手机版现金棋牌捕鱼Bacurau review – LFF 2019: Stylish and socially conscious Brazilian showstopper that resists definition

Bacurau (4 stars)

  • Nikki Baughan
  • 4 October 2019

Bacurau

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LFF 2019: Stylish and socially conscious Brazilian showstopper that resists definition

Part dusty western, part sharp social commentary, part frenetic fever dream, this year’s Cannes Jury Prize winner Bacurau is an astonishing piece of cinema, both in terms of its ideas and its craft. While its narrative may be wilfully elusive at times, writer-directors Juliano Dornelles and Kleber Mendonça Filho preferring to suggest rather than tell, the film has a clear message, and makes its points with confidence and style.

Set ‘a few years from now’, it all begins innocuously enough, as we follow a woman returning to her home village of Bacurau, in the middle of the Brazilian outback, for her grandmother’s funeral. This is a tight-knit community which looks after its own, and so when bizarre events start to occur – electricity being cut off, strange drones in the sky, the town literally disappearing from the map – the locals immediately band together in defence. To discuss the plot in any more detail would be to dilute Bacurau‘s impact; this is a film that should be allowed to unfold unhindered upon its audience.

Much like the year’s other standout South American film Monos, shot in neighbouring Colombia, Bacurau‘s power lies in its hypnotic visual identity. Cinematographer Pedro Sotero and editor Eduardo Serrano work in harmony, capturing both the expanse and anonymity of the isolated landscape – which, it’s suggested, hides multipl真钱捕鱼风云棋牌e sins – and lingering on minutiae: beads of sweat, empty streets, seemingly innocent exchanges that seethe with tension and foreboding. A discordant, writhing score adds to the sense that, in Bacurau, nothing is as it seems.

When, at the midway point, the focus drifts outside of the village, Bacurau does suffer slightly from a dip in energy and some rather (and possibly deliberate) pantomime-esque performances from the English-speaking contingent of its cast. But later, as the pace ratchets up and simmering frustrations boil over into bloody violence, the directors keep a firm hand on proceedings, knowing when to pull back and when to allow their characters to finally unleash the full force of their anger.

Influences may be obvious – from the South American surrealism of Alejandro Jodorowsky, to the horror tropes of John Carpenter et al – but Dornelles (a former production designer) and Filho (who directed sensitive Brazilian social drama Aquarius) have made something that’s ultimately their own. There are elements of the supernatural, of the otherworldly, of the monstrously human at play here but, at its core, this is a story of David versus Goliath corruption, of class warfare at its most extreme; it’s a damning indictment of the injustices that run rife in modern Brazil, and the world at large.

Screening on Fri 4 and Sat 5 Oct as part of the BFI London Film Festival 2019. General release TBC.

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真人真钱上分捕鱼游戏下载Bad Education review – LFF 2019: Cory Finley’s stranger than fiction tale stars a superb Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney

Bad Education (4 stars)

  • Nikki Baughan
  • 4 October 2019

Bad Education

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LFF 2019: Cory Finley’s stranger than fiction tale stars a superb Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney

Fully subscribing to the notion that truth is often stranger – and more compelling – than fiction, Bad Education takes a knowing dive into the scandal which played out in New York’s Roslyn school district in 2002, during which senior administrators were found guilty of embezzling millions of dollars of public money. Featuring knock-out central performances from Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney, this second feature from Cory Finley, director of the exceptional, equally-as-knotty Thoroughbreds, confirms him as a talent to watch.

From the moment we meet him, strutting onto the stage at a school event, it’s clear that 手机捕鱼现金兑换平台Long Island district superintendent Frank Tassone (Jackman) is a proud, confident and popular man. Impeccably dressed, with not a hair out of place, he resembles a politician more than an educator. Indeed, that’s a fair comparison: Frank regularly uses his gifts of persuasion and his golden smile to get things done.

When it transpires that business administrator – and Frank’s right-hand woman – Pam Gluckin (Janney) has been stealing school money, a devastated Frank is determined to protect the district’s standing and reputation. Yet, as the details are slowly, beautifully teased out by the whip-smart screenplay from Mike Makowsky (I Think We’re Alone Now), himself a former student of Roslyn High School, Frank has his own reasons to bury the truth.

If Bad Education often leans into the surreal humour of the situation – Frank’s attempted shakedown of school paper journalist Rachel (the excellent Geraldine Viswanathan, from Blockers), whose investigation plots the course of the narrative, is a case in point – Finley has taken the expert decision to play this sensational story fairly straight. There are no flashy visuals or narrative theatrics a la The Wolf of Wall Street or The Big Short. Instead, a clear focus on the individuals at the heart of the story explores not only their appalling actions but also the very human (and strangely relatable) ways in which they attempt to rationalise or explain them.

Indeed, while stellar production design keeps us firmly rooted in the early noughties’ world of flip phones and CD players, parallels with the morality issues that are currently plaguing everything from politics to culture give Bad Education a resonance and reach far beyond its Long Island setting. It’s a superb piece of storytelling.

Screening on Mon 7, Tue 8 and Wed 9 Oct as part of the BFI London Film Festival 2019. General release TBC.

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