Venice 2021: Tim Roth in Mexico and a blood-red Mona Lisa in New Orleans

Sundown, the new Michel Franco, impresses, while Ana Lily Amirpour strikes recess with Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon.

Six years later Chronic, who left Cannes with the Best Screenplay Award (funny idea), Tim Roth finds Michel Franco for Sundown, presented in competition in Venice. A strong film, very controlled, portrait of a man breaking the ban, who sees himself as a kind of existential puzzle. It is better to know as little as possible before sitting down in front of this film, as it works according to a principle of enigma, to which each new scene, each inflection of the story, will provide a bit of an additional answer. Let’s just say that Sundown begins in an ultra-luxurious hotel in Mexico where a man, woman and two teenagers spend a heavenly vacation, before an unforeseen event forces them to rush back home to London.

The man (Tim Roth) will find a bogus pretext to turn back at the last minute, just before the plane takes off. There, under a blazing sun, he will slowly let himself slide, organize the meticulous disruption of his existence. Michel Franco manages to create suspense, a very great tension, with three times nothing, only an extraordinary management of the duration, the capacity to confer a real weight to the smallest details, and the power of incarnation of Tim Roth, really. awesome. The film is also traversed by a dark humor and quite irresistible tongue-in-cheek. Franco’s detractors blame him for a form of sadism, a perverse taste for manipulation, and there is sometimes, it’s true, something too programmatic in the way the film is streaked with flashes of violence or shocking visions. . Sundown would perhaps be even stronger if it had been less fat, less loaded with twists and turns. Either way, the image of Tim Roth turning his back on his resort idyllic to go and sit on a rotten plastic chair on an Acapulco beach, with no other ambition than to drink beers until you are thirsty and watch the tide rise, will remain an unforgettable sight.

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon
Le Grisbi Productions / 141 Entertainment / wiip studios / Rocket Science / Black Bicycle

In competition too, Ana Lily Amirpour pulled out on her side Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, the “uninhibited” recreation of the festival. The director, who works a lot on TV (cool CV: Legion, Castle rock, Briarpatch, The Fourth Dimension by Jordan Peele, coming soon Cabinet of Curiosities by Guillermo del Toro…) has abandoned the precious and neo-Jarmuschian ways of his first feature, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, to wallow happily in fantastic, sexy and garage rock imagery, with no real ambition other than to give us a good time.

It’s a full moon in New Orleans: Mona Lisa Lee (Jeon Jong-seo, from Burning) is a girl gifted with telekinetic powers that allow her to mentally control the people she meets and make them do whatever she wants. The film begins when she escapes from the hellish asylum where she was locked up (and abused) and comes to wreak havoc in the French Quarter. She will cross paths with a stubborn cop (Craig Robinson) who will try to practice voodoo on her, and a bigmouth stripper (Kate Hudson) who decides to use Mona Lisa’s superpowers to push amateurs. from lap-dance to giving him bigger tips. The movie looks like this cool reel secondary character eating greasy sandwiches while trying to lure the barge into his strip club: ” Tits and ass! Tits and ass! The colors fart, Jeon Jong-seo hypnotizes, the euphoric electro tapestry makes you forget the air holes of the scenario, and the memory of the film begins to crumble only a few minutes after the screening.

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