Everyone heard all about the ceremony of the climbing of the stairs at the Cannes Film Festival for the screening of a movie in competition. Some reject the glitter and the narcissism of this photo shoot, others finds that art and parade are inadequate.
Some just come to have a photo taken of themselves and then exit immediately through the back door without watching the film, and then there are others who are passionate and come for the love of the cinema and who could not resist to the temptation of taking a selfie.
From the most well-known celebrities to the person on the street, from the simple Cannes resident to the visitor who arrived from the end of the world, a disparate population is, during a moment, mixed, standardized by their clothes, and carried away by a vicious cycle under the projector lights and the camera flashes. The red carpet seems to move, and it is impossible to stop. Hostesses are there to remind you to keep going… You can try to make this moment last, however it is impossible and soon you find yourself standing on the top of the stairs with just enough to admire the majestic architecture of the Grand Auditorium entrance hall. You are already in the mythical and spectacular room, seated, a glance at your cell phone to share the good pictures before you switch your phone to silent.
The lights are switched off. The film starts.
The last nervous persons applaud the logo of the Cannes Film Festival, CanalPlus or CNC, then the nervous pressure drops.
The first images of Dheepan from Jacques Audiard show the horror of the civil war in Sri Lanka. Real contrast with all we have just lived.
With Audiard we are used to the original subjects or unexpected ones.
Immigration, refugees, love, family… all actual and timeless topics, but the figures or decors are not well described.
Now we know a little bit more about the post-colonial conflict between the regular forces of Sri Lanka and the separatist Tamouls. (This conflict which started in 1972 caused more than 70,000 deaths and more than 140,000 missing persons. Source: wikipedia)
We witness of three main figures who try to constitute a family, Dheepan, his presumed wife and their presumed child.
Each one with his past, his bereavement, his suffering and looking for a soothing in this improvised family unit which took refuge in this Europe, this France… which are not finally so quiet…
Most of the actors are beginners; the three main ones do not speak the language of Audiard.
The film maker has not chosen an easy option. A real challenge for a film-maker who has worked with the many renowned actors such as Marion Cotillard, Duris, Trintignant and Arestrup and that has also made Rahim known.
We quickly adhere to the sincerity of the actors. We are afraid of their fragility as the tensions appear among them and within this worrying city.
The message of hope is clear; it is the reconstruction of a life which starts with nothing, no friends, no family or sentiments, or means.
It’s political message on law-less zones where honest people live with the big chiefs.
The description of this daily city with its new residents is just enthralling.
However, it is not the best film from Audiard, and it does not have the same density as “Un Prophète”.
The film is surely bare but it is of great quality. The first scenes in Sri Lanka would have surely deserved to go deeper in the décor and civil war, as well as the final conclusion of the film is a little bit unreal and as an end in itself. We were left unsatisfied… and we are wondering if there was not another master piece in the official film selection.
In all cases, Dheepan is a film which is political, social, tense, panting and charged with emotion. You cannot be indifferent to such a movie. It opens our eyes on the World, on France, and on ourselves!
France which this year wins the three most prestigious rewards in fully committed, realistic and humain films.
Cannes knows very well how to blend very well culture and festivities, greatness and misery, simplicity and glitter.
© pictures Hervé Fabre – Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes