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Berthaud’s Lily Sometimes and Bertucelli’s The Tree selected as Cannes Closing Films

The producers behind Julie Bertucelli’s The Tree (#80) have finally decided that a closing film showcase is too good to give up (there was word that they decided not to accept the spot) — in the same gesture, she becomes one o the rare female filmmakers included in the top section.

A pair of films we’ve been tracking since pre-production and highlighted as must see films this year are capping off the Cannes Film Festival’s Competition and the parallel Director’s Fortnight sections. Yesterday, the Director’s Fortnight section have pulled out Fabienne Berthaud’s Lily Sometimes (#89) among their previously mentioned film selections and will showcase French film as the closing night slot, while today comes word that the producers behind Julie Bertucelli’s The Tree (#80) have finally decided that a closing film showcase is too good to give up (there was word that they decided not to accept the spot) — in the same gesture, she becomes one o the rare female filmmakers included in the top section. I was expecting the place to be given to Denis Villeneuve or Francois Ozon’s latest works. In other news that hasn’t officially been announced by the festival, Romain Goupail’s Les Main en L’air as been added as a Special Event screening.

Adapted from Judy Pascoe’s novel Our Father Who Art in a Tree, this tells the story of a family in mourning after the death of their father. Dawn (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and Peter live together with their children in a suburban neighborhood in Australia. In the middle of their luxuriant garden stands the kids’ favorite playground : a massive Moreton Bay Fig tree, whose branches reach high towards the sky and roots stretch far into the ground. One night, Peter dies of a heart attack, crashing his car into the tree trunk. Dawn is left alone with her four children to raise. All of them naturally go looking for comfort under their protective tree, which becomes even more present in their lives. The daughter, thinking that her late father whispers to her through the leaves, settles in the tree and refuses to climb down from it.

Berthaud and Pascal Arnold Lily Sometimes

Co-written by Berthaud and Pascal Arnold, this is based on Berthaud’s eponymous novel, and centres on Clara (Diane Kruger), who is happily married to a promising lawyer and lives in Paris. After the sudden death of their mother, Clara has to assume responsibility for her younger sister, Lily (Ludivine Sagnier), whose extreme sensitivity makes her vulnerable to the outside world and prevents her from being autonomous. Living in the family home in the countryside, Lily has created her own unique world, which she finds difficult to leave, as it gives her a certain stability. But she needs protection. Clara, whose life has taken shape away from her sister, has to make some choices and learns that normality is purely subjective.

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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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