★★★★★ Léo (Eden Dambrine) and Remi (Gustav De Waele) are best friends. At 13, they are intelligent and autonomous enough to be allowed a certain freedom, but still full of the childish and spontaneous joy of being and imagining. They pretend villains are attacking the castle, run through the flower fields, and have so many sleepovers together that Leo’s mum wonders aloud if he’ll ever come home.
★★★☆☆ “Family isn’t a word…it’s a sentence”. So ran the tagline to The Royal Tenenbaums. For Hirokazu Kore-eda it could be argued that it’s a whole career. From Still Walking to the Palme d’Or-winning Shoplifters, the Japanese auteur has spent the greater part of his career delineating the lines of attraction and repulsion, the dynamics of duty and care that make up families – both real and alternative.
★★★★☆ If there has been a characteristic that sums up this 75th edition of Cannes, it has been that the festival has been small. Partly because of Covid still affecting the way films are produced – yachts seem to be half-staffed and worlds depopulated: cinema downsized. So it is fitting that one of the last films to screen in the competition is Kelly Reichardt’s determinedly minimalistic Showing Up.
★★★☆☆ A gauche young man plays guitar and sings a song he wrote to the devoted pleasure of his parents. That was The Squid and the Whale, Noah Baumbach’s 2005 acerbic comedy of family disintegration. Jesse Eisenberg played the young man, while the song was actually by Pink Floyd which the boy was trying to pass off as his own.
★★★☆☆ There’s something fitting about a zombie movie remake. To paraphrase Vic Reeves, “You wouldn’t let it die”. And if you’re going to remake a zombie film, why not pick one of the best of recent years. That seems to be the thinking behind Michel Hazanavicius’ Final Cut, a zom-com that faithfully replays Shinichiro Ueda’s One Cut of the Dead, which made a crimson splash in 2017.
The Croisette is teeming, the red carpet has been unrolled, and the ticket system is up the spout. In other words, Cannes is back. After the Covid-inflected – if not infected – July 2021 version, there is a sense of renewal as the film industry bounces back with the blockbuster delights of Top Gun: Maverick and a familiar roster of auteur talent.