Cannes 2021: The Hill where the lionesses roar, a promise [critique]

The first film by actress Luàna Bajrami does not lack ambition, but remains at the level of the test.

The third star of Portrait of the girl on fire, it was her: in the role of Sophie, the little good pregnant, Luàna Bajrami was 18 years old and perfectly found the place to exist between Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel. Immediately after finishing Céline Sciamma’s film, she embarked on directing. She is now 20 years old and presents in Cannes within the Directors’ Fortnight her first feature, The Hill where the lionesses roar. Not bad is not it ? It is therefore the story of three childhood friends, stuck in a lost and disconnected village in the depths of Kosovo, who will invent their gang of robbers to escape the great black hole of their future. A film that follows in the footsteps of big cinema sisters like Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Mustang) and Céline Sciamma from Bunch of girls, obviously. Well, we would love to love that, but this Hill takes a little too much time for languor to be totally seductive, and rushes its passage to genre film a little too much in its last part to be absolutely convincing. But there is a big desire for cinema underneath, of visual and narrative ambition (to mix genres, to confront them), and a real direction of actresses who point. Moreover, Luàna Bajrami found three truly astounding young women – the first critic who writes “portrait of young girls on fire” in his text will have to review all of Chantal Akerman – to embody his trio of juvenile robbers: Era Balaj, Uratë Shabani and Flaka Latifi. We feel that Luàna Bajrami only lives at this moment to film these highly promising actresses, like this real youthful film.

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