“Godland”, “The Eight Mountains”, “The Green Perfume”… Reviews of films in theaters this week

Godland ***

By Hlynur Pálmason, with Elliott Crosset Hove, Ingvar Sigurdsson. 2h23.


In the 19th century, a Danish priest discovered Iceland, where he photographed the inhabitants. The road is so rough that the mission becomes a way of the cross. Over the course of a story that drags on, but hypnotizes by the power of nature that it magnifies, we enter the great imagination of another time. Penetrating, magnificent still images, elegant traveling shots, minimal music… The spirit of nature is here challenged in its metaphysical omnipotence. The trip and his licked photo remind Jaujathis Argentinian film with Viggo Mortensen (2014) which reinvented the codes of the western in a vintage aesthetic rather rare in cinema. Al.C.

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The Eight Mountains **

By Felix Van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch, with Luca Marinelli, Alessandro Borghi. 2h27.

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A child of the city, Pietro spends his summers in the mountains, a passion of his parents. There he becomes the friend of a son of Alpine peasants, whom he loses sight of and finds again later in his adult life. Adapted from a novel by Paolo Cognetti (Foreign Medici Prize in 2017), this intimate and epic film recounts an exemplary, deep, uplifting friendship. If it makes you feel the passage of time, to meditate on the unknowns of destiny and paternity as well as brotherhood, it is at the risk of a linear staging that freezes into a postcard. Romanesque, telluric, with its somewhat unreal grandeur, it charmed the Cannes Film Festival, which awarded it its jury prize. Al.C.

The Green Perfume **

By Nicolas Pariser, with Sandrine Kiberlain, Vincent Lacoste. 1h41.

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When a comedian from the Comédie-Française is murdered on stage, Martin, another actor from the troupe, is suspected by the police. He meets a comic book author with whom he tries to thwart the plans of a mysterious organization. An astonishing proposition, this spy comedy which multiplies the nods to Franco-Belgian comics and Hitchcock cinema without giving in to grotesque parody, Nicolas Pariser finding the right balance. Abundant without being indigestible, alluring but not flashy, she takes the viewer on a journey through the adventures of her friendly duo embodied by actors who have a field day and make us forget her few drops in rhythm. Bap.T

Storm **

By Christian Duguay, with Mélanie Laurent and Pio Marmaï. 1h49.

Born in the family stud farm in Normandy, Zoé grew up hoping to become a jockey like her father. Alas, one stormy day, she is trampled by a panicked stallion in the stable and wakes up paraplegic… Obviously, we think of The Horse Whisperer (1998), by Robert Redford, in front of this apparently marked reconstruction narrative that calls for self-transcendence. But Christian Duguay digs his own furrow by focusing on the inclusive dimension of this melodrama featuring a disabled heroine who fights to exist in the world of horse racing. Heartfelt and moving. SB

The Little Piaf *

By Gérard Jugnot, with himself, Marc Lavoine, Soan Arhimann. 1h35.

In Réunion, 10-year-old Nelson wants to become a singer. To achieve this, he applies to audition in a tele-hook. In order to overcome his stage fright, he asks a star on tour for advice on the island… This tale for children, on the need to believe in one’s dreams, is inspired by the TF1 program The Voice Kids, even recruiting one of the coaches, Marc Lavoine, almost in his own role! Despite a sometimes approximate interpretation and a scenario sewn with white thread, this story with a retro playlist stands out for its benevolence. SB​

An Indonesian Woman *

By Kamila Andini, Happy Salma and Laura Basuki. 1h43.

Fifteen years after being separated from her first love, missing in the war, Nana has rebuilt her life with a man older than her, who spoils her as much as he cheats on her. She is haunted by the ghosts of her past, until the day when one of them reappears… Clearly, Kamila Andini has seen In The Mood For Love (2000), by Wong Kar-Wai, to the point of recreating certain scenes, borrowing romantic tragedy, incandescent photography and melancholic violins. But without grace. The story is weighed down by its slow rhythm and its static action, remains the touching portrait of a free and independent woman. SB

“Godland”, “The Eight Mountains”, “The Green Perfume”… Reviews of films in theaters this week