Barely a few hours after seeing the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, on the gigantic screen of the great Lumière theater, begging for a new Chaplin capable of pointing the gun of cinema at Vladimir Putin, the new film by Russian exile Kiril Serébrennikov,
The Wife of Tchaikovsky,
he opened the official section contest with a taboo subject in his country, the homosexuality of one of his national glories.
In his relentless battle against LGBT groups, even Putin himself has publicly denied that the composer of
was, as this harsh film tells, gay.
Russian director Kiril Serebrennikov under house arrest
For the third time in his career, Serébrennikov is up for the Palme d'Or. He did so in 2018 with the melancholic
, about a rock band in the eighties in Leningrad, and a year ago with
a feverish journey by a cartoonist from comics that he immersed himself in his delusions and hallucinations.
On both occasions, Serebrennikov was unable to attend Cannes because he was under house arrest, but now, already in exile, he is presenting his new and torturous film here.
is a dark period film about a deranged character, Antonina Miliukova, the woman the musician married when she was 16 and he was 25.
Student and teacher never consummated a marriage that sought to silence rumors of the composer's sexual life.
However, Miliukova, obsessed with her and her husband's status, never agreed to a divorce.
Although Serebrennikov's film has a hard time starting, when she does, her immersion in an opaque and oppressive sexual well is total.
Always in the hands of actress Alyona Mikhailova, who holds an unfortunate and terrible character with her wide-open, innocent gaze, Serébrennikov constructs a descent into hell through orchestrated sequences like a funeral dance that place the viewer in a magnetic limbo where the bodies seem to wander aimlessly through time.
There are moments of desperate sexuality that present the wife as a gloomy light, a naive victim of social hypocrisy ready to immolate himself for her stubborn desire.
Serébrennikov achieves splendid scenes, such as those of the gay scenes of the time or the visit to the composer's sister, although he also incurs other less successful ones, such as the contrived final choreography.
Still from the movie 'The Eight Mountains'.
The other film that opened the official competition was the beautiful, although unfortunately not round,
The Eight Mountains
by Felix Van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch, based on the book of the same name by Paolo Cognetti.
It is a story of brotherly love over time with the mountains of northern Italy as its refuge and horizon.
Portrayed as adults by Luca Marinelli and Alessandro Borghi, the film begins in the 1980s.
But what at first seems like a story about two boys confronted by the rural-urban dichotomy turns into an exciting story about orphanhood and male friendship.
the eight mountains
It talks about how many men relate to each other through silence and the mountains, how some find freedom in a landscape and in their misanthropy.
Men of few words, capable of understanding everything after a long walk through the mountains without opening their mouths.
Narrated in the first person, Van Groeningen and Vandermeersch's film has two problems.
One is that
that sometimes abuses the words of Paolo Cognetti and his novel, and the other is an unspeakable soundtrack, which jumps from bad song to bad song until it exasperates the viewer with its useless underlining and tastelessness.
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