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Cannes 2024 – Global blockbusters? Megalopolis, The Apprentice, Emilia Perez, more; also Freud’s Last Session film out now (reviews)

Cannes 2024 – Global blockbusters? Megalopolis, The Apprentice, Emilia Perez, more; also Freud’s Last Session film out now (reviews)

As well as following all the Indian films at Cannes (May 14-25), we saw several of what might be called the blockbuster world premiere films and our short video chat reviews discussing some of these titles will be out shortly too… (link to acv page will be here – pending)

In addition, more recently, we got an invitation to see the new ‘Freud’s Last Session’ inside the Freud Museum itself, where the father of pyschoanalysis’s consulting room and couch are still preserved…

Megalopolis – big, ballsy, brilliant

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Two hours and 18 minutes
FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA is quite simply one of the greatest directors of all time (‘The Godfather’) and despite the hullabaloo in Cannes about the strengths or weakness of this film, it is a spectacle.
After so many years this is a film of power and majesty – perhaps not consistently or right to the very end* but this a film that is worth your time provided you engage in the story.
Two men are at loggerheads – Cesar Catilina (Adam Driver) is an architect in name and has money and influence and the ability to stop time (just go with it!); his nemesis is Mayor Franklin Cicero (Giancarlo Esposito) who is conservative by nature and interested in authority and order. In between both these men is the latter’s daughter Julia Cicero (Nathalie Emmanuel) who goes to work for Cesar. There are lots of interesting peripheral characters but these three are at the very centre of it all and it’s an absorbing ride: imaginative, cinematic, thought-provoking and entertaining. In time, its lustre will grow, watch…
Acv rating: **** (out of five)

*We were not able to see the whole film but saw 2/3

The Apprentice – Slick, entertaining and fascinating…

Director: Ali Abbasi
2 hours
ANOTHER film that generated huge heat at Cannes is worth your attention – simply because it is a good film with great acting and tells a very slick story.
Danish Iranian Ali Abbasi has essentially made a tale about a man not just for our times but of our times.
This early character study – replaying what Donald Trump’s life may have been like from his late 20s or through his 30s is entertaining and instructive.
Watch it like any other film and let Sebastian Stan as Trump and Jeremy Strong as his mentor and early confidante Ray Cohn do the work.
Don’t listen to the hype either way – treat it as a film and you might just enjoy it and even think slightly different about the man who could return to the White House in 2025 – this film will make no difference either way.
ACV rating: ****

Emilia Perez – Original, different and thrilling

Director: Jacques Audiard
Two hours and 10 minutes
THIS begged the question why Cannes?
A BIT LIKE ‘The Apprentice’ – this is quite a commercial film and doesn’t have a lot of art to it.
That isn’t a criticism – even though it being a musical is just odd!
That it won an ensemble acting award at Cannes is thoroughly justified – Karla Sofía Gascón is brilliant and holds the screen with power and force as a trans woman.
The story goes something like this – a feared Mexican cartel boss decides he will evade justice and retribution if he transitions.
The previous Gustavo is presumed dead and Emilia is his sister and inherits his wealth and puts it to good use, doing charitable work.
She continues to look after his ex-wife Jessi (Selena Gomez) and has lots of contact with his children who appear to be under the age of 10. All is well until Jessi falls in love with someone else…
This tension has to be managed by Emilia’s lawyer, Rita (Zoe Saldana) who has been there from the very outset. These three characters lie at the heart of this pacey, glossy, high-end production.
ACV rating: ***½

Motel Destino – Sleazy joint sees unseemly power struggle

Director: Karim Ainouz
One hour and 55 minutes
ANOTHER entertainer but perhaps with darker themes, this is a Brazilian film with a sense of menace and foreboding that proves itself – and not for the squeamish.
Heraldo (Heraldo) is a young buck and living on the edge somewhat – he picks up a girl and takes her to a seedy motel when his colleagues are out doing their shady business.
This doesn’t go down well and there is a price on his head – and the said girl making off his with his wallet means he has few options and decides to sell his labour to the love motel itself.
There – Dayana (Nataly Rocha, the wife of owner Elias (Fabio Assuncao) takes a bit of a liking to him – it’s a seedy hotel and threesomes and such are not uncommon. Elias plays with Heraldo – and the tension is clear with the older man vulnerable over Dayana. None of this is pretty but it’s very watchable and absorbing and held together by a very brilliant Assuncao who is unresolved issues personified and represents unrepentant machismo – and not that Heraldo is any better…?
Acv rating:****

The Girl with the Needle – Beauty and horror do a waltz

Director – Magnus Von Horn
1 hour and 55 minutes
DARK and macabre – this is a difficult watch.
But as a film, it is a strong production and ably executed and no doubt why it made the Competition section.
Swedish director Magnus von Horn’s ‘Sweat’ was selected before for Cannes and this is his third film. It slides across the genres of horror, Gothic and true life horror – where death and cruelty are two dance partners.
This is based on true events and one of the most controversial crimes ever committed.
Set in Denmark, in the early part of the last century, it focuses on a young twentysomething woman – Karoline (Vic Carmen Sonne) who is married to a man who has been seemingly lost at war. An affair with the son of the factory owner where she works goes nowhere – except unwanted pregnancy and the offer of help from shopkeeper Dagmar (Trine Dyrholm) who says she can assist with adoption.
They strike a friendship and work together saving other babies… what could be more noble?
ACV rating: *** ½ (out of five)

All pictures: Courtesy Festival De Cannes

Freud’s Last Session – skip the film (?) and go to the Freud Museum in Hampstead

Director: Matt Brown
1 hour and 48 minutes
JUST recently we were invited along to a screening of the current feature film, ‘Freud’s Last Session’ at the Freud Museum in Hampstead, London.
The film, which stars Sir Anthony Hopkins, as Freud himself, imagines a troubled Oxford Don – Jack, (and considered to be author CS Lewis), played by actor Matthew Goode, visiting the learned professor at his Hampstead home just before the outbreak of World War II and Freud’s death.
It’s quite well done – if you like talking heads and are intrigued by the atheist Freud tackling another great mind who has a lot of questions about God. Some critics declared it a bit dull – but you couldn’t say that about the museum and the house – it’s a real treasure trove and well worth discovering if you are curious about how the man behind psychoanalysis lived and worked (see picture above).

‘Freud’s Last Session’ continues to play at some cinemas in the UK…
More info/tickets about Freud Museum:

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture