Atarrabi and Mikelats: Eugène Green’s Modern Fable (NYFF 2020)

Atarrabi and Mikelats

Eugène Green, 2020, France/Belgium, 123m

Eugène Green (last seen at NYFF with 2016’s The Son of Joseph) fashions an original modern-dress fable in his inimitable style, perched on the line between earnest spirituality and sly satire. Atarrabi and Mikelats are brothers born minutes apart, the children of the powerful goddess Mari. After their mother hands them over to the Devil, making him their teacher and caretaker—he’s a scholar and the “height of hipness,” after all—the boys grow up to be polar opposites. The curious, saintly Atarrabi (Saia Hiriart) wants to see the world beyond their lair; the wicked, diabolical Mikelats (Lukas Hiriart) prefers to stay and pledge his soul to his master. Green’s entertaining, episodic, and surpassingly beautiful film is a strikingly original vision of good and evil and the importance of humility and humanity in a fearful world.