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Agathe Riedinger’s Wild Diamond – 2024 Cannes Critics’ Panel: Day 1

Agathe Riedinger’s Wild Diamond – 2024 Cannes Critics’ Panel: Day 1

We kicked off the competition of twenty-two films with a debut feature, which is worth noting given the rarity of newbies in the competition section. It marks two consecutive years for a first feature from a female filmmaker, following Ramata-Toulaye Sy’s Banel & Adama being selected for 2023. Perhaps this signals a new philosophical trend by Thierry Frémaux? Part of a very small French presence in the Palme d’Or comp this year, Agathe Riedinger‘s Wild Diamond (aka Diamant brute) was shot in May of last year and it was produced by Priscilla Bertin and Judith Nora for Silex Films. The world premiere screening took place yesterday late afternoon. The film was be released in France in October, and will likely find a U.S distributor looking for something in the vein of Andrea Arnold or Sean Baker type cinema.

Gist: 19-year-old Liane (Malou Khebizi), daring and fiery, lives with her mother and little sister under the dusty sun of Fréjus in the South of France. Obsessed with beauty and the need to become “someone”, she sees reality TV as her opportunity to be loved… Fate smiles upon her when she auditions for “Miracle Island”. This expands on “Waiting for Jupiter,” Riedinger’s 2018 short.

Current temperature: I believe beginning the competition with a feisty, fiery and fierce little number photographed by Noé Bach (Animalie) was a great slot for Wild Diamond but several comments I received were that this would have “played better” in the Un Certain Regard section… and I don’t necessarily disagree with that assertion. A huge career-starter for actress Malou Khebizi (kudos to her she is coming from far and puts in quite a perf for a first-timer) – she’ll probably be among the long list of Best Actress contenders here, however of the 13 critics that have handed in their grades we are looking at an average grade for 2.5 on 5.

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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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