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A Lot of Gaul

Jacques Perrin in Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

With the addition of seventeen features, the official selection of this year’s Cannes Film Festival is now complete. The competition expands to twenty-one titles, five of them directed or codirected by women. That’s still a long way from gender parity, but it’s also the closest Cannes has ever come.

Three newcomers enter the race for the Palme d’Or. Albert Serra’s Tourment sur les îles stars Benoît Magimel as a high commissioner in Tahiti, Sergi López as a nightclub owner, and literary critic Cécile Guilbert making her on-screen debut as a writer. Un petit frère, the second feature from Léonor Serraille, who won the Camera d’Or in 2017 for Jeune femme, is the story of an African mother raising two sons in a Parisian banlieue. And The Eight Mountains, directed by Charlotte Vandermeersch and Felix Van Groeningen (The Broken Circle Breakdown), is an adaptation of Paolo Cognetti’s 2016 novel about the friendship between two Italian boys.

One of the three additions to the new Cannes Premiere program is Serge Bozon’s Don Juan, a musical starring Tahar Rahim and Virginie Efira. Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan, the story of a love triangle in Morocco, and Emily Atef’s Plus que jamais, starring Vicky Krieps and the late Gaspard Ulliel, are heading to the Un Certain Regard section. My Imaginary Country, the new documentary by Patricio Guzmán about the demonstrations that began in Santiago in 2019 and led to the rewriting of the Chilean constitution, will premiere as a special screening. Cinema Tropical notes that producer Alexandra Galvis says she finds it “difficult to forget that the same director who made The Battle of Chile is the one who now has a particular vision of what is happening.”

In New York, Prismatic Ground, a festival centered on experimental documentary, has announced the lineup for its second edition (May 4 through 8) and Tribeca is all set to run from June 8 through 19. Out west, the TCM Classic Film Festival opens today and runs through the weekend and the sixty-fifth SFFILM Festival is screening more than 130 features in theaters throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

On Thursday, the family of Jacques Perrin announced that the actor, director, and producer had passed away at the age of eighty. Perrin appeared alongside Claudia Cardinale in Valerio Zurlini’s The Girl with a Suitcase (1961), with Catherine Deneuve in Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) and Donkey Skin (1970), and as the fictional famous director Salvatore Di Vita in Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso (1988). As a producer, Perrin was best known for his work on Costa-Gavras’s Z (1969), which won an Oscar for best foreign film.

  • For Metrograph’s Journal, Tom Paulus takes a deep dive into the intellectual currents surging through a loosely connected band of French filmmakers in the wake of May 1968. There are rich passages in this not-so-brief history on Marguerite Duras, but Paulus focuses primarily on Jacques Rivette and his engagement with the work of such diverse figures as Howard Hawks, Hungarian filmmaker Miklós Jancsó, and the Living Theatre. One source of inspiration during the making of Out 1 (1971) was Shirley Clarke, whose films—The Connection (1961), The Cool World (1963), Portrait of Jason (1967)—“often seemed like rehearsals rather than finished films, with the handheld camera, the frequent zooms and out-of-focus shots, the voice of the filmmakers heard offscreen, and the changing of the film reels happening on camera (in Jason), constantly signaling ‘roughness’,” writes Paulus. In an episode of the French television series Cinéastes de notre temps dedicated to Clarke, “we recognize a typically shy Rivette among the guests in Clarke’s New York apartment, sitting next to Yoko Ono!”

  • Paulus is a coeditor at photogénie, and the Brussels-based online film journal has just launched a new site with a new issue devoted to exploring a few of the radically different ways filmmakers have employed absences of sound. Among the French Impressionist directors of the 1920s—Jean Epstein, Germaine Dulac, Marcel L’Herbier, Louis Delluc—“none made more melodious silence than Dimitri Kirsanoff,” writes Cláudio Alves. In The Shining (1980), Stanley Kubrick cranks up the “crescendo of menace by coupling it with silent sequences to set a completely deranged tone,” writes Ioanna Micha. The issue also features Anuj Malhotra on Peter Hutton, Ruairí McCann on Artavazd Pelechian, and Ed McCarry on Jacques Becker’s use of moments of “dead time” in which “the many secondary individuals who people the margins of his films percolate up and glow with unusual luminosity.”

  • In Jake Hannaford, the aging director hoping to mount a comeback in Orson Welles’s The Other Side of the Wind—shot in the 1970s but not completed and released until 2018—there’s a bit of Welles; more than a little of John Huston, who played him; plus a dash of John Ford and a hint of Raoul Walsh. But Hannaford was mainly modeled on Ernest Hemingway, whom Welles had met in 1937. Massimiliano Studer has been digging into the Welles archives at the National Cinema Museum of Turin to learn more about Crazy Weather, an unrealized screenplay Welles wrote with his partner, Oja Kodar. Once again, we find a character based on Hemingway. Studer offers up a few choice bits from the treatment in Bright Lights Film Journal: “For good old Jim, Spain is granddaddy’s land. The clock stopped here somewhere in the middle of a Victorian novel.”

  • Tomorrow evening, the UW Cinematheque in Madison will wrap its tribute to the late Jean-Paul Belmondo with a free screening of Alain Resnais’s Stavisky (1974). Belmondo plays Serge Alexandre Stavisky, a financier John Bennett describes as a “Ukraine-born embezzler who charmed his way into the bosom of France’s political and cultural elite” in the 1930s. Stavisky features a score by the late Steven Sondheim that “replicates the breeziness of Charles Trenet’s easy, bouncy popular music of the ’30s and ’40s while often furnishing agitato undertones that betray the untenability of Stavisky’s elaborate lifestyle. At other times, Sondheim’s score swells and crescendos at dramatic moments with an auditory lushness that pairs perfectly with extravagantly adorned mise-en-scène.” Let’s mention here that See It Big: Sondheim, a series at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, is running through May 1.

  • Many were hoping that, despite his repeated denials, David Lynch would have a new movie at Cannes. Paste’s Brianna Zigler explains why she’s convinced that he’s up to something. In the meantime, Screen Slate editor Jon Dieringer and film archivist John Klacsmann talk with sound and music supervisor Dean Hurley, who worked with Lynch on Inland Empire (2006), and last week, Filmmaker’s Erik Luers spoke with editor Duwayne Dunham, who directed several episodes of Twin Peaks (1990–1991) and edited Blue Velvet (1986), Wild at Heart (1990), and Twin Peaks: The Return (2017). At one point, Dunham recalls, “we had two separate cutting rooms set up, one for Twin Peaks and one for Wild at Heart. The rooms were right next to each other and we were editing both projects simultaneously!”

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