My Cannes diary, episode 11: “France” with Léa Seydoux, or the Palme d’Or for ridicule

HUMOR TICKET – From July 6 to 17, I tell you, from the Croisette, the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival from the inside, between favorites and scratches. Today, a real rant for “France” by Bruno Dumont, a stupid and nasty caricature of the profession of TV journalist.

It’s okay, I saw the worst movie of my fortnight. In France by Bruno Dumont, Léa Seydoux plays France de Meurs, a TV journalist in the throes of a serious existential crisis when she is at the height of her career. The proof: it is to her that Emmanuel Macron gives the floor first during a press conference at the Elysee Palace, the only successful moment in more than 2 hours of ordeal. The fact that she is married to a writer who is always talking doesn’t help, even when played by a Benjamin Biolay who wanders like a lost soul in their huge Parisian apartment with velvet armchairs and stained glass windows everywhere. And a bad kid who plays Game Boy.

Between two socialite dinners in a Dior dress, France flies to the countries at war, where she questions all the oppressed of this world in reports to her glory, which she then launches in her own show on a news channel, wearing her – even the contradiction to the invited experts. That this type of journalist does not exist, to my knowledge, does not seem to bother Bruno Dumont, as long as he can denounce the cynicism of this ugly profession which only thinks of ratings. The problem is, it all sounds wrong and outrageous down to the smallest detail. And that at this level of silly and mean caricature, it’s almost an insult to the profession.

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Personally, I find that there is always something wrong with films about journalism, even the best of the genre. The way to ask the questions, the way to look at the camera or to hold an editorial conference… I could be wrong and I am counting on you to write it to me! It remains that during the screening of France, long, very long, even interminable, I wondered if this was not the case, in reality, with all the professions in the cinema?

Were 17th-century Italian nuns as charming as Virginie Efira and Daphné Patakia in Benedetta ? Did the French teachers recognize their classes in front of Between the walls ? Did the bus drivers identify with Adam Driver in Paterson ? Has there ever been a psychopath driving a cab in New York? Okay, I have a doubt about the nuns. But I tell myself that in many cases, this ability to “make people believe”, even if it means taking liberties with reality, distinguishes good films from bad ones.

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My Cannes diary, episode 11: “France” with Léa Seydoux, or the Palme d’Or for ridicule

Hank Gilbert