Sunday 28 May 2023

Cannes 2023 - Awards and comments


A jury lead by Ruben Östlund, twice Palme d'Or winner and a controversial figure among some was bound to deliver some surprises and perhaps some upsets. Yet the surprise is that the jury has largely delivered their awards to the expecting films even not quite in the order we all expected. Compared to some infuriating awards in some past years (the 2016 edition!), it is a really pleasing list of awards

Saturday 27 May 2023

Cannes 2023 - Last Summer by Catherine Breillat

After a ten years absence, controversial French filmmaker Catherine Breillat is back with the remake of a recent Danish film, Queen of Heart by May el-Toukhy and whose premise proves that she has not lost her willingness to provoke! One has to wonder what pushed her to adapt a film that is just about four years old if it was not to add her own unique touch push the boundaries even further so it is safe to say Last Summer was received with a certain trepidation in Cannes.

Cannes 2023 - Strangers by Night by Alex Lutz

Alex Lutz is not well known outside France but he has built a varied and interesting career after making a known for himself on TV on a well known comedic show called Le Petit Journal. Taking on mainly some comedic roles in films, he also won the French Film Award for best actor for the more dramatic Guy in 2018. He is in Cannes to present Strangers by Night that is the Un Certain Regard closing ceremony.

Friday 26 May 2023

Cannes 2023 - Awards predictions

What a spectacular, exciting and eventful edition this year has been at the Cannes Film Festival! Fully back to normal (even more than 2022 that saw a returning attendance but not quite at previous levels), with union leaders threatening to switch off the power and disrupt the festival, with the endless rain of the first week adding a certain level of stressful trepidation and some oversubscribed screenings like in the pre-COVID years, not to mention the very high level of the competition, this surely is a year to remember!

Cannes 2023 - Perfect Days by Wim Wenders


Wim Wenders had such a fantastic start to his career, going from strength to strength and culminating with his Palme d'Or winning Paris, Texas in 1984, closely followed by that other masterpiece of his Wings of Desire in 1987, winner of the best directing prize. So it is fair to say what followed from the '90s onwards has been a bit of a disappointment. There were the flawed but compelling Until The End of the World and Faraway, So Close! but his work later in the decade and in the '00s betrayed a serious lack of inspiration. He is back in competition this year with Perfect Days, while his documentary Anselm was shown a few days ago out of competition.

Thursday 25 May 2023

Cannes 2023 - The Pot au Feu by Anh Hung Tran

It is fair to say that we all assumed the inclusion of The Pot-Au-Feu in the official selection and in competition this year was purely down to the star power of its lead and to inject a bit of glamour to the festival, just like with Firebrand a few days earlier. The premise made it sound like these "quality" made for TV dull period dramas yet could not have been further from the truth.

Set at the end of the 19th century, The Pot-Au-Feu relates the romance between Eugénie (Juliette Binoche) and Rodin (Benoît Magîmel) whose passion for food was only equalled by the passion for each other. It opens with a thirty minutes scene that instantly set the tone for the rest of the film: in it, Eugénie and Dodin meticulously prepare and serve a feast and it is serene and luminous, so far away from the usual stereotypes of feverish artistic creation and shouty cooking. There is a pervading gentleness to it that carries through the whole running time.

Wednesday 24 May 2023

Cannes 2023 - Club Zero by Jessica Hausner

You never quite know where Austrian director Jessica Hausner will take you next. With an impressive filmography already, with each film she tackles some new themes with some very different stories and even style, from the austere period drama of Amour Fou to the understated science-fiction of Little Joe (Cannes 2019). She is back in Cannes with Club Zero.