West Side Story
After having shunned this venerable genre in recent decades, with few exceptions, Hollywood has seen, in 2021, a notable resurgence of affection for the musical film. During the past year, we have thus been entitled to the worst, such Dear Evan Hansen (Dear Evan Hansen), as at best, such Tick, Tick… Boom! However, the prize goes to Steven Spielberg and his cover of the Broadway classic. West Side Story, already adapted sixty years ago and freely inspired by Romeo and Juliet. Great cinema, great Spielberg.
The Power of the Dog
Taken from the novel by Thomas Savage, this film full of sweat, splendor and Gothic fury marks the triumphant return of Jane Campion to the big screen after twelve years. In The power of the dog (VF of The Power of the Dog), the New Zealand filmmaker, who has multiplied the formidable portraits of women who emancipate themselves, is interested in the male psyche. From this story built around a cruel ranch owner, she deconstructs the myth of the cowboy and subverts the western, the macho genre par excellence.
Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, the second director only after Jane Campion, Julia Ducournau undoubtedly delivered the biggest cinematographic shock of the year. With its unrepentant murderous protagonist doubled as a lover – literally – of cars, Titaniumdestabilizes and fascinates. Allegory of the fluidity of the genre, the heroine becoming a hero during the narrative, the film makes all kinds of unexpected turns in addition to controlling each of its startling slippages.
Remarkable animated feature film, Josep, of the Frenchman Aurel, by his historical and artistic charge, does more than go back in the course of the life of the militant designer Josep Bartoli. With various techniques embracing the atmosphere of the hero’s drawings over the years, he plunges us with style into the Spanish Civil War, anti-Franco refugee camps in France, World War II, and Mexico’s Mexico. painter Frida Kahlo, with whom Josep had an affair.
Quebec director Ivan Grbovic and cinematographer Sara Mishara co-wrote this unique film in which a Mexican seasonal worker unwittingly turns the lives of his fallen bosses upside down, even as he tries to find the one he loves. With a discreet lyricism most of the time, Drunken birds contains many passages – flashbacks, dreams, visions – which make the film reach a baroque dimension rarely, if ever, seen in our cinema.
Don’t Look Up
In The Big Short, Adam McKay was shooting in the direction of the economic crisis of the 2000s. This time he is targeting those who decide, write and (re) research in Cosmic denial (VF of Don’t Look Up), a creaking film whose science fiction is a mirror held out towards the media, politicians, scientists, influencers… This conveyed by an approaching end of the world and by an exceptional cast – Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep and an “etc. »In capitals.
In the great tradition of film noir, this psychological thriller is a splendor. Guillermo del Toro deploys his talent there with slowness and sensuality. Welcome behind the scenes of a mediocre circus of the 1940s where the gullibility of spectators is exploited. In the center of Nightmare alley (VF of Nightmare alley), a newcomer (Bradley Cooper) soon surrounded by femme fatales (Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett). Horror is rarely so beautiful …
As directed by Denis Villeneuve, Frank Herbert’s science fiction saga – deemed unsuitable – has lost none of its narrative density or its richness of subtext. However, it is the visual magnificence that immediately grabs, then captivates throughout. However, Villeneuve has carried many of these indelible images with him since his first reading. With this visionary adaptation, the Quebec filmmaker has achieved not only his dream, but also that of millions of readers.
The Green Knight
David Lowery applies to Arthurian legend the treatment he “administered” to the ghost story in A Ghost Story : poetry is everywhere; slowness, assu-mated; and the subject, served in a setting of absolute beauty. So Gawain (Dev Patel, fascinating) may be a knight of the Round Table, but here he is not looking for Excalibur or Grail, but, rather, answers to existential questions. With The green knight (VF of The Green Knight), we are far from Kaamelott.
We tip our hat to Kristen Stewart (very Oscar winner) for playing the discomfort with such a burning flame in Spencer, by Pablo Larraín. This film, loosely based on Princess Diana’s last Christmas in the British royal family (who takes it for her cold), is a powerful fable juggling the fantastic. On disturbing sounds and a mist camera, the imaginary immersion in the psyche of this woman on the edge of the abyss is a gripping cinematographic journey.
This dizzying dive, in London, into the daily life of a cantankerous old man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (Anthony Hopkins at the top of his art, Oscar winner for the role) is a coup de force. British film The father (VF of The Father), adapted by the Frenchman Florian Zeller from his own play, offers himself a realization marrying to the vertigo the labyrinth of the hero in loss of reference points. As for the brilliant screenplay signed Christopher Hampton, it was also an Oscar winner and rightly so.
Crying out with accuracy and relevance, Nomadland has racked up the awards – including three Oscars (Best Film; Best Direction, to Chloé Zhao, who also signs the screenplay; and Best Actress, to Frances McDormand). It is all deserved. With its cast partly composed of non-professionals and its quasi-documentary style, this deceptively simple film draws the viewer in the wake of people who have decided, because life has slammed the door for them, to live it, fully, on the spot. road.
Sophie Dupuis bends over, with Underground, on the world of minors. A masculine world that she accurately digs through this story that begins with an explosion, a few meters underground. Go back to understand. The characters are revealed, the intentions appear. It is tense, suffocating, shining with darkness. Very human. And, from Joakim Robillard to Théodore Pelle-rin, from James Hyndman to Guillaume Cyr, this excellent film is supported by a high-caliber cast.
The fool’s ball
Mature work of the French Mélanie Laurent taken from the book by Victoria Mas, on sumptuous images, The fool’s ball is a far-reaching feminist manifesto. At the end of the XIXe century, in the clinic of women judged psychotic or hysterical at the Salpêtrière in Paris, the terrible misogyny of the time freezes the blood without the clichés of the period film. Mélanie Laurent and Lou de La age dominate the solid distribution of this first French production from Amazon.
Fourth adaptation of the novel by Louis Hémon, the Maria chapdelaine by Sébastien Pilote is not the most romantic of the lot. However, he is the best glued to the difficult daily life of the pioneers of Lac-Saint-Jean and the only one where the heroine sees herself embodied by an actress of her age (Sara Montpetit). Beyond the lengths, we salute the strength of the film, several masterful scenes and the naturalness of great actors, including Sébastien Ricard, the obstinate father of the teenager between three paths.
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2021 in 15 remarkable films