‘The Untamed’ (2016/ Mexico/ Amat Escalante) could have been a drama on infidelity. Instead, it has elements of fantasy/ mystery/ sci-fi. I discovered this filmmaker at this very festival in 2009 and followed it up with another of his film in 2013. For his latest he jointly won the Best Director prize at Venice this year.
‘Album’ (2016/ Turkey/ Mehmet Can Mertoglu) may look like a painfully slow drama about a couple hiding the adoption of their baby. And it could have been an intense film. It instead is a comedy, of a very dry kind, and if you miss to read its tone, you might get mightily bored with it.
‘Swiss Army Man’ (2016/ USA/ the DANIELS) could have been an adventure, a survival movie, with elements of humor. But it is an outrageously original fantasy film with a deep commentary about life. The film won Best Director at Sundance.
‘I, Daniel Blake’ (2016/ UK/ Ken Loach) was arguably the most eagerly awaited movie of the festival, thanks to its Palme d’or status. And it could have been a painful art-house film. If nothing, it could have been a really moving drama, which it is, but then it surprises you with its humor and that is what really elevates you to a deeply touching but also entertaining film that you may want to watch again and again, especially for its masterful simplicity. No wonder it also won the Audience Award at Locarno. (‘Lagaan’ had won this award in 2001).
Breaking the expectations we have from a film’s genre can be tricky. It was wonderful to watch all four films do that today.
Only two days of the festival are left. Am I sad?