J’ACCUSE (2019)

A film by  Roman Polanski

Cast:  Jean Dujardin, Louis Garrel, Emmanuelle Seigner 

English title: An officer and a spy

During the 12 years that it lasted, the Dreyfus Affair tore France apart, . In this huge scandal, at the end of the XIXth century, blend judicial error, denial of justice and anti-Semitism. The case is told from the point of view of Colonel Picquart who, once appointed head of the counterintelligence, will discover that the evidence against Captain Alfred Dreyfus had been manufactured. From this moment and at the risk of his career tries to defend Alfred Dreyfus . Will he succeed?

There were some friction at the Cannes film Festival to include this film in the competition at Cannes, especially one member of the Jury but what you don’t know is that once again Polanski is on the news in France and I am not going to go with the details because it is getting absurd. So that is why he can relate to this film especially the character played by Louis Garrel (Alfred Dreyfus) unrecognisable and what a great actor he has become.

The opening of the film Dreyfus is being stripped of his arms and disgraced before the army, before being led away and into exile on Devil’s Island. Georges Picquart  is promoted to the head of the French Secret Service, he also finds himself looking into the possibility that Dreyfus might be innocent. Picquart gets sent to the statistics office a rundown building where are hero is going to find out about the lies, the misinformation and the defamation about this case. But trying to tell the story and to convince everybody what he found is not going to be easy. Jean Dujardin here delivers a solid performance as colonel Piquart as well as the rest of this wonderful cast we discover Louis Garrel, Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Denis Podalydes, Damien Bonnard, Melvil Poupaud, Grégorys Gadebois and Vincent Grass. Photography, sets, costumes, music, everything is simply impeccable. It is really a production of excellent quality. The quest for truth, justice, fake news, antisemitism and many more are told here. Is a matter a fact the film took off very well its first weekend.

GRACE À DIEU (2019)

A film by François Ozon

Cast:  Melvil Poupaud, Denis Ménochet, Swann Arlaud 

English title: By the grace of god

Alexandre lives in Lyon with his wife and children. One day, he discovered by pure luck that the priest who abused him at the boys scouts, and has sexually abused children. He then embarks on a fight, quickly joined by François and Emmanuel, also victims of the priest, to tell their stories to the media But the repercussions and consequences of these confessions will leave no one unscathed.

Here is a director who can jump from genre to genre making movies. He always surprises audiences with the subject matter and always writes his films. Grâce à Dieu is based on the real case of Father Bernard Preynat who in 2016 was charged with sexually assaulting around 70 boys in Lyon. Two things here the pain of the three man that the priest inflicted on those victims and the second he film criticises the church’s silence on paedophilia. Great cast in this one Melvil Poupaud is Alexandre a wealthy Lyonnais banker who has found success with his wife Marie (Petit) and five kids. Dénis Menochet is less cautious about his confessions, bringing an explosive emotional part for this actor. Emmanuel (Swann Arlaud) who claims his whole life has been traumatised by what happened, making it difficult for him to deal parent’s divorce and destroying his ability to connect emotionally with women, plus had difficulties to learn at school. Other will join the cause as the film goes along. Ozon does a great job of tipping the balance with the graphic scene plus there are some flashback not too much that will speak for themselves. of course every countries all over the world has a least an incident like that and yet the church kept it quiet and moved the priest to some other parishes. Ozon who does not seems to disappoint as usual has done a great job telling the story.