Cannes 2022: In her first feature film, Portuguese director Cristel Alves Mira finds magical realism in a small Portuguese mountain village.
Lou Michele in Alma FIFA
Authentic, personal and honest, Alma FIFA [+lire aussi :
fiche film] It is the first fantastic feature film, directed by the promising Portuguese Kristel Alves Mir. In a festival scene saturated with sun-kissed feature films, this one deserves attention. The film also features a unique magical realism, which Elvis Mira sees as a reality of local life, not a disturbance of the natural order. The movie premiered on the first day of Critics Week The Cannes Film Festival. It is an outstanding work of what one would normally find there.
As Rihanna says so well, Salome (played by Lou MicheleDirector’s daughter, the impression that you are alone in the world. She lives in France with her mother, but spends the summer at the Trás-os-Montes family’s home in Portugal. The mountainous landscape of the area is her playground as she stares with open mouths at the strange faces of the locals, without children or peers her age to play with, which also contributes to the film’s slightly surreal atmosphere. Salome’s beloved grandmother, Avo, is the one who plays the friend. A mysterious and complex figure, whose first appearance, in the case of Salome, was through a glass door. In ecstasy, rosary in her hands, blessings are completed to souls in the afterlife, blessings that certainly do not appear in the traditional Catholic Bible. The English translation of the title “living soul” takes on its full meaning here.
The story speeds up as Avo’s death approaches, when her neighbor Gracinda (Martha Quena), one of his sworn enemies, by poisoning the fish that Salome had brought to him a little earlier. Besides her reputation as a witch among the villagers, she was also in a relationship with Gracinda’s husband. And a little like the arrival of the cavalry, Salome’s mother Aida (Jacqueline Corradoand his uncle JoachimArthur Brigas), a quick-tempered man who also made a trip from France to take care of the funeral and share the inheritance, without some tension.
After her death, Avo continued to live through her granddaughter, so we can say that she literally took possession of her body. In a series of fictional sequences, we see Salome plotting some kind of revenge against Gracinda, although the fact that she is behind this quest is troubling. One of these works depicts the horrific slaughter of chickens on the Gracinda farm, and the horror of the ensuing massacre is starkly realistic.
Some aspects of the storyAlma FIFA It may seem imaginary. Despite the scorching sun and landscapes, the outstanding cinematographer worked Roy Bocas Giving each shot an element worthy of attention, the whole lacks coherence, and the emotion required is a bit weak. However, the enduring presence of the mother’s sarcophagus, and its awful omens for her family, is truly reminiscent of Faulkner’s Southern Gothic classic, while I’m dying. Like this author’s work, Alma FIFA It’s like a tale told by a stranger who, once it’s over, becomes a trusted friend.
Alma Viva It is a co-production between Portugal, France and Belgium by Fluxus Films, Midas Filmes, Entre Chien et Loup, Les Films Pelléas and Studio Exception. Kinology is responsible for international sales.
(Translated from English by Karen Brisey)