Cannes 2023: the Fortnight of filmmakers explores unusual territories

“In Our Day” by Hong Sang-soo.

The Quinzaine des cinéastes ended on Thursday 25 May with the presentation, in the evening, of In Our Dayby the prolific South Korean Hong Sang-soo, a concentrate of purity and instantaneous poetry echoing many of the works present in the ranks of this 55e editing. Entrusted to a new team of selectors led by Julien Rejl, the event showed an editorial course readjusted on strong artistic gestures and betting on a young guard of international authors still little identified by the radars of the industry.

Mission that we can say accomplished, since at least two major promises hatched during these ten days of projection: Gracethe first fiction feature by independent Russian Ilya Povolotsky, which reinvents the cinema of existential wandering, and Leguasigned jointly by the Portuguese Filipa Reis and Joao Miller Guerra, a village chronicle of infinite sensitivity on the decline of a noble and ancient residence that two women are the last to maintain.

For the rest, the Fortnight was sensitive to new American voices, with three feature films spotted across the Atlantic, coming exclusively from the East Coast, as perfect antidotes to Hollywood. The Sweet East by Sean Price Williams, and Riddle of Fireby Weston Razooli, wacky fugues in the whims of post-Trump America, both get lost in the limbo of ironic detachment and hyper-self-awareness, through winks and self-centered delusions .

Barbarian fantasy

On the other hand, The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed, by actress and editor Joanna Arnow, proved to be a far more compelling discovery. Either the nasty self-portrait of a young New Yorker of today (played by the director herself) focused on sexual submission, that is to say not exactly in tune with the times. Hilarity went crescendo in the Théâtre Croisette in front of this tongue-in-cheek comedy, coupled with an uncompromising stripping, betting on a frontal relationship to discomfort (school case: how to overcome a sneeze when you performs fellatio on his partner?).

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The space traversed in all its dimensions was the key element of this selection. The wide open spaces, first, with this edge of the Caucasus criss-crossed in a van by a father and his daughter, running a traveling cinema in Grace, by Ilya Polotovsky, but also the Great Moroccan South in the Beckettian western deserts by Faouzi Bensaïdi, or even the Brussels-La Jonquère axis traversed in a detective style suspended in The Other Laurens by the Belgian Claude Schmitz. We also think of The Golden Butterfly Tree by the Vietnamese An Pham Thien, and its formalist drift of three hours on the Cochinchinese country roads, a mental trip sheltering a reflection based on predestination.

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