The Cannes Film Festival of 2019 is in full swing, with the usual scandals, beautiful people, paparazzi, wannabees, con men, and hucksters filling the joints, the clubs and the bars, hotels and clubs all. It is sometimes vulgar and usually crass—but also a place of unexpected Magic. I know because I got to go there in 2014 with my first film and I got to be part of that Circus. Marcello Mastroianni, the great Italian actor, was the first familiar face I saw. His image loomed above the Palais along on the infamous Le Croisette and seemed to beam down with a special magnanimity towards me. “Hello, old friend,” I said.
I have spent most of my life trying to understand what makes a Nazi. Ever since I read Elie Wiesel's Night, I was haunted by the horror of what happened to the Jews in Germany under the Nazi regime. Mostly, I tried to understand what makes good people do nothing—and what turns an ordinary human being into a killing monster. I have read many books about the era and even made a film about a Holocaust survivor. I never found any answers. But now I finally get it. The Trump administration's abominable actions of separating mothers from their children, siblings from each other, and of picking good people off the street has finally allowed me to see how it happens. A monster gets elected with an extreme following—or of ordinary people who think his extremist policies will "help them." There are rationalizations. In this case, people talk about "border security" and about making "America Great Again." Try and hold back the vomit as we look at the unsavory characters trying to sell these policies to the American public. And it's working. Unbelievably, Trump's numbers are up.
In the last sequence that ends the haunting finale of The Americans, the car carrying former Soviet spies Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, who have fled back to their homeland after years of posing and living as suburbanites in the United States, all while carrying out their (at times) murderous mission, are finally coming home. Years after Mischa and Nadezhda arrive in the United States to become Philip and Elizabeth Jennings, it has all finally fallen apart.