La Chimera

La Chimera ★★★★

Just when it seemed like Cannes couldn’t get any worse for “Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny,” it turns out that James Mangold’s $300 million sequel wasn’t even the festival’s best movie about a sad and grumpy archeologist who chases a band of tomb raiders across the waters of Italy in order to stop them from selfishly exploiting a priceless artifact from before the birth of Christ. What are the odds?

Strange as that coincidence might be, it’s no surprise that Alice Rohrwacher’s new film is better than a Disney blockbuster that happens to share the same general milieu, but it’s worth pointing out that the arthouse version of this story is far more entertaining than the studio blockbuster take. It’s also shorter (if only just), sexier (by a lot), and Isabella Rossellini-er (imagine her doing a catty, live-action riff on her character from “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”). It even has a better villain, played to perfection by an obvious but unexpected European star whose performance here could be slotted into a summer tentpole without missing a beat.

But enough kicking dirt on an old relic that should never have been dusted off again in the first place — there’s a new discovery to celebrate. The third and most romantic installment in Rohrwacher’s informal trilogy exploring the relationship between Italy’s past and present, “La Chimera” finds the Tuscan filmmaker returning to the rustic charm and eternal regret of “The Wonders” and “Happy as Lazzaro” in order to stretch them across a richly textured canvas that spans from ancient Etruria to “The Crown.”

~this review continues on IndieWire~

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