Cannes 2014 – ‘The Search’
There are films that may treat a good subject but have a bad interpretation on screen. In the mise-en-scène it may lose the elements that may have changed the course of the movie to make it better.
And the Cannes Film Festival audience is demanding, maybe that’s why the last film from Michel Hazanavicius is such a good example of this. To expose what happened in republic of Chechenia in 1999 with a Russian invasion and the social consequences that this has left, is such a courageous theme that is so worth telling.
Now, my problem with this film is that even if it goes slowly, which I didn’t mind when we’re going through the life of Kolia, a child victim of the whole situation, because it was captivating, and everything seems to goo smoothly and well narrated, it gets bumpy as the lead character, Carole played by Berenice Bejo, gets in the way and makes life seem so bizarre as sweet and sour happy endings go.
She works as part of an European Union’s NGO for human rights in this war in Chechenia and finds this little boy in the street. This really tragic situation has her fed up. She helps the boy, bringing home trying to know what he wants because he doesn’t speak a word, so a new relationship begins, as we’re in the search of his origins and the way to put an end to this problem.
Good acting and some strong images about this country in that time, leave you speechless. Human cruelty can go so far. So when someone told me that one person from Chechenia praised the work of the director for witnessing and exposing what has happened over there, I felt touch and even identified.
Does it make it a good film though? As a human I appreciate the effort and I find it very kind to do a fiction, that’s based on a real story that can make us understand the problems of this side of Europe, and to know that they’re not new. But as a film spectator maybe the story could have been worked differently and some of the goals might not have been reached.
When people ask me about the film I think immediately about the the ending which leaves you with a “meh” in your mind. For me, it catches you, however. I thought there were really good parts, others a little forced, but it worked as a portrait of the reality of this culture in this period of time and the other vision, from the military involved, those who were attacking the country and their own struggles. This part worked really well for me and left me with a mixed feeling about this guys, immersed and obligated to do stuff he did not particularly believed in at the beginning.
And the kid, oh the kid. This was such a fresh acting, so natural and attirant that leaves you wanting more. Specially the first part of the film, when he does not say a word, it’s so well-mastered as face expressions go that was so touching. Maybe this director can really master emotions when characters do not talk.
People from this country that got to see the screening were excited about this happening, as it showed the world what was going on in this country over this period. But some others, watching it from a critic side, just felt the need to ‘boo’ it. Not only European, but critics from all over the world, that even wanted Mr. Hazanivicious to go back to make silent films. The parallels storis didn’t not worked for him, but I’m sure it can get the public’s attention in a big distribution later this year.