(Paris) His first climb up the stairs was like a cinephile for kung fu panda. Fourteen years later, the general delegate of Critics’ Week Ava Cahen presents her first selection for this section parallel to the Cannes Film Festival, one of the most specialized.
Posted at 9:52
The directorial debut of actor Jesse Eisenberg (Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network), a dark and mystical dive into Barbès, unclassifiable films from Tehran, Colombia or the United Kingdom… The list of eleven films selected for this 61and edition, from May 18 to 26, was unveiled on Wednesday.
All will be screened in a modest space, one kilometer from the red carpet of the imposing Palais des Festivals which hosts the Cannes International Film Festival, on the French Riviera.
They are faithful to the spirit of clearing the ground for this section, which is making a new start in a crowded niche: the Directors’ Fortnight, which is looking for a successor to its boss, the quadra Paolo Moretti, is also programming many feature debuts, and as for the festival, general delegate Thierry Frémaux is refocusing the Un certain regard selection on young talent.
At 35, Ava Cahen, journalist and author, specialist in particular in Woody Allen and series, including Game Of Thronestakes the helm of an institution that intends to continue to discover talents, from Ken Loach, Guillermo Del Toro or Wong Kar Wai in the last century, to the ultra-contemporary cinema of Julia Ducournau, who came to La Semaine with Severe in 2016 and crowned the Palme d’Or last year for her second film, Titanium.
The youngest coach in the history of this section succeeds sixty-year-old Charles Tesson, who held the helm for ten years, and of whom she wants to “pursue the same ambition”, which involves a permanent x-ray of the young creation.
“Very close to the ground”
This year, the selectors watched 1,100 feature films, only retaining… 1%! “You have to be very close to the ground when you are a picker of young talents”, summarizes Ava Cahen, who scours with her workshop teams around the world and script reading commissions to unearth nuggets. The selection was designed “as an invitation to travel, to daydream, to the imagination”, she sums up.
In a world of cinema that is struggling to leave all its place to women, his appointment is one more signal, the landscape of festivals remaining dominated by men, from the boss of the Venice Film Festival, Alberto Barbera, 72, to the artistic director from the Berlinale, Carlo Chatrian, 50, to José Luis Rebordinos (61) in San Sebastian.
The new General Delegate has entrusted the presidency of the jury to the Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania, a young talent both political and dreamlike, noticed with Beauty and the pack (2017), on sexual violence, and The man who sold his skin (2020), on immigration.
“You shouldn’t intellectualize things too much,” says Ava Cahen, who owes her first name to her parents’ “eternal love” for Hollywood actress Ava Gardner: “Cinema, we live it, we feel it, it passes through our skin and our body.
Raised in a family of lawyers in love with the 7and art, Ava Cahen saw Alien on VHS at age 3 and pulp Fiction in 10 years. She will make criticism her profession. It is today one of the pillars of the Circlethe cinema program of the French television channel Canal+,One hour in series on France Inter radio, and launched FrenchManiaa review of French cinema.
In the age of social networks and streaming no matter what, the profession of critic, born with the dark rooms, has a future ahead of it, she defends: “It is a fundamental work of speaking out for the young generation of authors . The critic must move the spectator, engage him to go to the cinema. This is also the whole mission of Critics’ Week”.