74th Cannes Film Festival Report 1

Moira Jean Sullivan

At the opening ceremony of the 74th Festival de Cannes, Jodie Foster and wife, actress and photographer Alexandra Hedison, arrived on the Red Carpet along with President Spike Lee and members of the jury, and the ensemble for Leos Carax’ opening film Annette. They were greeted by Cannes festival director Thierry Frémaux and French Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot.

After the screening Foster gave a concise and moving speech and thanked her wife and festival in the presence of invited guests at the beautiful Salle Lumière. Foster’s long career from a child star to two Academy Awards for Best Actress and a Golden Globe for Lifetime Achievement is followed by this special honor that has been awarded to filmmakers such as Agnès Varda. Foster was in great form and gave a seminar the following day in Salle Bunuel.

82 year old Paul Verhoeven’s latest film is Benedetta the true story of a 17th century nun that falls in love with Bartolomea. The nuns are played by Belgian actors Virginie Efira and Daphne Patakia. Verhoeven throws in contemporary twists in the film with Sister Benedetta who speaks to Jesus and also embodies his voice and the plague linked to homophobia. Charlotte Rampling plays the Abbess. The film is a top contender for the Palme d'Or/Queer Palm and received a long standing ovation at Cannes.

Highly anticipated in the official competition was Mia Hansen-Løve's Bergman Island the film is however a superficial attempt to get closer to Ingmar Bergman, by walking in the same places where he made some of his films on Fårö in Sweden at his summer residence. Scenes such include wonderment over sleeping in the same bedroom where Liv Ullmann and Erland Josephson did their downward marriage spiral in Scenes from a Marriage and traipsing over the sea rocks and pools where Elizabeth (Liv Ullman) and nurse Sister Alma (Bibi Andersson) romped during a therapeutic week at Elizabeth's psychiatrist's summer house (Margaretha Krook) in Persona.Filmmaker couple Tony (Tim Roth) and Chris (Vicky Krieps) are visiting "Bergman Week" on Fårö and writing screenplays as artists in residence. Getting there using a a mobile app after boarding the rustic ferry, meeting locals who never heard of Bergman and writing film scripts about a woman in bondage (Tony) and a woman painfully involved with a married man (Chris) is thin on inspiration and short of any compelling focus. The film's subject is about Bergman and not about Bergman. Multiple wives and children he didn't care about is one of the points pounded home, but the film is actually a travelogue for "Bergmanland" on Fårö and for those who don't live in Sweden it might seem enchanting to live in little huts and buy local sheepskins. For those who know about the filmmaker and his work, however, it is disappointing about what it could have been.

© 2021 - Moira Jean Sullivan - Air Date: 07/14/21
Movie Magazine International