Cannes Film Festival: French films can really believe it

France has been waiting for the Palme d’Or for… not so long: 2015 with “Dheepan” by Jacques Audiard, two years after that of Abdellatif Kechiche for “la Vie d’Adèle”. 2021 promises to be an excellent vintage. For almost all French films in competition. Assets in order of entry into the competition of our favorites before the winners on Saturday.

“Annette” by Leos Carax : outsider for the Best Director Award. Carax is a rare, cult filmmaker, known abroad, who shot this musical comedy, or rather tragedy, with two international stars, Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver. Some make it their Palme. We would not necessarily bet on this price, as the competition is strong, with films more responding to the wish of Spike Lee, president of the Jury, to reward a film very socially engaged, on the diversity and chaos of the current world. Even if “Annette” evokes the after #MeToo, one thinks rather of a possible Prize of the directing, so much the brilliance of Carax bursts visually in each image.

“Everything went well” by François Ozon: André Dussollier at the top. This film on the end of life of a man victim of a stroke who refuses to let himself be wasted and wants to choose his death has against him, like “Annette”, having been shown at the very beginning of the festival. But how can we forget the dazzling performance of André Dussollier, whom we do not immediately recognize. He plays with a prosthesis, has transformed his voice and even the way he laughs. But beyond this physical performance, he breathes such strength into this man at the end of the race that the Best Actor Award, at 75, would be a magnificent tribute to such a great career.

“Benedetta” by Paul Verhoeven: Virginie Efira can believe in heaven. Unlike Dussollier, Efira faces very strong competition. But the Belgian naturalized French actress is so intense and plausible in a yet jaw-dropping role, that of a Renaissance nun who discovers desire and pleasure in the arms of a novice, that we cannot ‘to remove.

“La Fracture” by Catherine Corsini: what if Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi… We were not dazzled by this film. But Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, a great bourgeois and lover neglected by his wife, is so hilarious and human in the chaos of a hospital in the midst of the yellow vests crisis that she wears this film on the social divide. A high-flying interpretation.

“Bergman Island” by Mia Hansen-Love: a good script … Another French director, Mia Hansen-Love, behind the camera of this little-noticed film but which develops an intrigue in the plot. A filmmaker on a pilgrimage to the island where Ingmar Bergman lived tells her companion, also a director, the story she is inventing, and which is materializing before our eyes. An outsider for the Screenplay Award.

Julia Ducournau’s “Titanium”: what an achievement! We like or not this horror film which is not really one, signed by a young 37-year-old filmmaker. We do not understand everything, we are not forced to join, but her talent is obvious: Julia Ducournau has something of a feminine Tarantino in violent scenes, the way of spraying a crime with stroboscopic colors on a ultra-cool offbeat music. “Titanium” is a bit like “Kill Bill”. Namely, a real speech, a woman who responds to violence with violence, in a staging that plunges you into a sensory ocean. Very serious candidate for the Directing or Jury Prize.

Léa Seydoux, twice a candidate. The French actress is dazzling as well in the beautiful and classic “Story of my wife” by Hungarian Ildikó Enyedi, as in the provocative and very current “France”, where she embodies a TV star between cynicism and self-quest. We only see a rival at this level, the Norwegian actress of “Julie (in 12 chapters)”.

But yes, Jacques Audiard can win back gold with “The Olympiades”. He had it with “Dheepan” in 2015, why not a second Palme d’Or six years later with “the Olympics”, and thus join the pantheon of filmmakers who have achieved the double? This great film ticks all the boxes: the incandescent visual beauty, the ability of Jacques Audiard to question himself with a new style that sometimes gives the impression of seeing an Asian film, diversity, diversity, the question of genre, harassment on social networks and in the student community. And all this with the absolute grace of a black and white of the great cinema of yesteryear. Yes, “the Olympics” can largely win these Olympic Games in cinema.

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Cannes Film Festival: French films can really believe it

Hank Gilbert