Critics’ Week and ACID Lineups

Bae Doona in Jung July’s Next Sohee (2022)

While Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux prepares to add a few more films to this year’s lineup, the independent programs running parallel to the main event have been announcing their own selections. After the Directors’ Fortnight presented a first round of twenty-three features on Tuesday—one more will be added in the coming days, along with an array of short and medium-length films—Critics’ Week, the annual showcase of first and second films, and ACID, the Association for the Circulation of Independent Film, unveiled their 2022 lineups.

Seven features and eleven shorts will compete during the sixty-first edition of Critics’ Week, which will run from May 18 through 26. Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania will preside over the jury that includes filmmakers Ariane Labed and Benedikt Erlingsson, cinematographer Benoît Debie, and Busan International Film Festival director Huh Moon-young. Among the contenders in the competition are Iranian director Ali Behrad’s feature debut, Imagine, in which a cab driver falls for a passenger played by Leila Hatami (A Separation); Charlotte Wells’s Aftersun, starring Paul Mescal and Francesca Corio as a father and daughter on holiday; and The Woodcutter Story, the first feature from Mikko Myllylahti, who cowrote The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (2016) with director Juho Kuosmanen.

A special screening of a film launched at Sundance in January, When You Finish Saving the World, the first feature directed by Jesse Eisenberg, will open this year’s edition. “The independent American cinema landscape has been impacted by the health crisis, challenged by streamers, and while we favor world premieres at Critics’ Week, we felt that since Sundance was held online, it would be an act of solidarity to shine a spotlight on this beautiful film on opening night,” artistic director Ava Cahen tells Variety’s Elsa Keslassy.

Julianne Moore stars as Evelyn Katz, a social worker who runs a shelter for victims of domestic violence, and Finn Wolfhard plays her teenage son, Ziggy, who spends his days in his room, live-streaming his songs to listeners around the world. “The self-involved pair don’t understand each other because, well, teenagers, but also because Evelyn is a preachy-cruel liberal and Ziggy is a doofus whose lyrics come from RhymeZone and whose voice sounds like Rivers Cuomo’s Bob Dylan impression,” writes Jacob Oller at Paste. “They’re bad to each other, and they’re looking for something different to make them whole.”

Filmmaker’s Vadim Rizov notes that Eisenberg “favors slow zooms in and out and/or lateral dollies and pans with the occasional switch to conspicuously rough handheld—simple moves that serve the script and don’t embarrass him. As a writer, his dialogue sounds like something you could imagine in his incredibly distinctive delivery, but his ability to convincingly voice multiple people isn’t quite there.”

Next Sohee, the long-awaited second feature from Jung July—her debut, A Girl at My Door, premiered in the Un Certain Regard program at Cannes in 2014—will close out this year’s edition. Bae Doona and Kim Si-eun star in what Cahen calls “a gripping feminist crime film.” This is Cahen’s first year as artistic director. She’d served on the selection committee for several years when she replaced Charles Tesson, who had held the position since 2012. In the video below, Cahen introduces the entire 2022 program (click “CC” for English subtitles).

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