TRUMP’S AMER­ICA

New Straits Times - - World -

Set against the toxic pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, Promised Land by award-win­ning di­rec­tor Eu­gene Jarecki shows Amer­ica in what one pro­tag­o­nist calls its “fat Elvis” pe­riod — spir­i­tu­ally wrecked and bloated by greed for money and power.

The am­bi­tious two-hour film puts one of Amer­i­can pop cul­ture’s most suc­cess­ful prod­ucts un­der the mi­cro­scope, as it un­packs the myths and bro­ken

“I would love to play a man. For an ac­tress that’s the ul­ti­mate chal­lenge,” the French star who ad­mits to “read­ing a lot of the Mar­quis de Sade at the mo­ment”, she said at the Cannes film fes­ti­val on Fri­day.

The French ac­tress, who made her name play­ing icy mur­der­ers, sado-masochists and abor­tion­ists, has teamed up for a third time with Michael Haneke for Happy End, which is in the run­ning for the fes­ti­val’s top prize. AFP prom­ises that have left the coun­try de­jected and di­vided.

“We had been beau­ti­ful once, and we rose to a height too young too fast, and then we got ad­dicted. So I started to talk about this metaphor be­cause there were so many parts of the Amer­i­can story that I could ex­press that way,” said Jarecki.

He sets Promised Land around trav­els in a “ghost car” — a Rolls-Royce Phantom that Pres­ley owned. Along the way he picks up pas­sen­gers in­clud­ing Alec Bald­win, Ethan Hawke, Ash­ton Kutcher and The Wire cre­ator David Si­mon to re­flect on Elvis’ legacy, fame, race re­la­tions and the fate of the

Star Wars,

AFP Amer­i­can repub­lic.

Jarecki cruises through de­pressed com­mu­ni­ties in the Deep South, talk­ing to strug­gling white and black work­ing class fam­i­lies, be­fore hit­ting the other sta­tions of Elvis’ life, in­clud­ing New York, Los An­ge­les and fi­nally gaudy, vice-rid­den Las Ve­gas.

He in­ter­weaves late-era rhine­stone-jump­suit Elvis per­for­mances with Trump speeches from the cam­paign trail, draw­ing par­al­lels be­tween what he calls hollow pledges by the Repub­li­can can­di­date and the pit­falls of casino cap­i­tal­ism.

“Trump is a cry for help by Amer­ica, as it would’ve been if

Star Wars

Star Wars (French far-right pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Ma­rine) Le Pen had got­ten in here,” Jarecki said.

He cri­tiques what he sees as the po­ten­tially fa­tal flaws of the US sys­tem in­clud­ing “Why We Fight” about the mil­i­tary in­dus­trial com­plex and “Freako­nomics” on eco­nomics and hu­man na­ture.

He said he came upon the idea of the Elvis metaphor when he was trav­el­ling across the coun­try to pro­mote 2012’s The House I Live In on the drug war.

“Au­di­ence af­ter au­di­ence of Amer­i­cans just looked heart­bro­ken about the sys­tem and about the death of the Amer­i­can Dream,” he said. AFP

Is­abelle Hup­pert Elvis Pres­ley

Ge­orge Lu­cas

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