Press in Cannes War (and zombies) at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival

(Kan) The echo of the war in Ukraine is heard as far as Cannes, where 75AND edition of the International Film Festival. And they announce a festival of contrasts.

Posted at 5:24 pm.

Marc Cassivi

Marc Cassivi

The stark contrast between a deadly three-hour air raid from the Cote d’Azur and the apparent emotion of many of the 35,000 festival attendees expected in Croisette in the coming days, happy to be back under a radiant sun a normal appearance, after two years of darkness.

The contrast, too, is between the solemnity of the opening ceremony speeches – that of, in particular, a surprise guest: President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky – and the nature of the opening film, a fake zombie comic film by Michel Hazanavicius.


President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the guests at the opening ceremony of the 75thAND Cannes Film Festival edition.

“Will the cinema shut up or talk about it?” If there is a dictator, if there is a struggle for freedom, again everything depends on our unity. So can cinema remain outside this unity? Ukrainian President and former comedian Volodymyr Zelensky asked spectators gathered at the Grand Théâtre Lumière in a video message. “We need a new Chaplin who will prove that cinema is not silent nowadays,” he added, referring to Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece. dictator.

The hostess, Belgian actress Virginie Efira, had just recalled that in 1958, she was awarded the Golden Palm When the storks pass by Mikhail Kalatozov. “A Russian film denouncing the injustices, the atrocities of war” and whose humanism was hailed by the jury.

This year’s jury president, Vincent Lindon, also evoked the war in Ukraine in a lively speech dedicated to the virtues of the seventh art. “It is this inflexible, artistic and civic line that makes necessary what would otherwise be embarrassing: to project radiant images, superimposed on disgusting scenes that reach us from a heroic and martyred Ukraine. Or bury under melodi lumturie the silent massacres that are falling on Yemen or Darfur. In conclusion, a question: can we do anything but use the cinema, this weapon of massive emotions, to awaken consciences and shake indifference? I can not imagine. »

movie with fake zombies

The competition for the most important film festival in the world starts this Wednesday with the latest film of the Russian dissident Kirill Serebrennikov. Tchaikovsky’s wife. But the Cannes Film Festival opened with a lighter note on Tuesday, thanks to the introduction of the bizarre comedy Cutting!a new tribute to cinema by the director of ArtistMichel Hazanavicius, this time under the bloody features of a zombie movie.

The pastiche master had fun with this rather clever and very comical mission in the abyme of a B movie, where they play Romain Duris and Bérénice Bejo in the role of a couple consisting of a director and an actress (what will Hazanavicius and Bejo City).

In a festival that has detached genres for several years (Palmes d’Or last in parasite AND Titanium are proof of this), an opening film like this is no longer amazing, but still refreshing. Especially when compared to other academic and boring opening films of the past. I have a few examples in mind.

In an abandoned building, that reminds you Dawn of the Dead of George Romero, the shooting of a movie turns into a disaster. A tyrannical director has pushed his team to its limits. Irritated, those who shoot the zombie movie become zombies themselves, actors in a 32-minute comic sequence involuntarily (or voluntarily).

Hemoglobin in abundance, shredded bodies, accents of Kill Bill in a very amateur style: total, as they say in Antibes. Suppose the movie in the movie is just the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, the main part of Cutting! Is one doinga behind-the-scenes penetration into the world of craft cinema made with pieces of yarn.

“A film set is like a crowded micro-society,” says Michel Hazanavicius, Oscar winner for Best Picture and Best Director for Artistlaunched in competition in Cannes in 2011. His new film, conceived during the pandemic, is a remake of a 2017 Japanese student film entitled A cut of the dead. And the result, which is not taken seriously, occasionally hilarious, gives full meaning to an exaggerated word: “crazy”.

“It’s a tribute to the cinema, to making the object itself which is a film,” Romain Duris said on the red carpet on Tuesday, playing a disillusioned director whose motto is “fast, cheap and average”. . For the grief of his daughter, who dreams of directing (and who is interpreted by Michel Hazanavicius’s own daughter, Simone).

After school student humor and blood flow, it exists Cutting! a critical look, bordering on cynicism, cinema codes and actor claims – those who absolutely insist on bringing a meaningful social message to the screen at all times. But, above all, an entertainment room for the cinema, quite suitable for forgetting the dramas of the time.

A political jury?

It is a tradition. We go to the jury press conference on the first day of the Cannes Film Festival, to get the pulse of those who will decide on the winners and share the competition prizes. To speculate, with a hint of five-centered psychology and a high opinion of its sharpness, on the dynamics of the group: those who present themselves as strong-headed, those who will follow the parade, the style imposed by the president, and so on.

“What president will you be?” Authoritarian? “I asked Vincent Lindon, half fig, half grape, in an interview on Monday. He replied with a resounding “no”, but we clearly felt, at the press conference on Tuesday, that he wanted the lawyers not to allow themselves to be influenced by “external events”, namely the war in Ukraine, for judged in time. movies and set the price list.

“Hopefully it will not change the way we watch movies,” he said. It was more than a wish. Almost a deposit.


Vincent Lindon, president of the 75th juryAND Cannes Film Festival edition

We can not completely ignore what we are going through. Of course, subconsciously, this can play a small part in how we look at these movies. Some will be very close to these issues, and others, more distant. We will try to be careful to stay dignified, respectful, for those who have harder days than ours.

Vincent Lindon, president of the 75th juryAND Cannes Film Festival edition

One of Lindon’s jury members, Asghar Farhadi, took advantage of the platform provided by the festival to send a message to Iranian leaders. The one who has always managed to prevent censorship with different details and different submissions – I had noticed when I interviewed him for A divisionwhich he spoke in parables – spoke honestly about the situation in Iran.

“This is the third time I have received an invitation to be a lawyer in Cannes and I am happy that the third time is right,” he said. But this joy I feel is not as deep as I would like given what is happening in my country. With economic and political pressures, the outlook is bleak for the Iranian people. It is such a rich culture and civilization. Now, I have to admit that seeing people at the bottom of my mind spoils me a little the pleasure of being here. »

It will be a festival of contrasts, I was saying …

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