An elegiac contemplation on death and creation coming from an extravagant Spanish master, a burlesque film about roots and identity, a devastating social satire resisting all etiquettes, a moving, feminist period story and a mesmerizing and stylized commentary on happiness. Five of the most awarded and acclaimed films of the year. Five reasons for which the Cannes Film Festival remains the most important source of cinematic masterpieces and a reflection of unconventional, provoking, vibrant, captivating and polarizing auteur cinema. Perpetually revelatory.
Having reached the tenth edition, the Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest festival will once again present the most important works of auteur cinema of the year, in premiere, between October 18th and 27th.
Pedro Almodóvar, the flamboyant Spanish filmmaker, was honoured as a contemporary master at Cannes in 2004 when his film, La mala educación, was chosen as the ice-breaker of the festival. Two years later, Volver was awarded Best Screenplay, a prize which added to the Best Director trophy for Todo sobre mi madre, in 1999. In 2019, Almodóvar made a comeback in the official competition with Dolor y Gloria, the seventh collaboration with Antonio Banderas, in the role of a lifetime, which brought him the award for Best Actor.
Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas), a physically declining film director, experiences several revelations. Rediscovering his past, Salvador feels the compelling need to narrate it, and, on account of this inner pressure, he finds salvation. The film is part of a triptych that started with La ley del deseo (1987) and was followed by La mala educación. A compendium and meditation on the author’s recurring themes, the film was adored by the Spanish press and audience, which was unexpected for the controversial Almodóvar. A Spanish critic described it as a “dark and obsessive, but, at the same time, generous, full of light and emotion” piece of cinema. “A kind of miracle”, subtitled Variety, for which Banderas, according to his declarations, had to murder his own personality in order to recreate an alter ego of the director. The result of this extraordinary collaboration is a “sensuous and deeply personal gem, a film about pleasure, which is itself a pleasure” (The Guardian).
Born in 1960 in Nazareth, Elia Suleiman encountered success with his very own debut: his first feature film, Chronicle of a Disappearance, was declared the best film of 1996, at Venice. In 2002, Divine Intervention won the Cannes Jury Prize. Often compared with filmmakers like Jacques Tati and Buster Keaton, Suleiman has a similar poetic sentiment, but adds playfulness and sobriety to his work.
In It Must Be Heaven (Jury Special Mention at Cannes 2019) the director emigrates from Palestine in search of a new “home”, but soon realizes that his origin country follows him around like a shadow. A burlesque film exploring images of identity, nationality and belonging, all while the director poses a paramount question: where can you feel “at home?”. “Filmmaker and actor Elia Suleiman uses his own face and body to express the soul of Palestine in his films, and nowhere more so than in his droll new comedy”, Hollywood Reporter writes.
Before becoming a filmmaker, Bong Joon-ho studied sociology and film at the Fine Arts Academy in Korea. The Host, screened at Cannes in 2006, in Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, built up his reputation as one who turns genre films into art. In 2009, he presented Mother in the Un Certain Regard section, and in 2017, he entered the official competition with the caustic satire Okja.
Parasite (Gisaengchung) won the Palme d’Or of the 2019 edition of the Cannes Film Festival and is one of those rare masterpieces which stirred the ovations of the jury, critics, and public alike. The film tells the story of the Ki-taek family, who are unemployed and seem to be very interested in the life of the rich Parks. One day, their son manages to get a recommendation to do English tutoring for the Park family, which marks the beginning of a long series of uncontrollable events. Variety comments that “Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho is on excoriating form in his exceptional pitch-black tragicomedy about social inequality in modern Korea”, Time Magazine considers the film to be an “example of good storytelling, with lively characters, it has the ability to cut you open and it can leave you mulling over it for days on end”. Times concludes: Parasite “is the masterpiece towards which the auteur’s entire career led to”. The films Dolor y Gloria, It Must Be Heaven and Parasite are distributed in Romania by Independența Film.
At nearly 40-years-old, filmmaker Céline Sciamma has achieved the incredible feat of presenting no less than three films in Cannes: Naissance des pieuvres in the Un Certain Regard section in 2006, Bande des filles in Quinzaine des Réalisateurs in 2014, and Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (Best Screenplay Award) in the Official Selection, in 2019.
The story of Portrait de la jeune fille en feu takes place in 1770. Marianne is a painter commisioned to do Héloïse’s portrait, a young female aristocrat recently returned from a monastery, who, however, refuses to pose. Marianne will have to paint her in secret. “Far from some stuffy costume drama, it’s a deeply stirring romance with a modern soul, and also a forcefully, compassionately feminist one”, the Americans from AV Club write.
The Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner has become the “child prodigy” of Austrian cinema after she received in 1999 a special mention from the Cinéfondation jury for her graduation film. The Cannes Festival selected three of her feature films Lovely Rita (2001), Hotel (2004) and Amour Fou (2014) for the Un Certain Regard section. All three films attest the filmmaker’s acuteness and her refusal to compromise artistically. Little Joe (Best Actress for Emily Beecham, Cannes 2019) marks her first entry in Official Competition.
Even for someone with a career as unpredictable as Jessica Hausner, Little Joe surprises: it is a stylized clinic commentary on human vanity and on the commodification of happiness. The film tells the story of a brilliant plant designer, who suspects that her latest creation, a flower enabling people’s happiness, subtly modifies the personalities of those who inhale its pollen. “Boldly synthetic in its approach, in everything from colour palette to performance style, this film won’t be for everyone. And the fact that it defies easy categorisation might present a marketing challenge. But for those who engage with it, this oddly off-kilter piece of storytelling should exert a pull every bit as mesmerising as any genetically modified mood-enhancing shrub.”, Screen Daily writes.
Keep up to date with the latest news regarding the 2019 edition of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest, on the official website filmedefestival.ro and on the official Facebook page. Tickets will soon be available on Eventbook.ro.
Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is presented by Orange Romania, a traditional partner of the event. Offical Car of the Festival: Renault. With the support of: Catena, Apa Nova, Groupama Asigurări. Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is a cultural project financed by 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. The tenth edition of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is organized by the Cinemascop Association and Voodoo Films.