Cannes favorites to close out the festival: "Club Zero" and "Perfect Days" review

English Daily #3
Last, but certainly not least on the GAIFF schedule are two Yerevan Premieres that rocked the screens of this years’ Cannes competition. Hot out of the French Riviera is Jessica Hausner’s uncanny Club Zero that tackles waves of disinformation and body dysmorphia by critiquing the rampant diet culture that’s proliferating online. In this colorful and janky satire, students at an elite school are urged to enroll in a novel course on “conscious eating.” The new teacher, an enigmatic Mia Wasikowska, challenges her students to gradually eat less food, up to the point where they reach the dietary nirvana of “Club Zero”, a secret society that shuns all bodily intakes of food. Hausner’s exaggerated style, heavily indebted to the sly formal cynicism of Ulrich Seidl, underlies how fraught this new course is, always leaving the possibility open that the shady Club Zero doesn’t really exist, but is just a metaphor for the rabbit holes people worm themselves into when they’re brains get too poisoned by fake news and disinformation.

More holistic and wholesome is Wim Wenders’ grand rentree to fiction filmmaking. With Perfect Days, his best feature since decades, the German arthouse legend turns his gaze again to his beloved Tokyo, where a humble cleaner of public toilets becomes a vessel to appreciate the many beautiful things hidden in plain sight. Amongst them are the toilets that our endearing protagonist Hirayama (Kôji Yakusho, who deservedly won the Prize for Best Actor in Cannes) cleans: little marvels of urban architecture, designed by a variety of architects with the city, its natural environment and inhabitants in mind. Graced by a soothing soundtrack including iconic tracks by Lou Reed and Patti Smith, all curated by Hirayama on cassette, and thoughtful observations on poetry and art, Perfect Days becomes a fitting finale for a fest full of it’s own little marvels and wonders, be they in the form of a film or a fleeting moment of beauty in the everyday splendor of Yerevan. HE

Club Zero (Jessica Hausner, Austria/UK/Germany/France/Denmark, 2023), Yerevan Premieres
16.7 16:00 Cinema House Grand Hall

Perfect Days (Wim Wenders, Japan/Germany, 2023), Yerevan Premieres
16.7 18:00 Cinema House Grand Hall