THE MORNING LIST
Some great numbers from actresses and actors this week: Emma Stone, in Poor Creatures , by Yorgos Lanthimos, delivers an explosive performance, while Animal , by Sofia Exarchou, reveals an unforgettable showgirl. Let’s add the brilliant trio of actors from Husbands , by John Cassavetes, which is being released in theaters.
Do not miss
“Animal”: a sublime showgirl
One of the most notable films in the competition in Locarno (Switzerland), in 2023, is coming to theaters. Animal , the second feature film and fiction by Greek director Sofia Exarchou ( Park , 2016), puts the viewer behind the scenes, giving them access to the daily life of the leaders of an all-inclusive vacation club, on a Greek island. From morning to evening, it is a permanent show of games, songs, gendered choreographies… The queen of the ceremony, although a little at the end of her rope, is called Kalia (Dimitra Vlagopoulou, who was awarded an interpretation prize), a muscular twig with his blond hair toupee. This 35-year-old showgirl is both at the top of her “art” and on the verge of breaking down, physically and nervously.
The director succeeds in attaching us to this woman, confronted with the dizziness of her existence, while constantly connecting her to the rest of the gang. Because it is from the group that the energy, the self-deprecation, the laughter are born, during rehearsals or after the shows… Cassavetes fan, Sofia Exarchou captures as much the body in movement as these suspended moments of crisis, of letting go… taken, without trying to tell a well-ordered story.
Holidaymakers, most of whom come from Eastern countries, can only see their happy faces in the background. The film draws its political force from this decentering, leaving the tourists off-camera to focus on the entertainers. Above all, Sofia Exarchou films the work, as a form of voluntary servitude, each and every one knowing the “rules” of this low-paid job which leaves no room for error. The show must be effective, the smile permanent. Everything is at a discount, the price of the stay, the costumes, but this world of pretenses sometimes succeeds in bringing out the marvelous. Cl.F.
“Krsha and the Master of the Forest”: hand-stitched animation
It’s the story of a legendary cave bear, a sick mother, and wild berries that could cure her. Without forgetting the reindeer, a sacred animal in the Nenets community, an indigenous people of Russia living near the Arctic Circle. This animated film by South Korean Park Jae-beom features, in a snowy landscape made of polystyrene, a small quiet family, whose daily life is disrupted by the irruption of two lawless hunters, searching for to kill the famous bear to receive the bounty.
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