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The Mauritanian Review (2020): An Incendiary Legal Drama with Jodie Foster and Tahar Rahim

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This is not the time to assess the films nominated for the Oscar 2021 or go over their strengths and weaknesses to determine why the extraordinary ‘El mauritano’ (El mauritano, 2021), by Kevin Macdonald is not among those selected. I can’t touch because does not review recent events in American society, and when we say recent, we are not referring to the events of 2020. Trump, Black Lives Matter, the pandemic, or the assault on the capitol.

It may be because Netflix and its funny ‘The Chicago 7 Trial’ (The Chicago 7 Trial, 2020) and political artifacts resonate better echoing the racial struggle with the movies. that worthy but with inconsistencies like ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ (Judas and the Black Messiah, 2021), but simply, after watching the McDonald’s movie, It is important to review the list of nominees and verify their absence..

A Cuban story

Perhaps what he tells and explains is not convenient to air it artistically, since denunciation films are good when there is a visible and clear head on which to demonize, but when shame falls on the entire country, it may not be the time to reward the story of a man who paints a cynical expression on the Street. . big smile of democracy. Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s story is awkward because it is not a famous case from the 60s and 70s that shows “how nothing has changed” like so many current revisionist films.

His story is the story of the day before yesterday, so much so that the torment to which he was subjected ended only 4 years ago and the worst of his case is that he is only one of the 799 prisoners in Gitmo, of which, as reported by the credits , only 8 have been tried and convicted, with three of those convictions overturned on appeal. The squandering of its own legislation and any guarantee of the declaration of human rights is one of the most painful episodes of western civilization of the 21st century.

The Mauritanian“It presents the story of Slahi with a script that draws heavily on his memoirs”Guantanamo Journal“, Which became a multi-language bestseller in 2016 after being censored by the US military, only to be published in its entirety after its release. In the hands of Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani, M.B. Traven, recounts how the writer was interned in the Guantánamo detention camp on suspicion of having recruited the 9/11 hijackers.

Bay Bay, Guantanamo Bay

The most interesting thing about the McDonald’s movie is how he alternately narrates the odyssey of the main opponents in the Slahi case, defense attorney Nancy Hollander, played by a rotund Jodie Foster, and the military prosecutor Stuart Couch, a Benedict Cumberbatch who does not shock as an American, but does not convince either, and how, starting from diametrically opposite positions, they end up meeting when they collide with the wall of official secrets, in a precise montage in which they adjust the information in its not heavy 129 minutes.

From Hollander’s perspective, a stupendous subplot is created with his young assistant Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley), who, having filed a Freedom of Information request for the relevant documents, receives a mountain of boxes whose documents are nearly 100 censored. %, and how they both react differently, as they discover what they are hiding. From Hollander’s professionalism and advocacy for individual rights, to Duncan’s elegant idealism, his two postures define the arc of his characters with subtlety and verism, making the heart of the film beat in this curve.

Meanwhile, Couch is denied access to the circumstances of Slahi’s confession as they are classified as a record reserved for intelligence only, creating a paranoid jungle of blocks to find what he needs, until ** it is shown that Slahi’s confession was coerced after 70 days. of sexual torture, including beatings, sleep deprivation, loud music, stressful positions for hours, drowning and sexual humiliation, threats to arrest her mother and take her to Gitmo for rape …

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American torture

All the scenes of Guantánamo in Slahi’s memory are told by changing the panoramic format to 1:66 that encloses the character in his cell, his “playground” of scant square meters and the tremendous torture sequences, which are delivered to his blogs. a powerful, even oppressive sense of authenticity, thanks to the vertical proportion box mutant appearance. Although in reality these hardships are not, terrifying, yes, unpleasant, the ones that generate the most outrage in the viewer.

What makes ‘El mauritano’ stand up to his proposal to denounce and find his own personality is The impressive work of Tahar Rahim as Slahi. Ever since he rose to stardom as the incarcerated in ‘A Prophet’ (2009) by Jacques Audiard, Rahim stands out for facing characters in dramatic situations with an unusual character and here, he manages to convey an inner integrity, with touches of ironic sense of humor, who maintain a charisma that makes him a character worthy of his own fiction, a modern Papillon to which the disgusting treatment to which he is subjected does nothing more than forge his patient discourse.

The final monologue before the judge at his trial, renouncing justified anger (“I’m trying to forgive”) is a model of serene dignity, which connects with the character that we have the opportunity to glimpse in the final scenes with the real prisoner. , whom some have described as self-indulgent, but who, in addition to being sympathetic and liberating, they are not out of tune or excessive in a film that is presented as a document on the side of justice and the search for truth.

An uncomfortable truth

There is a scene that is repeated in “The Mauritanian” for two different periods of time. The lawyer Hollander climbs the stairs of an Administration Room in which there are two pictures with the photos of George Bush Jr. and Dick Cheney. Later, we can see another moment in which the camera captures the same space with two different photos in the same frames. This time, in the photos appear Joe Biden and Barack Obama, the man who saw the capture of Bin Laden under his mandate.

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McDonald do not plant this detail in a trivial way. The first immediate effect is the passage of time, giving us an idea of ​​the time that has passed with the painful unresolved situation, the determination of the lawyer to go all the way in different periods. But it also leaves an easy-to-understand message right now that Biden is the new president of the United States of America. The responsibility for creating (and hiding) shame has always been attributed to the Bush administration, but The brutal ending credits cut of the film opens your eyes..

Slahi, despite being acquitted by a US court five years earlier for lack of evidence, was not finally released until 2016, after having spent 14 years in the field of Gitmo. A delay result of an appeal against the judicial verdict by the Obama administration. ‘The Mauritanian’ is one of the films about real events that scratch, serve and should be seen by everyone, but above all, it has a solid cinematographic entity, actors who leave their mark and an intelligent script, it is one of those films. that was missing in the anemic pandemic season and not only because it pales those selected for the Oscars.

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“There is no kink like Luke, I am your father.” ‘Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ director claims Tony Leung plays an original villain

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‘Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ opens in a few months and, to this day, we had seen practically nothing. Wonderful He has taken advantage of the birthday of the main actor, Simu Liu, to surprise us all with the release of the long-awaited trailer. A cash advance that promises plenty of action, humor, excitement … and a great claim to a wacky Asian cinema as a server: the entry of Tony Leung in the Marvel Universe.

The real Mandarin?

A regular contributor to filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, Leung is portrayed as the hero’s father and also as a new wonder villain, leaving a first clue about the biggest conflict that Shang Chi will have ahead. Leung brings to life a character named Wenwu, a powerful warrior who has adopted many names over time, being also known as “The Mandarin”.

Recall that the Mandarin already jumped from cartoons to the big screen in ‘Iron Man 3’ (2013), causing a strong controversy among comic fans for the freedoms taken by those responsible for the film. Thanks to Ben kingsley Y Guy pearceMarvel and Shane Black created a huge surprise that divided the public. Now it seems that another version of Mandarin is coming to us, perhaps more faithful to the comics but it is still not so clear …

Or at least, they still don’t want to present it that way. Which is fine because the movie opens in September 3 And there’s no point in gutting it all now Destin Daniel Cretton, director of “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, Wenwu is an original character created for the film although, effectively, it is linked to the mysterious terrorist organization of the Ten Rings, already presented in the first ‘Iron Man’ (2008).

“Wenwu could easily have been a heartless one-dimensional villain. Tony opened up this character to be an antagonist who has a profound ability to love.Cretton declares. Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige adds that they haven’t looked for a “twist like” Luke, I’m your father “. Shang-Chi knows who his father is and is determined to leave that world behind before he is dragged back. “

It is funny how Marvel returns to quote ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ although this time to discard the reference; the Russo brothers acknowledged seeing the classic “Star Wars” to orchestrate the devastating ending of “Avengers: Infinity War.” Whether or not he is the true Mandarin, it is unquestionable that Marvel has succeeded in signing Tony Leung, I am looking forward to seeing what he does with the character.

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‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’: Impressive trailer for the debut of an Asian Marvel superhero

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Wonderful It has been asked at the beginning of the promotional campaign of ‘Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings’, the first film of the study starring an Asian superhero -Chinese to be more exact-, but now we can finally take a look in the trailer and poster of this film directed by Destin Cretton, responsible for titles such as “The Crystal Castle” or “A Question of Justice”.

A long-term project

Created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin In 1973, to try to take advantage of the popularity of kung fu, Stan Lee himself tried to make his leap to the big screen in the 80s with Brandon Lee as the protagonist, but it did not take off until recently with Simon Liu in the lead role.

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The story of ‘Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings’ will begin in San Francisco following a seemingly normal person but without a fixed course in life. Of course, his past is much less ordinary, as he was trained by his father to succeed him in his criminal affairs, but upon discovering it, his son decides to follow a different path.

His father’s character has been created specifically for the film and will be played by Tony leung. Of course, be very careful with him, because from Marvel they already warn that he has received different names over the years and you may know that of The Mandarin, one of the most mythical villains of the company and whose name had already appeared previously. in the MCU….

Along with Liu and Leung we will also see in ‘Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings’ Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu and Ronny Chieng. The September 3 We can check the result, since that is the date chosen by Marvel to release one of the most anticipated films of 2021.

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The eight nominees for best picture at the Oscars 2021 ordered from worst to best

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This Sunday, April 25, the winners of the Oscars 2021 will be announced, an edition of the most atypical fruit of a year of cinema very marked by the delays caused by the coronavirus. However, there is quite a level between applicants and below I’m going to go through the eight nominees for best picture from worst to best In my personal opinion, although this time it might be more accurate to speak of less good than worse …

“The Chicago 7 Trial”

The second feature film of Aaron Sorkin It is based on a script according to what was expected by its manager and the great work of its wide cast. Unfortunately, behind the scenes you can see that there is no one with enough experience to fully squeeze this stuff out, as it feels more functional than anything else, unable to really elevate the true story beyond the strength it already has in itself. . herself.

Criticism in Espinof

‘Missing’

This is what the script really falls short of. I understand that David Fincher, who embroiders it again in relation to the staging, would like to make his father’s libretto come true, but there the film wants to cover up too much and loses its shine, something that manifests itself with the passage of time from its viewing. Fortunately, we also have an extraordinary old gary to qualify that weak point of “Mank”.

Criticism in Espinof

“A promising young woman”

A twist on Rape & Revenge cinema in the #MeToo era. Personally, I think the best of the function is in a very successful Carey Mulligan in the lead role and I appreciate how playful she can be, often seeming like something she doesn’t end up being. Of course, there is mostly a detail from the script of Emerald fennell That takes me out of the movie a bit.

Criticism in Espinof

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“Nomadland”

The great favorite of the Oscars for months that maintains the formal bet of Chloe zhao at the top “The Rider” to explore the lives of homeless people who have disconnected from the prevailing lifestyle. In it, the work of a wonderful Frances McDormand, a true axis of a minimal story that is based more on the sensations it transmits to the viewer than on a refined narrative.

Criticism in Espinof

‘The father’

An approach to a very widespread reality that the cinema rarely talks about: what to do with our elders when they are no longer capable of fending for themselves. Of course, here the protagonist falls into a sensational Anthony Hopkins like a man affected by Alzheimer’s who is increasingly disconnected from reality. It is true that its theatrical origins are noticeable, but also that it knows how to use all its ingredients in search of the same goal, also leaving the viewer with a bad body but never forcing anything, and even flirting with the thriller.

“Judas and the black Messiah”

It is true that Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield They are the ones who shine the most in the film, but also that this could have been a monotonous biographical film and when the moment comes it is the gripping portrait of a betrayal of a person who begins with clear things and then ends torn by the need to prioritize his own survival. In addition, the film balances the role of both very well, thus offering a much richer portrait of what happened.

Criticism in Espinof

“Minari. Family history ‘

A story that starts from the everyday to explore what life is like for a Korean family in the United States, something that the film knows how to take advantage of to achieve its own entity instead of resembling similar proposals but with other nationalities. The growing dramatic element is very well managed, knowing how to enhance its most emotional side without resorting to unnecessary overloads or betraying its characters.

Criticism in Espinof

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“Sound of metal”

There is much to celebrate in a film that in other years would never have been nominated. From the exceptional interpretation of Ahmed rice as a musician who is going deaf, a situation that he is unable to accept, even the great use of sound to illustrate that progressive deterioration of the protagonist, but also of the community of which he is part during the second act of the film.

There will be those who expect a much more forceful proposal for the type of music that its protagonist plays, but that does not stop being a starting point that the film itself disassembles seeing how his day to day is. In this way, the protagonist’s transition is smoother, first finding a good ally in Olivia cooke, but then a much more exhilarating travel companion in a sensational Paul raci.

Criticism in Espinof

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