Cannes 2021 day 5: in all the selections, send the divide!

The divide is the title of one of the films in competition, the one that Catherine Corsini imagined following the uprising of the yellow vests.

The title designates both what happened to the arm of the fairly lit comic artist played (beautifully) by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, what was happening in the couple she forms with the editor played by Marina Foïs, and of course the said “social fracture” whose movement at the end of 2018 at the beginning of 2019 was both the spectacular manifestation and a powerful accelerator.

In an overloaded emergency service, tense relations between the left bourgeoisie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) and the yellow vest trucker injured by the police (Pio Marmai). | The pact

Almost entirely located in the emergency department of a Parisian hospital, and also evoking the terribly degraded situation of working conditions and care in many public hospitals, the film, even at the cost of a few simplifications, succeeds in setting very compelling tension of individual and collective conflicts.

But he thus finds himself explicitly displaying a theme that runs through the selections, the cinema here strongly demonstrating its sensitivity to contemporary issues. It is, therefore, about this famous social fracture, but considered essentially according to an approach which is neither that, modern, of the class struggle, nor that, postmodern, of going beyond it.

What many of the films presented in the various selections take note of in various ways is above all the growing strangeness between fragments of a society that no longer lives, concretely and imaginatively, in the same world, while they live. sometimes a few kilometers from each other. It is the observation of different ways of existing, of understanding, of feeling, of dreaming, concerning people who live in the same country, the same continent, the same planet.

Among the titles already presented when we are barely approaching half of the Festival, and of course without having been able to see everything that has been screened, at least eight other films fall under this theme.

Outraged The divide, therefore, we have already mentioned here Ouistreham, according to the book by Florence Aubenas by Emmanuel Carrère, a transposition which added to the description of the work of overexploited women the stake of the irreconcilable gap between them and that which, with the best intentions in the world, intends to testify to it.

Small type of Samuel Theis

Between Johnny and his schoolmaster, a closeness that troubles the child and gaps that threaten them both. | Ad Vitam

But the question of this gap – economic, lifestyle and representation, culture in the broadest sense of the word – is also at the center of Small type by Samuel Theis, presented at Critics’ Week.

The film follows the journey of a kid, the son of a single-parent family in great poverty, living in a city in Forbach. The boy is attracted to his teacher and everything he represents as another way of life, another relationship to the world.

This attraction, if it is not reputed by the film to be irreparably condemned by an insurmountable abyss, is at least the occasion of suffering and crises which affect all the characters concerned.

Back to Reims by Jean-Gabriel Périot

Built according to a scheme that is both historical (from the 1950s to the present day) and political discourse, Back to Reims by Jean-Gabriel Périot is based on the eponymous book by Didier Eribon to offer a montage of archives documenting this irremediable rupture, defined by the author as resulting from the abandonment of the people by the left.

Also leading to the yellow vests, Back to Reims, presented at the Directors’ Fortnight, testifies to the formidable editing talent of the filmmaker ofGerman youth while subjecting itself to a discourse that precedes and dominates it, and ultimately weakens it.

But there is indeed the idea of ​​a drift of the middle classes represented by the left of government, 1000 miles from the popular roots of what, in France, claimed to be the socialist idea.

I am free by Laure Portier

Presented at ACID, I am free by Laure Portier is a destabilizing portrait of the young man whom she calls her brother (rather in fact her half-brother), shot on the spot of the latter’s existence, a former convict, sometimes homeless, always in trouble.

It is sometimes he who films, in the absence of his sister, but it is indeed her own film, as also evidenced by the debates, kept during the editing, where he discusses the fact of recording such and such. situation, and the motivations of a director who, without anyone doubting her affection, clearly operates according to a completely different logic from him.

Both family proximity and the very raw set-up of the shoot never cease to underline how much these two people, those who make the film and the one to whom it is dedicated, have practically nothing in common as an idea of ​​existence.

Compartment n ° 6 de Juho Kuosmane

Western European student and Russian worker (Seidi Haarla and Yuriy Borisov) forced to travel together. | High and short

These radical differences can remain placed under the sign of irreconcilability without necessarily being told in a dark mode. It is the beautiful discovery, in Official Competition, of Compartment N ° 6 by Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen.

The meeting between a Finnish student in archeology and a Russian worker in the camera of the Trans-Siberian railway will experience vicissitudes and developments which may for a moment exceed the hostility and incomprehension between them.

But without being able to consider going beyond a playful and affectionate moment before separating. They either, in spite of an affection which, optimistically, finds its way, “Do not live on the same planet” to use Bruno Latour’s expression.

Down With the King by Diego Ongaro

Rap star (Freddie Gibbs) attracted to life in the fields. | ACID

It is basically the same with another very happy discovery, Down With the King by Diego Ongaro, again in the ACID selection, decidedly very well inspired this year.

With treasures of attention, humor and a sense of everyday realities, the film accompanies the stay on a farm in a rural state in deep America of a rapper who came to write his next album.

The vast natural spaces filmed as belonging to another universe than the urban space saturated by the laws of business and the social networks to which the central character belongs, respond to a series of vignettes composed with lightness and sensitivity.

As modest as it is, this film is one of the few where the question of the gulfs that separate men and women in the same country also works on the directing itself.

Lucid on the observation of the sinister and dangerous, even fatal, strangeness between social groups, the other titles previously mentioned, from the most classic (Carrère, Corsini) to the most experimental (Portier), obviously did not give rise to questioning. the way of filming.

Venus on the shore de Lin Wang

5 of the 6 female figures around which the film is built. | ACID

This way of filming, which is summed up in a very reductive way by the word “style” and which is in truth a policy of the gaze, is on the other hand worked with great finesse in another title, Venus on the shore de Lin Wang.

Describing a world that was once unified to the point of excess which, in the early 1990s, crumbled into fragments, as China passed from the so-called socialist era to unbridled capitalism, the film invents a circulation that is in turn gracious and cruel, between six female characters from different generations and different social statuses.

Dreamlike and very realistic, this first Chinese film finds the dramatic and plastic means to evoke a real earthquake, on the scale of the Chinese continent, in a way that is neither complacently reassuring nor showcasing the catastrophe.

Good mother by Hafsia Herzi

As a counterpoint, we have to make way for a film which bears witness to the homogeneity of a world, without needing to overdramatize the stakes by artificial oppositions or dramatic elements that have become clichés … which participate in this divide social, which is also, and perhaps above all, a fracture of images and imaginations. And as such directly concerning the cinema.

Filming a place where she grew up, the northern districts of Marseille, the actress turned director Hafsia Herzi composes around a very strong maternal figure a group portrait of a family which, it is the author who says it, resembles his own.

Good mother (selected for Un certain regard) refrains from adding to the omnipresence of poverty, criminal practices, violence, machismo, absolute veneration of family ties, in a tone very far removed from what does almost always fiction cinema in this context.

Living together in the northern districts of Marseille, a world apart. | SBS Distribution

The film deploys a look at the same time generous, nuanced and without complacency on a world which usually has the right only to invisibility or to touting clichés. Without dwelling on it or even seeming to think about it, the filmmaker tells about a world which in fact lives apart from the “other”, without ignoring it, by having to deal with it but by reducing its influences as much as possible.

It is not part of the filmmaker’s plan to debate it, her subject is this maternal figure holding a very mixed, very composed wisdom, yemma, mom.

But the film also has the merit of making sensitive the vast range of behaviors and representations active in what is, within the very perimeter of a large city like Marseille, a world apart.

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