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Pierre Deladonchamps (#110 of 2)

Cannes Film Festival 2018 Yomeddine, Leto, & Sorry Angel

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Cannes Film Review: Yomeddine, Leto, & Sorry Angel

mk2 Films

Cannes Film Review: Yomeddine, Leto, & Sorry Angel

Egyptian-born NYU graduate Abu Bakr Shawky's Yomeddine (or Judgment Day), the first debut feature to play in competition at the Cannes Film Festival since Son of Saul in 2015, is a different kind of exploitation film than László Nemes's Oscar winner. It's for anyone who's ever looked at a person who suffered through a life-threatening illness and thought to themselves, “There should really be a quirky Sundance-style dramedy made about this.”

A road-trip movie for sympathy fascists, Yomeddine is built around non-actor Rady Gamal, a survivor of leprosy whom Shawky met while making a documentary short on a leper colony. Gamal plays Beshey, a junk collector and recent widower who, after linking up with a Nubian orphan boy, Obama (Ahmed Abdelhafiz), sets off to find the father who abandoned him as a child. The misfits get mixed up with thieves, religious fanatics, inept bureaucracies, apathetic police officers, and a trio of beggars with their own physical deformities, most of who serve to further stack the deck against them.

New York Film Festival 2013: Stranger by the Lake Review

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New York Film Festival 2013: <em>Stranger by the Lake</em> Review
New York Film Festival 2013: <em>Stranger by the Lake</em> Review

The opening overhead shot of a wooded car park adjoining a shimmering lake establishes the tightly circumscribed world of Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger by the Lake. A marker for the passage of time in the film, this shot acquires more menace each time it’s repeated in Guiraudie’s hypnotically seductive thriller. The story follows Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps), a good-looking and easygoing young man who drives to the lake each summer day to enjoy the hedonistic pleasures of swimming, sunbathing naked, and cruising. Guiraudie captures the seductive thrills of the age-old gay ritual, which seems to occur wherever there’s sun, sand, and secluded woodland. The men—many of them regulars from the nearby town—all play the same game: watching, following, and then getting off with each other in the bushes. We get glimpses of sundry couplings through the foliage and observe the typical cruising rituals of invitation and rejection; most of the sex scenes are simulated, but Guiraudie doesn’t shy away from a couple of close-ups of clearly the real deal. Stranger by the Lake never leaves the naturist playground in and around the lake, mirroring the almost single-minded focus of the men who go there, though we get some occasional hints of their lives outside this microcosm.