Athena review: Director Romain Gavras ignites Paris project with virtuosity
With his provocative 2019 debut, Les Miserables , director Ladj Ly brings urban riots, police brutality and worsening social and racial inequality in Paris banlieue Drama La Haine Rush in century, with righteous anger and indignation burning in its belly. Ly serves as writer and producer for Romain Gavras’ Athena, which is both an accompaniment to these films and a thunderous amplification of their themes. Early pieces aimed for a stunning violent crescendo, Athena is a live grenade that starts in full fire mode and ramps up with master craftsmanship. strength.
The latter factor will not surprise anyone familiar with the work of Gavras, the son of the famous Greek director Costa-Gavras, who has produced films for artists including Kanye West Vibrant music video. , Jay-Z, and MIA His third film features a stark tonal difference from its predecessor The World is Yours , in which the director’s visual flair is transformed into a lively gangster comedy.
Bottom line Nervous, intense and explosive.
Venice Film Festival (competition)
Dali Bensala, Sammy Slimane, Anthony Baron, Vasini Embarre G, Alexis Mandy
Director: Roman Gavras
screenwriter: Romain Gavras, Ladj Ly, Elias Belkeddar
Rated R, 1 hour 23 minute
Athena — starting in September 23 on Netflix received its title after its premiere in competition at the Venice Film Festival from The housing project began, and almost the entire operation unfolded at a stifling pace. (The shooting took place in the Brutalist building of the Parc aux Lièvres project in Évry, a southern suburb of Paris 23.)
But the title also references the story inspired by Greek tragedy, the fraternal bond split by conflicting allegiances, and the dizzying rage fueled by a burning desire for vengeance. It’s a tough viewing at times, but one that keeps viewers glued to it.
The film, written by Gavras, Ly and Elias Belkaddar, opens with a police press conference. French paratrooper Abdul (Dali Benssalah) has been recalled from the front line for calm while an investigation is underway to determine the Those responsible for the death – year-old brother Idir, seen in a viral video. Hear a news clip saying this is the third case of police brutality to shock the nation in recent months. The grandfather of the dead boy was Algerian and had served well in the French army.
Gener8ion (Gavras and Electronic Multidisciplinary Project Producer and Composer Benoît Heitz, aka Surkin) threw a Molotov cocktail in the enraged crowd, sparking an instant Chaos as police with riot shields were overwhelmed and violent thugs ransacked the station, chanting “We are the police now!” Liman).
Gavras and cinematographer Matias Boucard used impressive skill and extremely complex camera choreography to create the illusion of long continuous shots, in a diverse group of police and thugs Shuttles, such as the latter, return to Athena in stolen police cars and a swarm of other vehicles, carrying weapons, including gun cabinets.
Gavras injects the material scenes with the dynamic urgency of the fight, with Karim as the insurgents giving orders and making swift decisions – most of whom seem to be Be teens or 20s — spread out to defend their turf from marshalling police troop attack. When the rioters were locked behind Athena’s fortress-like walls, they vowed to wage war on the FBI until they provided the names of Idir’s attackers, and the police fought back, aimed at systematically weakening their ranks.
When Abdul tries to get in touch with Karim but fails to do so at first, their older brother Moktar (Vassini Embarek) ) against an angry youth mob who put his drug dealing business at risk, evacuating the sprawling complex along with most of the residents. Despite strong demands from Karim, he refuses to provide them with guns.
Like Les Miserables , dense action and accelerated rhythm — again unfolding in a real-time-like fashion — leaving little room for character depth or political views. But the three surviving brothers are markedly different. When Karim finally confronts Abdul, this leads to intense friction, spitting out “You are 2019 Military prostitutes in France .” The fuse that ignited the powder keg between the two was how the terrified hostage of the insurgents, baby-faced policeman Jerome (Anthony Bahon), was shot by police bullets hurt.
As the situation grows more desperate, Abdul reacts quickly, his allegiance shifts, and one-time ex-jihadist and ex-convict Sebastian (Alexis Manenti) , Les Misérables) was enlisted to use his explosives expertise. The transformation of this role—from his drug daze as he pottered in the courtyard garden or sat in the conflict at the community nursery to the decisive purpose when he begins methodically manipulating the gas tank—is chilling. It also marks the end of any possibility of a solution without further loss of life.
While the film’s emphasis on style can be exhausting, and the focus on technique can overshadow the drama of relationships, there’s an operatic grandeur that won’t give up, allowing The escalating violence is a considerable force. Even without knowledge of the siblings’ relationship history, the loss they suffered contrasted with the pervasive atmosphere of anger and spreading hopelessness.
Intermittent news coverage segments conveyed how violence had spread beyond the quarter, with mosques burned, right-wing anti-immigrant attacks and solidarity protests across the country. There are also images that underscore the play’s propulsive movement in striking fashion – Abdul dons kameez as he prays for Idir in the room where his mother insisted on joining the Muslim Brotherhood; an old man Riding a white horse waving an Algerian flag; the insurgents were forced to strip off their boxers and walk out of the building, revealing they were skinny boys just coming of age.
The actors were particularly impressed with their rookie Slimane as they pushed themselves through the melee like live ammunition. But it’s the film’s churning visual poetry that gets you hooked. Gavras clearly examines the physics of siege and battle films, making heavy use of long takes to mobilize the immersive side and immediacy that puts us in the depths of things.
In one highlight after another, Boucard’s cameras ram us into walls, narrow corridors and stairwells, as insurgents and police rush through buildings like big Like a dam burst, a large number of human bodies are released in the claustrophobic space. These scenes are in stark contrast to the wide-angle shots of shooting the project at full size at the end of the battle 23 hours. If you can live with its frenetic rhythm and frenetic rhythm, Athena is a film that consistently shocks and will leave you scarred until its end is sobering.