“Anora”, a formidable odyssey of the degenerate offspring of neocapitalism

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Ivan (Mark Eidelstein) and Ani (Mikey Madison) in “Anora,” by Sean Baker. DREW DANIELS/THE PACT

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Sean Baker was born in New York in 1971 and something of that decade was imprinted in the flesh of the films he began to make from the early 2000s until today. A tenderness for the indefensible marginalized and other swindlers of scams, a taste for the filthy, a trip to America’s B side, a scoundrel way of juggling its trashy and flashy facets. Anorahis latest feature film, arriving at the right time on Tuesday May 21 to awaken the Cannes competition, perpetuates the same rebellious spirit, but this time raising it to the dimensions of a formidable odyssey between degenerate offspring of neocapitalism.

Read the review (2021): Article reserved for our subscribers At Cannes 2021, “Red Rocket”, the sad epic of Mikey Saber, X-rated actor

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In 2021, Red Rocketwhich had earned the filmmaker access to the competition, recounted the setbacks of a porn actor on the sidelines, deploying treasures of conviction to return to the profession. Anora, for its part, bears the name of its heroine, a young stripper from Brooklyn, who we discover enticing the customers of a club with red neon lights and whirring speakers, to lead them into private booths where to lavish them with lascivious dance. Sean Baker is interested in sex workers because they offer the ultimate embodiment of the working class to the 21ste century: characters who maintain a transactional relationship with their bodies and never hesitate to spend money to advance the fiction.

Anora prefers to be called Ani (Mikey Madison, seen in the series Better Things), way of erasing his Uzbek origins. One evening, she comes across a friendly urchin, Ivan (Mark Eidelstein), son of a Russian oligarch, with whom she gets along thanks to a few words exchanged in his native language. Ivan welcomes her to his luxury property, offers his ruby ​​escort services, takes her on a private jet trip to Las Vegas where they get married on a whim.

Class distance

Ani thinks she has won the prize, but Ivan’s parents, furious, don’t see it the same way at all. Following the lovebirds, they send their handyman, the Armenian Toros (Karren Karagulian) flanked by two dogs (including one played by Yuriy Borisov, the gruff passenger of the Compartment n°6 by Juho Kuosmanen), in order to come back at all costs on this misalliance.

What had until then presented itself as a trivial fairy tale, where Prince Charming would be a spoiled brat and the princess a prostitute, suddenly changes gear, reconfiguring itself into an action comedy. After describing a weightless journey through places of contemporary hyperluxury and golden youth, the film lands in the streets of New York, on the side of reality that grates and thumps.

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