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August 3, 2021

Standing ovations for an absent Godard

By    Ioan Lazar in Cannes

Everything at the Cannes festival will be going as planned from now on. The prize winners will be announced tomorrow, Saturday, and the winning film of this year’s edition will be showcased Sunday. Wednesday was a busy afternoon.
Firstly, I will be referring to Adieu au language included in the gala show. Despite his initial promise that he would attend the gala, the skeptics won in the end as Jean-Luc Godard failed to make an appearance at Cannes. The cinema theater hosting the screening of his Palm d’Or competing film was full to the brim and the audience applauded vigorously when the great film maker’s name was called even if he was not there.
Godard’s latest film is a sui generis philosophical examination and another invitation for viewers to remap the world through the world of cinema. With the same youthful spirit, the octogenarian has unsparingly revealed the inner workings of today’s world. His advice, captured in the slogan ‘Give up your freedom and everything will be handed down to you,’ seems ironic. The film’s story is fragmented and the number of characters is scarce – a wife, a bachelor, and a dog. Godard uses these as symbols to bring praise to love in a rather gloomily portrayed world. This time, the cinematographer added a gimmick to his technique by making the film in 3D. Some of the guests smiled as they were greeted by employees offering special glasses at the entrance into the ever smaller Grand Theatre Lumiere screening hall. Yet they all gave in to the playful nature of this incorrigible iconic figure. Godard has, to use Claude Monet’s words, advised us ‘not to paint what can be seen because nothing will be seen,’ but ‘paint what cannot be seen.’ It is here that the director’s secret lies, in his concern with penetrating the invisible and inexpressible.
Diverting our attention for a moment, it should be said that Sophia Lauren’s lesson in cinematography was absolutely remarkable. In a crowded Bunuel hall, the actress had many interesting confessions to make during an over two-hour long discussion in which she answered every question asked by reporters, although many still remained unspoken.
This edition’s schedule indicates that Romania’s time in the Cannes limelight is getting nearer. Bridges of Sarajevo, produced in collaboration by a number of directors including Godard and as previously mentioned Cristi Puiu, was showcased late yesterday, at 6.45 p.m. at Soixantieme. The film, presented in a special out of competition screening, marks one century since the start of World War I.
Radu Jude’s short film Trece si prin perete / It Goes Through the Wall will be screened today, Friday May 23, at Quinzaine des Realisateurs as part of Program No.2.
The end of the week will be filled with ceremonies announcing the juries’ awards with Jane Campion offering an overview of the festival’s 67th edition on Saturday.
We could comment on the results forecasted by Europe’s major publications, but nothing is set in stone. Some reporters believe the selection of the winner will ultimately depend on the Australian leader of the jury’s own way of making films. Let us, then, sit still and await this Saturday’s ceremony.

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