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2023 Cannes: Amachoukeli, Stéphan Castang, Erwan Le Duc & Sirot+Balboni Load Up Critics’ Week

2023 Cannes: Amachoukeli, Stéphan Castang, Erwan Le Duc & Sirot+Balboni Load Up Critics’ Week

She couldn’t have asked for a better way to begin her mandate as the Artistic Director of the 2022 edition of the International Critics’ Week. La jauría topped the section and a little film called Aftersun silently slayed Cannes’ smallest section on the side and built the type of momentum that you’d have to see it to believe it. For year number deux, Ava Cahen’s competition films come from Belgium, Jordan, South Korea, Brazil, and France with the opening and closing selections adding a “French touch”. For the opening film, we have a Céline Sciamma production company-backed sophomore film in Marie Amachoukeli‘s Ama Gloria (#110 in our Most Anticipated list) – a film that has been described as a hybrid. The former Camera d’Or winner was on the Croisette’s Un Certain Regard section beforehand so we had a strong feeling she would return.

We hit the bullseye in two of our CW predictions. One is Stéphan Castang‘s Vincent doit mourir which features Karim Leklou and Vimala Pons. This is one of the two Special Screening selections with the other being tandem Ann Sirot and Raphaël Balboni’s sophomore project Le Syndrome des amours passées (produced by Delphine Schmit and Guillaume Dreyfus) —  a fun tale about having to rekindle some connection with your ex-partner. The closing film status belongs to Erwan Le Duc. Following his Directors’ Fortnight debut The Bare Necessity, No Love Lost (#94 in our Most Anticipated list) sees the filmmaker re-team with Maud Wyler, Nahuel Pérez-Biscayart toplines with supporting players Céleste Brunnquell, Mercedes Dassy, Alexandre Steiger and Camille Rutherford in the mix. This is a tale working with the theme of abandonment.

The jury of Audrey Diwan, cinematographer Rui Poças, actor Franz Rogowski, journalist Meenakshi Shedde and Sundance’s Kim Yutani will get to hand out prizes to seven possible contenders. In what was an already stacked year for Brazilian cinema in Cannes, we can now add Lillah Halla‘s Levante (Power Alley) which tackles the country’s insane abortion ban via a protagonist its teenage protagonist. Halla was had her short film selected for the Critics’ Week in the past. Iris Kaltenbäck‘s Le ravissement sees Hafsia Herzi topline a film about how one lie impacts several bystanders. Also featuring Alexis Manenti, Nina Meurisse and Younès Boucif, this was produced by Marianne Productions’ Alice Bloch (The Heroics) and Thierry de Clermont-Tonnerre and includes the tech work by cinematographer Marine Atlan (Summer Scars – also a Critics’ Week selection). We are surprised the project is here as we reported this being a November shoot.

Amanda Nell Eu Tiger Stripes

Technically Malaysia filmmaker Amanda Nell Eu has been to the fest before – as Tiger Stripes was part of the L’atelier du Festival in 2021. The Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Germany and France co-production centers around pre-teen Zaffan who reaches puberty when her body begins to morph at an alarming and horrifying rate. In fear of being labelled as a monster, she struggles to maintain being normal at school by trying to conceal her grotesque self… that is until she decides she no longer wants to hide from the world. Another Cannes alumni, the wait for Vladimir Perisič‘s sophomore feature is now over. #91 in our Most Anticipated list, Lost Country is set in Belgrade, 1996. Stefan is 14. Following the victory of the opposition party in the elections, Milošević’s Socialist Party falsifies the results. Belgium filmmaker Paloma Sermon-Daï is almost fresh from film school with her Il pleut dans la maison – takes place during one summer where seventeen year old Purdey and her younger brother Makenzy walk the line between experiencing adolescence, finding love and fending for themselves. Jordanian filmmaker Amjad Al Rasheed treks the new widow Nawal, now in her 30s, and has to fight for what she thinks is her inheritance for her only daughter in a region where having a son is a game changer. And making it two for two with South Korea selections (the excellent Next Sohee closed out the fest last year), Jason Yu gives us Jam – the story of newlyweds and some very crazy talking in his sleep after-effects. Here is the line-up:

COMPETITION
Power Alley (Levante) * (Br-Fr-Uru) – Dir: Lillah Halla
Il Pleut Dans La Maison * (Bel-Fr) – Dir: Paloma Sermon-Daï
Inshallah A Boy * (Jor-Saudi-Qat-Fr) – Dir: Amjad Al Rasheed
Sleep (Jam) * (S Kor) – Dir: Jason Yu
Lost Country (Fr-Ser-Lux-Cro) – Dir: Vladimir Perisič
Le Ravissement * (Fr) – Dir: Iris Kaltenbäck
Tiger Stripes * (Malay-Tai-Sing-Fr-Ger-Neth-Indo-Qat) Dir: Amanda Nell Eu

SPECIAL SCREENINGS
Ama Gloria (Fr) – OPENING FILM – Dir: Maria Amachoukeli
The (Exp)erience Of Love/Le Syndrome Des Amour Passés (Bel-Fr)
Dir: Ann Sirot & Raphaël Balboni
Vincent Must Die * (Fr) – Dir: Stéphan Castang
No Love Lost (La Fille de Son Père) (Fr) – CLOSING FILM

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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