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CANNES 2022 Cannes Première

Review: The Beasts

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- CANNES 2022: In Rodrigo Sorogoyen's new film, men mark out their territory, harass and tear down others, proving that they can be like real wild beasts

Review: The Beasts
Denis Ménochet (left) in The Beasts

If there is one word that defines Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s films –and series (see the magnificent Riot Police [+see also:
series review
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
series profile
]
) – it is tension. This feeling of angst, that upsets the stomach to the point of discomfort, is abundant in Madre [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
film profile
]
, The Realm [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Isabel P…
film profile
]
and May God Save Us [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
film profile
]
, and of course in The Beasts [+see also:
trailer
interview: Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Isabe…
film profile
]
, the film with which the Madrid filmmaker is making his first appearance at the Cannes Film Festival, as it is presented in the Cannes Première section.

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Set, as its original title indicates, in Galicia, a region of intense beauty, that has to struggle between deep-rooted traditions, simmering away for centuries, with the worrying future of the new times and the assault of capitalism (sometimes disguised as ecology), The Beasts lays out a parallelism, both beautiful and brutal, between the famous “Rapa das bestas” festival (whose iconography this feature film begins with) and one of the most dramatic moments of its plot.

Its conflict, inspired by real events, is seen from the introduction of the characters themselves, half-hidden in the dim light of a rural bar, where the locals play dominoes while a foreigner listens to their stories. Although they share territory, they are separated by habits, principles, language, life plans and, above all, a brutal lack of understanding.

This lack of understanding will crescendo as the film progresses, which, like a pressure cooker, introduces uncertainty into the lives of a French couple living in the mountains of north-western Spain. Sorogoyen and Isabel Peña, his faithful screenwriter, the neighbourhood disagreements between the protagonists and the antagonists gradually escalate until what was sensed from the very first minute erupts (and that wait is especially agonizing).

Divided into two time frames, The Beasts is not only disturbing but also deeply moving. Beneath its violent film texture (it is impossible not to recall films like Backwoods [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Perros de paja and Deliverance, to name a few of the “you are not welcome here” subgenre) pulsates a thrilling love story: a shared idealism capable of overcoming any fear, tragedy and threat.

But before concluding this review, we must highlight the director's skill in pacing the suspense, some particularly inspired dialogue (the discussion between mother and daughter in the kitchen) and the work of the actors, both French and Galician alike: Marina Foïs, Denis Ménochet, Marie Colomb, Luis Zahera and the great discovery of the film, Diego Anido (who bets he will be the next winner of the Goya for best newcomer or supporting actor?).

The Beasts is a production of the Spanish companies Arcadia Motion Pictures, Caballo Films and Cronos Entertainment, in association with the French Le Pacte. Its sales are managed by Latido Films.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

(Translated from Spanish by Vicky York)


Photogallery 27/05/2022: Cannes 2022 - As bestas

24 pictures available. Swipe left or right to see them all.

Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Marina Foïs, Denis Ménochet, Marie Colomb
© 2022 Fabrizio de Gennaro for Cineuropa - fadege.it, @fadege.it

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