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Weekend cinema. “200 meters”, “Nomadland” and “The Last Hillbilly”, our picks of the week


Ali Suliman in “200 meters”, by Ameen Nayfeh, June 2021. (SHELLAC FILMS)

Among the latest films released in theaters, franceinfo advises its listeners to go see in particular 200 meters, film by Palestinian Ameen Nayfeh.

200 meters tells the story of a Palestinian family today. Their particularity? The father does not live in the same place as his wife and children, he is in Tulkarm, in the West Bank. They live in Hadera, on the Israeli side, and between them, we find the wall built by Israel during the second intifada or Intifada el-Aqsa, from September 2000 until approximately February 2005. The 200 meters of the title referring to this distance.

Seeing each other and meeting each other is very complicated on a daily basis, and each evening the two apartments send light signals to each other and wish each other “good night” on the phone. We are in the family, social and political drama, sprinkled with comedy, and quickly an event will tip the film into the road movie and the thriller: the father having to move to the Israeli side at all costs, the 200 meters becoming for him 200 kilometers, with a smuggler, and in the middle of the check-points of the army.

This is the first film by Ameen Nayfeh, 33, to go through the script and the editing. He himself lives in Tulkarm, his experience and his personal life have nourished this story, and he also shows us that despite the absurdity of the situation and the political impasse, Palestinians and Israelis still manage to communicate, even to coexist. . And if the film is such a success, it is both thanks to the skillful mix of several genres but also to the quality of its interpreters, Ali Suliman, who plays Mustafa, the father of the family in the lead.

This is the event-outing of the week, Nomadland by Chloé Zhao, a film which has won numerous awards, including the Golden Lion in Venice and above all three Oscars, best film, best director and best actress for Frances McDormand. French spectators can finally discover it, and on the big screen, which does justice to its beautiful landscapes and other natural lights.

The film, almost documentary, follows the course of Fern, a widow in her fifties, forced to continue working to survive, thrown on the roads of the American Midwest, like many other precarious, these famous “nomads”.

And luck would have it that a documentary, released this week, echoes Nomadland. The Last Hillbilly, directed by two French, Diane Sara Bouzgarrou and Thomas Jenkoe. They spent seven years in Kentucky, in contact with Brian Ritchie, a charismatic figure and occasional poet who therefore defines himself as “the last péquenot”, French translation of the title.

We are in the other America, the one we do not talk about, the America of the anonymous, the unemployed, the declassified of deindustrialisation also, after the end of the exploitation, in the regions, of the old coal mines. Of great delicacy, unclassifiable, the documentary was thought of as an experience by its directors.

Finally, the Plurielles festival which, each year, highlights women and inclusion began on Friday 11 June, in Compiègne, with beautiful people: Emmanuelle Béart, Isabelle Adjani, Anne Parillaud, Camélia Jordana and the co-president of the festival, the actress Aïssa Maïga who will screen her documentary Black Gaze on the representativeness of black women in cinema.

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