After the landslide victory of ‘Titane’ at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, preceded and followed by the massive win at festivals for female-directed films, one would expect the festival of festivals that is Cannes to take notice.
However, in this new edition in which only four female directors compete for the Palme d’Or (two of them, precisely within those heavyweights of French cinema that by default tend to find a place in the programming grid), there does not seem to be much more room for that change.
The rounds of debate organized by the festival in recent days to discuss the future of cinema did not include the feminine vision of any filmmaker of the present, not even that of the latest winner of La Palma. A void that has raised blisters among the film community. In this context and with a festival already reaching its final stretch, we analyze the new works of two of the competition invitees at Cannes 2022, Claire Denis and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.
‘Stars at Noon’ (Claire Denis)
Judging by the buzz around the Croisette, it seems that, like most of what we’ve seen in this official competition, Claire Denis’s has also drawn a mixed reaction from critics. Absolutely infumable and empty for some, the director’s best for others, ‘Stars at Noon’ has a strange magnetism of that love dangerously on the run and passionately in a deeply political story disguised as a great romance.
Sustained entirely by the charism of Margaret Qualeythe undisputed protagonist before whom his co-star, Joe Alwynit doesn’t even have a chance of comparison, with the hypnotism of an unbearably intense character, but with such vitality that it inevitably hooks you, ‘Stars at Noon’ drags us running up and down the streets of Nicaragua in an impossible attempt to escape their fate .
An incessant political persecution in an extremely violent and corrupt Central America, devoted to the interests of the highest bidder. A heavy and rarefied environment to which the protagonist has adapted and in which she has learned to move like any local, between comics and tricks, and that finally permeates the viewer as well.
A film that, with the excuse of that steamy tropical romance, is winning as it goes deeper and deeper into that jungle and wild atmosphere, as the reasons for each other to be there are uncovered. Probably the ones that win with a second viewing, certainly better the more you think about it.
‘Les Amandiers’ (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi)
A group of beginning actors hold auditions to enter training at the prestigious school of Theater des Amandierson the outskirts of Paris, whose theater director, the prestigious Patrice Chereau (Louis Garrel) He is one of the great idols of every beginning actor. During their training, as in any closed environment, the kids experience all kinds of emotions and relationships between them, intensified and magnified in that time of discovery.
Based on the beginnings of the school, like the youth of that time, the one from ‘Les Amandiers’ also suffers and enjoys the unique situation of those tumultuous 80’s, in a bout of nostalgia of the director herself, who, inspired by her own environment, ends up telling the generational portrait of herself.
Viewing Valeria Bruni Tedeschi’s in this context of veneration of the French industry itself and with that certain air inherited from the repeatedly referenced and emulated Nouvelle Vague of the late 1960s, the natural reason for this film to compete in the Official Selection is understood. of Cannes, although your speech feels a bit off.
In that sense, ‘Les Amandiers’ fails in terms of the naturalness of that movement that emerged from that generation of filmmakers who wanted to break the status quo, delivering a gentrified and somewhat egocentric review, which ultimately provides a romanticized vision that legitimizes with a certain nostalgia a series of toxic behaviors that, after years of revision of the new cinemas of that time, already seemed to have been overcome in the cinema of the new millennium.
A film that, in the context of its director and if it is not competing in the Official Selection, could have a certain charm with the comings and goings of that group of protagonists in search of the enjoyment of life and the beauty of art, but that in that coveted space in the biggest festival in the world seems forced and somewhat pedantic. In this review of referent untouchables, the interpretations of this new generation of young actors seem to inherit the worst vices of those and end up seeming fake. It remains to wait for the reaction of the official jury, chaired by the revered figure of the French actor Vincent Lindon.