The 1968 International Film Festival of Cannes fell right in the middle of one of the most turbulent periods in French 20th century history. Fifty years later, whilst claiming to celebrate the “national” spirit of May ’68, President Emmanuel Macron threatens to destroy its residual legacy through neoliberal policies, labor reforms, and harsh new immigration laws. The Cannes of 2018 also emerges in the context of months of public sector strikes and popular demonstrations, as well as a cultural fight: Who will get to tell the story of May ’68? Who will write history? And what does a real or fake film by Jean-Luc Godard have to do with it?
After the critical bashing suffered by last year’s Cannes selection, the consensus on this year’s edition was more positive, a perplexing conclusion given that the festival’s by-now well-worn curatorial recipe was once again followed more or less to the letter. For all the handwringing about Netflix withdrawing its titles after a spat with artistic director Thierry Frémaux over theatrical distribution, the competition slate offered yet another stolid blend of Cannes stalwarts, established names, and newer faces of questionable merit, with only the latter suggesting that slots needed to be filled
The Image You Missed positions itself as a film betweenbetween its maker, the filmmaker Donal Foreman, and his late, estranged father, Arthur MacCaig, who was himself a filmmaker.
Foreigners Out!, the title of Schlingensiefs art project-cum-reality television parody, was created in response to the formation of a far-right, anti-immigration Austrian coalition government the same year. Inspired by the Y2K affinity for 24/7 reality programming, Schlingensief used the Big Brother format to capture the lives of twelve real asylum seekers.
Catching its titular protagonist in a moment of vulnerability and intimacy, Valérie Massadian’s Milla opens on a sun-dappled pair of teenage lovers waking in the backseat of a car.