Deauville 2021: we saw a shock dive into the world of porn, Matt Damon in Marseille …

Deauville 2021: days 1 and 2! On the program: the humanity of “Stillwater”, the shock “Pleasure”, the emotion “Blue Bayou”, the mystery “JFK”, the energy of “The Fracture”, the thrills of “Ogre” and the Dylan revelation Penn in “Flag Day”.

The 47th Deauville American Film Festival is launched! And in style, with already a large handful of films. After the Stillwater opening, the competition kicked off with two solid films, while Oliver Stone continued his investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Dylan Penn awarded the New Hollywood Award ahead of the Flag Day screening onward- first.

Stillwater by Tom McCarthy (Premiere – L’Heure de la Croisette – Overture)

Deauville 2021Universal Pictures International France

“Her only hope, a man she doesn’t trust. Her father.”, tells us the poster for the opening film of Deauville 2021, as the trailer foreshadows a Taken with Matt Damon as Liam Neeson. But no. If it is about a man who tries to prove the innocence of his daughter, imprisoned for a murder she says not to have committed, Stillwater takes the path of drama with police accents.

Co-written by Thomas Bidegain and Noé Debré with director Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), the feature avoids the pitfalls of a foreign film shot in France, and offers us fewer clichés about Marseille than many French opus that take place in the phocéene city. Facing Matt Damon, Camille Cottin is impeccable while the language barrier is a component of their duo.

And what does it matter the lengths (admittedly justified) or the fact that the resolution is based on chance: the result is solid and square, both in its characterization of the characters and in the way it looks at the United States via that of Matt Damon, only in his way of showing blackness to the end. That he is launching this edition of a French festival dedicated to American cinema therefore seems logical.

Ninja Thyberg’s Pleasure (Competition)

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A shock, a real one! First feature film signed Ninja Thyberg, Pleasure is sure to get people talking. And not only because the session of its official presentation in Deauville was prohibited for those under 18. Believed and committed, he never falls into the miserable or complacency to tell the story of a young woman, Linnaeus (Sofia Kappel), determined to become a porn star under the name of Bella Cherry.

Dreams that quickly collide with the reality of a toxic and misogynistic environment. Pleasure thus takes on the appearance of a trash fairy tale that takes us behind the scenes of the industry and questions the male gaze that too often governs it, which anchors it perfectly in the spirit of the times. Halfway between documentary and fiction and without falling into caricature, with a feminist point of view and a staging of great precision as to what to show or not, the feature film combines the background and form brilliantly, and it would be surprising not to see it appear on the charts.

Blue Bayou by Justin Chon (Competition)

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It all started with an alarming observation: more and more immigrant children, adopted by American parents, are threatened with deportation to the United States. Like Antonio, of Korean origin, played by Justin Chon (Eric in Twilight) in this feature film that he writes and directs. Alongside Alicia Vikander, also impeccable, he signs a moving drama in which he questions the notions of family and identity. Among other things, because this is Blue Bayou’s main flaw (with his heartbreaking end but which does not skimp on the violins): his desire to tackle too many subjects at once. This does not prevent the film from being a pretty success, which will undoubtedly tear you away from a few tears. And can apply for a place on the charts.

Flag Day by Sean Penn (Premiere – L’Heure de la Croisette)

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It’s a family story. In front of and behind the camera. For his sixth feature film as a director, Sean Penn stars his daughter Dylan in this tale based on a true story. And the actress bursts the screen in what appears to be a beautiful love letter which is as much intended for her as for American culture, within a story that the actor and filmmaker embraces without restraint, while also speaking of itself and its flaws. With a sentimentalism and melodic flights that risk dividing the Flag Day audience.

Ogre by Arnaud Malherbe (Window on French cinema)

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After the werewolf Teddy last year, it’s a franchophone Ogre who comes to thrill Deauville. For his second feature film after Belleville Story, Arnaud Malherbe (creator of the Chefs and Moloch series) sets his sights on a rare monster in cinema. And he puts him in the path of a mother and her son who move to a new village to escape a painful past. At first, the film launches a few avenues to feed the fantastic but strangely abandons them on the way. There remains an atmosphere worthy of a fairy tale at times, and the striking appearances of the creature.

La Fracture by Catherine Corsini (Premiere – L’Heure de la Croisette)

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It is customary to say that the films of the Deauville competition take the pulse of America. Passed by Cannes last July, La Fracture does the same with France. Because it is a question of physical and social break in the new feature film by Catherine Corsini, inspired by a story that she herself lived. The filmmaker takes us to an emergency service on the verge of saturation one evening of the yellow vests demonstration, with a couple (Marina Foïs and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) and an injured protester (Pio Marmaï).

An enclosed space that turns into a theater whose actors embody today’s France. With a lot of noise and anger, but also a saving humor and great energy. Even if she uses a few more dramatic twists and turns to advance the story, Catherine Corsini does not abuse them and takes full advantage of her actors to shake us up with a Fracture that we should talk about again in the next Caesar.

JFK The Oliver Stone Inquiry (Uncle Sam’s Docs)

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58 years after the events, the assassination of John F. Kennedy continues to fascinate many people. Oliver Stone in the lead, who had already dedicated a feature film to him three decades ago and is back in the business thanks to recently declassified documents that have transformed “conspiracy theory in proven conspiracy “, as it says in his documentary. JFK The Inquiry is often surprising and thus has some aberrant sequences where official reports are contradicted by experts. But its richness is as much a quality as a defect. In addition to a very classic form, condenses almost too much information in less than two hours. Maybe the long version, which lasts twice as long, will be a little more airy. And even richer.

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