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  • Writer's pictureEllie Hales

Cannes Diary

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

I am going to make a conscious effort to document each day of the Festival de Cannes so that I can reflect on what I have learnt and look back on the experience as a whole. Keeping a diary everyday may also demonstrate growth in my confidence as I settle in to the festival and become more comfortable networking with people.


Wednesday

Cannes is a bit overwhelming, but I spent some time today trying to get to grips with it. I walked from cinema to cinema, timing the walk so I could plan when I would eat for the next few days between films. I went for lunch with two girls, one from Boston and one from Russia. I felt nervous putting myself out there and meeting up with strangers, but 'm so glad I did as they both shared top tips for the festival and we arranged to meet up again.


I then met up with the Director of Leeds International Film Festival, Chris, to discuss which films he had seen already. Chris goes for the entire festival every year, so it was great to hear what he most enjoyed from the festival before I arrived. It was comforting to meet up with someone I know, and he has also offered me some of his tickets that he can't use for the rest of the festival. We've also arranged to meet up with his contact Tom, a programmer for Perth Film Festival, and I am excited to hear about his experiences, particularly in moving from programming in the UK to another country.


Christophe... définitivement dir. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Ange Leccia

- required a previous knowledge of Christophe

- followed the singer as he prepared for a concert, no background information on him so I felt lost

- very stylish to look at and presented Christophe as an interesting character

- attended with a group of French people who all really enjoyed it, and I think my lack of connection to the documentary subject hindered my experience


Thursday

Le Parfum Vert dir. Nicolas Pariser w/ Q&A

- billed as a thriller, more of a comedy mystery

- slapstick, not my usual style but I really enjoyed it

- post screening Q&A, director said he wanted to mix Tin Tin and Hitchcock which is very accurate

- not a particularly memorable film, but enjoyable


Domingo y La Niebla dir. Ariel Escalante

- first ever Costa Rican film to be in competition at Cannes

- again billed as a thriller, this film focused more on the effects of grief

- wonderful performance by lead actor, who spoke few words but was on camera for most of the film

- the metaphor of the mist was an intriguing aspect

- tension built very effectively

- for a film where not a lot happened, very captivating


As Bestas dir. Rodrigo Sorogoyen

- incredible performances from the lead characters

- very intense film which focused around a vote for a wind farm being built in a Spanish town

- felt very personal, the tension was very realistic

- uncomfortable feeling, the conflicts felt like something you could experience with a neighbour


Riposte Feministe dir. Simon Depardon, Marie Perennès

- fascinating documentary following different groups of women and non-binary protesters across France

- the way the documentary followed different groups in different cities, showed the class and racial differences across France

- insight into the personal lives of the protesters was heart-wrenching

- came out of the film feeling empowered and there was a lot of discussion after the film between the audience, it seemed everyone shared this feeling

- a film that won't get a wide release but that I think lots of people should see, one I hope to programme for LIFF 2022


Friday

Stars at Noon dir. Claire Denis

- the most disappointing film I have seen in a long time

- shot beautifully

- terrible script - characters spoke in idioms, like they were trying to be mysterious but it just didn't work

- too long, strange editing, wooden performances

- billed as an erotic thriller but felt like neither, it should have been been marketed as a drama

- very confusing storyline, like aspects were missing, but things were kept in that didn't add to the film at all

- Joe Alwyn felt miscast

- rumours Claire Denis will re-edit, and I would be intrigued to watch it again as the setting and style of the film is beautiful, but the story and script let it down


Elvis - Press Conference

- interesting to watch a press conference when I haven't seen the film yet

- Priscilla Presley was in attendance and very happy with the story told in the film

- most questions centered around Austin Butler's acting and how he got into character, interesting to see that this is what is focused on, rather than Baz Luhrmann's style and the staging which is usually the driving force of his films


Showing Up dir. Kelly Reichardt

- a beautiful film with a slow moving pace, as all Reichardt films are, but never boring

- became very invested in the character stories, even though they were dealing with quite mundane every day life issues

- Michelle Williams played a depressed artist very convincingly, getting across this feeling that she has succumbed to not succeeding, and the subtle jealousy of her contemporaries

- I look forward to watching it again


Un Petit Frère dir. Léonor Serraille

- again, the acting was the real driving force of the film

- lead actress was incredible, from the first part which focused on her, to her small appearances in the rest of the parts that focused on her sons

- an interesting story that examined race, migration and familial relationships

- made a lot of the audience, including myself, cry heavily and it was fascinating to see this reaction from so many people


Saturday

Triangle of Sadness dir. Ruben Östlund

- hilarious film, the best audience experience so far as hundreds of people laughed and shouted at the screen

- brilliant satire of influencer culture and of the rich and famous

- a film I could watch over and over again


Crimes of the Future dir. David Cronenberg

- after the recent press articles suggesting people walked out and had panic attacks during the film, I was so excited to watch it

- this is an example though of a film being negatively affected by the media, as everyone I saw the film with agreed it wasn't shocking

- a lot of people felt disappointed by its slow moving pace and this was actually the only film I fell asleep briefly during the festival

- the narrative was interesting, but I think the marketing of the film at the festival let it down

- had I not heard so much about it before watching it, I think I would have enjoyed it more


Decision To Leave dir. Park Chan Wook

- very stylish thriller/murder mystery

- incredible editing, some incredible shots and sequences

- captivating story and wonderful performance by supporting actress

- interesting in that just as you thought the film was going to end, an almost different film began

- quite long, but it all felt necessary and was enjoyable the whole way through


Closing Ceremony

- I watched the Closing Ceremony in the media room next door to the Grand Lumière where the ceremony was actually taking place

- this was an eye opening experience, and now after watching videos from inside the ceremony, I'm glad I experienced the atmosphere of the media room

- whilst the main ceremony was very formal and respectful, the media room was very outspoken and interactive

- watching the ceremony on a large screen, everyone had their laptops and phones out to live tweet the ceremony for their publications

- Claire Denis received boos when she won the Grand Prix for Stars At Noon, this made me feel uncomfortable as I wouldn't do that myself, but it was interesting to see the polarising opinions and politics of the festival - this reaction also definitely didn't and wouldn't happen in the main room

- a lot of shock but happiness around Triangle of Sadness winning the Palme D'or, it was unexpected as it was seen as more of a audience pleaser than an award winner




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