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No filmmaker has ever loved anything as much as Abdellatif Kechiche loves butts.
Bringing up the rear of this year’s Cannes lineup in more ways than one, Kechiche’s “Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo” — an oft-threatened but completely unsolicited sequel to his 2017 bomb, “Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno” — devotes about 60% of its runtime to extreme close-ups of jiggling female derrieres. And while that horrifyingly unexaggerated statistic may sound like a bit of a red flag to begin with, it only gets worse when you consider that “Intermezzo” is the same length as “Lawrence of Arabia” (the original 222-minute cut, not the trimmed version that David Lean made after people complained that the movie was too long).
Course - None - Surprise - Kechiche - Palme
Of course, none of this is much of a surprise. Not anymore. As shocking as it was when Kechiche celebrated his 2013 Palme d’Or win by pivoting to posteriors, “Canto Uno” made it irrevocably clear the filmmaker has no regrets for the wanton fetishization of nubile flesh that separated “Blue Is the Warmest Color” from his earlier, more casually sensual work.
The first installment of the “Mektoub” series now seems like a wise and lyrical tone poem when compared to its cinematic lap dance of a sequel, but that initial chapter — an aimless coming-of-age story about a naïve young French-Algerian screenwriter who returns to his beachside hometown of Sète during the summer of 1994 — was still too banal and indulgent to secure American distribution. While the explicit sexual content in “Canto Uno” is less frequent and hostile than that in “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” the leering nature of its camerawork is more pronounced; the male gaze was practically the only lens Kechiche used. One critic likened the film to a very special episode of “Jersey Shore,” and referred to Kechiche’s camera...
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