Ruben Östlund’s film violently polarizes the French press and seduces foreigners, but without managing to mask a more general rejection of the festival.
Those nostalgic for the fiery Cannes controversy will get their money’s worth this year: Triangle of Sadness is the most divisive Palme d’or observed for many editions, perhaps since 2004 and the prize awarded to Fahrenheit 9/11 by Quentin Tarantino’s jury. In France, very schematically, it is a good old left-right divide that the film seems to crystallize, with on the one hand the passionate defense of Figaro (where Östlund incidentally corroborated this simplistic reading by asserting that “the leftist press don’t like[ait] not [son] film”) and, on the other, almost all the rest of the media-cultural hemicycle: Freed, Telerama (whose even mixed drafting signs a However), The worldor of course The Inrocks.
The balance of power is more or less reversed abroad, where the left-wing media having directly attacked the satirical and vomitous cruise film of the director of The Square are finally counted on the fingers of one or two hands: this is for example the case of a Guardian resigned to the ambient cynicism (“Perhaps this film is what the world needs now: a cinema that feels bad, but which does not upset us too much and flatters our Manichean certainties”). The rest of the Anglo-Saxons are mostly won over to Swedish satire, which would have ended at the top of the chart of the international press of Screen Daily without the two lead notes of the English daily and its French counterpart, The world (erroneously swapped with Positive). It is also very well received by variety (“He makes you laugh, but also think”zzz), vulnerabilitythe washington post where the HollywoodReporter in the USA.
Something rotten remains however in the reactions, even positive, to the arrival of this new double Palmé in the club already formed by Haneke, the Dardenne brothers, Kusturica, Loach, Coppola, August and Imamura. Östlund’s Palme d’or comes to close an edition of which the foreign press did not in fact wait for the winners to find reasons to dent it, between the accusations of censorship formulated by Deadline towards Thierry Frémaux, or the very harsh words in Germany of Die Zeit prefiguring in a certain way the choices of the jury of Vincent Lindon (“The largest film festival in the world resembles the court of France just before the 1789 revolution: frozen in etiquette, locked in hierarchical conventions and intellectual clientelism”). At the opening of the festival, the Guardian observed quite finely what double meaning one could read in the poster of the 75th edition resulting from the last plan of the Truman Showa film about a world under glass, filmed permanently and which persuades itself to be real : “Is Cannes the door or the bubble, the disease or the medicine?”
It is in a climate of questioning not of Östlund’s film but of the festival itself that the mixed reactions of certain major international press titles are to be put into perspective, as evidenced by variety who so liked the movie but still sees in his coronation the sign of a festival in coma, whose selection no longer offers heartfelt emotions or embodied characters. The great critic of New Yorker Richard Brody didn’t even make it to Cannes this year, and just wrote a very nice review on one of the most beautiful films of the selection, to which he had been able to access upstream: Armageddon Time, by James Grey. The disturbing sign is perhaps in this disavowal much more than in the excitement produced by a satirical pochade expected and rewarded beyond reason.
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[Cannes 2022] “Triangle of Sadness”: how was the Palme d’or received by the international press? – Les Inrocks