Cannes 2022: Highlights of the return of the Legendary Film Festival | Parties and awards

All that gnashing of teeth would belie the fact that there were gems to be found on the Croisette, especially if you dug. Take “Land of Joy” who starred in Un Certain Regard and received a Special Jury Prize (he deserved way more than that). The first Pakistani film to ever play at the festival, Saim Sadiq’s stunning debut is so precise and rich in performance and storytelling that it was almost criminal not to be considered by most people.

The shot of a man on a scooter, his face buried in the crotch of a giant standee, is what first drew me to the film. The rider is Haider Rana, played with great sensitivity and inner conflict by Ali Junejo. Living with his arranged wife Mumtaz (Rasti Farooq), father (Salmaan Peerzada), brother (Sohail Sameer) and sister-in-law (Sarwat Gilani), the family forms a close social unit where gender roles are slightly fluid. While Mumtaz works as a make-up artist for future brides, the unemployed Haider does the dishes and takes care of the children, much to the chagrin of his brother and the patriarch.

When a friend says there’s a job available at a local theater, Haider meets Biba (Alina Khan), a dancer with a retinue of young boys dancing behind her during intermission. At first, the fact that she is transgender does not seem to be commented on, but the more subtle considerations of Pakistan’s conservative society gradually come to the fore.

From there, pretty much any preconceptions you have about Pakistan and its cinema are upended, and it’s hard not to believe there’s a degree of political and social bravery in the telling of this story. which goes far beyond almost any film at the festival. Whenever I feared it would escalate into a maudlin or predictable storytelling, things were turned upside down and the complexity of it all – social relationships, family dynamics, religious and cultural expectations, patterns of sexuality – were handled in ways that were both subtle and deep. It’s a truly unforgettable film, and a real find at this year’s festival.

The same could be said for “Rebel,” The radical film by Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah on radicalization. Best known to Western audiences for leading “Bad Boys for Life”, Adil & Bilall created what is surely ISIS’s first musical, tying together hip-hop sensibilities with the dramatic, sometimes action-packed storyline. of a family trapped in broken promises. .

Kamal (Aboubakr Bensaihi) is a punk kid who raps and rides a motorcycle. Molenbeek municipality of Brussels, Belgium. When his criminal acts catch up with him, he is forced to flee, finding some kind of refuge in Syria in hopes of making a fresh start. Believing that his video-making abilities can be more useful than wielding a weapon, he soon finds himself, camera in hand, capturing the atrocities of his new group of comrades.

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