[BIFFF 2022 : Jour 13] A square remake to close and some stews

Karmalink: karma for him, coma for us

It’s Saturday, in the second week, and we mustn’t lie to each other, it’s starting to feel like the end of the festival. Indeed, between the late arrival of yours truly, an almost deserted Palace 10 in the middle of Saturday afternoon, a time not to get Olivier out of bed and science fiction films that call into question the metaphysical existence of the human being, there is reason to ask questions.

First movie to watch karmalink. A dystopian Cambodian film which features a poor young man who, to escape his condition, will search in his past – his karma – for the keys to his dreams to rise and find enlightenment… Well, at least, he is what we think we have understood. By mixing religion and science fiction, the filmmaker has clearly left us on the side of the road. The atmosphere of the room was worthy of that of the Magrittes, that is to say that we heard more the air conditioning than the jeers of the audience. It’s quite simple, no one said anything, even when the film came out, where moviegoers rushed to the bar to order… a coffee! BUT ARE WE AT THE BIFFF OR SHIT??? THERE IS A LITTLE CAMBODGIAN WITH A CAPSULE OF HEINEKEN ON THE HEAD ON THE SCREEN AND NO ONE IS INSULTING HIM? This world is doomed.

In short, we didn’t understand everything, but one thing is certain: it’s very complicated to understand Cambodian when you have your eyes closed. MM


Warning: even Rocco has never pawed so much in front of his films

On the road, when you put on your warnings, it’s usually a distress call. Well, that’s exactly our state when faced with the production – also dystopian – of Agata Alexander. For her first feature film, she invites us to follow the journey of several characters, without direct interaction between them, in the near future where human nature is questioned because of the evolution of technologies. Here again, we haven’t understood everything, but the synopsis of the film found on Allociné sums up its essence: “The exploration of loneliness, death and the meaning of life in the near future on Earth where several destinies intersect”. YEAH BUT OH! WE HAVE BEEN TROLL LOADED FOR TWO WEEKS, ARE YOU NOT GOING TO ASK US TO THINK ANYWHERE!?

In short, this film is an ambush. Not like Olivier’s pad, but because of its tantalizing cast: Alice Eve, Alex Pettyfer, James D’Arcy and Patrick Schwarzenegger (son of you-know-who). We say to ourselves that the scenario had to be top for them to accept… Well no, it was the cachet that had to shine. Indeed, it’s winded, it’s contemplative and above all, it’s a gloubi-boulga of the knowledge and talents of the filmmaker who, like an overzealous student, wanted to impress the public, probably thinking that the complexity of the subject would raise questions. In the end, we feel that Agata took pleasure, but forgot to give it. MM


The devil conspiracy: divine stew

The most powerful biotechnology laboratory in the world has finally succeeded in cloning great historical figures with just a drop of DNA. Since then, he has organized clandestine auctions for clones of Michelango, Galileo and even Vivaldi at exorbitant prices. To get rich? Nay! Because behind this laboratory hides a satanic cult that has just stolen the Shroud of Turin. Their ultimate goal: to resuscitate Jesus so that he serves as the ultimate offering to the Devil, who could, thanks to this body, return to earth. But that’s without counting on the Archangel Michael – the one who slays the dragon at the top of the Brussels town hall – who has just reincarnated in the body of a freshly murdered priest.

By proposing such a scenario, Nathan Frankowski should have either obtained a budget worthy of an adaptation of a book by Dan Brown, or sprinkled his film with innumerable touches of humor in the second degree in order to show that all this was not what a big joke. Unfortunately, there is nothing…

Account of a massacre

Technically, the film looks like one of those dozen productions that land on Netflix every month: the focus is on a few action scenes that will be placed in the trailer to attract the customer, the rest being treated to the trowel for lack of budget. Thus, half of the film takes place in the dark, which makes it possible to save on the level of cinematography and costumes, the other half in a castle serving as a landmark for satanic forces. Moreover, while we were promised epic fight scenes between the forces of good and evil, they are reduced to a trickle once Michel obtains his magic sword.

And there lies the second weak point of The devil conspiracy, namely the inconsistencies. If these are a source of laughter when the director resolutely chooses the path of the second degree and parody, they are a source of embarrassment when he takes himself seriously. We can cite pell-mell, the heroine’s pregnancy in accelerated mode and other temporal inconsistencies, the hero’s sudden drops in diet, who manages to break his chains but does not manage to break down a door 5 minutes later and many more.

Finally, and this is undoubtedly the most serious, it is the very basic tone of the film and the acting of the actors which follows, because it is contradictory with all that precedes. Either the film concentrates on the evocation of the Satanist cult, like a documentary film and the somewhat theatrical tone adopted by the actors can pass, or the humor must be much more present to pass the many inconsistencies.

The devil conspiracy was presented as a world premiere at the BIFFF, we would nevertheless have appreciated not being used as a guinea pig for this experience. Besides, I feel weird, I shouldn’t have touched this shroud when I entered the room… VP


Cube: a square film

In 1999, Vincenzo Natali landed with one of the most original genre films ever released. Cube reminded us of the absurdity of our existence, highlighted team spirit in a way team building could never do in Durbuy and, thanks to disconcertingly simple mechanisms, kept us spellbound for 90 minutes. And while others have subsequently tried to ride the formula, none have achieved the sadistic perfection of the original film.

A quarter of a century after the release of Vincenzo Natali’s masterpiece, it’s up to Japanese director Yasuhiko Shimizu to offer us his version of the famous cube, just as square but with a cast that reflects the concerns and anxieties of the current Japanese society. Thus, if the narrative structure remains the same – from the pitfalls to the way of avoiding them – and the tensions between the different protagonists are still very present, the reasons for these disagreements find their source in very current issues.

We can therefore look at this new version of Cube in two ways. Either we let ourselves be carried away by the story and shiver at each new door open, or we ask ourselves questions about the reason for such an ordeal and realize that more than a sadistic adventure, it is rather an initiation rite. for the teenager who finds himself locked up in this strange prison. A test that he will pass by measuring himself against his own fears materialized by some of his companions in misfortune but also by seeking courage and comfort in the presence of unfortunate people who look like him.

Of course, you always have to take into account different cultural sensitivities and some will point the finger at the behavior of the actors who overplay several scenes, especially at the end and therefore add a surplus of pathos that does not seem necessary to us.

Despite everything, Yasuhiko Shimizu does not have to be ashamed of his remake which, even if he can no longer count on the element of surprise – gave us a good time. VP

[BIFFF 2022 : Jour 13] A square remake to close and some stews