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Coralie Fargeat’s The Substance – 2024 Cannes Critics’ Panel: Day 6

Coralie Fargeat’s The Substance – 2024 Cannes Critics’ Panel: Day 6

Many were left scratching their heads when Cannes topper Thierry Frémaux made The Substance a part of the competition (and conversation) and the reason being that while the midnight films are a welcome inclusion in the overall line-up of the fest they are indeed a rarity in the competition line-up. Perhaps as he suggested Titane influenced his decision. Coralie Fargeat moved into English language terrain with her sophomore feature and judging by last night’s reaction this will indeed draw a strong … reaction among patrons. Filmed at the beginning of 2022, Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley get top billing in what is a two-handed serve – Dennis Quaid is a supporting character (who replaced Ray Liotta). Mubi grabbed the title just before Cannes. One of only four women in comp, this will draw comparisons to many films from the body horror genre. Fargeat’s debut Revenge was a TIFF selection in 2017.

Gist: HAVE YOU EVER DREAMT OF A BETTER VERSION OF YOURSELF. You, only better in every way. You should try this new product, it’s called The Substance. IT CHANGED MY LIFE. With the Substance, you can generate another you: younger, more beautiful, more perfect. You just have to share time – one week for one, one week for the other. A perfect balance of seven days each… Easy right? If you respect the balance…what could possibly go wrong?

Current temperature: Was this a proper midnight film deserving of a competition slot? That in itself is a conversation starter but the film will likely become a cult item and discussion piece beyond the Croisette. We are still awaiting the grades to see if it float upwards in the rankings but so far this got a least support and is sitting at a 2.2 average from about half of our grid folks.

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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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