On fire ★★★
Directed by: Tran An Hung
Interpretations: Juliette Binos, Benoit Massimelle
One of the most “delicious” yet heartwarming movies we’ve seen recently is out in theaters this week. We are in 1885, at the height of classic French cuisine. The affluent and food lover Dodin (Benoit Massimiliano) creates a series of spectacular dishes in collaboration with his top cook, Ezeni (Jiliette Binoche), with whom he simultaneously maintains an affair, even though she refuses to marry him. Until he prepares a wonderful dinner just for her. Franco-Vietnamese Tran An Hung won the director prize at the Cannes Film Festival, with a film ode to haute gastronomy, as well as to the almost mystical relationship of food with the rest of human activities. The protagonists of the film, completely dedicated to their art, express through it their love, affection, friendship; a meal or dinner turns into a ritual of initiation into a world full of subtle pleasures but also spiritual quests. The camera follows all this with respect and precision, zooming over steaming pots or emotional faces, without any music accompaniment. The sounds of the kitchen and the table star here in a delightful as well as deeply human film, which leaves you with a smile on your face and a welcome… tingle in your stomach.
The Royal Hotel ★★★
Directed by: Kitty Green
Starring: Julia Garner, Jessica Henwick
Kitty Green of the very remarkable “The Assistant” returns with another interesting film about the modern female experience. Young friends Hannah (Julia Garner) and Liv (Jessica Henwick) travel the world taking odd jobs. One of them will bring them to an isolated small working town, somewhere in the vast Australian outback. There, working in the bar of the dilapidated Royal Hotel, they will come face to face with the rough character of the locals, especially the men, who will soon approach them romantically, with things gradually derailing. Starting from the wild, desolate landscape of Australia, Green successfully sets the atmosphere of an idiosyncratic thriller that constantly plays with the viewer’s patience and anxiety. From the moment the two girls set foot in the place, we’re sure something is going to go terribly wrong. The escalation comes progressively as the patrons of the bar – but also the owner and themselves – become increasingly drenched in alcohol and the sense of abandonment and hopelessness that the place exudes.
American Carnage ★★½
Directed by: Diego Halivis
Interpretations: Jorge Ledeborg J., Gina Ortega
Horror meets comedy in a film by the Mexican-American Halevis brothers that heavily recalls similar racial satires like Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Following the order of the ultra-conservative governor of a US state, all the children of Latin American immigrants are taken to the detention center. In order to avoid imprisonment, they are offered the alternative of volunteering at a nursing home, caring for the elderly. There, however, a sequence of strange events will lead a group of them to the discovery of a terrifying conspiracy. Featuring a multitude of Latina actors – Gina Ortega, known from TV’s “Wednesday” stands out –, the film tackles the issue of racism and the inequalities faced by people of this particular origin in America. The… scary bit obviously reads like an allegory of the above observation, although overall the script could go deeper and the satire could be more pointed and bold.
Arte Povera ★★★
Directed by: Fotis Georgiadis
Appearing: Beats Pliz, LEX, Little Thief
Fotis Georgiadis, music producer known as Beats Pliz, presents in a documentary the process of creating the groundbreaking album “Arte Povera”, which marries classical melodies with modern hip hop. Having composed all the musical parts himself, from the brass and strings recorded with orchestras abroad, to the electronic “drills”, the creator invites a number of top domestic rappers to dress them up with their lyrics. Thessalonians LEX, Mikros Kleftis, Vlospa, the Athenian Ethisms, Dani Gambino and a few others give it their all on the microphone, while we actually watch the activity of a visibly tight-knit, “hobo” proud and boldly creative community.
Directed by: Nia DaCosta
Starring: Brie Larson, Tiona Paris, Iman Velani
Marvel’s superheroes are back, and this time they’re all female. Our well-known Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), after a galactic anomaly in which she is trapped, confuses her powers with those of her biggest fan, also known as Ms. Marvel, but also of her niece, who is an astronaut. Now the three of them will be asked to work as a team with the goal of saving the Universe.