No Brasil “ Bela vingança” e em Portugal, “ Uma miúda com Potencial” 👉🏽 afinal, nada na vida de Cassie é o que parece ser.☺️ O thriller de Emerald Fennel é assunto da nossa conversa em breve 👉🏽no Youtube 👉🏽link na bio 👉🏽inscreva-se 👍🏽🎬bem vind@s! #emeraldfennell #belavingança #careymulligan #promisingyoungwoman #napotv #napocast https://www.instagram.com/p/CPRJ_6ylmJW/?utm_medium=tumblr
The "rape-revenge" formula can be "fun" in a cathartic way but hasn’t it always felt like something was missing? Promising Young Woman gives us the movie we've been craving, and more. Emerald Fennell’s directorial debut is a game-changer.
In college, Nina Fisher was raped. Now, her best friend Cassie Thomas (Carey Mulligan) pretends to be drunk at clubs, waiting for men to take advantage of her. After she teaches them a lesson they won’t forget, their names are put in her diary but one man still eludes her: Al Monroe.
For what he did, Al Monroe is a terrible person. The circumstances, how much time has passed don't matter. When the justice system fails this spectacularly, it's clear society is complicit. Cassie is willing to roll up her sleeves and make the change happen, one pervert at a time. You're on board but once she goes for her ultimate target, things get dicier. If it were solely about him, it’d be one thing but Cassie wants to take down EVERYONE, including the women she feels didn’t do enough at the time. She goes to cruel, manipulative extremes. You’ll wonder if the real villain of the film isn’t our protagonist.
This is a dark but sensitive film. There is no nudity, the rape is never shown. You feel exhilarated as Cassie embarks on her nightly campaign but revenge isn't glamourized the way you’d expect it. Vengeance has ruined her life. She’s a 30-year-old medical school dropout living with her parents, working at a crappy coffee shop. She has no friends and nothing to do except prey on the lowest of low lives. It’s only a matter of time before her crusade goes too far. And for what? Even if she finds Al Monroe, ruins his career, destroys his reputation, gets everyone to disown him, keeps him in a cage until he gives up all hopes of escape, castrates him, and then tortures him to death for 10 years… it won’t bring Nina back. It won’t bring Cassie’s life back either.
Emerald Fennell repeatedly confronts you with moral ambiguity. Then, she dangles a carrot. Cassie begins dating a former classmate, Ryan Cooper (Bo Burnham). Carey Mulligan is amazing throughout. You sense the swirling emotions beneath her acidic exterior but you’re never able to predict what she will do next. She’s funny, tragic, scary, and has terrific chemistry with Burnham. It's a glimpse of what life might be like if she just let go of her anger, but is it too late?
Promising Young Woman gives you far too much to unpack in just one sitting. We’re shown how you don’t have to participate in sexual assault to be complicit. Failing to intervene, making excuses, giving someone the benefit of the doubt “just because” or simply doubting might make you even worse than “nice guys”. Its conclusion is unexpected and bold. The contrasting messages about revenge are brought together magnificently. It’s frequently uncomfortable and confrontational; a movie for right now that also applies to every era in the past. It’s the best movie of the year because it’s as safe as a black-out-drunk woman at a club. (April 30, 2021)
YOUR #VOSEng take on upcoming international cinema premiering in Catalonia & Spain soon
To begin with, for a fellow who has for years been used to screening or viewing hundreds of movies annually, thereby spending hella time in cinemas, a global pandemic has been a true shock to the dork’s system. It has been a testament to the mindset of ‘the show must go on’ to see so many of our local and other European film festivals pushing back against the virus and powering through what could be deemed a safety issue by many. But basta! For starters, temp checks and hand sanitiser stations plus mandatory mask wearing have made a true return to movie going a half-wonderful respite. And so many thanks to Conxita Casanovas, Marien Pinies, David Mitjans, Cines Verdi BCN, Institut Francaise, and Casa Seat plus ALL the industry, press and movie lovers for making one of my favourite film festivals back to life for the half-decade anniversary. And I’m not just saying that for shits n’ giggles.
As an educator and broadcaster, history not only steeps itself within the confines of my classes, sessions and weekly radio/livestream shows, but every single one of us are literally living and walking and thriving through history, even as I scribe. So congratulations to anyone reading this, because you are Destiny's Child’ing it all over this place like drum n’ bass! On to the festival and cinema though please…
The St. Jordi BCN Film Festival revolves around the celebrated St. George’s/Day of the Book holiday here in Catalonia and so all the movies are based upon literary and historical works and facts. Red carpet moments and celebrities also make up the soirees and this year proved even better than others, with the likes of Johnny Depp and Isabelle Huppert being hosted by Cines Verdi, Institut Francaise and Casa Fuster. Depp, dressed as his character (I believe!) from his latest premiere Minamata -reviewed below- even mentioned that he would have loved to stay longer if he could keep Casa Fuster all to himself. And the day after her premiere for Mama Weed -also reviewed below- Huppert was seen being gorgeous at another film screening and then meandering about Gracia. But let’s speak about some of the movies that piqued my interest and will hopefully do the same to yours.
Petit Pays by Eric Barbier ####
Winner of Best Film at this year’s festival awards, Petit Pays tells a quasi-true story of family struggle during the Hutu vs Tutsi massacre that befell the gorgeous countries of Burundi and Rwanda in the early-to-mid 90s. But that is just the mere slice of what the plot truly entails. Focusing on little Gaby (Djibril Vancoppenolle) and his wee sister Ana (Dayla De Medina) as they make their way through childhood/pre-teen years, the plot thickens when the genocide starts to spill over and touch their lives, hectically lived with their Belgian father (Jean-Paul Rouve) and Rwandan mother (Isabelle Kabano, winner of the Best Actress award at this year’s festival). Truth be told, they do live in the lap of African middle class pleasantries, but as the film tenses up, reality sets in for all involved, including us viewers. The harsh reality that director Barbier fuses into the novel adaptation by French-Rwandan rapper/author Gael Faye seeks to display to the audience the truth of a genocidal history and how the sins of the parents always come back to burden or visit the children.
Where to watch: debuts in local cinemas 28/05/21
Promising Young Woman by Emerald Fennell ####
Oscar-nominated and local premiere hit Promising Young Woman had a stellar reception at this year’s festival and what a tour de force it turned out to be. The film plot revolves around medical school dropout Cassie Thomas (Carey Mulligan), who turns 30 and passes her time working at a trendy coffee shop but completely unmotivated whilst also continuing to live with her increasingly-worried parents. Years after her best mate killed herself, Cassie drags the guilt and loss along with her…until a blast from the past shows up, gets his coffee spat in and then falls head over heels into what will turn into a revenge tale beyond one’s craziest notions. A tale of loss that touches on modern themes in a frighteningly understandable way is few and far between these days. Fennell’s work here puts her on the map for sure.
Where to watch: in local cinemas NOW
Minamata by Andrew Levitas ###-1/2
This year marks 50 years since a collective understanding by world powers finally began to comprehend the enormity that factories create against Mother Nature and living creatures. It’s New York and 1971 when we find W. Eugene Smith (Johnny Depp), Life magazine photo journalist and one awash in a realm of problems. Then, adding to that drama, we find him suddenly embroiled on a task and mission that is presented by a couple of his fans, without his awareness that he has also stumbled onto a truth beyond wills. Environmental devastation affecting the innocent in Minamata, Japan is where we eventually spend the plurality of the film, and if you can get through the end scene of it without tears or shame of what mankind has wrought, you’re a tougher kid than I.
Where to watch: in local cinemas as of 30 April
Mama Weed by Jean-Paul Salomé ####
I cannot even begin to explain how much I absolutely enjoyed screening this film by the gifted and curious director Salomé, but it is without a doubt the tour de force work of ageless French star Isabelle Huppert that summons one to watch and compels them to laugh and engage. Undoubtedly, adapting any work of art from literature is never an easy undertaking, but the bringing to life of Patience Portefeux, a judicial interpreter for France’s investigation division, turns out to be crown jewel by Huppert. Serving up comical thrills, blithe acting when under insane pressure by duel forces and fierce Arab queen fashions, this film will have you white-knuckled, perplexed and laughing, all in tandem. THIS is an early-in-the-year film that deserves some attention!
Where to watch: in local cinemas NOW
My Salinger Year by Philippe Falardeau ###-1/2
Based on the like-titled autobio novel by Joanna Smith Rakoff, the movie stars Margaret Qualley as Joanna, an aspiring writer and young upstart in an NYC lit agency, whose tasks include many things, including answering the many fan mail letters that come for the agency’s fave writer J.D. Salinger, he of the oft-loved US American coming-of-age novel Catcher in the Rye. Even this guy connected to Holden Caulfield as a youth so when Joanna one day fields a call from Salinger and then gets caught trying to find endearing manners to respond to these grand fans, an incident leads to a coming-of-age awareness experience for Joanna and we the audience are the ones who are all the better for it.