Super rich, agriculture, violence: a series and two movies to watch now

The second season of “White Lotus” takes us to a luxury hotel in Sicily with a small group of ultra-rich Americans who indulge in all the excesses their money allows. In “Our Sun”, director Carla Simon, who was awarded the “Golden Bear” award in Berlin, brings us into the daily life of a rural family in Catalonia, thereby representing the end of the world. Against the background of a social crisis, domestic violence finally provides the plot of the film “La ligne”. directed by Ursula Meier.

Deadly holiday

A jagged coast planted with lush vegetation, old pink facades rising on terraces above the turquoise sea: for its second season, the TV series “White Lotus” has settled in Taormina, St. Tropez, Sicily.

The device remains the same as in the first season, set in Hawaii: a small group of ultra-rich Americans descend on a luxury hotel for a vacation that ends with the death of some of the heroes. The identity of the victims and the causes of death remain unknown until the end, giving material to stop the episodes.

As for the characters, this second season of Cluedo brings together two nouveau riche from Silicon Valley, a father, son and grandfather looking for Sicilian origins, and two young island women willing to prostitute themselves with this wealthy client. to get out of their situation, the indescribable Tanya, the authoritarian and irascible manager of the hotel, as well as a depressed multimillionaire with childish behavior. Already present in the first season, he is accompanied this time by a sidekick who can be forced to thank you.

The millennial past of the ancient capital of Byzantine Sicily, its ancient theater and medieval palaces are only there to provide a compelling backdrop to the charms of this leisure class. As the Odysseus lotophages lose their memory while eating the lotus or lotus fruit, the clients of the White Lotus suddenly sit idly by, escaping their excitement and letting go of their impulses: hyper-consumption, excess alcohol, and all kinds of drugs. , the search for sex, is often valuable.

Under the dispassionate gaze of the austere portraits of nuns and Moorish heads in ceramics that adorn hotels and villas, the mechanics of desire compete, boons are negotiated, and situations spiral out of control until final disaster. Sex is the main bargaining chip here for the more affluent, who, despite their cynicism, can indulge in the illusion that they are loved for themselves and not for their money.

This focal length constitutes the interest and boundary of this new work. The first season was more concerned with the hotel staff, dealing with the harmful master-servant relationships and folkloric identity of the local people who make a living from tourism, which can make viewers uncomfortable and reflect on their own experiences.

Despite the slower pace, the series continues to beguile with a very well-driven story, a psychological subtlety that instills tension and often returns some of the humanity to the characters, even the less likable ones. One of the best series of the moment about class relations seen through the prism of tourism in the era of globalized capitalism.

Marc Chevalier

“The White Lotus” created by Mike White, 10×60 minutes, 2 seasons, currently on OCS


It’s a place that looks like Louisiana in Italy, but it’s in Catalonia. In the village of Alcarràs, more precisely in the hinterland of Barcelona. Carla Simon chose to set Nos soleils, her second feature film after the remarkable Summer 93, here.

There, he spent many vacations at his late grandfather’s farm. It is the end of the world, of small farmers, that the director tries to keep us alive by immersing us in the suspended daily life of a family growing peaches to earn their living.

The film begins when Quimet, in his forties, learns that he will have to give up the land on which his peach trees grow because he does not have the proper title deeds. The likely heir to the land intends to plant a more profitable solar panel forest instead of golden fruit alleys. But Quimet, at all costs, intends to realize the final product with the labor of African laborers and his own children.

It doesn’t matter, he seems to have backfired, and the tariffs charged by the big distributor are forcing him to sell his production at a loss. The weight of habit combined with a certain work ethic makes him persevere rather than think of a way out, thus testing his family ties.

Like Chekhov Cherry orchard, Carla Simon depicts the crisis of the social universe through the disintegration of the family and its property. Golden Bear at the last Berlin festival, “Nos soleils” succeeds in immersing us in the life of this ordinary small village family, where the generations live together in a certain harmony, each with its own concerns. And at the same time to feel the crisis of this peasant world crushed by the “market” law.

Igor Martinache

Our Suns »By Carla Simon, in theaters from December 7, 2022.

Family upset

No need to look for it, Margaret (Stephanie Blanchoud). At the slightest irritation, the thirty-year-old has an unfortunate tendency to lash out. He also played Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, together with his mother Christina.

During the spectacular opening scene, he chases after the latter after throwing everything he can get his hands on at the wall. We don’t see the punches raining down on Christina, but the following shot in the judge’s office reveals that she is in the hospital, and Margaret is being held in custody. A three-month ban on approaching his mother and his house within 100 meters, the penalty of spinning directly into a prison box.

Later, Margaret finds refuge with her musician friend Julien (Benjamin Biolay), while Margaret’s two sisters try to live their lives: Louise, who is pregnant with twins, and 12-year-old Marion, who takes refuge in singing and praying. When their mother leaves the hospital, the youngest creates a forbidden zone for his sister by drawing a line on the ground around the house.

It is this line that gives the title to Ursula Meyer’s (2008) new feature film The House and The Child from Upstairs (2012). “La Ligne” covers the delicate subject of domestic violence in an original and poignant way, with both the women’s work and the choice of setting in a peaceful, affluent Swiss town.

We are constantly in awe of Margaret’s impulsive reactions, but we gradually realize that she herself is a victim. This violence, which he cannot cope with, causes him to lose his relationship: he goes from odd job to odd job and has no friends and no place of his own.

We also understand that the source of this violence can be found in the frustration of his mother, who had to give up her promising career as a pianist when she became pregnant with her eldest daughter. Also, as we pass by, we see that he is reluctant to ask for the help he is entitled to after becoming disabled, preferring to rely on his daughters.

Thus, the film demonstrates the “law of conservation of violence” dear to Pierre Bourdieu that ” when people are bullied, in childhood, at work, etc., they bully “. It evokes all the uncertainty of the family, a protective shelter but also a source of potential cruelty. And it asks about the collective responses to be made: in Margaret’s case, the repressive apparatus is mobilized, but the psycho-social workers are cruelly conspicuous by their absence. As if to say gives that, as Bourdieu once again said, when the left hand of the state is withdrawn, only the right hand remains.This is perhaps a red line that we should not cross.

Igor Martinache

“The Line” by Ursula Meier, in theaters January 11.

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