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A film about the struggle of the Covas do Barroso people was well received in Cannes

A film about the struggle of the Covas do Barroso people was well received in Cannes

At the end of the session, the director spoke to JN. “The reaction is still difficult to determine,” he began by telling us. “It seems to me that it was good, but from a director's point of view it's always complicated, we've been with this film for three years. But we're very happy to be here, and the international press has already started writing the first things. It's very important to amplify the fight. I think That people really liked the film, based on the applause at the end of the film. I'm very excited for tomorrow's (today's) screening outside of Cannes and for a non-specialist audience.

IndieWire magazine begins its article on the film with the title, “Brechtian documentary highlights the ugly nuances of environmentalism.” “The Savannah and the Mountain is somewhere on the spectrum between Bertolt Brecht and Abbas Kiarostami, depicting residents’ rallies and protests in a way that appears realistic but is in fact a recreation of earlier events (although the film’s real battle over the lithium mine is still… Ongoing.) The haunting vignettes are interspersed with protest songs that could have been taken from The Threepenny Opera and grainy landscape shots that show the area as a natural cowboy oasis untouched by modernity.

In the Cannes daily edition of Screen International, one of the world's most important film magazines, Jonathan Holland wrote the article about Paulo Carneiro's film. “If the first half of the film often feels like slow cinema, with stunning landscapes and scenes of local residents, often elderly, going about their business, the second half is relatively action-packed,” he begins by writing. “We quickly realize that we are not watching a simple documentary about a villagers’ protest, but that the film is directed by a director who is himself part of this protest, with the villagers acting as actors.”

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He continues, “As the community gets used to this task, the villagers become more creative, walking through the streets alongside a wagon with 'The Lithium Mafia' written on the side – which one of the company's workers has clumsily gotten stuck in. The soundtrack is included by Diego Placeres to 1960s-style protest songs performed by local singer-songwriter Carlos Lebo, while the credits are taken straight from The Good, the Bad and the Villain. For a time, local residents' protests helped put the development of the lithium project on hold, but perhaps it will soon return.

The competition at Cannes continued in the meantime with new films by Jacques Audiard and Jia Zhangke. The Frenchman, who has already won the Palme d'Or for “Dheepan,” is now filming in Mexico what could be considered a sophisticated Mexican series set to the beat of a musical. Selena Gomez stars as the heroine, a young lawyer who receives an offer she can't refuse, to help one of the most powerful drug kingpins disappear forever, and transform herself into the woman she always wanted to be. Jacques Audiard shoots the films well as always, but his trip to Mexico feels a bit superficial and a waste of time with so many stories that could be told in his country. But Mexico has always had this romantic aura for Europeans and their country's filmmakers.

The Chinese Jia Changke, a veteran of the Cannes Film Festival, is still waiting for that greatest glory of winning the coveted Palme d'Or, author of such cult titles as “Still Life – Still Life”, “China – A Touch of Sin”, “If the Mountains Moved Away” or “Pureest White Ashes,” brought to the festival a simpler work titled “Caught By the Tides.” Played as always by the pagan actress and his real-life wife, Zhao Tao, it is a time travel between China in 2000 and today, filmed in slow motion and set to the tune of popular songs. A beautiful record by a unique author, who always brings a touch of originality to his works.

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