to receive bouquets of flowers. All this is very nice, but necessarily repetitive (official trips, outings on horseback, carriages, trains, planes, etc.). The film is undoubtedly aimed at fans who already know the biography of their queen of hearts inside out and will be delighted to discover such a bouquet of memories, in black and white and in color, as one goes through an album. Cl.F.

“Broadway”: The Dancer and the Crooks

Broadway is not always Broadway… Nelly, a young dancer who has a knack for getting herself into trouble, takes refuge in a fallow building called “Broadway”, squatted by a gang of petty crooks, in Athens. Quickly, she becomes the heroine of their daily routine: while she puts on a street show to entertain passers-by, the others steal the spectators’ wallets and mobile phones. In the intention, one should be able to imagine the meeting between Pedro Almodovar and Robert Bresson (Pickpocket), but the formal voluntarism of the film to deal with questions of gender and social crisis weakens its subject and drowns it in beautifully dilapidated sets. M.Dl.