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Article – 72nd Festival De Cannes: Days 3 & 4


Posted May 17, 2019 by

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72nd Festival De Cannes: Days 3 & 4

The third day of the festival belonged to two filmmakers, one of them a veteran and the other a first timer. The word for Ken Loach with his latest social realist drama Sorry We Missed You, and debutant Mati Diop with her eerie and magical Atlantique. 

72nd Festival De Cannes: Days 3 & 4

Still from ‘Atlantique’

The Senegalese director holds a special place in this year’s competition, an African female director to enter with her first feature film – an accomplishment on its own. In an unconventional love story, we follow Diop’s characters lingering between life and death, between social justice and the power of money. A young woman loses the love of her life when he goes away in a sailing ship, trying to reach the European mainland in a search for better life. Following her never ending battle with a corrupt society, with her own self, he feelings and emotions, we gradually come to witness the agony leading to redemption. Uniquely stylish in its rough and unpolished setting, Atlantique uses the artistic ability of an ambitious young creator to play in what could have been a dangerous playground and come out a winner. Her biggest assets? Simplicity, purity and authenticity that loudly set out the nostalgia for African cinema as it should be. 

Mati Diop after the premier of Atlantique

Colombian director Franco Lolli presented his newest feature film Litigante at the opening of the Semaine De La Critique (Critics week). After the festival hit Gente de bien starting from Cannes few years back, the Latin American director presents another family drama honouring the culture of his home country. Inspired by a personal story and with his own mother plays the main character (as he told us in an exclusive interview – read it on FilmDebate), Lolli creates a tender and simultaneously heartbreaking portrait of a matriarchal family in Bogotá, a single mother and her five year old, living with her frail mother – dying from lung cancer – and younger sister. The three women are tangled in a complex dynamic where nobody is prepared to admit their weaknesses while giving a battle to preserve their dignity and survive the peer pressure. At times, Lolli gets close to his characters and later he distances himself letting them interact, improvise and create their own path throughout a provocative and thoughtful cinematic journey. 

On Friday, May 17, Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar returned to the Croisette with his Pain & Glory (Dolor y Gloria), a dive into his personal journey as a filmmaker and another collaboration with his two muses, Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz. Despite the stellar red carpet for Dolor Y Gloria, the biggest surprise and attention thief of the day was Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe, the Austrian filmmaker’s first English speaking film and first time in Cannes Competition since the 2014 Amour Fou in Un Certain Regard. 

Still from ‘Little Joe’

Set in the UK, Little Joe is about Alice, a single workaholic mom, who works in a planting lab, designing genetically modified plants that would serve better the unsatisfiable needs of modern society. Her newest creation is a plant that blossoms and grows from its carer’s love and affection, and in return it produces a scent that with pheromones which stimulate happiness and well being. In an attempt to study the plant better and blindly convinced in the geniusness of her creation, Alice gifts one of the plants to her teenage son Joe. His initial disbelief fast turns into great fascination with the plant, leading to unexpected change in behaviour. Despite her subtle tones, Alice is torn between her pride and greed for success and one of her colleagues vehement attempts to prove that Little Joe’s happy pheromones might be coming with a higher price for its potential owners. 

Still from ‘Little Joe’

With brilliant performances from Emily Beecham as Alice, Kit Connor as Joe and Ben Whisahw as Chris, Alice’s closest advisor and secret admirer, this contemporary sci-fi drama has the full package for the official Cannes Competition. Hausner co-writes, produces and directs a superbly stylish, elegant and fresh English debut, where her strong artistic vision and precision meet the genius of a thought-evoking, designer filmmaker who lures you in an exciting new world. 

Les Hirondelles De Kaboul (The swallows of Kabul) by Zabou Breitman and Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec, the most anticipated feature animation of the festival is definitely one to look out for. With a strong socio-political message, the film tells the story of a woman imprisoned for accidentally killing her husband in Kabul, and the days leading up to her public stoning. Masterfully created, this emotional drama puts under microscope important issues regarding human and women’s rights in North-east Asia, along with a colourful portrayal of culture and tradition in the area. 

The team of ‘The Swallows of Kabul’ with Thierry Fremaux on stage at Salle Debussy

The streaming platform CineMoi hosted on Thursday May 16 a fundraiser for United Children, at an exclusive gala dinner, accompanied by a fashion show, short films and a performance by acclaimed DJ Paul Oakenfold.


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[Cannes Film Festival 2018] – Day 4 & 5 – Highlights
[Cannes Film Festival 2018] – Day 2 & 3 – Highlights
[Cannes Film Festival 2018] – Day 1 & 2 – Highlights

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