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May 17, 2018 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily

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Thursday, May 17, 2018
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com



Cannes: ‘Leto’

Cannes: ‘Sorry Angel’
delves into the heart


I should have taken French
in school. I opted for Spanish,
as responsible kids often do in
California, for it promised to be
more useful. However, I now find
myself in the south of France —
having miraculously schemed
my way into the 71st Cannes Film
Festival — knowing very little
Spanish and even less French.
I’ve gotten by with “bonjour”
and “merci” as I continue to mar-
vel at the beauty of the language
that makes absolutely everything
sound wonderful, and wish that I
had been a little less responsible.
I try to sound out the name of the
movie that I stand in the queue
for, “Plaire Aimer et Courir
Vite,” but it comes out all wrong.
The American title is “Sorry
Angel,” two short words that
don’t seem right at all, and I feel
as though I’m Bill Murray hold-
ing Japanese whiskey in “Lost in
“Plaire Aimer et Courir Vite”
literally translates to “Pleasure,
Love, and Run Fast,” which
serves as a much more astute title
than the translation it is given.
The moody romantic drama
tophe Honoré (“Metamorpho-
ses”) fallows a gay novelist and
playwright in 1990s Paris named

Jacques (Pierre Deladonchamps,
“Stranger by the Lake”) as he
meets and falls for Arthur (Vin-
cent Lacoste, “The French Kiss-
ers”), an adventurous student
who, like most, is still figuring
things out. Arthur likes to read

and knows little about authors,
which is pathetically normal
for kids who have grand ideas
about the world but know little
of what it actually is. Jacques is
more seasoned, falls into a deep
depression and can’t seem to put
to rest the failed loves that dis-
appear only to reappear again.
Jacques, ultimately, may have
never loved at all.
“Plaire Aimer et Courir Vite”
is one of those romantic trag-

edies that is sad in all the right
paints France in blues, deepen-
ing the loneliness of the two lov-
ers stuck in their self-destructive
orbits and running out of time.
Rather than making a grandiose
political statement on gay rights,
AIDS or a number of other
themes that the film alludes to,
“Sorry Angel” is more concerned
with matters of the soul. Love,
or at least Honoré’s depiction of
love, is painful. It hurts. It hurts
when it is not returned, when it
doesn’t appear like one hopes,
and when there just doesn’t seem
to be enough of it. Love hurts
when it’s perfect, too.
And for all the heartache
that “Sorry Angel” so master-
fully creates through Jacques’s
and Arthur’s own heartache,
there are moments of pure, cin-
ematic joy that erupt on screen.
A flirty meet-cute in a movie
theater, a brainy telephone call
full of witty banter, a drunken
living room dance party — ele-
ments that every good romance
needs, yet few actually master.
Jacques’s and Arthur’s rela-
tionship is three-dimensional:
Their interest in each other, in
the worlds that the characters
inhabit, both together and apart,
makes sense. And that is what
makes this French Cannes selec-
tion so moving, heartbreaking
and wonderful to witness.

Daily Arts Writer

The requiem for the local scene
— the underground scene, the house
show scene, the “we’ll never be
big, that’s okay we just want to be”
scene — is the greatest kind of music
movie. To perfectly encapsulate how
a specific moment in a specific place
looked and sounded is one thing.
To recreate its feeling is another
ambition altogether. Russian film-
maker Krill Serebrennikov’s latest
film “Leto” does both with a skill
and joyfulness unmatched in recent
The film follows Mike (Alexandr
Gorchilin), the central and center-
ing figure for the roiling Leningrad
underground rock scene of the
1980s. He’s cool, calculatedly distant
in aviator sunglasses and exudes a
level of carelessness that cannot be
matched by the stiff crowd of youths
at the rock club he and his band
frequent. Their every foot tap and
head nod are policed by rule-loving
Mike and his crew, including his
wife Natasha (Irina Starshenbaum),
amble through the woods sing-
ing about summer. That’s where
they find Viktor (Teo Yoo) and pull
him into their circle and really set
the plot in motion. They dance and
drink and play guitar. Jump over fire
and run naked through the water.
They are young and free.
But “Leto” doesn’t let its audi-
ence believe for very long that these
are the youngest or the freest or the
most counter-cultural youth in the
world. Their exuberance is matched
by self- and state-sponsored censor-
ship. Unlike its relatives in the music
movie genre, “Leto” doesn’t look
wistfully at a time when anything
was possible, it vividly recreates a

moment when people did as much
as they could, as much as they let
themselves do. That seems to be the
greatest hindrance to Mike’s rise to
the top: His inability to let himself
rebel or succeed fully. That, and his
proximity to Viktor’s superior tal-
ent, are crippling.
But even for the rest of his crew —
who aren’t impeded by success, their
main collaborator and rival — Len-
ingrad has slow suffocating effect.
Serebrennikov navigates beautifully
the divide between the intimacy and
secrecy of their scene and the loud
rebellion its existence demands.
Early on in the film, during a train
altercation, a new character looks
into the camera and tells the audi-
ence they are about to hear a song
by “Soviet enemies” The Talking
Heads. And thus our heroes are off,
running and jumping and punching
their way through a heavily accent-
ed, thoroughly charming cover of
“Psycho Killer.”
In these musical interludes (as
well as other bursts that are quickly
noted to be ahistorical) we see these
kids become the clashing, crashing,
joyously angry punks their world
does not let them be. This tension
— between the narrative and the
interludes — is where the film finds
a great deal of its success and proves
an unexpectedly apt way to navigate
the disparity between a free mind
and a policed body. “Leto” has all
the whispering intimacy of “Inside
Llewyn Davis” and the joyful noise
of “Sing Street.”
“Leto” is a standout of its genre
not for its musical quality or mastery
of rambling narrative (although both
are truly exceptional), but for the
way in which it provides a space for
a deeply intimate portrait of musical
moment and an exuberate depiction
of youth culture to coexist.

Daily Arts Writer


Love, or at least
Honore’s depiction
of love, is painful. It
hurts. It hurts when
there is not returned.
It hurts when it’s
perfect, too.

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