• Art & Culture

Cannes 2019, halfway through

22 May 2019 - 14h59

The Cannes Film Festival started a week ago now. Even if many films in the run for the Palme d’Or remain to be discovered, the good quality of the selection is already obvious. First predictions before the announcement of the winners Saturday, May 25.

Faithful to its tradition, the Cannes Film Festival offers sharp cinematographic eyes on the issues of the contemporary world. The uberization of work system is explored by the tireless Ken Loach in Sorry We Missed You. Popular with festival-goers, the film may not be surprising enough to offer the English director a third gold prize. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne show in Le Jeune Ahmed the mechanisms that lead to Islamic radicalization. Will the jury wish to award the “two brothers” a third time with a Palme d’or ? Les Misérables, Ladj Ly’s first feature film, explores the tensions of a French suburb by showing the daily life of policemen and inhabitants. With a nervous mise en scène, an accuracy of observation from a filmmaker who grew up in Montfermeil, this “La Haine version 2019″ could well end up in the final ranking. It is also said that the jury chairman, Alejandro Inarittu, might be tempted to reward a film close to his own with Terence Malick’s film A Hidden Life. It is a portrait of an Austrian Resistance fighter from the Second World War told in a more classical way, yet metaphysical questions and mystical style are still there.

Cannes also offers us this year intimate films that have touched the hearts of festival-goers. For her first official selection, Céline Sciamma sets fire to the Grand Théâtre Lumière with her Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Portrait of the Girl on Fire). Telling a love passion between two young women forbidden in the eighteenth century, this melodrama knows how to observe the birth of love by scrutinizing faces, looks, gestures, by recording the change in the rhythm of a breath. If the film confirms the talent of Adèle Haenel, it also reveals a magnificent actress, Céline Merlant, who could receive the price of interpretation with her partner Adèle Haenel. Antonio Banderas is a serious contender for the prize for male performance, as his composition in Pain and Glory (Pedro Almodovar) is impressive. All restraint and with a rare density, he embodies a double of the Spanish director, who delivers with this new opus one of his great film. Clear in its narration, Pain and Glory offers spectators great moments of cinematographic grace, such as the birth of erotic disorder in Pedro’s young double. Almodovar, multi-selected, has never received the supreme distinction. Pain and glory is thus a serious contender for the Palme d’Or.

To conclude this overview, a few words about The Directors’ Fortnight, which selects films that make the buzz. Thus, the surprising comedy of Quentin Dupieux, Le Suede (Le Daim), with Jean Dujardin in great form, or An Easy Girl (Une fille facile) by Rebecca Zlotowski who gives Zahia her first movie role. Not to forget Alice and the mayor (Alice et le maire, by Nicolas Pariser), an excellent comedy with finesse, starring Fabrice Luchini, very convincing as the mayor of Lyon, and Anais Demoustiers, bluffing as the philosopher of the “prince”.

Clara Laurent

©DR -Adèle Haenel et Céline Merlant dans Portrait de la jeune fille en feu de Céline Sciamma

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