‘Athena’: Incendiary new Netflix film wants to burn it all down

Within the first ten minutes of “Athena,” we witness a tense press conference that erupts into violence, an attack by angry youths on a police station, and a thrilling race back to their urban stronghold with loot. . After just one breath-taking action and mind-boggling camerawork, as they hurdle the victory, the director decides to call cut.

Gavras and his cinematographer Matias Boucard have created an all-timer of a tracking shot to kick off this new Netflix thriller, designed to grab the audience by the throat. It’s a long time that makes Opening of “Touch of Evil”. It looks like he pulled his socks up. It makes Raid in “True Detective”. Looks like a walk in the park. It’s an adrenaline shot to the heart and the momentum is impossible to sustain. But at 97 relentless, exhilarating minutes, this movie is going to try.

Karim (played by newcomer Sami Soleimani) is grieving the loss of his younger brother, who was beaten by uniformed officers – the third incident of police brutality in two months in Athena, a poor community on the outskirts of Paris. He wants a name but the police deny responsibility. Their brother Abdul (Dali Bansala, “No Time to Die”) is a soldier who pleads for peace, while eldest brother Koktor (Owasini Mbarek) is a drug dealer who fears the riots are bad for business. Will be. Kareem, meanwhile, has emerged as a figure poised to lead a generation into battle.

Shortly after the raid, the police descend on the Athena to confront the youths. Caught in the middle are their parents and extended family. The film sympathizes with them as Jerome (Anthony Bijon), a frightened officer sent into the field, questions their callousness. But mainly we’re switching to Karim’s righteous anger, unconvinced by his brothers’ interventions.

Gavras and co-authors Lodz Lai and Elias Belkidar tell the story of the siege that takes place almost entirely inside Athena’s concrete labyrinth, emphasizing the chaos of long-running skirmishes and the chaos of Krem’s makeshift plans. Is. Filmed with IMAX cameras, Molotov cocktails and Roman candles are launched into the night. Masses of corpses fill the corridors, run across rooftops and crash into each other to the sound of a baroque score.

What if the Trojan War took place in a housing estate in Paris? It may look like this. With its conflicting brothers, mythical men and epic sense of scale, “Athena” is reminiscent of ancient Greek tragedies. Yet the roots of his pain remain to this day — and are keenly felt. It’s a bravura piece of cinema from a genius behind the camera. One that inevitably draws attention to the art of war that is filmmaking itself. The supply of all this is cyclical.

“Athena” is now in select theaters and available on Netflix on September 23.

Interview: Romain Gavras, Writer-Director

Gavras, a student of music videos that include Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “No Church in the Wild,” is no stranger to capturing rebellion. But he’s never done it on this scale before — no wonder he cites epics like Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” and Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran” as inspirations for “Athena.”

“There is no CGI in the film, we do everything for reality,” says Gavras. “The planning was, strangely, almost military and perfect for creating chaos in front of the camera.”

To hear more from the writer-director, Read our full interview.

One to Stream Now: “Salaam”

Renaud Farah, Roger Sallah, Mentor Ba, Yann Gael "Saloum" I am running away.

Congolese filmmaker Jean-Luc Harboulot presents a lively midnight film about three mercenaries on the run in a remote corner of Senegal. Ian Gale, Roger Silla and Mentor Ba entertain as tough-guy gunslingers, but their chicken-headed behavior is tested when an unusual enemy threatens them and their gold stash. Gives. Herblot’s twisted neo-Western (a “Southern,” he calls it) packs a lot of themes and West African history into its taut runtime. The spectacle of the colonial system and the exploitation of the people and place strikes a terrifying note. Regardless, it’s good pulpy fun with a great imagination and eye-catching visual flair.

Available at “Salaam”. Trembling in America

One to bookmark for later: “No Bears”

Jafar Panahi,
Every new Jafar Panahi film feels like a small miracle. The Iranian director has been banned from leaving the country and making films. For more than a decadeYet he continued to find a way. In “No Bears,” Panahi plays a version of himself who travels to a border village to direct a film from far away in neighboring Turkey. He becomes embroiled in a local controversy, accused of photographing the illicit encounter of a couple, the woman being promised to another. Meanwhile, the real-life couple in their film plan an exodus. All types of borders are large. Worried by the villagers who treat him and his camera with suspicion, and questioning the authorities, the director weighs up which location might be best for him.
Considering the dangers of observation and the unpredictable consequences of making art, “No Bears” is a richly layered metafiction, usually self-reflexive and inseparable from its context. Circumstances have turned Panahi’s filmmaking into a controversy. It may be his best and most defiant work from this period. It is also the most exciting. There was shelter. arrested And in July was sent to prison to serve a six-year sentence for “propaganda against the regime”. According to Reuters.
at the Venice Film Festival in September, where the film won Special Jury Prizeone Empty seat It was exclusive to the director after its premiere. “Our fear gives power to others,” a character tells the director in “No Bears.” Panahi has once again shown his bravery.
“No Bears” has its US premiere. New York Film Festival in October.

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