Cannes 2018: Masters rub shoulders with the beginners
“Water Water Everywhere”? In Cannes, there are films and events everywhere. What to watch and what to miss? Which event to attend and which can be bypassed? You sacrifice films to attend events and sacrifice events to watch films. Problem of plenty? Cannes film festival is a place where masters rub shoulders with the beginners on equal terms.
Asghar Farhadi’s opening film EVERYBODY KNOWS, the Spanish Drama of kidnap of a young girl for ransom by her own aunt set the mood with gorgeous Penelope Cruz and charming Javier Bardem ascending the red carpet along with the filmmaker. Are there traces of ABOUT ELLY in his latest film? Excepting the disappearance of a young girl and people searching for her everywhere till a ransom call arrives, there is nothing in common.
Asghar is well known for his superb scripts. The film is exceptional in all technical departments. And the journalists watching the film knew that Penelope Cruz would utter, “She is your child” dialogue. Otherwise why Javier Bardem should sell his land to pay the ransom and destroy his marriage?
Sometimes we wonder when taken out of his Iranian roots and transplanted in Spain with a Spanish story and too many Spanish characters, the master had to depend on translators, screenplay writers, et al and this aspect is disconcerting him a bit. The power packed performances of the two main characters hold the film together firmly.
What touches our heart is the little Egyptian film YOMEDDINE, the debut of young filmmaker AB Shawky. It is a sort of road movie in which Beshay, an uneducated leper left at the gates of the Leper Colony as a young child by his parents has grown old and is a sort of rag picker with his donkey cart. Several cured lepers live happily together. Beshay’s wife dies in a mental hospital. The lonely man decides to trace back his family and for that he has to travel long distances. An orphan from the adjoining school who is fond of Beshay joins him. The journey is arduous and challenging for the leper with deformities. But braving all the odds they manage to find Beshay’s house. The old father tells Beshay that he did not return to bring him back as he would be happy in the community as he would not be judged and insulted. The outside world would have been cruel to him. After staying with the family for some time, the twosome decide to return to their leper colony.
The young director develops his characters with extreme gentleness and great compassion. In the process of their travel, Beshay and Obama meet a cross section of Egyptian society, thieves and rich people without compassion, beggars with great hearts, big towns and tiny little villages.