Director of the ABC cinema in Toulouse, Marc Van Maele has been at the Cannes Film Festival for more than a week. He considers the selection to be of a good level but has not yet found his Palme d’Or.
Marc Van Maele was one of the first to arrive in Cannes, ten days ago. Like every year, he participated in the days of the Afcae (French association of art house cinemas) of which he is the treasurer. The opportunity, initially, for the director of the ABC, to discuss with his colleagues on the situation of cinema in theaters. “The drop in attendance is around 30% compared to 2019 which was, it is true, an excellent year. This obviously generates concern. But I believe that this is a step to be taken and that the Cannes phenomenon will make it possible, with its films, to restart the machine, to recreate desire. »
At the start of the Cannes Film Festival, the Afcae made public a survey carried out by Ifop on “Films and series on streaming platforms”. It shows in particular that the cinema is little watched there (even if it was signed by great directors) but that this high-dose consumption of series has an impact on cinema attendance.
“The percentage of subscriptions from the French is mind-blowing, remarks Marc Van Maele. Which logically leads to a neglect of the rooms. Question of available time and purchasing power. Will the phenomenon be temporary? Nobody knows. »
At the Cannes Film Festival, Marc Van Maele will see around forty films this year, hoping to then be able to program his favorites at the ABC. “Many are of high quality but I haven’t seen any that make me say: it surpasses the others by a long way, it is an obvious Palme. This allows, to date, to remain open to all speculation as to the prize list. »
This observation is valid for French cinema whose exhibitor cites titles such as “Revoir Paris”, by Alice Winocour (“which remains in line with yet a puzzling subject like the attacks”) or “Les Amandiers” , by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi (“who recounts an entire era with enthusiasm and vitality”).
A true mirror of the world, the Festival gives us news of distant or little-known cinemas with, there too, “good quality”.
At the time of choice, Marc Van Maele highlights three very different films from each other. “Boy from heaven, by the Egyptian Tarik Saleh, is a thriller in a religious university. The story is twisted, full of pitfalls and manipulations. I like this. Armaggedon time, by James Gray, deals with roots, childhood (in 80s America, editor’s note) and how this determines what we will become. I felt good in this film, to the point of wanting it to continue, which is very rare in Cannes where the films are almost all too long. Among the great successes is also a very small film, Les Années super-8, made up of Annie Ernaux’s archives assembled by her son. We find the style, the incredible writing of the author. It’s beautiful to see how the intimate becomes universal and touches us. »
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Cannes Film Festival 2022: “Quality films but not yet Palme d’Or”