A roundup of the week of Cannes 2023 – from Depp to Goddard, the chaotic circus begins Cannes Film Festival

heyGuests gather for the premiere on the opening night of the Cannes Film Festival jean du barry, A historical Rome. It is the story of a tawaif (played by the film’s director, Maiwen) who falls to the notice of a lustful king and thus flits in the face of propriety and good taste. The palace, we learn, is a place dense with intrigue, Byzantine protocol, and ridiculous rules that make no sense. “It’s bizarre,” says a character. “No, it’s Versailles,” says another.

The royal court has its own troubles – and even in Cannes, where the traditional grand unveiling was derailed by the arrival of Johnny Depp, a Hollywood star beset by domestic abuse allegations, whose performance as King Louis XV is his first major role a little over three years. Most critics were outraged but the festival was unperturbed. Caan shrugs off cancel culture and leans into the fight. It goes to show that controversy is good for business and keeps us all on our toes.

“I first came to Cannes by accident in 1992,” Depp told reporters after touring the red carpet. “And it was an absolute circus like I’ve never seen. And it remains to this day – which is a good thing, I guess.”

Peep from a Croisette balcony and the place is a palace. Peer from another and it’s Barnum & Bailey’s big top, with all the clowns falling out of their cars and a pile of elephant dung, taking center stage. Some people hate it, which is a perfectly valid reaction, because it’s chaotic, infuriating, and intentionally distorted. But it is also daring and challenging and often sublime. I love it, I hate it: sometimes in the same breath. It always amuses me that Cannes once strapped their pearls on and let out Lars von Trier. If von Trier were a festival, it would be here.

Johnny Depp and Maven in Jean Du Barry.
Johnny Depp and Maven, who also directs Jean Du Barry. Alami Photograph: Album/Image

The first day is a gallop. The visitors are trying hard to keep up the pace. Schedules ache to meet every taste, every deadline. Those who have four hours to spare can immerse themselves in Steve McQueen occupied city, a monumental, cross-cutting portrait of Amsterdam that shows the ghosts of the war years still haunting the canal side streets and picnic spots. Stopwatch is better served by Pedro Almodovar strange way of life, a 30-minute queer western. dancing in the shadow of Human ErrorIt stars Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal as ill-starred lovers in the one-horse town of Bitter Creek.

This year’s jury president is Swedish director Ruben Östlund, two-time Palme d’Or winner for 2017. Crossroad and 2022 triangle of sadness, He tells me that Cannes is unique in the way it has been able to balance both sides of the industry: the multiplex and the arthouse, the big with the small. “So you have this big commercial presence here on the Croisette. But then you also get to shoot a little Iranian film on a cheap DV camera – and the organizers will give it the same kind of attention.

Ethan Hawke and Pedro Almodovar at the photo call for Strange Way of Life.
Ethan Hawke and Pedro Almodovar at the Cannes photocall for Strange Way of Life. Photograph: Stephen Cardinale/Corbis/Getty Images

Of course Ostlund is right. A casual glance at the program throws up some wild comparisons. For example, on First Friday, blockbuster fans happily fill their shoes at the premiere. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, in which 80-year-old Harrison Ford is preparing to engage in a fight with a band of former Nazis. Anyone in need of a more shaded and disturbing film on a similar subject, however, would be well advised to make a way for Jonathan Glazer. area of ​​interest, a romantic drama that plays incongruously on the edge of Auschwitz. Turn one side, you’re in heaven. Turn the other one, it’s hell.

Catherine Corsini is first in the hunt for the Palme d’Or homecoming, a decent bantamweight contender, uncovers family trauma buried on the island of Corsica. It is gracefully performed and charmingly handled, gently tackling themes of the politics of gender, race and class. Still, I fear that Corsini’s picture may ultimately be too tasteful and weak to properly bother the judges.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Photograph: Jonathan Ole / Lucasfilm

Then we have Jean-Stephen Sauvre Black filesA beefy New York paramedic drama that cruises the same territory Martin Scorsese mined more effectively bringing out the Dead, Tye Sheridan plays Cross, the sensitive young rookie who says he won’t last two weeks. Sean Penn is ratty, gravel-voiced and leathery-skinned, who is hellbent on teaching the new kid the ropes. Setup complete, Souvere proceeds to take the two of them on their nightly rounds, turning on the red light and the camera in his hand locked. But his film suffers from a toxic case of sentimental masculinity. Get the jump-lead, by God it’s losing energy by the mile. “You can’t save everybody,” Penn yells at one point. Judging by the symptoms, I don’t think Black files going to make it.

Demon, on the contrary, boasts of a more robust constitution. Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film is based on a dispute between a troubled student and a callous schoolteacher; An event that threatens to quickly consume everyone involved. But after initially setting up the crisis, Kore-eda retreated; Location. He frames the action from the points of view of mother, child and teacher, so that his intimate human drama takes on the qualities of a procedural thriller. Who is lying, he is asking. What’s the real story here? Demon It’s at its most powerful during its haunting opening half when we’re lost in the thicket, trying to separate the woods from the trees. Arguably it becomes less charged and successful when it takes late steps to interpret. Sometimes there are big mysteries that remain unresolved.

The demon of Hirokazu Kore-eda.
The demon of Hirokazu Kore-eda. Photograph: Suenaga Makoto

While writing this piece, on the press terrace, I am waylaid by a friendly, humorous man by the name of Si Sabata. Sai explains that he is of Roman heritage and is a former Mr. Universe, who is in town to raise funds for the big screen biopic. He has come to discuss the project with a Norwegian producer but he is not exclusive and moreover, the deal is not finalized yet. He sizes me up and makes a quick decision. He says: “Would you like to write the story of my life?”

I’ve covered Cannes for years and I still can’t pin it down. Great movies reveal new layers of mystery every time we watch them. Great characters surprise us; This is what makes them so compelling. And if we appreciate the complexity in our films, why shouldn’t we need our film festivals too? Screening thunders through the stampede like wild deer on the field. The scum is so thick, I smell 10 different armpits. The crowd is involved in this incident. It contradicts itself and goes on. It’s terrifying and it’s gorgeous. It’s weird, it’s Versailles.

upcoming attractions

Alicia Vikander in Firebrand.
Alicia Vikander in Firebrand. Photograph: Brouhaha Entertainment

firebrand, screen today
jean du barryThank goodness it’s not the only royal saga in town. Karim Ainouz’s film is reputedly a psychological horror dressed in Ermine, which pits Alicia Vikander’s Catherine Parr against Jude Law’s war of wills, who control King Henry VIII.

fake war
Jean-Luc Godard – favorite son of the festival and its occasional tormentor – died last September but kept working until the end. The Cannes equivalent of a state funeral is a screening of footage from the director’s unfinished documentary, billed teasingly as “a trailer for a film that will never exist”.

close your eyes tomorrow
whoever has seen soul of the beehive Victor will be excited to have Eris back. close your eyes The reclusive is the Spanish director’s first feature in two decades and, fittingly, deals with a mysterious disappearance and the feverish speculation that follows.

Scarlett Johansson in Wes Anderson's Asteroid City.
Scarlett Johansson in Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City. focus features

asteroid city tuesday
Another ear from writer-director Wes Anderson, another fully mounted, freeze-dried diorama, this one about a glittering convention in a dusty desert town. The ensemble cast offers a celestial spread of big names from regulars Tilda Swinton and Ed Norton to newcomers Tom Hanks and Margot Robbie.

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