Cannes: Malick regains his magic touch

Terrence Malick is capable of the best and the worst. After his Palme d’Or for “The Tree of Life”, in 2011, one seriously wondered if the American director had lost his magic touch. With the magisterial “A hidden life” presented Sunday at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, the answer is clearly no.
The 7th art still exists. Yes Yes. We have had proof of this with the historical drama of Malick. It is for this kind of dazzling film that this festival is a blessing. Even if the director turned into a ghost, as usual, for the climb of the steps.

A hidden life ( A Hidden Life ) begins with images of Hitler. We are in 1939. Franz Jägerstätter (August Diehl) leads an idyllic life with his wife Fani (Valerie Pahner) and their three young daughters. The camera marries the beautiful mountain landscapes …

The Austrians must swear an oath of allegiance to the Führer whom Frantz regards as the Antichrist. He dreads the moment when he will be called to the colors. He becomes a conscientious objector, despite the scorn of all the inhabitants of his small village. His resistance makes him imprisoned. His family pays the big price. Ostracized, they become outcasts.

Malick’s superb feature film is inspired by a true story (the Catholic Church beatified Jägerstätter in 2007). It proposes a reflection on faith, not that of the religion of men that serves its interests rather than morality, but on the intimate inner conviction that good must prevail over evil. And with this certainty comes imperatives. Including the one to stand up, no matter the consequences.

A hidden life takes place 80 years ago. It is nonetheless a terrible news. When the village mayor drops his mask and reveals his fascist face, Frantz refuses to adhere to his racist speech about immigrants and the “purity” of the race. With the support and unwavering love of his wife. Despite humiliation and torture. It will be executed by the Nazi regime.

Better to suffer injustice than to commit it.

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