Cannes 2021: after the surprise of “Haut et Fort” by Nabil Ayouch, the prognosis for the Palme d’Or is emerging

On the eve of the last day of the Cannes Film Festival, a question is on everyone’s lips: who will be the Palme d’Or? For film critics, it will be a political film, like “Haut et fort” by Franco-Moroccan Nabil Ayouch, screened on July 15.

Fifteen minutes of ovation. High and loud, by Franco-Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch, caused a surprise at the Cannes Film Festival during its screening on Thursday, July 15. Engaged, exciting, vibrant, dynamic, the feature film is a immersed in a Moroccan youth rocked by hip-hop and rap.

It is also a powerful message that he delivers to the youth of the Moroccan suburbs. Between documentary and fiction, High and loud “is a musical film but also a social and political film”, explains Nabil Ayouch after the screening. He sets up music as a remedy against ills, a weapon of social protest, an alternative to violence. For some people, High and loud stands out as a serious candidate for the Palme d’Or.

On the eve of the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival and the award ceremony, France 3 Côte d’Azur gleaned the forecasts of culture journalists and festival-goers to see more clearly about the contenders for the Palme d’Or. However, we must remain cautious: “Often critics disagree with the charts”, recalls Jacky Bornet, journalist at franceinfo culture.

The Palm will be political

“Spike Lee has very strong opinions. He is a fan of political cinema, which fits in. And too bad if the form does not follow too much”, notes Samuel Douhaire, head of the screen service at Telerama. For the journalist, it is the most engaged films of this competition that will seduce the jury.

High and loud, therefore, has all its chances. “The jury will surely fall for it”, confirms Jacky Bornet, “even if, cinematographically, it is very poor. It is a false documentary”. “He’s a little wobbly and very demonstrative”, slips Samuel Douhaire.

The journalist of Telerama think that Lingui, the sacred bonds, another film with a strong message, could find favor in Spike Lee’s eyes. Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun denounces excision and campaigns for abortion, condemned by law and religion in Chad. But, once again, Jacky Bornet and Samuel Douhaire are not convinced. “It’s a very beautiful film and well shot”, explains the journalist from franceinfo, “but there is an interpretation problem”. Samuel Douhaire adds: “It’s heavy, clumsy. It’s Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s least successful film”.

“If the jury makes a coherent and political prize list, it will win Petrov’s fever “, whose director Kirill Serebrennikov has been under house arrest in Moscow, Russia, since 2017. “It would be to affirm support for an prevented creator”, which is under pressure from the Russian authorities, adds the journalist of Telerama.

If the jury “do not dare to take decisions that are too strong”, he can turn to A hero by Iranian Asghar Farhadi, “more consensual”. A film that Samuel Douhaire liked a lot. “It’s a very beautiful, moving film, which apparently was very well liked by Spike Lee. There is a bit of social denunciation, but it is very clever. Asghar Farhadi plays with censorship, so there is plenty of implied “.

How about a French film? It is besides the film by Catherine Corsini which marked Jacky Bornet the most. The divide is a choral film around the “yellow vests” and the nursing staff. He “reflects the French social crisis very well. But, in my opinion, he will not win the Palme “. He ends up wondering: “And why not, ultimately ?”. If he’s dealing with a crisis “Franco-French”, it has after all a “universal social message”, which could seduce the jury, notes Jacky Bornet.

Your predictions

Let’s forget about the jury for a moment. What would be your ideal Palme d’Or? “I am Titanium that I like a lot”, enthuses Jack Bronet. Second feature film by the French Julia Ducournau (who directed Serious in 2016 on a family of cannibals), Titanium mixes the fantastic with gore, humor and emotion. “It’s so crazy, innovative, respectful of the masters while going beyond references”.

For Samuel Douhaire, Drive my car deserves the Palme. “It’s a great romantic film, very intelligent, moving, well written, surprising”. Still little known in France, the Japanese Ryusuke Hamaguchi makes films “experimental, but increasingly accessible, while remaining ambitious”.

Annette, France, The story of my wife… On the Croisette, opinions and preferences diverge just as much. No trend seems to be emerging.

The final (and official!) Prize list will be revealed by the jury during the Prize List Ceremony, which begins at 7.45 p.m. on Saturday July 17th. The announcement will be followed by the screening of OSS 117, Alerte rouge en Afrique noire by Nicolas Bedos.

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Cannes 2021: after the surprise of “Haut et Fort” by Nabil Ayouch, the prognosis for the Palme d’Or is emerging

Hank Gilbert