-five films that sparked polemics on the Croisette, included in the official selection-
No Cannes edition can go by without a picking of controversial, excessive, provoking and inflictive films. In its turn, Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest has put together an affecting selection of the most discussed and controversial films of the 2019 edition. The new prodigy of French cinema, Ladj Ly, will be present in Bucharest to talk about how it feels to start a cinematographic revolution from the outskirts.
Les Misérables, directed by Ladj Ly, Jury Prize (ex-aequo), Cannes 2019
“If you really want to start a revolution, then you need to take to the streets every day”, says filmmaker Ladj Ly, whose debut feature film was included in the official competition at Cannes. “Anyone who thinks the story is a retelling of the Victor Hugo classic would be mistaken”, Variety writes. “But there’s a reason it shares the same title: Part of the book takes place in Montfermeil, the working-classic suburb where Ly grew up. A century later, there’s still misery in this area, and police violence remains a factor…”
The film centres around three members of the anti-crime brigade who confront tensions between neighbourhood gangs. Inspired by the riots of 2005 in Paris, Mathieu Kassovitz’s cult film, La Haine, and by Ly’s short film bearing the same title, winner of a César award, Les Misérables is a provoking perspective on tensions between marginal residents and police.
The fimmaker declares it is crucial people that people who lived in these places to tell their stories and he feels frustration towards the really small number of filmmakers of colour in today’s France. “French cinema is very closed; it’s reserved for a certain elite. You can count the black filmmakers on one hand,” he says in the same interview. “That’s why we started our film school.” Called Kourtrajmé, the same name as the filmmaking collective where he got his start, Ly says the free school will give anyone who wants to participate the chance to network and seize the opportunity to join the next generation of French storytellers. „It’s a school anyone can access – there are no fees. We need to get involved, take control and start changings things. I don’t want things imposed on us. We know these territories and we know how to act. Since Macron’s election, there are even more social problems. We have been protesting these conditions in our city for 20 years, but nothing has changed. Before, people couldn’t care less because it was about the periphery, now, all French citizens are affected. We are under the impression that politicians don’t care.”
At Cannes, Les Misérables was unanimously acclaimed and managed to outdo Tarantino, Almodóvar, Loach and Dolan in the competition for the Jury Prize. „A technical gem and an astonishing debut,” Variety writes. Ly became a star overnight. Broadcasting rights for the American market were immediately bought by Amazon for 1.5 million dolars, the biggest sale for a Cannes debutant in history.
Bacurau, directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, Jury Prize (ex-aequo), Cannes 2019
An intense and complex portrait of a Brasilian community fighting against the dark specter of modernity. „A wonderful and demented Western about the perils of rampant modernization.” Indiewire
„Just as the memorable Aquarius of 2016, Bacurau centres around an incredibly stubborn woman refusing to give up her place in the world. The filmmaker combines it all, from Seven Samurai to Hostel, in a bloody and unapologetic ‘damn you’ addressed to all who think revolutionary technology gives them green light to turn the world into a personal slaughterhouse” Variety comments on it, while The Guardian deems it „a Jacobean-style bloodbath, an utterly distinctive film-making, executed with ruthless clarity and force.”
The Wild Goose Lake, directed by Diao Yinan, Cannes 2019
A runaway gangster looking for redemption… A girl in danger risking everything in order to earn her freedom… Both chased on some lakeshores, on what might be their last day alive. „ Diao Yinan delivers the ultimate Chinese noir, in which the ravishing style and the creative mise-en-scène forge the substance of it. This is a film that lives in its vibrant craft and fluid reimagining of scenarios that should be stale clichés by now. Reteaming with cinematographer Dong Jinsong, Diao shows an extraordinarily elastic mastery of form. An atmospheric and hyperstylized drama… infused with a minimalist existentialism at the sclae of Jean Pierre Melville… Suddenly, China feels like the noirest place on Earth.” Variety
Beanpole, directed by Kantemir Balagov, Best Director under the Un Certain Regard section, Canne 2019
1945, Leningrad. World War II has devastated the city and its inhabitants’s psyche. Two young girls seek a new life among the ruins.
„For any regular cinema-goer, it can come as a shock to realize that we can still be totally annihilated by the projected moving image. But though Balagov proved willing to cross ethical lines for shock value in his otherwise impressive debut, “Closeness,” here the devastation is earned through nothing more gimmicky than exceptional directorial control and riveting craft. Beanpole is incredibly bleak, but crafted with such care that it’s also deeply compelling. Events so disturbing that you long to look away are presented in images so striking that you cannot. So though Balagov can be merciless with respect to his characters’ fates, his compassion for them shows through formally: While they’re being psychologically stripped bare, they are accorded at least the dignity of a beautiful, considered frame.” Variety
The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão, directed by Karim Aïnouz, Un Certain Regard Prize, Cannes 2019
„A „tropical melodrama” is how the marketing materials bill The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão. If that sounds about the most high-camp subgenre ever devised, Karim Aïnouz’s ravishing period saga lives up to the description — high emotion articulated with utmost sincerity and heady stylistic excess, all in the perspiring environs of midcentury Rio de Janeiro — while surprising with its pointed feminist politics and occasionally sharp social truths. Anyone already familiar with Aïnouz’s work will know to expect a florid sensory experience, but even by the Brazilian’s standards, this heartbroken tale of two sisters separated for decades by familial shame and deceit is a waking dream, saturated in sound, music and color to match its depth of feeling. From the first, jungle-set shot, the redoubtable d.p. Hélène Louvart gives the film the daubed, traffic-light palette of a ripe mango…” Variety
Beanpole and Les Misérables will be distributed in cinemas by Independența Film.
The complete program of the tenth edition of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is available on the site.
At PRO Cinema, Elvire Popesco Cinema, Peasant Museum Cinema, Romanian National Museum of Art – Auditorium Hall, the tickets prces are 15 lei for tickets purchased by 18thOctober and 20 lei fro tickets purchased during the festival (18th – 27th October 2019). At Union Cinematheque tickets cost 10 lei or 8, 5, 3 lei for subscription holders.
Tickets can be purchased from Eventbook.ro, the Eventbook headquarters in Actor Ion Brezoianu Street 21, the Eventbook network and from the cash desks of Elvire Popesco Cinema, Peasant Museum Cinema and Union Cinematheque. More details about tickets can be found on the site.
Keep up to date with the latest news regarding the tenth edition of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest, on the official website filmedefestival.ro and on the official Facebook page.
Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is presented by Orange Romania, a traditional partner of the event.
Official Car of the Festival: Renault.
With the support of: Catena, Apa Nova, Groupama Asigurări.
The tenth edition of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is organized by the Cinemascop Association and Voodoo Films, in partnership with Embassy of France and the French Institute in Bucharest.
Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is a cultural project financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, the National Centre of Cinematography, and and realized with the support of SACD / Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques.
Partners: Air France, KLM, The Romanian Cultural Institute, Europa Cinemas, Hotel Mercure, SERVE, UPS, Eventbook.
Media partners: Radio România Cultural, Zile și Nopți, Elle, Observatorul Cultural, News.ro, Ziarul Metropolis, AaRC, Movienews, Igloo, Banchiza Urbană, FilmNewEurope, Cineghid, Cinemap, Agerpres, Liternet, FilmMenu.
Media coverage partner: Mediatrust