Movies of the Week #35 (2022)

Competencia Oficial (2021): Movies about movies are generally exciting to me and Official Competition is one of the more memorable ones. An octogenarian pharma-multi-millionaire looks to cement his legacy by producing a top-tier movie, which ends up pitting two legendary, but radically different actors – the mainstream, popular star (Antonio Banderas) and the arthouse star (Oscar Martinez). Under the direction of the irreverent Lola Cuevas (Penelope Cruz), they all push their buttons in various ways, while questioning who they are and their relationship to acting. A great movie about ego and pretense, visually captivating, that might be a tad underwhelming narratively, but it’s very well suited for a snob like me. 8

Nope (2022): I really liked Jordan Peele’s previous two movies (yes, even Us), so expectations were high with this one. Nope provides commentary on our fascination with showmanship and dominion and it is a visually enthralling piece of filmmaking, capturing the eeriness of its subject matter. Narratively, though, I didn’t dig it, presumably because I lack some of the code required to make the most out of the references it relies on. Definitely watchable though. 7

Thirteen Lives (2022): What makes this true-story stand out is the way in which its heroes stay grounded and lack pizzazz. The whole movie is fairly understated, while not lacking in tension, nicely anchored by likable leads – Viggo Mortensen in particular proves a breath of fresh air. Ultimately, though, this story, which is captivating in its unexpected technicalities, doesn’t go beyond the documentarian, it lacks that special something to elevate it to something remarkable. 7

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022): This slight feel good movie is a bit overly sweet – but its fairytale-esque positivity proves infectious, which is a great thing to be able to feel. The story is of a maid who dreams of wearing a Dior dress and ends up nudging the company towards a new, more inclusive direction. Lesley Manville proves a beautiful lead and she is in good company with the likes of Isabelle Huppert, Jason Isaacs and Alba Baptista. So that’s how Mrs. Harris overcomes its slightness to make for a likable summer treat. 7

The Figo Affair (2022): In the ever wider growing world of sports documentaries, The Figo Affair sets itself apart by featuring all the protagonists and treating an intricate matter without diminishing its complexity. For those who don’t know, Luis Figo, legendary Portuguese footballer, was the subject of a world-breaking transfer in 2002, when he joined Real Madrid from arch rivals Barcelona. This docu manages to present a pretty clear image of how everything transpired, even if it never transcends its story. Informative is good, transformative is better, which is not to say that TFA isn’t one of the more inspired movies about football to come out in recent years. 7