Already at the equator of this Cannes Festival that does not give the press a break for even a single day, the quality of the films in competition in the official section is increasing. If the Nazi brutality explained by the British Jonathan Glazer in The zone of interest was immediately placed as the clear favorite for the Palme d'Or, the French Justine Triet has left everyone stunned with Anatomía de una caída, her comeback on the Croisette after participating in 2019 with El reflejo de Sibyl. It is a judicial thriller that focuses on a woman who is accused of the death of her husband.
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 conversation has to be interrupted because the husband has turned the volume of the music very high. After a while, the man appears dead outside the house. The son of both, visually impaired after an accident, was walking with his dog in the snow when he discovered the body of the parent and she swears that he was resting in his room and did not hear anything.
The pieces don't fit, the boy's testimony is contradicted and they immediately suspect Sandra as the person who forced the victim and threw him out the window. Is he guilty or did the deceased really commit suicide as indicated by the woman? All the weight of this intense drama that crumbles the couple's relationship through recordings of their arguments, infidelities and the key weight of the distribution of household chores is borne by Germany's Sandra Hüller, who aims directly for the award to the best female performance. An actress who also appears as the wife of a Nazi in Glazer's film and whom Triet always thought of to play the role. Sandra plays with her body. It has something complex that fed my spirit", says the director 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, where you don't really know what has happened, with the court that judges the woman and that is a place that obsessively searches for the truth".
"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 is 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 they are all hiding something".
Another performance that received critical acclaim was that of an unrecognizable Jude Law as Henry VIII in Firebrand, a period drama with which Brazilian Karim Aïnouz makes his competition debut after winning the 2019 prize for the best film in the Una Certain Look section with La vida invisible by Eurídice Gusmão. Here he dares with a psychological thriller that takes us to the last days of Henry VIII in a story told from the point of view of Queen Catherine Parr (Alicia Vikander), the sixth and last wife of this king of the house Tudor who exercised the most absolute power among all English monarchs. “Karim taught me that the character had to be very human and that in a way freed me, because I didn't have the weight of the story; I did not feel obliged to respect the usual portrait that we know of Henry VIII. I knew I had to show him as a simple but complex man," explains the British actor.
"He had a difficult childhood, as he was separated from his family. He believed that there was God first and then him, there was a lot of paranoia at that time. They educated him to be king and he suffered from different physical ailments." Law creates a paranoid, sexually voracious king with gangrene in his leg that torments him. Precisely, to recreate this wound he admits that he used the services of a perfumer who mixed "the smell of pus, blood, faecal material and sweat". And when asked about how he sees the British monarchy, especially after the recent coronation of Charles III of England, he said that it is "like a theater, although I'm a little more obsessed with the theater."
The Swedish Vikander, who arrived in Cannes accompanied by her partner, the actor Michael Fassbender, claims the practically unknown role of Parr in the cinema. "She was an extraordinary and complex woman who lived 500 years ago and was the first to publish a book with her name." For this reason, it was essential to investigate his life and thus understand "all his nuances, his fantasies and his aspirations".