The contemporary themes striding stunningly through the Festival have captivated me throughout; some beg comparisons:
MONICA (ITALY) & PALOMA (BRAZIL & PORTUGAL)
Years ago, after reading Jeffrey Eugenides’s overpowering, deep-rooted “Middlesex”, gaining an understanding and insight into those whose bodies were unmatched with their respective genders. Education, respect and sensitivity are required in compassionate acceptance of what does not fall into a predetermined category. Monica and Paloma are fully committed to their transformations; encountering Monica in an intimate portrait of her reuniting with her estranged family whereas Paloma, years for the normalcy of a ceremony allotted ubiquitously to the heterosexual. Paloma is a better film, but audiences have much to learn from these worthy protagonists.
MONICA (THREE STARS!!!). PALOMA (FOUR STARS!!!!)
CLOSE (BELGIUM, FRANCE, THE NETHERLANDS)
Director Lukas Dhont’s pivotal, refined depiction of the vulnerable, fragile psyches of young, impressionable boys, touches a chord of honest reality, profoundly prevalent in today’s world; two close friends fractured by preventable circumstances, resulting in indescribable pain; one’s actions can torture and taunt for the rest of one’s life. This film should be required viewing for all, especially those exiting childhood.
PLAN 75 (JAPAN, PHILIPPINES, QATAR)
Innovatively incredible premise: a legitimate, government-backed proposal that individuals at the age of seventy-five may terminate their lives without regrets or loose ends. Viewers, invested in the “end of life” scenarios, question the motives behind these, stillviable souls, in the final chapter of existence.
CORSAGE (AUSTRIA, FRANCE, GERMANY)
Actor Vicky Krieps, magnificent portrayal of Austria’s Empress Elizabeth (1837-1898) transcends its wildly fictionalized tale; her life was imminently as fascinating. Writer/director Maria Kreutzer’s portrait of a twenty-first woman “corseted” in a nineteenth façade is an imaginative compilation of style, grandeur, nascent photography, saturated with a recognizable, immediate musical score.