Every morning, between the film, the interview and the star of the day, the hot spot live from the 74th Cannes film festival.
Movie of the day: Julie (in 12 chapters) by Joachim Trier (Official selection in competition)
Just before Benedetta, Julie will have awakened the Croisette. But on a very different register. Joachim Trier is a sensitive filmmaker who for three or four films has auscultated our anxious generation, delving into the folds of its existential crisis. Even though we see a few boobs on screen, there is no sadistic nun or hidden vice here. His sweet melancholy unfolds on new-wave soundtracks, his erudition is draped in daze (the Julie of the title must refer to La Nouvelle Héloïse by Rousseau). In short, we think more of Baumbach or Chazelle than of the Égrillard Batavian.
After Oslo, August 31, already presented at Cannes, Julie is his most accomplished work. From a collage of intimate shards, he signs a large contemporary fresco, a subtle x-ray of collective tremors. His heroine is a young woman who is looking for. A guy, a vocation, a job, answers. Happiness. From a sunrise over Oslo to another, from a drunken evening to a date at the hospital, from a first love hug to a last kiss, the film sticks through 12 snapshots to the Converse of this thirty-something indolent. She is in full turmoil, and is going through this period of life when the future struggles to draw its possibilities. This is precisely where this romantic comedy becomes chronicle of the time. The titles of the chapters display the color: Julie talks about romantic relationships in the #Metoo era, confronts the responsibility of art towards society, questions the virtue of being faithful to oneself or ecological commitment …
It could be boring, even soothing and repetitive. On the contrary, it is wonderful, funny, subtle and touching. For two major reasons: first the astounding intelligence of this type and his absolute sense of staging. There is a scene of breathtakingly poetic fantasy where the filmmaker stops time to follow the meeting of two solitudes. There are sequences of pale realism that rub shoulders with scenes of irresistible pop energy and we go from luminous romcom to depressive Swedish drama with equal ease. But it would all be nothing if there wasn’t someone to embody it. Renate Reinsve, hitherto unknown, is a phenomenal Julie, who brings the right amount of roughness, spontaneity and power to this character. Above all, she gives the film its absolute weapon: the extraordinary authenticity and accuracy of this heroine in quest.
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Interview of the day Paul Verhoeven, director of Benedetta (Official selection in competition)
Benedetta talks about sex, violence and religion, the quintessence of your cinema?
Paul Verhoeven: Yes, but I didn’t force anything. On the cover of Judith C. Brown’s book, of which Benedetta is an adaptation, we can read: “The life of a lesbian nun in Renaissance Italy. The sulphurous character becomes an advertising argument. The very strong physical attraction between Benedetta and Bartolomea, the young girl who joined the convent, allowed me to tell about a very strong physical relationship in a context where the religious world – and therefore political – made her outlaw. Benedetta also falls in love with Jesus, meets him and attains a sort of mysterious power. I could then touch the secret of faith in the most direct sense of the word. Benedetta has her own perception of Christ. I visually impose it on the viewer.
As often in your films, it is the female character who takes charge of the story and must assume her choices to the end. Benedetta, perhaps a little more than the others, the men mainly remaining on the periphery.
PV: Yes even if it does not respond to a fashion or a Metoo-type political gesture. My last three films, Black Book, Elle and this one have, indeed, a woman as the main character. That must mean something. But what ? All I can tell you about that is that I have respected what is in Judith C. Brown’s book. However, the very idea of a homosexual relationship between two women in Renaissance Italy is sufficiently singular in itself that I want to tell this story. At that time, the man was considered superior to the woman. Saint Augustine wrote something like: “The superiority of man over woman is comparable to the superiority of the soul over the body. With the story of Benedetta and her subsequent trial, we come to an absolute prohibition: the desire of one woman for another. The soul, according to the philosophy of the time, is absent from the equation. It is the height of heresy. Benedetta, like all my films, is guided by my immense respect for women in general. Since my childhood, I was surrounded by women all the time, even the public school where I went to in the Netherlands as a child, was mixed. There has never been much of a difference in my approach to male and female characters in my films. If my heroines are strong and take responsibility for their responsibilities alone, that’s natural for me …
You mention the Metoo movement. What do you think of this form of combat?
PV: It’s fair. If it can be considered excessive in some places, it deserves to be led. Unconsciously male domination is so ingrained in people’s minds that you have to strike hard. I have always paid attention to the way my actors, like my actresses, were treated on my shoots. While preparing for Benedetta, Virginia [Efira] and Daphne [Patakia] knew exactly what we were going to shoot and how I was going to film them. If I chose a woman as chief operator [Jeanne Lapoirie], beyond the fact that she is gifted, it was to make things simpler, to protect them. In this way also my “male gaze”, as we say today is superimposed on a “female gaze”. Thirty years ago, would I have found a chief operator so easily? Not sure … Everything is going in the right direction.
Do you see yourself as a feminist filmmaker?
PV: I don’t really know what that means. What I do know is that my characters, whatever their gender, stand up against collapsing worlds.
The star of the day: Satoshi Kon
Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, Paprika. Four films on the clock, but four great films (not to mention the fabulous series Paranoia Agent), which promptly made him enter the pantheon of animation cinema, even before his brutal death in 2010 … Satoshi Kon, the illusionist, documentary by Pascal-Alex Vincent presented in the Cannes Classics selection, is a film -career which presents the director as a mysterious perfectionist visionary with the look of Frank Zappa, having fun disguising himself as a woman at parties … The doc also tells how he took his medium to unknown territories, forever influencing pop culture through his fabulous visions, even if his films were flops. A bit like the Velvet Underground, hey: the legend said that their first album had sold few copies but that each buyer had founded a group. The real rock star of Cannes, she was there today.
>> Satoshi Kon, the illusionist or the portrait of a rock star
Hot stroke: covid anxiety
The festival-goer is a man (or a woman) like any other. And for two days, he has only two words in mind: Variant Delta. The hall of the Sixtieth is unique in that it is rarely full. Secluded at the back of the Palace, separated from the crowded streets, well ventilated, with its spaced seats, this is the ideal anti-covid asylum – we highly recommend it to hypochondriacs, by the way. When we arrive to see the documentary H6, so we sit a little too casually on a reserved row, sure that no one will come to dislodge us. Darkness sets in, the row fills up, and a group sets up next. A little bit, but what are we risking? Thierry Frémaux without a mask recalls the need to wear it all the time in the rooms, before calling the team on stage. And there, the rank trembles. Our slender neighbor in a beautiful Asian dress gets up and rushes on stage. It is the director Ye Ye, who came to present her ultra immersive film on an emergency service in Shanghai. From there, it’s the black hole. The session turns into a 4DX trip. We no longer know if we were paralyzed by what we saw on the screen or simply freaked out to hear our neighbors breathing. The victims of the doc sometimes made us less afraid than the beginning of a cough on the right. Not really cinema anymore. We were very, very hot.
Quote of the day: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi speaking to Pio Marmaï in The divide
“From my age do you know what I’m doing to you? I fuck you dry.”
Revelation: Laura Wandel, director ofA world (In some perspective)
At a time when everyone films everything and all the time, one place remains hidden from view: the playground. With his first feature film, A world, the Belgian Laura Wandel tells about this world apart, its violence and its ruthless cruelty. We follow Nora, confronted with the harassment of which her older brother is the victim, torn between her father who encourages her to react, her need to integrate and her brother who asks her to remain silent. Laura Wandel, daughter of a director of Belgian public television, fed at the cinema of Dardenne, Chantal Ackerman, Bruno Dumont and Abbas Kiarostami, tells this story of learning at the height of Nora. Adults’ faces only enter the field when they bend down to speak to it. And the ultra-realistic thriller that is born from this anything but artificial process squeezes your throat as much as it paralyzes you with fear. A serious candidate for the Camera d’Or.
Picture of the Day: JCVD Likes Premiere
Sound of the day: Teenage Kicks from The Undertones (Directors’ Fortnight)
First feature film by Vincent Maël Cardona and collectively written film (no less than six writers), Magnetics was screened yesterday. At the beginning of the 80s, Philippe (Thimotée Robart, the other revelation of the day) dreams of elsewhere, of a life far from the gravitational force of his small provincial village and of a big brother who prevents him from hatch. In the midst of this solid tale of emancipation and thwarted love story, a demented scene with Teenage kicks the balloons in a radio studio. ” I need excitement oh I need it bad / And it’s the best, I’ve ever had. “