Between two worlds

The 75e Cannes film festival bowed out on Saturday night. The city is again delivered to its inhabitants after our flight of migratory birds. Strange post-pandemic edition, which tried to reconnect with the splendor and pre-chaos works. The red carpet was packed, but are the stars dreaming as much as before, since everyone has offered their quarter of an hour of glory on social media?

The seventh art, jostled by the platforms that make faces on the big screen, was looking for its marks. The filmmakers responsible for reinventing the future in a symposium called above all for the return of full rooms as before. But how do you envisage the glorious tomorrows when the sand slips through your fingers?

Certain virulent critical voices have criticized Cannes in recent days for protecting an auteur cinema that is struggling, by always welcoming the same tenors in its competition. All the same: if the big event on the Côte d’Azur does not defend a certain idea of ​​cinema, who will? Still, the autumn festivals, Venice in the first place, welcome in their race productions from Netflix and others. Thus they overshadow the spring demonstration, which refuses access to the platforms for the race for the Palme d’Or. Can Cannes be able to hold out against the powerful French lobby of cinema exhibitors, which staunchly defends cinema on the big screen? Probably not for long.

Add this year problems of defective ticketing (our badges were no longer enough to enter a room) and computer breakdowns at the start of the marathon. As for the works in competition, their level turned out to be lower than usual. Festival-goers groaned in unison.

Cannes remains Cannes, with its splendor, its controversies, its films and its ups and downs, but the influencers now have their portraits taken like the stars. Social networks are ubiquitous. Funny atmosphere, where two worlds collide.

As for Saturday’s prize list, it left us unsatisfied. Lack of audacity, the jury chaired by the French actor Vincent Lindon will not have been able to offer coherence in its choices, sowing to all winds, not always in the field of the most deserving. As for the themes addressed, dysfunctional families, the disarray of the left behind, existential and artistic anguish testified to a wounded era that does not know how to heal its wounds.

Golden Palm, Triangle of Sadness, by the Swedish Ruben Östlund, already consecrated here with The Square in 2017, crowned a funny film, with sensational effects, on incendiary lines, which will be able to target a large audience and make the name of Cannes shine. Moreover, it will be distributed here by Entract Films. But this fable on the clash of social classes ran out of steam very hard in the last part.

And multiplying the laurels ex aequo, for the Grand Prix and for the Jury Prize, this jury will have shown above all its deep divisions. Vincent Lindon obviously wanted to please everyone. It was nice to celebrate Urbi and orbi the good understanding of his group, everything oozed the choices of compromise.

We were delighted that the Grand Jury Prize crowned the subtle, touching and admirably played close, Belgian Lukas Dhont, but the most fragile Stars at Noon, by Claire Denis, despite his grace and his winding scenario like variations of jazz, did not deserve to go up in double as high as him. Same story for the Jury Prize ex aequo. The formidable Hi-Han (EO), by the Polish Jerzy Skolimowski, with his road movie at the height of a donkey, should have climbed higher, so that the originality of this formidable film is celebrated. That was The Otto Mountain, the Belgians Charlotte Vandermeersch and Felix Van Groeningen, whom no one saw on the charts as his interpreters had not convinced or moved, at his side?

And create a price of 75e to offer it to the Dardenne brothers, who have already won so many awards on the Croisette (here with Tori and Lokita), testified to a flagrant lack of renewal. Cannes should extend a perch to newcomers and to experimental filmmakers, by offering new symbols to the present times, rather than by surveying the same furrows, which hardly need it.

A difficult and brilliant work like Peace, by the Catalan Albert Serra, could have received this anniversary honor with more panache, which would have thrown a real tip of the hat to high-level cinema. Benoît Magimel, incomparable as the troubled hero of this apocalyptic film shot in Tahiti, for his part deserved hands down the prize for male interpretation. Give it to Song Kang-ho for his schemer hero of the broker of Hirokazu Kore-eda, it was walking in the footsteps of Parasitewhere he played a prominent role.

A prize list is only a prize list, a choice of nine people with different sensibilities, but the Festival would have needed to punch a punch during its awards ceremony. It left us rather an impression of déjà vu, where we would have needed a telescope to look into the distance.

Odile Tremblay is the guest of the Cannes Film Festival.

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Between two worlds