10 May 2019.
Cannes Film Festival – Where anything is possible!
The French/Serbian animation director Enki Bilal, one of the 9 (4 women, 5 men) Jury members in Cannes for the main Competition selection of 21 films, put it quite succinctly during their press conference when he said cinema is the best and fullest way to “link” our ideas and feelings in an “intelligible” manner. This may be somewhat garbling his words, but his sentiments were about the universality of cinema. And so it is in this medium that is the artistic mirror of our world, for better or for worse.
Or as Nadine Labaki, the brilliant Lebanese director of last year’s magnificent “Capernaum” (and head of this year’s Certain Regard jury) suggested at her Women in Motion talk – since political leaders are failing at every level, maybe the influence of art and especially cinema could be the answer to connect the world and heal society.
But the festival started off darkly with Jim Jarmusch’s THE DEAD DON’T DIE, a satirical zombie film that had his usual slow, tongue-in-cheek humor alongside a gruesome vision of our future. It had an array of stars including a dryly droll Bill Murray as the sheriff of a besieged town in mid-America, Tilda Swinton who stole the show as a cool Scottish undertaker with a fierce samurai sword, a too-laid back Adam Driver who kept predicting it wouldn’t all end too well, and Iggy Pop as one of the myriad zombies.
Why on earth did the festival begin with such an ominous work? Was this their message of doom, especially as the opening ceremony and the film were being transmitted simultaneously over 600 cinemas all over France? A strange choice, indeed.
Thierry Frémaux, the relaxed artistic director of the festival, who is both passionate and immensely knowledgeable about cinema, was at the top of the red carpet greeting the cast of the film, as well as the Jury headed by the acclaimed Mexican director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu.
Frémaux was in fine form, as he has assembled quite an international lineup of films, stars, and directors including such regulars as Pedro Almodovar (with “Douleur et Gloire”, a film on his own life, starring Antonio Banderas), Quentin Tarantino (with a love letter to Hollywood with stars including DiCaprio and Brad Pitt), the Dardenne brothers, Terrence Malick and Ken Loach.
He declared it was all going to be great fun, with lots of women directors, varied themes from those zombies to violent Mafiosi, honest cops, migrants and Hollywood dreams. Let’s see how it all develops in this biggest film festival of the world…
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.