Jewish Link- A poignant drama starring Oscar winners Anthony Hopkins and Anne Hathaway opened to applause at Cannes, charting what director James Gray called the moment America lost its way. The Times of Israel.
“Armageddon Time”, which also features Jeremy Strong from the television series “Succession”, is a semi-autobiographical story set in the New York borough of Queens in 1980, just when the Trump family and Ronald Reagan were on the rise.
Gray said that 1980, with the election of Reagan, the imminent threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Unionthe “humiliating” defeat of his hero Muhammad Ali by Larry Holmes and the murder of John Lennon in Manhattan, gave the film its title.
“I also think that was the beginning of a Market-is-God idea where, if you look at rising inequality as a global problem, it started around 1979, 1980,” he told reporters, calling it an “underrated turning point.” in History.”
Gray said it was also the end of auteur-driven New Hollywood movies in favor of blockbusters. “Which meant the end of a certain kind of movie that I really love and am passionate about and I feel the obligation to try and continue”.
The drama presented at Cannes
The intimate family drama explores big political and historical issues, such as the clan of descendants of Ukrainian Jews. They were victims of the pogroms, and decades later they find an America divided by racial and economic injustice.
Hopkins plays Paul’s doting grandfather, who continues to have trouble at his high school with his best friend Johnny, a black boy. Although both boys cut themselves in class, only Johnny faces serious consequences, as Paul’s mother (Hathaway) is on the parent-teacher council.
The boys’ paths continue to diverge when Paul’s (Strong) father pulls him out of school; so he puts him in a private academy where Fred Trump, Donald’s fatheris on the board.
The elite institution sees its mission as creating the next generation of US leaders, a site of “superpower privilege,” Gray said.
Strong, who won an Emmy for her performance in “Succession,” said that saw parallels between the themes of the series and the film.
“The TV show I work on is, in many ways, about late-stage capitalism and terminal decline in the US,” he said.
“Certainly you can find the kind of foreshadowing of all of that, in a way, the genome of that, in this movie.”
Hathaway said that her own Jewish mother-in-law, who recently died, had served as inspiration for his character, who out of deep love for his son makes a series of moral compromises.
“His legacy influences my life in profound ways which I am truly grateful for,” Hathaway said, fighting back tears.
“If I’ve done anything in terms of capturing the depth of that love and that connection… I won’t even try to put it into words because it’s beyond (words); that’s why I’m so grateful to the cinema, because it allows you to say things without words”.
This is Gray’s sixth Cannes appearance; where films such as “We Own the Night”, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg, and “Two Lovers”, with Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow, premiered.
He went on to do the space odyssey “Ad Astra” with Brad Pitt and the Amazon adventure “The Lost City of Z” with Robert Pattinson.
Critics gave the new film rave reviews. Slate hailed “a sweet children’s fable that turns increasingly bitter and, with the help of a few historical figures, turns into monstrous things we do in the name of wanting what’s best for our children.”
The New Yorker called it “great news”, a film that “lovingly evokes which (Gray) appreciated while acknowledging that it was inseparable from the horrors of the time.”
The Irish Times he applauded a “memory tale that addresses the compromises many of us make to an unequal society,” calling Hopkins “wonderful in the rare role of a thoroughly good man.”
“Armageddon Time” is among the 21 films competing for the Cannes Palme d’Or top prizewhich will be awarded on May 28.
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