A Few Words from Cannes, 2017 Film Festival

Quelques mots de Cannes,  Festival du film 2017
The party is over !
What is left after seeing 3 or 4 movies a day for 10 days? In the few lines that follow, more than critics, film by film, images that came from other places or from the past, which meet, telescope, crossed impressions at random from the films seen, (37) a few notes on the general atmosphere or informations read in the festival press.

Unable to see all the films presented in the different selections: competition, hors compétition, un certain regard, cannes classics, quinzaine des réalisateurs, semaine de la critique, acid, cinéma de la plage…

The first thought will therefore be a regret: have not been able to see or review certain films. Regret, often irrettrapable because many will never go out in theaters.

Projected at the beginning of the Festival, 120 battements par minute (120 beats per minute) of Robin Campino, (135 mn) was also appreciated by critics as spectators, making a favorite for the Palme.
120 beats per minute is a documentary drama that retraces the story of Act-up France by a director who was a member.
Taking the pretext of the arrival of two new members, the film begins with a brief explanation of Act-up and its actions, useful for viewers who are not always aware. Then there is the preparation of actions, their realization, punching actions, vigorous but non-violent, to upset the general indifference and even more that of the government and a multinational pharmaceutical… The film evolves towards internal conflicts sometimes severe and increasingly serious personal health issues that have profoundly affected a whole generation …
120 beats per minute did not have La Palme but only the Grand Prix. There is no doubt that he will find his audience even if, fortunately, things have changed in relation to the period of the film.

Quelques mots de Cannes,  Festival du film 2017

The Square, directed by Ruben Östlund (Sweden, 142 mn) won La Palme d’or. Ruben Östlund has already received in Cannes, le prix du jury un certain regard in 2014 for Force majeure (Snow Therapy).

On a Stockholm square, a woman flees a persecutor, no one helps her. Finally, two men interposed and congratulated their action. One, Christian, director of the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm, who soon realizes that his cards, cell phone, cufflinks have been stolen. From then on, things will go wrong.

In his desire to recover his property, he will run up against the pugnacity of a young boy, who is unduly accused of robbery; In his professional life, an unhappy clip for the exhibition he prepares, The Square, inciting to tolerance and solidarity, puts him in a delicate situation.
The Square, as Snow Therapy, poses the question of responsibility, cowardice, but here in the well-policed ​​Swedish society that is depicted with a squeaky humor touching journalism, art … What everyone did not appreciate.
This interesting film would, however, be shortened by about twenty minutes.

Le Redoutable by Michel Hazanavicius (107 mn). The film is inspired by the book of Anne Wiazemsky – Godard’s wife, 1967-1970 – A year later, released in 2015 which tells May 68-May 69.
Jean-Luc Godard in 1968, in full glory. A bad reception of the film La Chinoise with Anne Wiazemsky and the spirit of May 68 provoke a profound questioning of the filmmaker. He engages in the 68 challenge, becomes maoist, denies his first films and wants to create a cinema in accordance with his new ideas. It launches into public or private statements that strike everyone.
Film shot at the Godard maner  which describes a Godard probably sincere in the turmoil but unbearable including for his wife, his friends …

Another film about a personality, Rodin, by Jacques Doillon, (France, Belgium, 119 mn), a film that would win or to be subtitled or to be dubbed in French, notably Vincent Lindon, so that we can understand what is being said.

Quelques mots de Cannes,  Festival du film 2017
Without knowing, if it is a deliberate choice or the tune of the time, several films were staging not problems of adolescents as often but of younger children.

Okja by Bong Joon-ho, (South Korea / United States, 118 mn). Korean farmers, a grandfather and his granddaughter, are raising an exceptionally genetically modified pig for a multinational agribusiness (Mirando). This pig is so well treated that it becomes the most beautiful of the experimental series of the multinational. He is therefore promised to glory and to make the best sausage. But the little girl will defend Okja with the help of the Animal Liberation Front …
This film, produced by Netflix, is more American than Korean: vision of the remote countryside in Korea, criticism of animal suffering inflicted by capitalist agro-industry. The adventure ends well thanks to the girl’s love for Okja, her fierce struggle and her alliance with the FLA that not only saves Okja but also a piglet that discreetly her parents escape from the slaughterhouse, Passing under the barbed wire …

This American optimism carried by children, a classic, is found in Wonderstruck by Todd Haynes, (United States 117 mn).
In 1927, Rose, deaf and dumb, escaped to New York to join her mother, famous actress who rejects her but finds her elder brother. In 1977, Ben, who had become accidentally deaf, also fled to New York in search of his father, whom he knew nothing about. These two lives, told in parallel, the first in black and white, the second in color, will eventually meet.
The story, difficult enough to follow at the beginning, two lives at 50 years of distance, ends happily. Ben finds a family and even makes a friend, a young black, a little forsaken by his parents, who suffers from loneliness.

The films that were programmed were far from optimistic, even when they were children.
In The killing of a sacred deer of Yorcos Lanthymos (Ireland, 109 mn), Steven, a cardiac surgeon, takes the young Martin, whose father died at one of his interventions. The young boy announces to the surgeon that he must execute a member of his family, his wife or one of his two children, otherwise they will all die gradually. Soon the son of the surgeon is suffering from unexplained disorders, first a paralysis of the lower limbs then new symptoms appear … which will lead Stephen to an impossible choice.

Particularly pessimistic, the films coming from the east of Europe.
Nubov (Love Fault) by Andrey Zvyagintsev, (Russia / France, 127 mn), shows a couple who quarrels under the eyes of their son who disappears.
The tear is exacerbated during the child’s researches. The cracking of each persisted years later. The protagonists can not rebuild themselves elsewhere, although each has a partner who should bring back a certain serenity.
Failure is not just that of a couple. But that of a society where the administration is incapable of organizing the research of the child and where even the volunteers, active and organized, can not find the missing young person
An inefficient society, broken adults, a youth without a future.
Krotkaya (Sweet Woman) by Sergei Loznitza, (Ukraine, 143 mn) (1)
A woman tries to bring her imprisoned husband a package she had sent him but which the administration refused to transmit without explanation. The package is rejected again, at the counter, without motivation. She tries to achieve her ends by all means, addresses the association of defense of the prisoners, confronts different police networks and / or mafia … before disappearing in the night for a new attempt…
The same pessimism is found in two films seen in un certain regard.
Tesnota of Kantemir Balagov (Russia, 118 mn) takes place in 1998 in Nalchik, in the North Caucasus, where Jewish community and Kabarda (Muslim) community coexist. Illana works in her father’s garage. A family celebration is organized for the betrothal of his younger brother David. But this one and his fiancée are kidnaped with demand of ransom.
To collect the required sum, the family appeals to the Jewish community which does not respond with enthusiasm: each has his problems. To pay, they must sell all their goods, the workshop … Finally, the family agrees to marry Illana to get the necessary amount …
But Illana, who is independent, has a relationship with a young person from the Kabardan community, despite the tensions that exist between the two communities, refuses. These tensions are highlighted during a television show showing the decapitations of Russian soldiers by the Chechens who allow anti-semitic reflections …
Finally, the family is broken. David remains with his wife in the Jewish community while Illana follows his parents who move, once again.

Posoki (Directions) : Stephan Komandarev (Bulgaria / Germany, 143 mn) gives a glimpse of the problems of Bulgaria during and after the communist period through Sofia’s nocturnal taxi races.

If the hero of the film in competition, Jupiters’Moon by Kornel Mundruczo (Hungary, Germany, 123 mn) is successful, it is by levitation! Indeed, this young Syrian refugee is wounded, by gunshot, at the crossing of the Hungarian border. This injury gives him the power of levitation that a doctor will want to exploit financially while the young immigrant thinks only of finding his father in a station. The film shows the situation of refugees entering or attempting to enter Hungary and makes the link explosion-bombing in the station with immigration … The young does not find his father but hovering in levitation over the city.

Aus dem Nichts, the German-Turkish film by Fatih Akin, (France / Germany, 96 mn) also talks about an attack but neo-Nazi. In Hamburg, the agency of a Turk, married with a German, is destroyed by a Nazi attack, resulting in the death of the father and his son. The assassins are discovered and acquitted. It is the mother who will do justice.

Quelques mots de Cannes,  Festival du film 2017
Two films presented inf different selections, dealing with female fantasies, dixit Jean-Claude Carrière, for Belle de jour by Luis Buñuel (1967, 101 mn, cannes classics). And François Ozon’s L’amant double, (107 mn, hors compétition). Female fantasies? Seen by men? For men ? In any case, with a woman’s approach very different from one film to another and images now more explicit.

Three French films on the war with aspects that differ, in particular, according to the date of filming: La bataille du rail, by René Clément (cannes classics, 85 mn), film on the Resistance of railwaymen during the occupation (released in February 1946 ),  
Week-end à Zuidcoote, (cinéma de la plage, 119 mn), by Henri Verneuil (1964) with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Nos années folles (hors compétition, 103 mn), by André Téchiné (2017). From the collective and anonymous heroism of the Resistance, magnified after the Liberation, to the personal and family drama of a deserter, during and after the war of 14-18, disguised as a woman to escape military justice and finally transvestite, through the adventures of the national Belmondo in the Poche de Dunkerque !

Among the films seen, Latin America was hardly present, Marcela Said’s Los perros (semaine de la critique, Chile / France, 94 mn) reveals the difficulties of hiding the past of members of good society under dictatorships in Chile and Argentina.

La novia del desierto (Argentina / Chile, un certain regard, 78 mn) by Cecilia Atan and Valeria Pivato. A woman, 54, leaves Buenos Aires for a new place in another city that she must reach by bus. At a stop, she goes for a ride on the market and leaves her bag in a trader’s truck. The next day, she goes looking for the trader, finds him, not the bag, and goes with him. Finally, she finds the bag and much more … But the roads diverge between the merchant – nomad – and the lady of company – sedentary.
Happy and brief encounter, treated with discretion.

This is not the case of another short meeting that tells Claude Lanzmann in Napalm (hors compétition, 50 mn). On his third trip to North Korea, Claude Lanzmann shoots a documentary about his historical flirtation with a beautiful, of course, Korean nurse on a previous trip. Narcissistic documentary of an old intellectual who could have been the subject of a beautiful short story.

Quelques mots de Cannes,  Festival du film 2017

They are also brief encounters of a totally different kind that Visages, villages of Agnes Varda and JR. (hors compétition, 89 mn) talks about. They crisscross the French countryside with a truck that makes it possible to draw large posters. They meet people, a saleswoman, workers, farmers … Photograph them, draw huge posters that they stick in the village, in the factory … Humor, discretion, exchanges …

Quelques mots de Cannes,  Festival du film 2017

Talked about in Cannes

Everyone likes to say that the festival-goers, in a certain way, live in a bubble, especially if you do not sacrifice the few free moments to go from the big screen to the small (television) or the tiny (portable), links with the world that continues … Even more if you take advantage of the sunny weather to stay on the terrace, a little beyond the time strictly necessary for restoration, to stroll and enjoy the spectacle of the Croisette or even to take a quick bath, sun or sea.

The events are quite blunt to the simple festival-goers: more or less firm handshake, which gives meaning to the world, to the visit of the new minister of culture.
Cannes is not far from Nice, nor from Manchester. A bomb alert may have brought some disturbances, generally unseen. More notable is the significant police presence, the strengthening of controls and security measures without major consequences except some additional expectations. In the usual queues, the discussions between festival-goers, carried like every year on the films seen or to be seen, on the chances of such or such film to obtain the Palme
Perhaps, some thought of the possible attacks, it did not appear in the conversations …

In the professional press, available free, two subjects important for the future of the cinema were approached by all: virtual reality and Netflix,

Should it be selected films produced by Netflix, intended for the small screen and which will not go out in the movie theaters? What will be the future relationships between Netflix and the Festival? And cinema?

Two films were selected in the compétition officielle The Meyerowitz Stories by Noah Baumbach and Okja by Bong Joon-ho. Another to la quinzaine des réalisateurs  Bushwick of Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott. These films should not be released in theaters. The first Netflix film, Beasts of No Nation, was launched in 2015 in Venice and has not been released in Italian cinemas.
Amazon, the competitor of Netflix, allows the release in theaters before broadcasting and complies with the regulations in force. Amazon presents in competition Wonderstruck of Todd Haynes.

In France, films were first released in theaters, four months later, on DVD, after ten-twelve months on pay-TV channels, twenty-two to thirty months on free channels and thirty-six months on video on demand By subscription (Netflix, Amazon, CanalPlay, etc.). If Okja (released in South Korea on June 29) or Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories were released first in a theater circuit, Netflix could only broadcast it in 2020 on its site.

A new rule should be applied by the Festival in 2018: any film selected in competition must be broadcast in theaters.

The taxes levied on each cinema ticket by the CNC and the timeline for the release of films are part of the protection of the French film industry. Netflix wants to evade these obligations and choose its investments without going through the system applied by all the French broadcasters.

The battle raged, some accused Netflix of wanting the death of the movie theaters, for others the presence of a film Netflix or Amazon in competition in Cannes is the natural accompaniment of the evolution of the world. Can the cinema and the Festival totally cut itself off from Netflix’s enormous means of production that will attract the best directors? With the possibility of making spectacular movies that will only be visible on the small screen ???

For now, the Festival is doing well. Le Film français of May 26 noted that 12,324 buyers were present in Cannes for the Film Market, including 2,113 Americans, 1,801 French, 1186 British, 600 Chinese (+ 21%), and that 3820 films were on offer.

A short film in virtual reality, Carne y arena (flesh and sand) by Alejandro Gonzáles Iñarritu, was the first film to be presented at the Cannes Film Festival.

This film, of a hot, totally immersive news, tells the story of Latinos in their attempt to enter the United States clandestinely. The spectator is equipped with a virtual reality helmet to live 360 ​​degrees the journey of these people. Thierry Frémaux, the delegate general of the Festival, said after seeing the film: we leave it, trembling and impressed.

Is virtual reality a passing mode like 3D, a limited form in its diffusion like Imax or is it called to become the new cinema? Many producers are interested. Many theaters would already be active in China. And China is the future big market of cinema …

Fnac has launched a virtual cinema to recreate the atmosphere of a cinema outing! By coupling virtual reality helmet and subscription, we can watch a film on demand, at home in A cinema atmosphere !!!!!!

1 – It is increasingly difficult to say the nationality of a film: Krotkaya is a co-production between France-Netherlands-Germany-Lithuania, with Russian and Ukrainian private financing, Latvian tax credit, realized by a Ukrainian in Latvia and Russian ???

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