Deauville 2022: we saw a shock from France, a confined horror film…

Great start for the 48th of the Deauville American Film Festival. On the program for these first days: a dramatic comedy on abortion as an opening, horror, emotion with James Gray and a French shock.

It is one of the appointments of the return to cinema: the Deauville Festival which, for nearly fifty years, has given pride of place to Americans. But opens a window on French productions since 2020 and the vagaries linked to Covid. And France stood out from the start, with the worrying Tower of Guillaume Niclouxand the shock The Rascals of Jimmy Laporal-Treasuryauthor of the short black soldier.

And it is on a hot topic that this 48th edition opened, thanks to Call Jane, which evokes clandestine abortions at the end of the 1960s, and resonates very strongly with the decisions taken in June in the United States. A look back at the start of the festival, also marked by the presentation of the very beautiful Armageddon Time of James Grayunfairly shunned by the Cannes jury last May.

Call Jane by Phyllis Nagy – Premiere

Deauville 2022 we saw a shock from France a confined

Could the opening of this 48th edition be more topical than with Call Jane ? Even more than in January, when the feature film signed Phyllis Nagy kicked off its festival tour at Sundance. Set in the late 1960s, the story follows a group of women, including Joy (Elizabeth Banks), who performed clandestine abortions before the “Roe v. Wade” decree made it legal in 1973.

And that the United States go back a few months ago by canceling the decree, and allowing each state to prohibit or restrict abortion. It is difficult not to think about it in front of this film, whose end, however light and playful, is ultimately loaded with irony. Before that, Phyllis Nagy cleverly mixes comedy and drama to talk about sorority and draw a beautiful portrait of women, a bit conventional but which manages to overcome this defect thanks to its staging and its actresses.

Accustomed to supporting roles (often comic), Elizabeth Banks occupies the foreground this time. And, like Sienna Miller in american womanalso presented at Deauville a few years ago, it suits her very well because she leads the dance, even when faced with Sigourney Weaver. We obviously think of The Event or at Never Rarely Sometimes Alwayswhich it echoes, but this Call Jane also manages to stand out with its mixture of tones, without losing any of its strength.

The Rascals by Jimmy Laporal-Trésor – Premiere

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The Jokers

“When the American dream meets the French nightmare”: these are the words used by the team of Rascals, just before the presentation of the film. A note of intent that we would not be surprised to find as a tagline on the poster when it comes out on January 11, so much does it summarize the first feature film by Jimmy Laporal-Treasuryboth in form and substance, with these desires for cinema that mingle with a strong political statement, on racism in particular.

Who saw black soldier, the short film of which Les Rascals is an extension, will perhaps not be surprised by the solidity of the whole, which shows a slight drop in speed halfway through, to recover better afterwards and shake us up in the last act . We think of night warriors and even to West Side Story facing this gang war in the Paris of the 80s, as well as French films such as Hatredbut the result has its own identity, and does not take long to assert it.

As soon as he introduces us to his band of guys, embodied by young actors who have everything to make an impression and have a great career, Missoum Slimani on your mind. Let’s hope it will be the same for the film, which has everything to talk about when it comes out, both for the obvious talent of its director and what he says here, echoing current political events.

The Tower of Guillaume Nicloux – Premiere

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Wild BunchCast

Since 2020, when the Covid had forced it to broaden its horizons, the Deauville Festival has opened a Window on French Cinema, with a section thought of as an exception but which has become a rendezvous on the boards. And gender is often in the spotlight, since Teddy and Ogre succeeds Tower of Guillaume Nicloux. A filmmaker who, if he often flirts with fantasy and horror, rarely indulges in it.

La Tour is therefore one of the exceptions, without losing the human point of view of its history, nor the radicality of its history and its staging, which is reflected in particular by an elliptical montage which may perhaps lose some spectators on the way. Blocked, like us, between the different floors of this building surrounded by an opaque fog that we cannot cross without dying, her camera observes the slow deterioration of the relationship between its inhabitants.

As often with him, the notion of confinement (physical and mental) is at the heart of this film, the starting point of which recalls Under the Dome Where In the fog. Without giving in to the spectacular. Here, horror is above all human and gore lovers may be disappointed with the box in which La Tour will be placed. But the others will be able to theorize on the hidden meaning of the feature film: allegory of society since the appearance of the Covid? Evocation of the blurred (or blocked) horizon for the inhabitants of the suburbs, increasingly cut off from the cities and left to their own devices? See you on February 8, 2023 in theaters to discuss it.

James Gray’s Armageddon Time – Premiere

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Universal Pictures International France

Whether it’s about gangsters, venturing into the jungle or the far reaches of space, James Gray likes to talk about family and his weight. Armageddon Time is no exception to the rule, with a nuance of size, because the director speaks here of his own, for the first time. Openly at least. Heading for the year 1980, therefore, alongside the young Paul Graff, a turbulent teenager who dreams of rockets and becoming an artist, sent to a stricter high school, of which Donald Trump was one of the students.

New York. Conflicting relationships with his parents (and in particular his father, embodied by Jeremy Strong). The reverse of the American dream. The sublime photo of Darius Khonji like a photo album. Armageddon Time is pure James Gray in the form of a coming-of-age story, from which it takes up the codes without really transcending them. Connoisseurs of this type of story will therefore not be frankly surprised, but that will not prevent them from being softened.

By the grandfather embodied by Anthony Hopkinsthe mother played by Anne Hathaway. Or the young Banks Repeta, true revelation which is of all plans. A perfect alter ego of the director within this less simple story than it seems, in its staging as well as its way of talking about social injustices in the United States, and drawing parallels with our time. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for James Gray to win his first prize at Cannes, but let’s bet that the Deauville public will have given him the success he deserves. Waiting for its cinema release on November 9

Watcher by Chloe Okuno – Competition

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Park Circus

The saga V/H/S, a series of films with horrific sketches, is definitely a good launching pad. The directors of the last Scream, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, for example, got their claws. As Adam Wingard (godzilla vs kong). Or the duo Justin BensonAaron Moorheadwhich have since passed through the Marvel Cinematic Universe with episodes of Moon Knight.

And by chance, this edition of the Deauville Festival welcomes two filmmakers who have worked in the franchise: Ti Westof which the X will be presented at the end of the edition. And Chloe Okunowho enters the Competition directly with this Watcherthe first feature film worn by Maika Monroe (ItFollows). Consider the story of a woman who feels watched by a silhouette in the building opposite the apartment in Bucharest in which she followed her husband and feels alone.

Who watches who? This is the subject of Watcher, which delves into the fetish subject ofAlfred Hitchcockvoyeurism, without however trying to measure up to the master of suspense and his Courtyard window. But by quoting openly Charade of Stanley Donen, another story of uprooting. Because it is about feelings of isolation, alienation and loneliness in a country whose language is not spoken, as the director explained before admitting to having been inspired by moments when she lived in France. at the age of 16 years.

Paranoia and the loss of bearings are therefore in order in this thriller which is a little too predictable on the whole, but staged with care and efficiency when it comes to creating tension, by playing on the off-screen or the silences. So Chloe Okuno is a filmmaker to watch, which is all the more fun with a feature debut called Watcher.

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