If so many amateurs were surprised to see CODA winning the Best Picture Oscar is that they couldn’t see it.
Except for Apple TV+ subscribers, hardly anyone had been able to see CODAa “remake” of the Franco-Belgian film The Aries family. Directed by Éric Lartigau and released in theaters in Quebec in 2015, The Aries family had allowed its star, the young Louane Emera, to win the César for best female hope.
In The Aries family, both parents and son are deaf. Only the daughter Paula is “hearing”. The teenager faces a harrowing dilemma when her music teacher discovers she has a lovely voice and invites her to take part in a Radio-France competition. She is essential to her family, who would not be able to manage without her on the farm she operates. The film had a meteoric career in France: 7.5 million admissions, ranking immediately after What the hell have we donean exceptional triumph seen by more than 12 million spectators.
In CODA (Coda meaning “Child Of Deaf Adults”), the family lives in fishing, Massachusetts. Aries use French sign language, but in CODA, the Rossis “speak” American Sign Language. Unlike the Franco-Belgian film, Siân Heder, the director of CODA, only used deaf actors to portray the main characters. She had a lucky hand, as Troy Kotsur won the Oscar for the supporting role. Siân Heder is thus in line with current concerns that all cultural appropriation should be avoided like the plague.
THE ACADEMY IS REDEMPTION
By choosing CODA for best film, the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences surely wanted to make people forget the many discriminatory turpitudes that have marked the history of their organization since its foundation. Despite its qualities and the good feelings with which it overflows, the film CODA neither equals the qualities of Power of the Dog nor those of Dunes or of Belfast. For those who don’t know sign language, the film can even be a bit tedious.
That said, we will have to end up agreeing on the exclusivity that the major digital platforms can assume over works worth millions. If only Apple TV+ subscribers could see CODAis that Apple had extended 25 million US dollars for the exclusive rights as soon as it was presented at the Sundance festival in January 2021. The film then won the jury prize and the public prize.
THE CANNES COMPROMISE
Next month, at the Cannes Film Festival, films from digital platforms with no theatrical releases will once again be excluded. It’s just as absurd as reserving a work exclusively for those who can afford to subscribe to platforms. A few months ago, we proposed to the Cannes Film Festival to accept films from platforms on the condition that they undertake to release the film in theaters if it wins the Palme d’Or. The direction of the festival rejected this compromise, however very reasonable.
For its part, Apple has decided to release its exclusivity on CODA for a limited period, the duration of which has not been specified. Since April 1, the film has been shown in 600 theaters in the United States. As for me, if you’ve ever seen The Aries familyyou can pass GO, as they say in Monopoly.
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Should we see the Rossi if we have seen the Aries?