The brilliant director Damien Manivel dreams of the last days of Mary Magdalene, the famous protagonist of the Bible, alone within an enveloping nature. A film that takes small steps and reveals moments of grace, presented within the programming of theACID during Cannes 2022.
A reverie on the last days of Mary Magdalene : here is the territory within which the excellent director Damien Manivel – signatory of the sublime A young poetfrom Park or some Children of Isadora – ventures this time. He who seems to love to pursue what is invisible, and perhaps wants to remain so as it is hard to make it materialize, leans here on the famous female figure from the Bible, whom he paints as an elderly woman living totally withdrawn from the material world in a forest. Walking very slowly, she maintains the memory of Christ, whom she loved and would like to find again.
Attached to the gestures and quiverings of the one he observes, the dancer and choreographer Elsa Wolliaston – who brought her very discreet light in the final segment of Children of Isadora, absolutely magnificent – Damien Manivel’s camera is in tune. She find the right height to be in a very open in-between : here, the performer is not totally the character, and vice versa, it seems. Both exist on the screen, are there, inhabit the images, mutually bringing their light and their humanity to each other. The frame that we follow also takes on the appearance of a walk, thoughtful and thought out, but with enough space for gestures, movements and frames traversed are the sites of happy incidents.
From then on, the film seems to seek moments of grace, moments when the latter and its essence can be touched with the finger. Not an easy exercise in the cinema: in the end, the feature film flushes out this grace, in certain shots, certain images, where an original poetry emerges, shrouded in a veil woven elsewhere. And especially, the strength of Damien Manivel revealing the invisible remains intact : we taste it during a few visions and unexpected visits. Appearances that the director knows how to bring to the screen with, precisely, a lot of grace.
Magdala will come out in French cinemas on July 20distributed by Meteor Films.
Find all the films of the Festival in our Cannes 2022 file
Visual: © Meteor Films