Connect with us

Film Festivals

2023 Cannes: Cédric Kahn & Hong Sang-soo Bookend Directors’ Fortnight

2023 Cannes: Cédric Kahn & Hong Sang-soo Bookend Directors’ Fortnight

Quinzaine des Cinéastes Artistic Director Julien Rejl broke bread this morning with a camera shy live tweet of the line-up. We count nineteen features (for now), a handful of shorts and Special Screening status going to Manoel de Oliveira’s Abraham’s Valley (1993). We would have fallen out of our chairs just with the opening and closing night selections. Cédric Kahn becomes film festival worthy once again with Le Procès Goldman as the opener. Best know in the early naughts for Roberto Succo (2001) and Red Lights (2004), Kahn currently has two new films in post with this project chronicling the trial of Goldman, a French left-wing revolutionary who was convicted of several robberies and was mysteriously murdered. Arieh Worthalter toplines. The closing film, and should we really not be surprised at this point belongs to Hong Sang-soo with an oeuvre called In Our Day – so this is back to back fests with the Berlinale preemed in water.

Among the French filmmakers we find Michel Gondry returning to the Fortnight with Le Livre des solutions – which stars Pierre Niney, Vincent Elbaz and Blanche Gardin. Bertrand Mandico who presented short film Boro in the Box (2011) makes a return to the parallel section with present Conann (She Is Conann). We’ll see Elina Löwensohn take on a Rainer Fassbinder type figure. Pierre Creton brings Un prince – tells the story of teenager Pierre-Joseph who joins a training center to become a gardener. There he meets Françoise Brown the director, Alberto his botany teacher, Adrien his employer, are determining factors in his learning and the discovery of his sexuality. From Belgium, we have Claude Schmitz‘s L’autre Laurens follows in the footsteps of Gabriel Laurens, a private detective for whom suspicion and trailing designated individuals is his murky, everyday life. When his fifteen-year-old niece Jade bursts into his life, asking him to investigate her father’s death, memories which he’d believed dead and buried gush back into the detective’s mind. Olivier Rabourdin toplines. Cameroonian helmer based in Belgium Rosine Mbakam (featured on the Criterion channel) brings Mambar Pierrette – tale about family, home (Douala) and hope.

Among the American indie offerings we have Weston Razooli‘s Riddle of Fire — the filmmaker who is described as a gonzo director attached to a 90’s aesthetic landed Lio Tipton for something that sounds up our alley. Cinematographer Sean Prince Williams gets behind the camera for The Sweet East with Jacob Elordi. Brooklyn based Joanna Arnow gives us the long-ish title The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something has Passed – which is a fragmented, experiential look at the life of a woman as time passes in her long-term casual BDSM relationship and low level corporate job.

Among the first-time features, we have Chinese filmmaker Geng Zihan‘s A Song Sung Blue – a drama about a young teen named Liu Xian who connects with someone during a restless summer. From Vietnam, Pham Thien An returns to the section (he presented his short Stay Awake, Be Ready in in 2019) with Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shellwhich is set in Saigon city and moves back into the country, this is about estranged family, unfortunate circumstances and a journey. Canadian-Pakistani filmmaker Zarrar Kahn brings us In Flames – after the death of the family patriarch, a mother and daughter’s precarious existence is ripped apart by figures from their past – both real and imagined. They must find strength in each other if they are to survive the malevolent forces that threaten to engulf them. Russian filmmaker (with a background in advertising and docu) Ilya Povolotsky brings Grace – more deets to come on this title.

Moroccan filmmaker Faouzi Bensaïdi who was in Cannes way back in 2003 with A Thousand Months (Un Certain Regard) and Death for Sale (at TIFF in 2011) brings us Deserts – that sees long-time friends Mehdi and Hamid work for a collection agency and who one day, in a petrol station in the middle of the desert, a motorbike pulls up in front of them. A threatening man is handcuffed to the luggage rack. He is the Escaped Man. This meeting marks the beginning of an unexpected and mystical journey. Portuguese tandem Filipa Reis and João Miller Guerra bring Légua – shot on 16mm and describes the film’s main character is the Casa da Botica, a manor house in the rural village of Légua in northern Portugal, cared for by two friends Ana and Emilia. Indian filmmaker Kanu Behl brings Agra – an exploration of sexual dynamics within a family and the deep dystopian fractures created in a modern India fast shrinking into pigeon-holed spaces. Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry by Georgian filmmaker (now living in Switzerland) Elene Naveriani goes to a small traditional Georgian village and features Etero, the owner of a housekeeping shop, a 48-year-old spinster. She cherishes her freedom, as much as her cakes, and is preparing for a peaceful and comfortable retirement away from gossips. But a fiery affair with her delivery man could derail all her plans…

One film we’ll be guaranteed attendance for is Elena Martín Gimeno‘s Creatura – which was co-written with Clara Roquet ands stars Martin, Clara Segura, Oriol Pla and Alex Brendemühl and tells the tale of a sexual awakening of a woman who starts to reconsider her past and her relationships. We had this ranked in our Most Anticipated list for 2023 (#114). Here is the line-up and shorts:

Le Procès Goldman (The Goldman Case) – Cédric Kahn (opening film)
Agra – Kanu Behl
L’autre Laurens (The Other Laurens) – Claude Schmitz
Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell – Thien An Pham
Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry (Merle merle mûre) – Elene Naveriani
Grace (La Grâce) – Ilya Povolotsky
Conann (She Is Conann) – Bertrand Mandico
Creatura – Elena Martín Gimeno
Déserts – Faouzi Bensaïdi
In Flames – Zarrar Kahn
Légua – Filipa Reis & João Miller Guerra
Le livre des solutions (The Book of Solutions) – Michel Gondry
Mambar Pierrette – Rosine Mbakam
Riddle of Fire (Conte de feu) – Weston Razooli
The Feeling That the Time for Doing Something Has Passed – Joanna Arnow
The Sweet East – Sean Price Williams
Un prince (A Prince) – Pierre Creton
A Song Sung Blue – Zihan Geng
In Our Day – Hong Sang-soo (closing film)

Short Films

The House Is on Fire, Might as Well Get Warm/La maison brûle, autant se réchauffer – Mouloud Aït Liotna
Dans la tête un orage (A Storm Inside) – Clément Pérot
Il compleanno di Enrico (The Birthday Party/L’Anniversaire d’Enrico) – Francesco Sossai
J’ai vu le visage du diable (I Saw the Face of the Devil) – Julia Kowalski
Lemon Tree – Rachel Walden
Margarethe 89 – Lucas Malbrun
Mast-del – Maryam Tafakory
Oyu – Atsushi Hirai
The Red Sea Makes Me Wanna Cry – Faris Alrjoob
Talking to the River – Yue Pan

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member 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 served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

Click to comment

More in Film Festivals

To Top