75th Cannes Film Festival | “Armageddon Time”: Neighborhood Children

James Gray, director of “In the Webs of Corruption” and “Lovers,” gives us an autobiographical account of the end of childhood in New York in the 1980s. Another intimate and powerful film, it was submitted in competition, with Anne Hathaway and Anthony Hopkins.

After nine years ‘migrant’American director James Gray back to competition 75th Cannes Film FestivalWith “Armageddon Time”not with a nuclear apocalypse, but with a more personal film, about childhood scars, which mentions a few “400 Hits”, at Francois Truffaut. Built on an impressive trio of actors: Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins And Jeremy Strong (from the series ‘Succession’), “Armageddon Time” He has a recognized biographical matrix, which tells of the passage into the adulthood of a young dreamer from Queens in the 1980s, who once again questions the American dream. Paul Graf (Repeat Banks) A rather unfit boy, talented in drawing, despite everything he had a quiet childhood, with his family in the suburbs of New York. with Johnny (Jaylene Webb), a classmate who was excluded from the class because of the color of his skin, but who wants to work at NASA one day. Together they do some villainy in the public school classroom. However, Paul finds himself protected by his mother (American actress Anna Hathaway), who holds the position of Chairman of the Parents’ Council, and above all by his grandfather Aaron (Anthony, Hopkins), a very special character with whom the child is very close. But after another incident of indiscipline, Paul is sent to a private school where Donald Trump’s father sits on the board of directors. The open elitism and racism that coexist in this new private school will radically disrupt Paul’s world.

75th Cannes Film Festival

After exploring the Amazon in “The Lost City of Z” (2016) and the universe with “Ad Astra” (2019), James Gray Now delve into self-reflection and your childhood memories with this “Armageddon Time”A film tinged with longing and tenderness. Back to childhood and adolescence, director “In Corruption Networks” (2000) and from ‘We control the night’ (2007), seeks to witness, through a 12-year-old boy, a specific period of American society: the beginning of the Reagan years, the end of the Glorious Thirty Years (from 1945 to 1975) that followed the end of World War II and that it was a period of strong economic growth In the United States and OECD countries, the twilight of a new era for the American people. But it is also a rough time for young Paul, who has seen his life and his views shake. In the face of such great turmoil, young Paul still survives, the dreams and values ​​that his grandfather passed on to him, in order to survive in a world completely different from his own and the world of his imagination.

There is indeed a great influence on the tradition of American fiction, both in cinema and in literature, which runs through many stories of childhood and youth, beginning with the famous one. Tom Sawyer. In the last years, James Gray Two films quite different from his usual record: an epic adventure in the jungle in “The Lost City of Z”And “Ad Astra”A cosmic journey through the lost galaxies. although, “Armageddon Time” bring him back to earth, to his land of America and to his hometown of New York, and to the neighborhood of Queens in which he lives, to his childhood too, a little “Sawiran”, although it is more urban. In America painted in dull gray-beige tones, like old VHS tapes from the ’80s, that helped us increase movie lovers (at home), “Armageddon Time” Reconstructs the beginning of a strange decade of great development for all Western countries, including Portugal. The Vietnam War ended long ago and hippies In the event of a decline, see the taste. It’s time to Sugar Hill gang To impose new tunes and intoxicating rhythm to them ‘long version’ from the topic ‘rapper joy’Which we hear many times in this movie. Former Actor in Washington Ronald Reagan, later a senator and leader of the Republicans, prepares to invade the White House and become President of the United States. Thus, the dawning of a new, more conservative and liberal era, also in defense of the nuclear threat, began. The US Military’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), known as Project Star Wars, was created in 1983 by then-President Ronald Reagan and aims to create a large system of satellites armed with laser guns to protect the United States, from missiles sent against it. Country. beginning “The Time of Armageddon”. This is the moment in American history that realizes the brief existence of Paul, our young hero, who is suddenly placed at a crossroads in life. The film neatly asks the big question of the end of childhood, that moment when he opens up to all the mysteries of adolescence and finally, finally, the shadow of the adult we all eventually become.

75th Cannes Film Festival

During the few but crucial scenes, between grandson and grandfather, we shall see Aaron (Anthony, Hopkins always unusual in its interpretation) to disappear slowly and with a distant age, for values ​​and memories that already seem from the last century. Anthony, Hopkins, enjoys the beauty of the sun in late September, that time of year when the days are shortest and we head into winter and darkness. Through your very own face and appearance, James Gray It reminds us of the importance of our grandparents (or they have, I speak from my personal experience, also from those times) in our childhood and in our growth as people and human beings. Suddenly the grandparents disappear and our parents become orphans. His pain also announces the torments of our maturity and our passage into a more cruel world, even in the face of the inevitability of suffering and death. Each of us goes through this moment in our own way, but how many projects do we have, and how many adventures we dreamed of evaporate without us noticing? All around us, reality suddenly comes with its brutal complexity. This is also how Paul discovers racism, betrayal, and remorse, and begins to live with the scars of the ’80s, amenable to change. In the movie, despite the harm done to the child Paul (Repeat Banks), there is a beautiful and tender scene with the boy trying in vain to comfort his fragile mother (American actress Anna Hathaway) who combs her hair; unlike father (Jeremy Strong) dry and determined to draw his attention to life’s difficulties and grievances. The order of things begins to change for the boy. it’s time for ‘disaster’, From the end of a world, to the start of another. And who would say then maybe, we’ve already gone through another ‘new normal’. Based on the two headlines Hathaway and Hopkins, we can’t forget the two kids’ great performances Repeat Banksin Paul “noisy” and disappointment and in expressive Jaylene WebbPoor Johnny. There is a small appearance of Jessica Chastain In a notable elitist speech at the private school, represented by Marianne Trump. Indeed, the film does not hesitate to bridge the gap between the Reagan era and the Trump presidency.

75th Cannes Film Festival

This “Armageddon Time” It’s a very tender and nostalgic movie, but at the same time remarkably brief, without flourishes or hesitation. In fact, it can be said that nothing special happens, it does not have a large peak or even significant fluctuations. However, a simple school visit to New York Guggenheim Museuma ‘subscriber’ Smoking in the school bathroom between two friends several A real missile, a conversation with grandfather or a beating with a father’s belt, can tell us many things. At least I told myself, I’ve had many similar experiences. And then, sometimes it’s the little things in life that make great movies. This is the situation!

JVM in Cannes

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