Critics’ Notebook: Cannes calls for diversity of cinema

One of the most viral moments from the 75th Cannes Film Festival, which ended with a presentation over the weekend …

One of the most viral moments of the 75th Cannes Film Festival, which ended this weekend with the presentation of the Golden Palm Palm Hygiene film by Ruben Ostlund’s “Triangle of Sorrows”, was not a miss on the red carpet and not the fighters that flew over Tom’s head. It was director James Gray who put forward a thoughtful argument that mainstream cinema could be more than superheroes.

Gray, who premiered in Cannes the premiere of his 80s autobiography, The Time of Armageddon, sparked a storm of applause for comments that suggested Hollywood studios should be willing to lose money on less franchise filmmaking to help expand rather than narrowing down the film audience.

“Someone needs to talk to the other side,” Gray told me the morning after the premiere of “Time of Armageddon.” “So you support the broad interest in the media. If you focus on just one piece and do it over and over again, you are in big trouble. Then people stop thinking of cinema as a broad art form with many different iterations with many windows to the world.

The windows of the Ditches into the world are not without their own obstacles. Sometimes the festival can feel too codified in the male authorial version of the arthouse. But it remains one of the world’s most expansive, fascinatingly resilient displays of cinema’s capabilities.

Because of its scale and unique position as a self-proclaimed temple of cinema, Cannes often serves as a referendum on cinema and barricades the French Riviera against the tides of change. This was especially true this year. By the 75th anniversary of Cannes, filmmakers had gathered to discuss the future of the media. Guillermo del Toro, who spearheaded the effort, said today’s film structures were “not sustainable”.

“We find that not only the delivery system is changing. Attitudes towards the audience are changing, ”Del Toro said. “Are we holding on, or are we looking for and looking for adventure?”

The questions asked by Del Toro and others were undoubtedly important to anyone making or watching the film today. But often the best answers were found on the screen, where the spectrum of cinema was intoxicatingly wide. Yes, there were multi-budget spectacles (“Top Gun: Maverick” by Joseph Kosinski, “Elvis” by Baz Luhrmann), which made a lot of noise. But, unlike the multiplex, it wasn’t the only show in town. Great films existed next to a seemingly endless tent full of discoveries.

There was an imaginary awe of South Korean director Pak Chan Uk’s quirky noir “The Decision to Leave,” a love story wrapped in police procedure. There were sober examinations of “RMN” by Christian Mungiu, a Romanian microcosm of xenophobia that turns into a scene in the town hall, and a devastatingly lyrical last shot. There was the painful melancholy of Mia Hansen-Leuve’s “One Good Morning,” an intimate Parisian drama about a single mother (the gorgeous Leo Seidou) with a dying father who manages to keep life and death, love and loneliness in the tender palm of his hand. his hand.

All of these filmmakers have been to Cannes before and are likely to be like that again. But one of the most exciting shocks of this year’s festival was the debut in the section “Critics’ Week in Cannes” by Scottish writer and director Charlotte Wells. Her “Aftersun” starring Paul Mescal and Frankie Caria is a story of a father and daughter, told with such dexterity that it avoids all the usual clichés of this relationship. If there was good reason to hope that films would have a stable future, it was the emergence of filmmakers like Wales.

The fact that highlights such as “Aftersun” and “One Fine Morning” came from the sidebar sections in Cannes, rather than the main competition of 21 films, in itself reminded me that finding the best material today may take look beyond the main scenes of the films.

This is only true in the homeland, away from the land of fantasies on the Cote d’Azur. The films are returning to cinemas after two years of a pandemic, and given that the prospects for streaming services are not as rosy as they once were, watching movies on the big screen has gained some momentum. However, the usual Saturday night rental offers speak more of market saturation than variety. Over the weekend on Remembrance Day, “Top Gun: Maverick” opened on a record 4,735 screens in North America.

What is the post-Canal afterlife in such conditions for films that stood out in France? Companies such as A24, which took Barry Jenkins’ production of “Aftersun” and Lucas Dont’s drama about childhood “Close”, have found new ways to reach a large audience. The boutique studio recently made its biggest hit with the joyfully original “Everything Everywhere and At Once”.

Sony Pictures Classics, which is counting on an adult audience that continues to return to the cinema, has acquired “One Fine Morning”. Neon, which took the 2019 Palme d’Or winner Parasite to Best Picture at the Oscars, bought the Palme d’Or winner for the third time in a row. rich. Starring Woody Harrelson. Ostlund described his film as a combination of arthouse and Hollywood feelings.

These distributors hope to have an appetite for something other than what is usually served in theaters.

“A man can’t live on Batman alone,” Luhrmann said, praising Matt Reeves’ Batman.

Tom Hanks, taking the same example from his director “Elvis”, told me that he also finds “Batman” great. But it made him think.

“I also had to think: should we forget all those other Batman movies that came out?” Asked Hanks, who usually stayed away from sequels and reboots. “Are they really saying, ‘Who is this guy?’ when batman comes into the room? I know who Batman is. Don’t these people know who Batman is?

“There’s something wonderful and there will always be something in the film that stands on its own,” Hanks added.

There were many other films in Cannes that stood out on their own. One was Kelly Reichardt’s film “Appearance,” Reichardt’s fourth film with Michelle Williams and a particularly expressive film for the 58-year-old indie director of restrained minimalist indie. Williams plays the artist Lizzie from Portland, who, unlike Reichardt, sculpts portraits of women on a modest scale, only her environment – ceramics. In preparation for a small exhibition in the gallery, Lizzie juggles various troubles and distractions, but, like Reichardt, eventually ends up doing something truly personal that is worth showing up for.


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