In addition to an ancestral temple dedicated to cinema with concerns and proudly convinced of its authorship, to guarantee moviegoers visitors that for two weeks they will transport them to heaven, the festival of Cannes it is also a business as old as it is monumental. The turnover of hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, parties, fashion must be astronomical. After having suspended last year’s edition for obvious and invincible reasons, Cannes couldn’t afford to cancel the 2021 edition. And they delayed the historic and immovable meeting from the beginning of May to the beginning of July. As the coronavirus monster has not gone away, although many people have already taken both doses of the vaccine, or at least one, they must invent a way to reconcile safety with the business.
It’s very complicated, chaos threatens, most visitors have to spit endlessly into a bottle every two days to check that they’re not sick, the queues are slow and fearful, you must continually show your cell phone or paper that attests that you have been vaccinated, in some rooms there are separate armchairs and in others not, everything smells absurd. The flock of spectators is faint or logically irritated. There are no computers in the press room and all information printed on paper is a reminder of the past. It’s very difficult for some of us. It’s time to say goodbye to all of this after nearly four decades touring film festivals.
And the schedule? I understand that they seek to take advantage of the possibilities to achieve their goals, that everything is very strange after so much inactivity and the pandemic, but what I have seen so far and what will come gives me the feeling initially that I will not find directors whose work over time made me happy. There are many film festival classics, which here are gods, but I suspect they are also “unstarable” on the commercial circuit. Also others that I don’t know and that belong to exotic cinematographies. And some, very few, who have made films that I respect or admire, like Nanni Moretti, Asghar Farhadi and Jacques Audiard.
No joy for me so far in the official selection. Annette, directed by the much revered Frenchman Leos Carax, is as unnerving and unbearable to me as his earlier work. It is a musical in the Carax style that chronicles the tragic love between a tormented comedian and an opera singer. I admit that it is painstakingly original and uselessly volcanic. It is very likely that the Israeli Ahed’s knee create serious problems in your country for the director, Nadav Lapid, for his denunciation of abuses and intolerable practices. I don’t doubt his courage or commitment, but he tells the story as tentatively as it is inconsistently. The french Tout s’est bien passé (“Everything went well”, in free translation) Directed by the prestigious and refined François Ozon, it can be seen and heard without anything bad happening to it, immediately falling into oblivion. He speaks of euthanasia, of the civilized and sweet death that he wants to be provided in Switzerland with an elderly man who has suffered a devastating thrombosis and who is unconditionally supported by his two daughters.
Out of competition, the most attractive expectations are concentrated in the documentary The Velvet Underground. It has the signature of Todd Haynes, author of the excellent Carol, and that in the pretentious and forgettable I’m not there had the audacity that Bob Dylan was successively incarnated by six characters, among them a black boy (Marcus Carl Franklin) and actress Cate Blanchett. His portrayal of Lou Reed and John Cale, their early chemistry, and finally Lou Reed’s desertion is interesting. It lacks soul, which Martin Scorsese has in abundance when he approaches people with the music he loves.
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