What does soulless film mean

FILM: Only the Spaniards are satisfied

FILM: Only the Spaniards are satisfied

The 71st Cannes Film Festival got off to a glamorous false start. “Todos lo saben” by Iranian Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi turns out to be a disappointment despite the star cast.

Just don't go wrong, the artistic director Thierry Frémaux seems to have said to himself and programmed on Tuesday for the overture “Todos lo saben” by Asghar Farhadi. The Iranian won the Oscar for best screenplay with the masterpiece “A Separation” (2011) and the Oscar for best foreign language film with the - somewhat overrated - drama “The Salesman” (2016). He has now shot a melodrama in Spain with Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem.

The ideal opening film: the auteur Farhadi satisfies the Cinéphiles, the Spanish dream couple Cruz-Bardem electrifies the people press. What seemed like a surefire value on paper turned out to be a disappointment on canvas. «Todos lo saben» is a soulless film based on a weak script. It was not apparent what attracted Farhadi to this subject. Penélope Cruz plays Laura, a Spaniard who lives in Buenos Aires and returns with her children to her home village near Madrid for a wedding. Their husband (Ricardo Darin) follows them later.

The first hour is neatly insignificant: Hello there, kisses there. We quickly understand, however, that Laura is still taken with her childhood sweetheart Paco (played by Cruz ’husband Javier Bardem).

Neither moral image nor genre cinema or auteur film

When the loud wedding celebration has passed its zenith, there is a power outage. At four in the morning Laura notices that her 16-year-old daughter Irene has disappeared. Laura soon receives a text message from the kidnappers asking for a ransom of 300,000 euros. Finally some drama !, one thinks and is immediately disappointed because Farhadi is hardly interested in the criminal case, neither in the motives of the perpetrators nor in the abductees.
Instead, the desperation ensures that the relatives come to terms with their past. Paco sells his vineyards, Laura makes a confession regarding her daughter's paternity. These twists seem hard-working and “scripted”.

“Todos lo saben” is neither suitable as a socially critical moral image (the film has nothing to say about the society it wants to portray) nor as an exciting genre cinema, although it causes a little suspense with the dirty shoes of a suspect. And it is certainly no good as an art-loving auteur film - you can tell that the Iranian Asghar Farhadi was not in his element in Spain. Country and people, some of which he captured like a tourist, remained alien to him. Halt seemed to give him only the script. The result: a chatty film without images to be remembered.

Only the Spaniards can be satisfied. After the French Cédric Klapisch (“L'auberge espagnole”), the Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Biutiful”) and the American Woody Allen (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), they once again lured a well-known author into the country to film - with massive ones Tax rebates for producers. Unfortunately, this time only European pudding came out of it.

Christian boys, Cannes