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Karim Ainouz Firebrand Cannes

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Karim Aïnouz’s Firebrand – 2023 Cannes Critics’ Panel: Day 5

Karim Aïnouz’s Firebrand – 2023 Cannes Critics’ Panel: Day 5

A mainstay in the Un Certain Regard section (with a whopping four films as director/writer) and has sprinkled his films in Venice and Berlinale as well, Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz finally graduated to the competition section with a film that is very far removed from his native country. Firebrand follows the likes of Madame Satã (2002), O Céu de Suely (2006), and section winner A Vida Invisível de Eurídice Gusmão. He was also included as a Special Screening status for Mariner Of The Mountains in 2021.

In blood-soaked Tudor England, Katherine Parr (originally the role was assigned to Michelle Williams), the sixth and last wife of King Henry VIII, is named Regent while tyrant Henry is fighting overseas. Katherine has done everything she can to push for a new future based on her radical Protestant beliefs. When an increasingly ailing and paranoid King returns, he turns his fury on the radicals, charging Katherine’s childhood friend with treason and burns her at the stake. Horrified and grieving, but forced to deny it, Katherine finds herself fighting for her own survival. Conspiracy reverberates through the palace. Everyone holds their breath – for the queen to slip up, for Henry to take her head like wives before. With the hope for a future free of tyranny at risk, will Katherine submit to the inevitable for the sake of King and country? Alicia Vikander toplines and a smelly, pus-filled Jude Law is King Henry VIII.

Current temp: With all of our critics having seen the film we have a combined average score of 2.4 – somewhat disappointing for Aïnouz’s first English language film.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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