72:e Festival de Cannes report

By Moira Sullivan

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire - Portrait De La Jeune Fille En Feu 

Cannes is noteworthy in showcasing the latest work of time-honored auteur - which is not always their best. Directors climb up the rungs of the selection sections from short film awards to Palme d'Or  - like Jane Campion's Camera d’Or for Peel (1982) before her Palme d’or, or in the case of Nadine Labaki from Un certain regard Where do we go from here (2011) to Jury prize winner for Capernaum (2019). This film is the top box contender in the world for a film from the Middle East.

It is exciting to see that Céline Sciamma and her new film Portrait Of A Lady On Fire - Portrait De La Jeune Fille En Feu is one of the top contenders for the Palme d’Or as she climbs the steps in Cannes. This is the epitome of success at Cannes– to ascend the Red Steps. Sciamma is one of two women who are part of the official selection this year of 20+ films. Hulu has already bought the film for streaming – and in France the film must premiere first before it can be released, not premiere on streaming.

Sciamma's film is a  period piece about a young artist (Noémie Merlant) who is commissioned to paint a betrothed young woman (Adèle Haenel) without her knowledge and during the course of their liaison become lovers.

The other contender for the Palme d'Or  is Jessica Hausner and her film Little Joe, a sci fi ecological thriller about a plant that exudes pollen deadly to those in its vicinity.

56-year-old Quentin Tarantino, newly married, and according to him - to the right woman brings to the Croissette Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood. You cannot imagine from the title that this is a biopic on the murder of Sharon Tate, played by Margot Robbie but rather than focus on Tate, this is a love story between a stunt man (Brad Pitt) and a second rate actor (Leonardo di Caprio). Ultimately everything Tarantino makes is about himself, growing up in Hollywood – even the title makes sense. Tarantino was brought to task for sparse lines for Robbie who defended the film by explaining her role was not so much words as emotions. That goes for many films about women who are silent( and enraged).

Xavier Dolan whose last film It’s Only The End Of The World in 2016 won according to critics and undeserved grand prix presents his latest film Matthias and Maxime (played by Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas and Dolan) about a kiss that sets two heterosexual men adrift and promises to not be any more noteworthy than his last film in competition.

The winners for the Critics week have already been announced – and Nespresso who generously bestows complimentary coffee on tired and weary critics each year in the Palais has given the top prize for the best of seven features to Grand Prix Nespresso - Grand Prize J'ai Perdu Mon Corps (I Lost My Body) by Jérémy Clapin, an animate feature about Naoufel , a young man from North Africa who grows up in Paris. He who loses his hand and tries to complete himself , scripted by the enchanting Amelie writer Guillaume Laurant and Clapin. 

The top prizes will be awarded on May 25. 

© 2019 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 05/22/19
Movie Magazine International