The Cannes Film Festival will roll into its 70th edition on Wednesday evening with an incredibly French work, Arnaud Desplechin’s Ismael’s Ghosts – whose soul and spirit seem seeped in all things that are essentially local. A stubbled movie director who is all set to start cranking his camera for a new celluloid adventure finds himself waylaid by his former lover.
Desplechin, known for works like Esther Kahn, A Christmas Tale and My Golden Days, says in a note “It’s the portrait of Ivan, a diplomat who journeys through the world without understanding it. It’s the portrait of Ismael, and I am director who journeys through his life without understanding it either. It’s the return of a woman from amongst the dead. It’s also a spy movie.... Like Pollock’s female nudes. Ismael is frenzied. And the script grew frenzied alongside him. And yet up in his attic, Ismael tries to hold all the threads of the action together...
“Throughout the twists and turns of the plot, the task was to speak clearly and straightforwardly. I wanted each scene to come off as raw, brutal. Blows the spectator can’t dodge...”
As one journalist quipped, the Festival Director, Thierry Fremaux, “will be very happy with the films he has lined up for this year’s competition”. We would get to see the oven-fresh works of Todd Haynes (Wonderstruck), Michael Haneke (Happy End), Sofia Coppola (The Beguiled), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here) and Francois Ozon (Amant Double).
Also said to be a gem is the Nicole Kidman starrer, The Killing of a Sacred Deer (do not tell me that there is a Bishnoi community in Ireland, for that is where the story is set). The movie, which also stars Colin Farrell, is said to take us on a roller-coaster of psychological upheaval.
Naomi Kawase’s Japanese movie, Radiance, keeping in tune with her style of fictionalising documentary, zeroes in on Misako, who passionately writes film versions for the blind, and at a screening, she meets Nakamori, a great photographer who is slowly losing his sight. And together they discover the fabulous world that they had never seen even with their eyes fully open.
And not to forget -- this seems like a Nicole Kidman Festival. She would be seen in as many as four movies – The Beguiled (set against the American Civil War in a girls’ boarding school which witnesses hostility and sexual tension when a wounded soldier walks in), The Killing of a Sacred Deer ( by the Lobster auteur, Yorgos Lanthimos, about a charismatic surgeon who is forced to make an unbelievable choice), How to Talk to Girls at Parties (based on a Neil Gaiman short story) and Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake (one of the Festival’s television picks).
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