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SPECIAL SCREENING • Cannes
The Ardor takes the
western deep into the Amazon jungle
2014 at 11:47 AM
This year, Cannes
welcomes Mexican actor Gael García Bernal in two capacities.
He will sit on the Feature Film Jury and he will also be on screen, in
The Ardor (El Ardor), a third film for director Pablo Fendrik, a modern-day
western set in the tropical forest of Argentina.
Kai is a young man of a mystical, solitary nature.
One day, as he makes his way, bare-chested through the jungle, he witnesses an
attack by mercenaries on a tobacco farm that they have wanted to take over for
some time. As they could not get it by making threats, they kill the owner and
kidnap his daughter, Vania. So Kai embarks on a manhunt through the tropical
forest, in pursuit of the mercenaries, to avenge the family.
Far from the dusty plains of the
American wild west, Pablo Fendrik fundamentally rethinks the western. By
resetting his story in the Amazonian jungle, he makes nature a major
protagonist. His camera tracks travelling shots of the scenery, highlighting the
beauty and the mystery of this region, the oxygen tank of the
This is the environment in which the
characters evolve, those who preserve it and those who destroy it. As a backdrop
to The Ardor we see the deforestation and the expropriation of
the local populations. Pablo Fendrik has gone in search of farmers who have been
the victims of this jungle gold rush. He has documented his screenplay with the
experiences of these threatened and sometimes hunted people.
Photo from the film © RR
western", as Pablo Fendrik likes to call it, also steers clear of the typical
Manichean approach of the genre. Kai (Gael García Bernal), Vania (Alice Braga)
and the other characters are more complex.
The psychology of Tarquinio,
the leader of the mercenaries, is especially well wrought. Where a classic
western would have depicted an unscrupulous and lawless bandit, Fendrik depicts
the "bad guy" as a character at the end of his tether, who has had a hard life.
The Ardor is a suspense-filled story of vengeance, a struggle between two ways
of living. (Tarik Khaldi)
Monday 19 May /
Buñuel Theater / 7:30 p.m.
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