It is practically unrecognizable to identify Jude Law in the skin of a plump, depraved and terrifying Henry VIII in the period drama firebrandwith which the Brazilian Karim Aïnouz debuts in the official competition section of the Cannes Film Festival after winning the award for best film in the Un Certain Regard section in 2019 with The invisible life of Eurídice Gusmão.
This psychological thriller takes us to the last days of Henry VIII in a story told from the point of view of Queen Catherine Parr (Alicia Vikader), the sixth and last wife of this second king of the House of Tudor, who exercised the most powerful power. absolute among all English monarchs. “Karim taught me that the character had to be very human and that in a way freed me because he didn’t have the weight of the story, I didn’t feel obliged to respect the usual portrayal that we know of Henry VIII. I knew that I had to show him as a simple man but complex”, has assured to the press the british actor.
The projection of the film yesterday at the Lumière theater took eight minutes of applause. Law insists that it was basic to portray that human aspect of the character and justifies the king’s behavior after having delved into his life, even feeling a certain “empathy” for him. “He had a difficult childhood being separated from his family. He believed that God came first and then he, there was a lot of paranoia at that time. He was raised to be a king and his body suffered from different diseases.”
In this way, he wanted to embody him “more as a man and less as a king,” says the actor, who does not see Henry VIII as a monster: “I am not the one who should draw those conclusions.” Asked how he sees the British monarchy, especially after the recent coronation of Charles III of England, Law says it’s “like a theater, although I’m a bit more obsessed with theater.” And he continues: “I am not particularly interested in gossip. At the same time there is something admirable in these images as of medieval ceremony.”
“If Henry VIII was a monster? I am not the one who should draw those conclusions”
Her performance has been praised at the festival and could well be rewarded. Law makes up a paranoid king, sexually voracious and with gangrene in his leg that torments him. Precisely, to recreate that wound, he has affirmed that he used the services of a perfumer who mixed “the smell of pus, blood, fecal material and sweat”. There is nothing.
The Swedish Vikander, who has come to the French contest with her partner, Michael Fassbender, has claimed the virtually unknown role of Parr. “She was an extraordinary and complex woman who lived 500 years ago and was the first to publish a book named after her,” she has said. For the actress of Ex Machinait was essential to investigate his life and thus understand “all its nuances, its fantasies and its aspirations”.
“They marry her without having the right to say anything, Enrique’s other women were dead and I realized the fragility of every moment of his existence. I was really terrified of the possibility of being wrong, I was afraid of this man and his reactions” .
For his part, Aïnouz sees many parallels between Henry VIII and the former president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. “We started shooting this film at the same time as the Brazilian elections were taking place and I was telling myself that I was making a film about a character who was a bit like Bolsonaro.” For the director, the monarch of the film has “the same characteristics as other current characters in Russia and elsewhere.”
For this reason, the film is told as a horror story, and shows how machismo conditions the lives of women, both in his previous film and in this one, set in the 16th century. The director confesses that he was attracted to the script, based on the novel by Elizabeth Fremantle, Parr’s personality and the fact that he is from Brazil and of Algerian origins, “two colonized countries, while the British empire was colonizing.” .
Justine Triet claims the Palme d’Or for her ‘Anatomy of a Fall’
If the Nazi brutality recounted by the British Jonathan Glazer in The zone of interest was immediately placed as a clear favorite for the Palme d’Or, the French Justine Triet has left everyone stunned with anatomy of a fallhis return to the Croisette after participating in 2019 with Sibyl’s reflection. It is a judicial thriller that puts a woman who is accused of the death of her husband in the spotlight.
In the first scene we discover Sandra (Sandra Hüller), a writer who is interviewed by a student in her spacious wooden chalet in the French Alps. But the talk has to be interrupted because her husband has turned the music up too high. After a while, the man appears dead outside the house. Their son, visually impaired after an accident, was walking with her dog through the snow when he discovers the father’s body and she swears that he was resting in her room and heard nothing.
The pieces do not fit, the boy’s testimony is contradicted and Sandra is immediately suspected as the person who struggled with the victim and threw him out the window. Is he guilty or did the deceased really commit suicide as the woman points out?
All the weight of this intense drama that breaks down the couple’s relationship through recordings of their discussions, infidelities and the key weight of the distribution of domestic tasks, is carried by the German Sandra Hüller, who aims directly for the award for best female performance. An actress who also appears as the wife of a Nazi in Glazer’s tape and in which Triet always thought to play the role. “Sandra plays with her body. It has something complex that fed my spirit”, says the filmmaker about the character, whose guilt is not clear in an obvious game of ambiguity by the director, who wanted to “contrast the atmosphere of the house, in which you don’t really know what It has happened, with that of the court that judges women and that it is a place that obsessively searches for the truth ”.
The German Sandra Hüller, also present in Glazer’s film, aims for best actress
“For me,” he continues, “the most important thing in the film is that the child has to decide if his mother is innocent or not and we will never know if her testimony was true or not,” he explains. For Hüller, who masterfully exhibits the torrent of emotions that invades the protagonist, “the only innocent character is the dog, because everyone is hiding something.”