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September 27, 2021

Will the Dardenne brothers get their third Palme d’Or?

We’ve already entered into the hot moment of the Festival, were we can watch films signed by great names, benchmarks of Cannes, without diminishing the chances of the previous competitors, among which we can find Cristi Puiu (Sieranevada). Some people are already saying that Jim Jarmusch will win this edition with Peterson, but it’s hard to make a forecast. So many times the juries have cancelled the predictions, that we’d better be patient and see how the new screenings waiting to be performed look like.

Of course, the interest is directly related to those film makers who already won other editions of Cannes. And if we are talking about the members of the „Twice Rewarded with Palme d’Or” Club, the interest is even bigger. Their group is pretty small, but when one of them appears on the banner, everybody’s wondering if that film makers (or those film makers) will accomplish their strong wish. Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc, are in the same situation. In The Unknown Girl (La fille inconnue), the two Belgians suggest, as usually, a story of an ordinary young girl, who has a simple way to see life, without exaggerating things, but considering the immediate reality. The story doesn’t have anything spectacular, despite the fact that a young girl disappears. The girl rang the doorbell of a general practitioner, Jenny Davin, but the latter didn’t answer, since she was tired. She will try to find out what are the reasons of the death of the unknown girl, and we can see by her attitude that she has a certain guilty feeling. By investigating a case from the periphery of Liege, the film does not consist in a criminal investigation or a formula for a possible policier. Although the character may lead us to think at the films built on “social cases”, things are not going too far, persistently, in examining life and the biographies of the characters, like all the time we talk about the two film maker brothers. Adèle Haenel, Jenny’s interpreter, was saying the same, noticing that she doesn’t have at all the behavior of an extraordinary heroine and that she doesn’t put herself in a superior position, involved somehow by the professional possibility to understand the causes of the death. Like in almost all of their films (La promesse, Rosetta, Le fils, L` Enfant, Le gamin de velo, Deux jours, une nuit), the two film directors and screenwriters suggest authentic feminine characters, extracted from the day to day real life. The Dardennes are both discoverers and promoters of feminine talents (Emilie Dukenne, Cécile de France, Marillon Cotillard), being consistent in cooperating with the actors. So we can find here Jérémie  Renier, this time having the role of the father, as well as the more famous Olivier Gourmet, a sort of “patriarch” of the Belgian film industry.

Wednesday was an overloaded day, as we were saying in the beginning: four press conferences at noon (from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm). The Cinema Lesson, offered by William Friedkin (at 5.00 pm), took place at Bunuel Hall. It was preceded by the screening of the competing short films and by the program 1 of the Cinéfondation films. We remind you that the 10 titles competing for Palme d’Or for short films include also 4:15 P.M. The End of the World, by Catalin Rotaru and Gabi Virginia Sarga.

It’s hard to make the right choice when you see so many offering programs in each section, in order not to miss a specific event. Doesn’t matter the moment of the day. In the morning, when the screening dedicated to press is scheduled, starting at 8.00, all the journalists run to get a seat, climbing the tiring but fascinating red-carpeted stairs, in the same way in which they quickly go to take part to conferences, or to get an Internet post in the right room. I was wondering about the many people coming to a more than classical film (as somebody said), although the film ended after midnight. I am talking about the screening of the numerical restored copy of the Planet of the Vampires/Terrore nello spazio by Mario Bava, included in the program of Cannes Classics.

I will not finish this correspondence without reminding you that today, May 19, 2016, Cristian Mungiu’s Baccalaureate enters the competition with 3 screenings in the schedule, all of them to be performed at Grand Théatre Lumière at 8.30 am, 2.30 pm and 6.30 pm.

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