Red Island

Director: Robin Campillo
Year Released: 2023
Rating: 0.5

In the early seventies, ten-year-old Thomas (Charlie Vauselle) lives with his mother Colette (Nadia Tereszkiewicz) and father Robert (Quim Gutiérrez) on a military base in Madagascar (where his dad is employed) and while there he becomes friends with his classmate Suzanne (Cathy Pham) and they spy on the misbehavior of the adults together when he's not indulging in fantasies about his favorite comic book hero Fantômette (Calissa Oskal-Ool).  Campillo based this on his own childhood, which is a little odd to find out because it feels so impersonal - it's categorized as a "coming-of-age" tale, but it's so unfocused Thomas is relegated to being an afterthought with all the other things going on, including prostitutes attacking the soldiers (for not paying) and then finishing up on an altogether different note involving freed protestors giving speeches (which I'm guessing is the director's weak attempt to address the "colonialization" issue).  Supposedly, the Cannes Film Festival rejected this ... and considering some of the questionable movies they've screened, that says a lot.