Cannes 2012 - Sunday 20 May

Posted on May 20, 2012 by Tilly Walnes

Categories: Festival Reports

My second day begins well with a walk up the red carpet for a distinctly non-glamorous morning screening, but at least I can report back to my mum on the filthy state of that carpet to see Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt. I get thoroughly engrossed in this well-crafted drama about the devastating impact of a false accusation of paedophilia on a kindergarten assistant, played by Mads Mikkelsen, and on his own adolescent child. The young girl who makes the accusation does so almost by accident, melding a few disparate incidents into a jumble of confused words, but those words are then blown out of all proportion by the adult community who are all too ready to imagine the worst. While someone I speak to on the way out finds it a bit too easy, I find its insight into moral panic impactful and haunting.

The Hunt by Thomas Vinterberg
The Hunt by Thomas Vinterberg.

I’m on a roll, with another competition screening up next, Michael Haneke’s Amour. The title may suggest romance, but the love being explored is more about long-term support and devotion. A husband cares for his wife as her mental and physical health deteriorates through various states. The only embraces are as he helps her from her wheelchair or off the toilet. While unmistakably a Haneke film in its tight control of the shots, there are no sudden shocks, but the deeper shock of being confronted with mortality resonates deeply. Without being manipulative, the film elicits tears from the whole audience at one point or another.

If that wasn’t depressing enough, I emerge from the dark to be greeted by a stormy skied Cannes, palm trees shaking wildly and rain that would put a power shower to shame. I run back to the ICO apartment for shelter. My colleague Kate Taylor finds me there an hour later, wrapped in a blanket, drinking tea, scoffing biscuits and listening to acoustic era Sufjan Stevens. This is clearly not the rockin’ night she has in mind, so she changes the music and I’ve soon backcombed my hair and am back out into festival world.

I’d like to be able to say I choose the next film based on an analysis of the synopsis, but really it’s because it’s the next thing showing at the Arcades cinema where you can queue indoors. Hurrah! Plus I get to brush up on my French for an hour or so as this is a particularly friendly queue. To my relief Aliyah turns out to be pretty good, the tale of a Parisian drug dealer who, on a whim, decides he will start a new life in Tel Aviv where his cousin has been planning to set up a restaurant. Despite the relative ease of a Jew emigrating to Israel (making aliyah), all around him he faces hurdles to leaving as his brother continues to emotionally blackmail him for money, he falls for a saucy blonde, and people (justifiably) question his half-hearted motives for returning to the Promised Land. One way or another he must raise enough money to leave.

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