Nine films to watch for the 2022 Cannes Film Festival

After Sun

Like, right before I head to the airport, I post this brief list of movies we have Director are especially excited to see at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, cinema’s most prestigious annual event is already having a bumpy opening, with a new (for those who haven’t experienced its debut on the low-key edition from last year’s mid-pandemic) ticketing system returning all sorts of “504 Gateway” errors and obscure messages, some of which contain their own blunt poetry: “View status validation failed… Objective , goal…” (Press has seen some relief as these badges are now being redirected to a new server, while market and festival attendees in general are still having issues.) Hope the movies are better than the tech – and that we can see them – are Vadim Rizov, Blake Williams and I, who will all be reporting on the festival in these pages in the coming days. With the atypical opening night of the festival (the zombie satire of Michel Hazanavicius final cut) in progress, here are nine movies we suggest you watch.

Scarlet. Transplanting Jack London’s Novel to the 20th Century, 2019 Martin Eden significantly raised the international profile of Italian director Pietro Marcello. A pleasantly understated musical documentary (For Lucia) and co-directed the non-fiction dispatch “The State of the Italian Nation” (Futura) later, Marcello’s highly anticipated narrative sequel is adapted (loosely, all synoptic material promises) from the short story by Russian writer Aleksandr Grim. The film, the opening night of this year’s Directors’ Fortnight, also marks his first collaboration in French. —Vadim Rizov

After Sun. The ability of memory to obscure or re-reveal – as well as to indict or possibly heal – is the subject of Charlotte Wells’ feature debut, After Sun. The raw elements of the film’s story, which I summarized to close my profile of Wells in DirectorThe list of the 25 new faces of 2018 is simple: “After Sunabout a young father’s vacation trip with his daughter to a resort, [is] inspired by his own vacation trips with his father. What this synopsis lacks is the current perspective of the film, which allows the innocence of a child’s vacation to be charged with a multitude of meanings and turbulent emotions. Having made a number of acclaimed short films, including Blue Christmasa brilliant portrayal of a fractured family Christmas, and with Pastel’s Adele Romanski and Barry Jenkins among the producers of that first film, Wells is set to receive major recognition when his film premieres at Critics’ Week . —SM

Pacification. We’re lucky to have even a single shit-stirrer in the main competition at Cannes these days, and Albert Serra’s latest film, the longest-running new film that isn’t a mini-series of the entire festival, is a good bet to tick that box, especially if it’s like an Albert Serra painting at all. Features a grimacing Benoît Magimel as “a calculating man of impeccable manners”, includes at least one shot of fluorescent lights, and appears to be set after the 18th century – this is new ground for Serra, and the one of the rare films screened in this Cannes of the year where I can say that I have an idea of ​​what awaits me. —Blake Williams

Super 8 year olds. Annie Ernaux spent years writing about thematically separate parts of her life in books on subjects ranging from various love stories to biographies of her mother and father; the recently published Happening is adapted from her account of obtaining an illegal abortion in 1963 in France. 2008 Years gathered his whole life into a grand synoptic picture, swapping first person singular for first person plural. Today, in collaboration with his son David, Ernaux, an openly cinephile writer, is co-directing his first feature film, which promises to re-examine his life from another point of view: his family films. — VR

To show up. After what is arguably his best film, first cow, Kelly Reichardt returns to Cannes with a new film reuniting longtime collaborators (including actress Michelle Williams, co-writer Jon Raymond, DP Chris Blauvelt, producers Anish Savjani and Neil Kopp) as well as new faces ( actor Andre 3000) in what is relatively underpopulated midlife drama subgenre: the film “gallery artist preparing a new show”. One of my favorites in this category is the screenplay by Richard Price life lessons, directed by Martin Scorsese, in which Nick Nolte’s Neo-Expressionist painter demands all forms of emotional drama to complete his final canvases. I expect something quite different from Reichardt, who, with his patient gift for the process of capture, is uniquely adept at dramatizing the ways in which life and art intertwine. —SM

De Humani Corporis Fabrica. The fourth feature film collaboration between Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, two anthropologist-artists whose collaborative work in the mediums of film, video and photography has secured Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab its own chapter in all the future history of documentary film. Their navigation Leviathan (2012) and, uh, gustatory Caniba (2017) have approached the limits of what Laura U. Marks has called haptic visuality, that is, the tactile connection that viewers weave with “the skin of the film”, and their latest, which focuses on five Parisian hospitals and the bodies therein, promises to literally dig under said skin. It should be nothing if not sensual, and there will undoubtedly be blood. —BW

Short films in competition. Shorts are always relegated to lower profiles, but Cannes’ only program dedicated to new shorts not made by student filmmakers (whose work benefits from four separate shorts programs) can reliably contain promising works of emerging global filmmakers who will do important work in the years to come. to come. This year’s edition comes with a highlight: a new short film by Bi Gan, his first work since 2018’s semi-3D Long day trip into night.–VR

Christophe… Definitely. Between the recording of the music of Bruno Dumont’s stellar France (2021) and the film’s premiere in Cannes main competition last year, French singer Christophe died of complications with COVID-19. Videographers Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Ange Leccia now offer this portrait of the pop musician back on stage in 2002 after a 28-year hiatus, composed from what appears to be delightfully saturated video documentation. Christophe’s voice is one thing, but 10 seconds watching Leccia’s 1991 video The sea was enough to make it essential. It will be screened at the festival’s Cinéma de la Plage, just after sunset; I would pray for no rain, but that probably wouldn’t be out of place. —BW

God’s Creatures. Writing about Anna Rose Holmer Sections for DirectorIn the Spring 2016 cover story, I called the microbudget’s debut “authentically joyous and startlingly weird,” praising its resistance to over-explaining its narrative mysteries. I also noted its “solidarity, fluid, collaborative” production model, in which certain fixed hierarchies were upset. So, six years later, it’s great to see Holmer again, this time directing alongside Saela Davis, who edited Sectionsand again dealing with a mystery of motivation and intent within a small community. —SM

Irma Vep. 1996 by Olivier Assayas Irma Vepin which a struggling director, René Vidal, attempts to revive his career with a remake of Louis Feuillade’s silent classic, The vampires, and starring Hong Kong star Fish Out of Water (Maggie Cheung) in the lead role, was both a satire of the French film industry as well as, in part, an experimental ode to young cinephilia in general. . I remember the ripple of excitement when this bold, cheeky and even dreamy film, sandwiched between two other Assayas classics (Cold water and End of August, beginning of September) landed in the United States, its punchlines resonating within the American indie scene as well. So it’s a shock to realize that now, in 2022, Irma Vep is, at its core level, “IP” – an existing property ready to be redesigned for HBO Max and today’s streaming landscape. Among other things, this means that instead of a 99-minute feature, it’s a nearly eight-hour series. The actor-director Vincent Macaigne replaces Jean-Pierre Leaud in the role of Vidal, and the interlocutor of the plate is this time Alicia Vikander, incarnating an American star of the blockbuster. In his essay “Cinema in the present”, Assayas wrote, “When we seek to identify the place of a reformulation of cinephilia today, it is impossible not to situate it on the Internet and in the redefinition by it of both modes of viewing cinema and the way we go through its history. So it will be fascinating to see how Assayas’ deep thought and witty self-reflexivity cut through what I’m sure will be a very entertaining take on the struggles of authoring, uh, content in 2022. —SM

Kimberly B. Nguyen