School films, first films or experimental films… Most of the directors in the official selection like Arnaud Desplechin or David Cronenberg have tried their hand at short films. Here are ten of their creations available online.
Behind every great feature film director there is often a short film director, sometimes less skilful, but often also more adventurous and radical. The filmmakers present this year in the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival and in the Un certain regard selection are no exception to this rule.
Having worked in the short before devoting themselves to the long format or still adept at experimenting, directors from Cannes delight us with their delightful creations, many of which are available online.
“The Death of David Cronenberg”, by David Cronenberg (2021)
The director of Fly (1986) and the most recent Crimes of the Future (in the official selection), a past master in the art of body-horror, uses the catharsis offered by the cinema to expiate his anguish of death. For this, he stages himself alongside his own corpse, lying peacefully in stained sheets. A stripped device, which leaves all the room for emotion and intimacy. The result, both disturbing and intriguing, is profoundly touching.
“We work here! We live here! We stay here!”, by Claire Denis, Arnaud Desplechin… (2021)
In 2010, nearly 350 filmmakers – including Claire Denis and Arnaud Desplechin, in the running for the Palme d’or this year with Stars at Noon and Brother and sister – mobilize and sign a short manifesto, to call for the regularization of all undocumented workers. In this film, made in the vein of the two previous We, undocumented immigrants from France and Let them grow here, the workers take turns describing their deplorable working and living conditions. “I have all the papers, the only paper I need is the residence permit”, hammers in particular one of them. Revolting.
“Our Nature”, by Lukas Dhont (2021)
The director – the youngest of the official competition with Close – finds again, three years after having received the Camera d’Or for girls, choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and musician Valentin Hadjadj, for this precious short film. Two dancers evolve, separated by a flexible plastic sheet, which gives rise to moving organic shots, reminding us of a period not so long ago when physical contact was similarly constrained.
Zapping by Cristian Mungiu (2000)
Seven years before 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 daysPalme d’or of the 60and Cannes Film Festival, Cristian Mungiu – in competition this year with NMR – was already scrutinizing Romanian society closely in Zapping, short film with an explicit title. A man goes from channel to channel – despite the reproaches of his companion – before being challenged by a man in his television. With humor but also seriousness, Mungiu mocks the posture of spectator, sometimes absurd.
“Banking incident”, by Ruben Östlund (2010)
In 2006, Ruben Östlund witnesses a bank robbery, powerless. The director – crowned at Cannes in 2017 with The Square and back in official competition this year with Triangle of Sadness – tries to reproduce in Bank incident this event, and confirms his keen sense of observation. Using a fixed sequence shot, accompanied by several zooms in order to follow the action, Östlund captures the incongruous moment… Especially since the robbery in question turns out to be particularly amateurish.
“Life is but a Dream”, by Park Chan-wook (2022)
To build a coffin for an emblematic figure in his village, a man is forced to loot the grave of a deceased… Whose ghost does not take long to appear. Life Is but a Dream begins as a horror film but quickly turns into fantasy, then musical and romantic comedy. Park Chan-wook – in Cannes this year, six years later Miss, with Decision to Leave –, orchestrates this wacky story, shot entirely with an iPhone 13. A successful communication operation but also a cinematic tour de force (as evidenced by the making of the project).
“Body”, by Léonor Serraille (2016)
A year before his first feature film, Young woman, winner of the Camera d’or in 2017, Léonor Serraille – whose A little brother figure among the official selection – painted the portrait of another anti-heroine, much more melancholy. Cathy, a caregiver (Nathalie Richard, overwhelming), is confronted with her loneliness on her birthday. With finesse and subtlety, Serraille addresses isolation but also motherhood and conflicting family relationships.
Available in video on demand.
“Erotyk”, by Jerzy Skolimowski (1960)
In Erotyk, one of his first films – before the disturbing deep-end, Where EO (Hi-Han), in official competition this year – Jerzy Skolimowski had fun with the space, the depth and the reflections of his two protagonists. The first rubs a mirror, like a magic lamp and the second appears, threatening, endowed with disconcerting powers.
“Eer”, by Kristoffer Borgli (2021)
The director of Syk Pike (Sick of Myself) – in competition in the Un certain regard selection – transcribes pell-mell his anguish of living in Los Angeles without health insurance and the paranoia fueled by fake news, in a short halfway between genre film and sinister farce. The protagonist of this one tries to make forget a severely infected and deformed ear while he addresses interlocutors, themselves suffering from atrocious illnesses. The result is disturbing and resolutely barred.
“Oranges”, by Maha Haj Assal (2009)
Nominated once again in competition Un certain regard for her second feature film Mediterranean Fever, the Israeli director Maha Haj Assal first tried his hand at short films, notably with the light and touching tale Oranges (Burtuqal). In it, a young man enjoys the oranges offered by his neighbour’s tree, while the latter is unwilling to share its fruit. Despite strong morals – there is no point in being selfish, we become embittered – Oranges benefits from the certain charm of a first film.
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Cannes: discover ten short films by filmmakers present on the Croisette