Among its various properties, Catherine Corsini’s “The Divide” gives us the opportunity to think about a specific ontological question: What is the true nature of the Cannes Film Festival?
Is it an international gathering that takes place somewhat arbitrarily in the very pleasant South of France, or a French event that opens the world? What needs does it serve and to whom does the festival belong?
One would have imagined that Spike Lee and his eight colleagues could face similar concerns when considering “The Divide,” which premiered Saturday at the competition and which, beyond all doubt, is a powerful film. But what gives the film such power could also limit its scope: the fact that “The Divide” (“La Fracture”) is so thoroughly, effortlessly and inextricably linked to today’s France.
As if to fight the various cultural, racial and social tensions of the country under one spell, “The Divide” takes place during a march on an unstable night in a Paris hospital with low funding. (Oh yes – the country’s medical system is not doing very well.) On an already terrible day, riot police are in the middle of dispersing a yellow vest demonstration on one side of the city, while black-block protesters and far-right riots are taking place. a violent tribal justice march in another part of the city.
Caught between the two and drawing an ever-increasing number of victims, the somewhat dilapidated hospital becomes a microcosm for the country, acting as a stage where these various conflicts can play into miniature. Meanwhile, a number of real medical staff are playing smaller roles alongside leaders Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Marina Fois and Pio Marmai to offer a greater degree of authenticity.
Upon entering the hospital with a broken arm and heartache, Raf (Tedeschi) hopes to use the former to save the latter as she tries to reunite with her disgruntled wife, Julie (Fois), who decides to end things. For her part, Julie is more concerned about their teenage son, who was caught in a tribal justice rally today as the forces of state violence approached. Yann (Marmai), a yellow vest with a broken leg and it is imperative to drive his truck halfway through the country before his boss discovers that he drove it to Paris to protest. .
Similar to “Les Miserables” in 2019, “The Divide” causes existing social pressures through a familiar genre of films. While the winner of the Ladj Ly critics’ award was cast as a police thriller, Corsini prefers the comic form. Assessing the various woes of her country with a healthy dose of humor Gallic gallows, the director gave a kind of comedy with a sphere full of physical figure, rat dialogue and intricate choreography that turns to a heavier third act while offering a lot of laughs in the belly. along the way.
That is, so many of these jokes are based on existing knowledge of France’s current apology. That helps create an open-ended question that will not be resolved until the closing ceremony: How far can this approach travel?
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