There was certainly a diffuse air of satisfaction at meeting, almost as “before”, last Thursday in this cinema, on the Champs Élysées, which has since become the place of the annual meeting of critics and the Thierry duo. Frémaux (General Delegate) and Pierre Lescure (outgoing President) to find out about the next Cannes vintage which will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year. From the outset, the first figure falls, 22,200 films received by the festival office. On arrival 47 detained. Less than last year, but in 2020 and after a virtual year, not to say white, it was necessary “whatever the cost” (as Emmanuel Macron, the other outgoing president, but still in the running, would say) send signals to filmmakers adrift or isolated by the Covid, that Cannes was thinking of them and even of the others, those who had not been able to shoot a single image.
This year, there will therefore be some fifty films in all sections (Official Competition, Un Certain Regard, Cannes Première, Out of Competition, Special Screenings).
In Official Competition and in the running for the Palme d’Or, only 18 films have already been selected. We will note the remarkable entry of two more than promising filmmakers, the Egyptian-Swedish, Tariq Saleh who had already attracted many eyes on him with his punchy thriller “Cairo Confidential” and who tells in “Holy Boy” the merciless war that will lead rival tendencies, to capture the religious heritage left, at his death, by the mufti of a powerful theological university. Religion will also be the essential argument of this serial killer, “Holy Spider” by Iranian-Danish Ali Abassi. Finally, last but not least, the long-awaited “Leïla Brothers” by Iranian Saeed Roustayi, author of the breathtaking “The Law of Tehran” decreed, by international critics, best thriller of the year 2021.
The Franco-Algerian Rachid Bouchareb who has already marked the spirits of Cannes and rather twice than once with “Indigènes” (2006) and “Hors-la-loi” (2010), also returns this time with “Nos Frangins” perhaps the third part of an as yet untold trilogy. A return to the murder characterized, committed by police-acrobats, circulating on motorcycles and bludgeoning with their contraption all that would be, unfortunately, in their path. And this was the case in 1986, when thousands of high school students came out in large numbers to protest against a law decided by a minister Devaquet. On that day in December 1986, the acrobats did more than distribute blows on the fly, even going so far as to pursue certain young people in the halls of buildings, as was the case for Malik Oussekine, a brilliant student who succumbed to beatings from truncheons. “Our Brothers” will be presented in the new “Cannes Première” section, with proven prestige, given the big names who inaugurated it in 2021, but without the Palme d’Or at the end of the race.
Still, the contenders for inclusion in the Official List are still names with already established prestige, for the most part. Like the Canadian Cronenberg who surrounded himself with Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart and Léa Seydoux to tackle with “Crimes of the future”, the question of organ donation, but in a very ´´Cronenbergian´´ way. Chills guaranteed. On the other hand, the emotion will be to be found on the side of James Gray, the most romantic of New York filmmakers who returns this year with “Armageddon Time”, from which the smell of sulfur seems to well up, since the film operates a real dive into the mythical district of Queens where Fred Trump, real estate developer and incidentally progenitor of Donald Trump, lives.
Arnaud Desplechin, the most interesting filmmaker of his generation, in France, will land with “Brother and Sister”, a continuation of his exploration of his family stories that he apparently likes more and more. To date, therefore, eighteen films have been announced for the Official Competition, but as usual it would not be surprising if three or four other titles were added by next week.
While also waiting for the president of the jury and its members to be announced at the same time as the poster for this 75th Cannes International Film Festival.
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L’Expression: Culture – The godfather Skolimovski and the big brother Bouchareb