Ice and the Sky for a 2015 edition that has given off an array of messages
by Fabien Lemercier
- CANNES 2015: We take stock of the messages and the main lessons lying at the heart of the world's most important film festival, against an artistic and industry backdrop
By opening its 68th edition with a socially orientated film (Standing Tall [+see also:
interview: Emmanuelle Bercot
film profile]) about youth in distress needing a helping hand to be stretched out to it, by bringing it to a close tomorrow evening with the environmental documentary Ice and the Sky [+see also:
film profile] by Luc Jacquet, which sounds the alarm to alert us to the serious threats bearing down on our planet, and by officially partnering with a new initiative entitled Women in Motion, with a number of talks intended to highlight the contribution of women to the seventh art (with some of the participants including Isabelle Huppert, Isabella Rossellini, Claire Denis, Sylvie Pialat, Rebecca Zlotowski, Claudie Ossard and Salma Hayek, and Honorary Awards for Jane Fonda, Olivia de Havilland and Megan Ellison), the Cannes Film Festival has sent out a very clear message: there is more to life than just glamour, and the Croisette must also play a civic role by providing visibility and a sounding box for important social topics.
Some people may have a hunch that within all this, there is a bias towards clearing our conscience when we consider the clash between the red carpet and the stars, and the economic hardship that many countries are currently enduring, but it is actually to the festival's credit that it dared to choose these films (nor were they lacking in the obligatory cinematic quality), thus going against the grain of the professionals in an industry that swears by using nothing other than glamour and big-name artists to attract the most media attention possible.
While, by all accounts, the Film Market has generated an impressive volume of business in an upbeat atmosphere, the most high-visibility showcase of the festival, the official competition, has, on the whole, turned out to be of a very high quality, although the expectations of the critics are often extremely inflated ("either the masterpiece or nothing!") and the verdicts very terse in the highly radioactive environment of the race for the Palme d'Or. The rejuvenation has nevertheless paid off, in particular by asserting the talents of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos and Norway's Joachim Trier, in addition to the dazzling Hungarian revelation of the festival, László Nemes. Given that masters Nanni Moretti and Hou Hsiao Hsien were on top form, and Todd Haynes, Paolo Sorrentino, Jia Zhangke, Jacques Audiard and Hirokazu Kore-eda arrived with first-rate movies (although everything can lead to reservations and heated discussion on the Croisette), the competition was founded on a very solid bedrock, where Stéphane Brizé and Guillaume Nicloux (among others) also well and truly clung onto their positions. Beyond a few disappointments (a classic at Cannes, with the critics' gnashing of teeth into the bargain and the occasional round of taking potshots at the selector), we can only single out two real flies in the ointment: the arguably excessive presence of five French films in competition and the obvious difficulty in finding a decent number of independent US works of a high standard. As for knowing who will prevail on Sunday, it's anybody's guess. Watch this space...
(Translated from French)