Only a few films have left in the running competition. But almost all of them knock at the front door of the winners’ list. Two of them have captured the program of the day on Thursday. Screened for the press on Wednesday evening (at 7.00 pm), at Debussy, “It’s Only the End of the World”, a French – Canadian production, has brought a plenty of artists on the screen and at the press conference which took place next day (12.30 pm): Nathalie Baye, Marillon Cotillard, Léa Sedoux, Vincent Cassel, Gaspard Ulliel. Signed by Xavier Dolan (photo) from Montreal (born March 20, 1989), the film goes on the same thematic approach which we’ve seen in “J’ai tué ma mere”, “Les amours imaginaires”, “Tom à la ferme”, or “Mommy”, all of them based on a multiple psychoanalytical investigationof the relationships inside the family.
Once again, the wonder child of the worldwide film industry, as the film director has been called, being seen as an iconoclast, an opponent of the narrative clichés in this field, suggests us a 100 percent turnaround, following a review of the life of each character. Back to his family after 12 years, Louis, a writer, takes part to a mostly grotesque yet honest and full of emotions show of recalling the past by noticing others’ reactions to him. Only 35 years old, Louis prepares to die. This ultimatum is actually the foundation of the story, which is a film adaptation of a play signed by Jean-Luc Lagarce and performed some years ago on a stage in Montreal. Being wrote with difficulties, with lacks of expression in the dialogue, with moments of calm, but also of personal outburst, the original screenplay didn’t bother the film director, so he accepted the idea that theater feeds film, since the two arts depend on each other, as Dolan was saying in the schedule booklet, repeating it also in the press conference. That’s why he wanted neither to sweeten the material of the play, nor to make it look ordinary, even the original text is full of repetitions, hesitations or inconsistencies regarding the characters’ behavior. Therefore, we assist to a less linear and direct game performed by Marion Cotillard in other films or, for instance, to a cluster of unexpected actions in the attitude of the character played by Vincent Cassel. Even Nathalie Baye is surprising us in the mother’s role, having a brave, but serious attitude. We remember Léa Seydoux in a film which some of us deemed to be sulfurous. Although the data of the new character are coming from the same direction, the actress proves its will to get out of the existential impasse, sincerely being glad to meet Louis.
The film also has its proper stylistic line. After surprising outbursts, the moments of calm appear. They come especially by highlighting the special relationship with life, more exactly with its end, through which Louis is watching everything around him. That’s how we can understand the many details of his calm, gentle look, talking little and understanding everybody. The film has also the chance of an inspired music score, which comments the family show in a delicate and refined manner. Although in the film’s file we could see only the name of the composer Gabriel Yared, rightly praised by the director, we were glad to hear a successful song of O-Zone. You know it for sure: “Dragostea din tei… mi-amintesc de ochii tăi…Numa, Numa…” (“When you leave my colors fade to gray / Whoa I whoa I aaa / Whoa I whoa I whoa I aaa…”). I would say that this memory, with the corresponding ocular mark, somehow influences the dynamic of the story, in the same way in which it does a replayed visual tone, namely catching Louis’ eyes, torn by the distance of the past, but most of all by the imminence of the death.
The film has its specific philosophical elegance, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see it in among the winners.
The second package of short films in the Cinéfindation program has also entered the Festival yesterday. The five films screened at the Bunuel Hall (at 11.00 a.m.) included “All Rivers Run to the Sea” (“Toate fluviile curg in mare”) by Alexandru Badea. This is also the story of a death. Radu (Daniel Popa) is forced to accept that his mother died. We find well known actors in the casting: Tatiana Iekel, Victoria Cocias, Catalina Moga, Mirela Golea.
The main interest of the day is captured, of course, by the entrance in the Festival of Cristian Mungiu’s new production, “Graduation” (“Bacalaureat”). Screened in the morning, the film has its press conference in a few minutes from now, right after I send this new correspondence. Therefore, I ask for the readers’ accept to let me come back with more details on the film and on the discussions at the press conference.