74th Cannes Film Festival, Report 3

By Moira Sullivan

Lamb by Icelandic director Valdimar Jóhannsson was in competition for the Camera d ‘Or a prize for a director’s first feature in the section Un certain regard headed by jury president and director Andrea Arnold. Arnold presented out of competition the documentary Cow on the birthing process of a dairy cow. Here’s too the inclusion of animals in films and Lamb is one of the best with a mythical story of walking "Ram Men" who impregnate domesticated sheep. Noomi Rapace plays Maria who is married to Ingvar, a sheep herder in Iceland (Hilmir Snær Guðnason). They have no children. One day a newborn sheep needs extra care and they take Ada home and raise him as their own. It’s amazing cinematography and an ambitious effort worthy of the special mention it received on awards night. Rapace gave an exceptional acting performance in the film.

Memoria is a film of exceptional quality directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul from Thailand starring Tilda Swinton. Upon receiving the Jury Prize, Weerasethakul said that the two of them enjoy a fruiful collaboration that they will be continuing in future films. Swinton plays Jessica Holland, an Englishwoman who runs a flowershop orchard in Mellelin Columba. When visiting her sister who is in the hospital in Bogota sbe hears a haunting booming noise. She has Hernán (Juan Pablo Urrego), a young sound engineer recreate it on his synthesiser. The sound continues intermittently. Later when she tried to find him he disappears. SWhile walking along a river she comes across an older Hernán (Elkin Díaz) who is cleaning off the scales of fish. In their meeting she learns from him about collective memory, how it is connected to the past of Columbia and to the booming sound she hears.

Seven filmmakers made films for an anthologyduring the pandemic: The Year Of The Everlasting Storm. They were presented at a special screening at Cannes. Producer NEON explained that the films are inspired by the work of Iranian director Jafar PANAHI who has made films under house arrest including a film smuggled out of the country to Cannes in 2011 (as a surprise screening I attended: This is Not a Film).

Jafar PANAHI (Camera d'Or The White Balloon, 1995, Leon d'Oro 2000 The Circle, Jury Prize Un Certain Regard, Golden Bear Taxi 2015, Cannes Best screenplay 2018 3 Faces) chose to show his indoor environment in his apartment in Iran in Life. His most interesting housemate is Iggy, an elderly iguana with clever places to hide out. Panahi's mother arrives who has followed all the safety measures of social distancing and masking. She complains how difficult it is to speak to her granddaughter on zoom. PANAHI's film is a day in the life of lockdown in Iran.

Of considerable interest was Laura POITRAS' film Terror Contagion on forensic architecture. (Poitras directed Citizen Four (2014) on Edward Snowden, best documentary feature at the 87th Academy Awards and her 2014 film Risk on Julian Assange's Wikileaks was in "Quinzaine des Réalisateurs"). Her short concerns surveillance developed by the Israeli cyberweapons company NSO Group Technologies. Their spyware Pegasus is used in the remote surveillance of smartphones. The ramifications are astonishing for although its intended use is to combat crime, it has been purchased by US Police departments to monitor activist groups such as "Black Lives Matter".

Apichatpong WEERASEETHAKUL'S (2010 Palme d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives )impressive contribution to the anthology was Night Colonies on the nightlife of insects attracted to neon lights on a white mattress abandoned by its owners. They drop in, wiz by, land, and mass in a very industrious community of night creatures making use of a vacant space.

Next week a final report from Cannes. For Movie Magazine, this is Moira Sullivan, Cannes.

© 2021 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 07/28/2021
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