The tenth day of the Cannes Festival has been impregnated with the Portuguese language in two radical auteur cinema proposals with uneven results. The first is signed by the Portuguese Miguel Gomes, is titled Grand Tour and is a trip through Asia in 1917 photographed in exquisite black and white. The story tells how Edward, an official of the British Empire, flees from his fiancée Molly on their wedding day. But she, far from sinking into tears of humiliation, runs in search of him. 

The viewer is then seduced by the invitation to a journey through time that crosses the past and the present, from the 20th century to the present day in which reality and fiction are mixed. The germ of the story comes from a travel book that Gomes read a long time ago and which told the story of a man in Burma who had fled his marriage. 

A story that the Portuguese has turned into an adventure film, an idea that he already experimented with in his free adaptation of ‘The Thousand and One Nights’ set in modern-day Portugal. “With this project I wanted to create transitions from one world, that of cinema, to the other, the real world,” the director said at a press conference, calling his work a ‘scrawball comedy’, as one of those comedies starring Katharine Hepburn that reflected the tenacity of women in the face of man’s cowardice. 

His Grand Tour could well be part of next Saturday’s list of awards, although it is true that some of the specialized critics have been disconcerted -Deadline even invites the less enlightened public to take a pillow to the cinema-.  Gomes insists that the viewer “travel with the main character” and draw their own conclusions from him. “In cinema, too many efforts are made to impose one’s own reality; viewers are treated like children.” 

And if last year the Brazilian Karim Aïnouz already competed with Firebrand, a psychological horror set in the bloody Tudor court of King Henry VIII, now he is trying again in a claustrophobic roadside motel, the perfect getaway for those hungry for dirty and fast sex . The endless moans of the customers of the establishment run by a couple – he with a very long hand – sound throughout the film as if it were a soundtrack. 

The young Heraldo ends up at that Motel Destino, who is fleeing from a criminal gang that will not let him fulfill his dreams of starting a new life in Sao Paulo. His relationship with the owner’s wife will become increasingly intimate and ultimately dangerous in this noir thriller that from the beginning warns of the presence of flashes not suitable for a photosensitive audience. Motel Destino is infused with tension and sex, a sort of flash-splattered, very seedy Brazilian version of The Postman Always Rings Twice. The protagonists appear naked in most scenes to talk about a story of poor people who are born already condemned and the fight against patriarchy. 

Although the premise is interesting, the film seems not to know very well where it is going, submerging itself in a constant atmosphere of torrid sweat, although it is held up by the dedicated performances of the protagonist trio. Karim Aïnouz, who triumphed five years ago in the Un Certain Regard section with the interesting The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão, has all the cards to leave Cannes empty again.     

Already in the final stretch of the contest, we began to learn about some awards from the parallel sections. The Argentine film Simón de la Montaña, directed by Federico Luis and starring Lorenzo Ferro, has won the Grand Prize of the Cannes Critics’ Week, while the Brazilian actor Ricardo Teodoro has won the Newcomer Prize from the Louis Foundation Roederer by Baby.

“I’m only going to say one thing and that is that at this moment we need the support of the whole world to keep the fire of Argentine cinema alive,” said Ferro when collecting the award, at a time of crisis for the seventh art of his country. due to the cuts by the government of the far-right Javier Milei.