CANNES, France – Saturday night, on its 12th day, the exhilarating and grueling Cannes Film Festival will end with the awards ceremony and a new Palme d’Or winner.
After two uncertain years (the event was canceled in 2020 and operated at reduced capacity last year), the festival has come back strong with art films and blockbusters, “Hollywood stars” and tens of thousands other participants, the vast majority unmasked. The pandemic wasn’t over, but attendees at the world’s biggest film festival were definitely over it.
The festival, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, fiercely maintains a sense of both historical continuity and its centrality to the world of global cinema. Movies come and go, but Cannes stays forever – or that’s the idea, anyway. To that end, despite some logistical issues, the event looked and worked as it did in the past. For many, that meant going in and out of theaters and screening rooms from morning until past midnight amidst work, complaints, gossip and arguments over the quality of films. The consensus among critics is that it’s been a great, good, so-so year.
Judging by the hallway chatter and trades, French critics are most excited about “Armageddon Time,” a nuanced, autobiographical coming-of-age story from American director James Gray. Reviews sampled by Screen review are more passionate about “Decision to Leave,” a devious and formally ingenious thriller from South Korean director Park Chan-wook. My favorite movie so far (I have one more to watch) is “EO,” a devastating story of an abused donkey from octogenarian Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, whose compassion runs as deep as his commitment to plasticity. the cinema.
But the critics do not distribute the Palme. This job belongs to the nine men and women who serve on the feature film jury, chaired this year by the French actor Vincent Lindon (“Titane”). Whether the jury members are reading Screen is anyone’s guess (I doubt it!), but given that most of them are directors – including Joachim Trier, Ladj Ly, Rebecca Hall and Asghar Farhadi – I hope they will make the right decision, honor the art and award the Palme to Skolimowski’s heartbreaker. It’s unlikely, but I can dream. I’ll be back later to report on the winners of this year’s festival.