Our review of the film Official competition: the bonfire of the vain

CRITICISM – A billionaire looking to make history decides to produce a film. Penélope Cruz plays the director and Antonio Banderas a Hollywood star. A well-regarded and ferocious satire on cinema.

These rich. They want everything. This billionaire who made his fortune in the pharmaceutical industry is in search of prestige. Appalled, he recaps the gifts he received for his 80th birthday. He needs something else. Finance a bridge that would bear his name? Ordinary. Better to produce a film, choose a fashionable director. We see by this that the gentleman does not know what he is stepping into.

He bought the rights to a Nobel Prize, offered the services of an intellectual and lesbian filmmaker and already dreams of climbing the stairs at the Cannes Film Festival. Rivalry, directed by the uncompromising Lola Cuevas, watch your eyes. Think, the lady is the author of Reverse Rainfrom Empty and of Haze which have been showered with prizes. Penélope Cruz, an incendiary redhead with an Afro hairstyle, summons the two actors she has hired to play the brothers in the novel. There is no more opposite.

Oscar Martinez (Ivan) is a serious theater teacher like a pope, Antonio Banderas (Felix) a Hollywood star. Between Ivan and Felix, the frictions are multiple. One takes taxis, the other arrives in an orange Ferrari. Rehearsals take place in an architect’s building, a sort of modern art museum with no work inside. Guaranteed headache. The scenario, thick as a directory, resembles the diaries of Peter Beard.

Penélope Cruz, a real tornado of egocentrism

With Official competitionGaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn (Honorary Citizen) ferociously pinpoint the tics of an environment, expose the claim in its purest state, all to music by Erik Satie. Lola nitpicks on how to pronounce “Good evening”, requires its performers to say their dialogue under a five-ton rock hanging from a crane. The introverted actor screams his first name to dissociate himself. The international star invents a disease. The rivals accumulate cowries. Contempt turns to dull rage. Jealousy conceals itself under smiles of courtesy, adorns itself with false embraces and declarations of eternal friendship.

Satire takes aim at the black of the target. Egos come out bruised, broken, like those trophies that the brilliant redhead shoves into a grinder. The one who thinks he is pure recites in front of his mirror the speech he is preparing for the Oscars. The blockbuster subscriber is entitled to the funniest joke of recent years, when asked how many children he has. A bet of 100 euros reserves a solid surprise. For modesty, they fear no one. As for Penélope Cruz, a veritable whirlwind of egocentrism, she has a field day, sleeps with the tycoon’s daughter, practices ridiculous stretching exercises. It will all end in blood. Vanity will have the last word. This delightful game of massacre deflates cultural balloons, is between The Square and The New Savages. This is crazy good. In a perfect world, the film would be reimbursed by Social Security.

“Official Competition”, comedy by Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat. With Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Oscar Martinez. Duration 1 hour 54 minutes.


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