Back from Cannes, I find myself repeating the same things over and over again: Yes, the festival was great. No, the weather was not. The films were amazing. No, Warmen and Borgman are not the same films. Yes, I realize they sound the same. is special, short films are great, and don't bother asking me about the parties because I didn't go to them.
I thought it would be good to clarify some points, so I wrote down proper responses to some of your most frequently asked questions.
Did you see any movies?
Yes. Yes, of course! If there is one place to see movies, it is Cannes.
The first screening I attended was the short film selection #1 of the Critic Week.
The short films selection of the Critic Week
The first short was probably the best.
The Opportunist by David Lassiter describes itself in its Kickstarter campaign as "a short film about a young man who charms his way into a party, but his intentions may be less than pure".
The other movies were as follows:
Pátio, from Brazilian director Aly Muritiba who himself was a guard in the prison where he filmed his short documentary.
Ninja Thyberg's Pleasure was the original story of a young porn actress whose personal challenge is to perform a double anal penetration (I swear it was not what you're thinking. Really).
The Korean pick, Breathe Me, was rather depressing and not very coherent. But the main cast was adorable and definitely had more humor than director Han Eun-Young.
Océan, the only French film of this first selection was definitely my coup de coeur. Showing a family’s summer holiday on the atlantic coast, Emmanuel Laborie's Océan brilliantly masters the rekindling of childhood memories by following closely to the perceptions of its young character, with the camerawork adding to this perspective.
The first feature film I was able to see was the extraordinary Borgman, from veteran Dutch director . Screening in the official selection, Borgman was the only film for which I could get tickets without having to wake up at 8 a.m. to order them online, meaning people must have assumed the movie was not worth it. And for the very same reason, I did too. However - what a surprise! Neat and sharp like a razor blade, Borgman took us to places we did not expect him to go, with dark humour and mystery. The plot features Borgman, a marginal individual, who intrudes upon the home of a pretentious middle-class Dutch family and embeds himself deeply into their lives.
After queuing for two hours, I managed to enter the Debussy Theatre to see Franco’s highly-anticipated screening of As I Lay Dying in the Un Certain Regard category. Franco’s adaption of Faulkner’s classic is a strange piece of cinema. It took me a while until I really got into it, but unlike half of the audience, I did not leave the room in the middle of the film. Ultimately, it managed to catch my attention, and finally made me enjoy its dirty hands, its broken tongue of 19th-century thick American Midwest dialect, its picturesque and toothless faces, its tragic sense of irony. It was worth getting over the rocking camera and split screens of the beginning to come across this sick family road trip beside the mother’s stinking coffin.
David Perrault, Nos Héros Sont Morts ce Soir
Still in the Critic’s Week selection, I saw a French Film called Nos Héros Mont Morts ce Soir (Our Heroes Died Tonight) competing for the Caméro d’Or, awarding first films. Despite some incoherence in the storyline and at times poor performances from its actors, I admired the aesthetic choices of French director David Perrault. Very much inspired by the Nouvelle Vague masters, the film is a black and white thriller taking place in the world of wrestling in the Paris of the early 60s. Supported by a jazzy soundtrack from the time and a language of great poetry, Nos Héros Sont Morts ce Soir is a promising début for the Frenchman.
's La Jaula de Oro
Last but not least, I was also able to attend a second screening in the beautiful Debussy Theatre, the Mexican film La Jaula de Oro (The Golden Cage). Not without recalling ’s Sin Nombre, La Jaula de Oro tells the universal tale of three young Guatemalteca travelling through Mexico to reach El Norte (the USA), embodied by a dream-like vision of the snow. Mixing the genres of the road movie, the coming-of-age movie and the journey of initiation, La Jaula de Oro is a movie that tackles the usual representations of clandestine migration, delving into the motivations of its young characters beyond the traditional opposition between victims and villains in the often dirty business of illegal immigration. Despite a classical storyline, the film succeeded in avoiding the expected overly-dramatic developments to take me on board a colourful journey alongside its characters through Central America.
German Films' Next Generation Short Tiger
Shorts again, I was lucky enough to attend to more screenings of these too often undiscovered gems.
German Films’ Short Tiger films were selected by a jury that included Oh Boy director . All young, German directors were invited to present their works and contribute a few words before the screening. Fantastic, poetic, oniric, satirical, political, controversial, the shorts were a festival of very singular universes, an extraordinary experimentation lab for the emerging talents of Germany.
Directors' Fortnight's Short Film Program #1
Finally, I went to see the short program #1 of the Directors’ Fortnight’s selection. Six short films of varying quality were shown. The first two were, in my opinion, the best of the bunch:
Pouco Mais de um Mês (About a Month) from Brazilian director André Novais Oliveira, features Oliveira acting in the lead, alongside his girlfriend for a movie of genuine and touching banality.
In the same spirit, Solecito documents the love story of two teenagers in Colombia. The best synopsis can be found on the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs website: "It was during a casting session in their school that the two protagonists of this film met the director. Each separately told him the story of how they had broken up. And what if fiction allowed them to get back together again?"