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August 15, 2022

Celebrating Belmondo

Naturally, several filmmakers and actors are celebrated, this year, in Cannes. The first on the list was Bernardo Bertolucci, followed by Faye Dunaway, whose selection as “the face” of this year’s edition, alongside the manifestations dedicated to her, was, undoubtedly, a much-deserved appreciation. There are, of course, the films included in “Cannes Classics”, each meant to “evoke” an entire cast. However, not one of these celebrations seems to have reached the emotional intensity displayed on Tuesday night, at the “Debussy”, when Jean-Paul Belmondo was awarded the lifetime achievement Palme d’Or. The distinction was handed out to him by the president of the festival, Mr. Gilles Jacob. Before this, the general delegate Thierry Frémaux, recounted his meeting with Belmondo, meant to persuade him to accept the invitation. Several of the feted actor’s collaborators climbed on stage: directors, actors and screenwriters.
Jean-Paul Belmondo was, of course, present, visibly nervous, but obviously enjoying the enthusiastic welcome. All those present applauded him loudly, repeatedly, for minutes.

On this occasion, the documentary “Belmondo. Itinéraire …” was presented. We could see, on screen, many of those who had just been on stage (Claudia Cardinale, Claude Lelouch, Jean Rochefort), as well as many others. We could see excerpts from “Borsalino”, for instance, a film in which Belmondo co-stars along another sacred monster of French cinema, Alain Delon. Out of his, extremely varied, career, including about 80 roles, only some were evoked, at any rate, the most representative titles for each stage of his life and work.

Highlights – Lars Von Trier’s “Melancholia”

Yesterday and today were allotted to one of the most keenly-awaited productions of this year’s edition – “Melancholia”, written and directed by Lars von Trier. The director is a favourite at Cannes, as well as with the international critics, having been present, on numerous occasions, in the festival’s selection, with: “Epidemic” (1987), “Europa” (1991), “Breaking the Waves” (1996), “Idioterne” (1998), “Dogville” (2003), “Manderlay” (2005) and “Antichrist” (2009).

“Melancholia” is an allegory of life, as well as death. A study of catastrophe, in the filmmaker’s trademark shocking style. He had had Penelope Cruz in mind for one of the lead roles, but a prior engagement of the latter put their collaboration on hold. The actress eventually chosen for the female lead is Kirsten Dunst, otherwise an excellent choice. Alongside her we can see Charlotte Gainsbourg, the winner of last year’s Best Actress award for her performance in von Trier’s previous production, “Antichrist”. The story is a disquieting one, hinting at the possible disappearance of life on Earth. That is why the meditations it gives rise to can prove to be overwhelming.

Naturally, such a cinematic work is an event not to be missed, and the press conference organized immediately after the screening further amplified interest in the film.

The screening of the Romanian production “Loverboy”, by Catalin Mitulescu, is due to start here, at the “Debussy”. However, more about this in tomorrow’s dispatch.

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