Cannes 2022: James Gray shines at the cinema with Anne Hathaway – 05/19/2022 – Illustrated

It’s in the end credits of “Armageddon Time” that Brazil makes what has to be its biggest appearance at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. With no new films slated for the French event, the country has its chance to shine through the board with the new feature from James Graywhich is co-produced by Rodrigo Teixeira from Riofrom RT features.

The partnership between the United States, the main producer, and Brazil is one of the most anticipated titles of the harvest which aims to Palme d’Or for this 75th edition. It’s also one of the few to have major stars in the cast – in this case, the legendary Anthony Hopkins, the already established Anne Hathaway and rising star Jeremy Strong.

They embody the childhood memories of Gray, who in his screenplay returns to 1980s Queens, New York, for a tale about friendship and family ties, but also about Social upheaval of Ronald Reagan’s first term.

Hathaway and Strong are middle-class Americans who lament the state of the country under the U.S. president, sympathize with social causes, but let out, here and there, a veiled racism that hampers the friendship that their son, a Gray’s own version, created with a classmate.

On the first day of the new school year, Paul meets repeater Johnny. The first comes from a troubled but undoubtedly loving home. The second lives with his grandmother, already in a state of health that brings her closer to an asylum, and the boy to an orphanage. Disrespect for teachers and antics in the classroom ensnare them, although there is a latent contrast between the two – something that curiously echoes the motto of “Le Otto Montagne”, another feature film in competition at Cannes which deals with class and opportunities in the figure of two boys.

Unlike the Italian opponent, however, in “Armageddon Time”, it’s harder to empathize with little Paul, who guides the whole story. He’s spoiled and sassy, ​​and the only family member who can really connect with him is his grandfather, Hopkins’ role.

In time of ukrainian war, he recalls when his mother fled the country and the persecution she suffered from Russian soldiers to England, where she met her husband and eventually left for the United States. The immigration issues addressed by Gray in “Once Upon a Time in New York” —which also competed for the Palme d’Or in 2013— repeat themselves, even in light brushstrokes. “Remember your past,” he told his grandson, in one of his many speeches.

Finally, we see how the times of liberalism and privatization upset the trajectory of the characters. Paul, who meets Johnny at a diverse public school, ends up in an elite private school in an attempt by his parents to bring him into line. There he wears a jacket and tie, sees his colleagues insulting his black friend and meets the Trump Family.

yes, the father of donald trump is in the film, as is her sister, Maryanne Trump — in a special appearance by new Oscar winner Jessica Chastain — who barks at the students a speech about how she made it through her own efforts, not “handfuls of hand”, despite carrying the family name.

This “America” ​​of Reagan could also be the “America” ​​of Trump, four decades later, where prejudice, nationalism and meritocracy are on the rise. This sometimes surreal, but so grounded in reality, armageddon supports a very relatable family drama, made of believable little situations.

The parents played by Hathaway and Strong aren’t the epitome of familial love, but neither do they join the ranks of parents who impose trauma on their offspring, as seen in several recently released films. As for Hopkins, it’s good to see the actor back in roles that match his talent, in Treadmill Oscar he won for ‘My Dad’.

Gray is appearing at the Cannes competition for the fifth time, still with no award on her resume. Previous attempts have been with “Path of No Return”, “Owners of the Night”, “Lovers” and the already memorable “Once Upon a Time in New York”. Today, however, the filmmaker tells a much more intimate story, soon after the awe-inspiring backdrop of “Ad Astra: Towards the Stars” and “Z: The Lost City”.

Alongside Teixeira, who has become a regular at the festival producing several darlings from past seasons, such as “Me Chame pelo Seu Nome” and “O Farol”, he arrives at the festival as a celebrity, which can increase the personality of “Armageddon Time ” .

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