Cannes Film Festival 2021 Day 3: Lingui (2021) and others

Day 3 at the Cannes Film Festival 2021.

What the critics say...

by Alexa Dalby


CAUTION: Here be spoilers

Lingui (Sacred Bonds)

“…for all its ostensible gentleness, his storytelling is driven by a need to challenge the country’s reactionary theocratic males. There are fierce and even shocking stabs of sexuality and violence cutting through the opaque, stoic calm…. The intense, focused performances from the two central women keep this drama in a hyper-alert state: we are intensely aware of all that is at stake and how mother and daughter are battling for survival, and teetering on a precipice of unacknowledged shame.” – Guardian

“…plumbing the depths of the bonds between female characters — mothers and daughters, sisters, friends and even strangers — to reveal the lengths they will go to protect themselves and one another…” Hollywood Reporter

Achouackh Abakar Souleymane and Rihane Khalil Alio shine in Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s subtle film about women in a hostile culture. It’s driven by anger at the treatment of women in his largely Muslim country, but the director is more interested in quietly telling the story of two specific women, and letting the audience grasp the big picture without much prodding…This time, the relationship is between a mother and daughter, and the backdrop is the oppressive religious and legal climate for women in the country…Amina (Achouackh Abakar Souleymane) is the mother and Maria (Rihane Khalil Alio) the 15-year-old daughter, who live on the outskirts of N’Djamena in a community where the mosque is the centre of life. – The Wrap

La Fracture (The Divide)

Raf (Valéria Bruni Tedeschi) and Julie (Marina Foïs), a couple on the verge of breaking up, find themselves in an Emergency Department close to asphyxiation on the evening of a major ‘yellow vests’ protest in Paris. Their encounter with Yann (Pio Marmaï), an injured and angry demonstrator, will shatter their certainties and prejudices. Outside, the tension escalates and soon, the hospital has to close its doors and the staff is overwhelmed. The night will be long…

The Worst Person in the World

“Norwegian writer-director Joachim Trier (Oslo, August 31st) premiered his fifth feature, chronicling the life of a 30-year-old woman who can’t seem to make up her mind, in competition…in The Worst Person in the World, he undercuts all the playfulness and wry observations on 30-to-40 something Norwegian hipsters with a lasting feeling of melancholy, of a hangover or a bad trip that you can’t ever shake off.“ – Hollywood Reporter

After Yang

“…contemplative, utterly transfixing second feature from the South Korean-born video essayist known as Kogonada…” – Hollywood Reporter

“Perhaps more speculative than “Columbus” yet no less poignant, Kogonada’s second feature “After Yang” is the kind of cozy sci-fi marvel that can only be made by someone with an incorruptible belief in the life of objects and the humanity of all things.” – IndieWire

The Gravedigger’s Wife (La Femme du fossoyeur)

Set in Djibouti City in the Horn of Africa, The Gravedigger’s Wife, directed by Khadar Ayderus Ahmed, stars Finnish-Somali actor Omar Abdi as a struggling gravedigger on a quest to raise the money for the kidney transplant desperately needed by his beloved wife, played by Canadian-Somali model and actress Yasmin Warsame.

The family drama plays out against the colourful backdrop of the makeshift homes and teeming streets of Djibouti City, which has rarely been captured on the big screen before. 

It is one of just three features with strong African connections due to play in Cannes Official Selection or one of the parallel sections this year. The others comprise Competition title Lingui by Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (review above) and Rwanda-shot Directors’ Fortnight selection Neptune Frost.

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