Cannes 2022

Cannes Opens with Eustache, Zombies, and Cruise

Jean-Pierre Léaud, Françoise Lebrun, and Bernadette Lafont in Jean Eustache’s The Mother and the Whore (1973)

On the opening day of its seventy-fifth edition, Cannes is screening two films, Jean Eustache’s The Mother and the Whore (1973), which will launch the Cannes Classics program in the afternoon, and Michel Hazanavicius’s Final Cut, premiering out of competition just after tonight’s official curtain-raising ceremony. The Mother and the Whore is the first of Eustache’s films to be restored since Les films du Losange acquired the entire oeuvre a few months ago, and Janus Films will be bringing the lot of them to the States.

On behalf of the festival, Benoit Pavan talks about The Mother and the Whore with Françoise Lebrun, who plays Veronika, a young nurse Jean-Pierre Léaud’s Alexandre strikes up an affair with even as he carries on living with his lover, Marie (Bernadette Lafont). Lebrun—currently appearing opposite Dario Argento in Gaspar Noé’s Vortex—recalls that after Eustache had won a modest degree of recognition for his 1970 documentary The Pig, “he called me to ask if I’d agree to perform in his new film. I accepted without knowing what it was about or who the other actors were.” Pavan asks Lebrun why Eustache’s career is so often reduced to this single film. “Because it was a kind of monster,” she says. “Whenever I’m invited to present it, I advise the audience to go see My Little Loves [1974]. For me, they’re two sides of the same coin.”

Final Cut, starring Romain Duris and Bérénice Bejo, is a remake of Shin’ichiro Ueda’s 2017 hit comedy One Cut of the Dead, in which members of a crew working on a cheap zombie movie become, one by one, actual zombies. “The film begins with a long take that fails completely, so much so that it becomes intriguing,” Hazanavicius tells Pavan. “Ultimately, when you realize that the long take is not the subject of the film but rather a way of telling how and by whom the film was shot, everything becomes clear. It’s this shift that really won me over.” Talking about that long take with Variety’s Brent Lang, Hazanavicius says, “I’m not Gaspar Noé or Alfonso Cuarón, so it was a real technical challenge.”

Final Cut hasn’t made it onto many of the lists critics have been putting together over the past few days of the films that they’re most looking forward to seeing in Cannes. The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney writes up his top five, starting with Claire Denis’s Stars at Noon, an adaptation of Denis Johnson’s 1986 novel starring Margaret Qualley as an American journalist who falls for a mysterious English businessman played by Joe Alwyn. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw briefly blurbs ten films, including Sergei Loznitsa’s The Natural History of Destruction, a documentary inspired by W. G. Sebald’s writing about the aftermath of the Allied air raids on Germany during the Second World War.

The staff at IndieWire have put together an annotated list of eighteen titles. It’s alphabetical, so it begins with Charlotte Wells’s debut feature Aftersun, in which a young woman looks back twenty years to a holiday she spent in Turkey with her father. David Ehrlich hears that Aftersun may be “a major breakout” from the Critics’ Week program.

The list of twenty films at the Film Stage is ranked, and David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future tops it. Nick Newman suspects that Cronenberg will offer “body horror from days past shot through the more austere (and personally preferable) lens of his later style.” Screen’s collection of twenty-two titles includes Maksym Nakonechnyi’s Butterfly Vision, in which an aerial reconnaissance expert returns to her home in Ukraine after spending months in a prison in Donbas. “You would think it was shot a month ago,” says Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux.

Tomorrow, Tom Cruise will arrive in Cannes to talk about his career with journalist Didier Allouch before everyone heads to a screening of Top Gun: Maverick. The sequel to what Time’s Stephanie Zacharek calls “Tony Scott’s 1986 jockstrap of a movie” opens in theaters on May 27, and so far, the reviews have been surprisingly strong. An unnamed rogue state has been enriching uranium and Maverick has been called on to train pilots to put a stop to it. “I’m a Cruise fan,” writes Filmmaker’s Vadim Rizov, “but since I have pretty much zero use for the original Top Gun, the main draw here was director Joseph Kosinski, Hollywood’s still underrated best hope for decent action movies.” And “in pretty much every way,” Top Gun: Maverick is “superior to the original film, and a lot of that’s due to Kosinski’s casual finesse and occasional recognizable visual fillip.”

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