Thinking and boucane at the Cannes Film Festival

After seven days of official competition in Cannes, a few observations are necessary. Firstly, the 2024 vintage is very, very diverse, and that’s perfect. Second, two titles stand out in a, well, spectacular way: Emilia Perezthe trans musical thriller by Jacques Audiard, and The Substance, Coralie Fargeat’s horrific-satirico-feminist allegory. Ovations of 9 to 10 minutes and 11 to 13 minutes, depending on the sources, respectively… We will have to see if the jury chaired by Greta Gerwig feels bold.

In any case, these two formidable productions have nothing to fear from the three films unveiled on Tuesday, despite their pedigree.

Indeed, the three films have in common that they are the work of established screenwriters and directors, namely Christophe Honoré, Paolo Sorrentino and Sean Baker. Another similarity, certainly more anecdotal: the three seem to have been sponsored by the tobacco lobby. No, there is no question of banning the thing, but the association between cigarettes and sensuality is of rare insistence here. Someone, somewhere didn’t get the memo that, health aside, it’s become corny.

These editorial considerations settled, let’s see the first film: Marcello Mioa melancholy “meta” comedy by Christophe Honoré in which actress Chiara Mastroianni, in the midst of an identity crisis, one day begins to think she is her late father, the legendary actor Marcello Mastroianni.

While those around Chiara/Marcello are worried, including her mother, the no less legendary Catherine Deneuve, her friend Fabrice Luchini agrees to “share this dream”.

With a promising idea, the director of the films love songs, The beautiful personAnd Please, love and run fast, quickly gets bogged down in its existential-artistic convolutions. There are beautiful moments, especially when Catherine Deneuve ends up getting caught up in the game, momentarily no longer speaking to her daughter, but to her missing lover.

It is true that sometimes the resemblance between Chiara disguised as Marcello is uncanny.

The homages to the father’s filmography are numerous, but the allusions to the real lives of the stars embodying fictional versions of themselves give the affair a “private party” feel.

From detours to asides, Marcello Mio doesn’t go anywhere…and takes his time getting there.

Disjointed set

As much can be said of Parthenope, by Paolo Sorrentino, a true reflection served in a superb visual setting. The title is the first name of the protagonist, a young woman so beautiful that she is “unforgettable”. dixit several male and female characters who come across her.

Set in a wealthy environment typical of Sorrentino’s cinema, the film promises to be another family chronicle in the vein of its previous This is the hand of Dio (God’s hand). From 18 to 32 years old (without the actress Celeste Dalla Porta changing one iota), Parthenope bewitches all the men who meet her, including her own older brother, who is in love with her.

When tragedy strikes, the film transforms and takes on Fellinian trappings – an admitted influence of the filmmaker.

A gifted anthropology student, Parthenope develops a mentoring relationship with a misanthropic professor. At the same time, she plans to become an actress. Which generates an interlude seeming to have been written only in order to justify a long eccentric sequence in a reclusive actress.

And there is this alcoholic and homosexual American writer, encountered in a chic hotel: Gary Oldman plays him divinely, for a handful of wonderful scenes, but isolated in a disjointed whole.

Often, we have the impression of three or four distinct films refusing to form just one. Ahead of the premiere, Sorrentino made much of what he called his first “feminine epic” — not to be confused with “feminist epic.”

In fact, during the prologue, which shows a parade of magnificent young women filmed in slow motion, it is as if the director of The great beauty (The great beauty) and of Youth (Youth) was self-parodying without realizing it. The tone is in any case set.

Throughout, Parthenope asks, “What is anthropology?” » “Anthropology is “seeing,” the professor finally replied. Should we understand that for Sorrentino, cinema, an art requiring sight if ever there was one, and anthropology are equivalent? Maybe…

Here again, the destination is vague, and the pace at which we get there is languid.

A ” Pretty Woman_ believed

Identical impression of a lack of narrative rigor in front Anoraby Sean Baker, which offers another portrait of colorful characters from the margins, after the excellent Tangerine, The Florida Project (My kingdom in Florida) And Red Rocket. The style, so bitterly realistic that it sometimes becomes poetic, is there, that’s already it.

We follow Ani (or Anora, a FA-BU-LEUSE Mikey Madison), a sex worker from Brooklyn. As in a Pretty Woman (A pretty woman) much more crude, Ani is offered by a young and rich client, the son of Russian oligarchs, to spend the week with him. A wedding in Vegas ensues, angering the parents in Russia, who send the cavalry to their New York villa.

Chaotic, the subsequent developments appear, like those of Parthenopecome from different poorly merged films.

In the middle, it stretches into the kitsch mansion, while Ani is manhandled, tied up and sequestered by the aforementioned henchmen, by one of them in particular. However, the henchman in question having a good background, apparently, does not count: without revealing too much, let us note that the outcome turns out to be a bit surreal in this respect in the era of #MeToo.

Overall, there are several passages that are, let’s say, uncomfortable, regarding the treatment reserved for the female character. This is frankly surprising coming from Sean Baker, considering that in this matter, he has always demonstrated a great deal of sensitivity and empathy in his films in the past. Anyway, here are three heroines who deserved more captivating.

François Lévesque is in Cannes at the invitation of the Festival and thanks to the support of Telefilm Canada

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