Egypt's market close varied on Tuesday    Egypt receives second monkeypox case    European markets advance on Tuesday    EFG Hermes Holding, GB Capital launch Kaf    Egypt ready to build up international centre for storage, supply and trade grains – minister    Liz Truss to relax immigration rules to boost UK economy    Egypt launches automated vaccine cold storage at VACSERA    Apple to hike App Store prices in Egypt and other countries in Asia, Europe    Dior new pre-fall men collection to take place for the first time in Egypt    Three possible scenarios as Egypt's central bank governor resigns – MP    Adele is living a love story, wants to be a homemaker    In Photos: Egypt swears in 13 new ministers after major Cabinet reshuffle    Egypt's Sisi names 13 ministers in Cabinet reshuffle    Spain: prosecutor seeks 8 years sentence for Shakira over tax evasion    Egypt: Alamein Art Festival kicks off a collection of recycled installations    John Legend enjoys family trip in Egypt    Egypt's athlete Basma Emad wins bronze in weightlifting in Mediterranean Games    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

My favourite round
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 26 - 05 - 2005

To Samir Farid, writing from Cannes, this has been one of the most rewarding rounds of what remains the world's most impressive film festival
Drawing to a close last Saturday (21 May), the 58th round of the Cannes Film Festival was among the most rewarding I attended (and I have been attending, annually, since the 36th). The festival's new artistic director, Thierry Fremaux, has managed to substantiate the achievements of his predecessor, Gilles Jacob (artistic director from 1977-2005), who now occupies the position of chairman of the board of the festival.
Among the more reassuring aspects of the experience was that, while most film festivals -- some 1,000 of them -- are giving in to the temptations of commercialism, Cannes retains its artistic standards (the 20 or so feature films in its official competition, gleaned from among the very best productions, continue to reflect the state of the art worldwide); a large-scale international event, it brings together some 4,000 journalists and critics who focus not only on film but more general world concerns. Still, the event's success depends on the work of filmmakers and how opportunity it happens to be timed, for festivals cannot produce their own fare, nor can they change their dates, on the whole. And it is the 21 features in the competition this year -- representing 12 European, Asian and North American countries -- that made for a rewarding encounter. France contributed seven films, the largest entry in the history of the festival, while the US contributed three and China two films (one from the mainland, one from Hong Kong); Britain, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Canada, in turn, contributed a film each.
Categorised by the nationality of the director rather than the production company, Cannes films can no longer be traced back to their financiers -- a shame, in my view. For to credit Iraq with Kilometre Zero, for example, would suggest that Iraq could have produced it -- a blatant falsehood. Yet Cannes resumes its traditional role of drawing up the map of world cinema, with objectivity and insight: the 2005 competition demonstrated, yet again, how since the 1990s the film scene has been dominated by, besides American cinema, European film (France and Germany being the principal players) as well as an increasingly powerful Asian industry (that includes China, Japan and, more recently, South Korea). India, one of the biggest producers in the world, has failed to make an appearance for years, despite repeated efforts. South America, Australia, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa remain more or less out of the equation despite the individual talents that often emerge there.
Cannes's curatorial policy is to present the best, not the most representative; and despite its emphasis on the work of the auteur regardless of technical methods, this year's round produced a fair share of genres. Like other rounds, it included two to three extremely remarkable productions, some ten to a dozen excellent films and a handful of merely good productions, one or two of which left me, as in previous years, with the feeling that they should not have been in the official competition: the French film The Act of Love, and the South Korean film The Story of Cinema, the latter brought in at the last minute.
On a more positive note, there were eight very remarkable films; in no particular order: Belgian filmmaker brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's Child, which won the Palm d'Or; French filmmaker Michael Haneke's Hidden (best director award); American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers (grand prix); Chinese filmmaker Wang Xiaoshuai's Shanghai Dreams (jury award); Gus van Sant's Last Days and David Cronenberg's History of Violence (both American films); the British film Sin City, directed by Frank Miller and Roberto Rodriguez; Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier's Manderlay ; and Taiwanese filmmaker Hsiao-Hsien Hou's Three Times. Headed by Emir Kusturica, the jury must have had difficulty selecting among such an outstanding array of films. All the aforementioned films deserved the awards they received, so did Israeli actress Hannah Laslo, who received the best actress award for her role in Amos Gitai's Free Zone, a French production. Yet there is little sense in giving Tommy Lee Jones's The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada two awards (best actor for Tommy Lee Jones and best script for Guillermo Arriaga), while ignoring Heiner Saleem's Kilometre Zero.
Awards notwithstanding, this round of Cannes reflected the politics of filmmakers and their perception of the post-September 11 world: a reawakening of Western consciousness vis-�-vis the dispossessed. Micael Haneke's Hidden takes as its point of departure the tossing of 200 Arabs into the river Siene during the Algerian war; the theme of Lars von Trier's Manderlay is racial discrimination in the US; while Cronenberg's History of Violence depicts the "violence genes" embedded in the American psyche. Jones's film, too, is about the smuggling of illegal immigrants into the US from Mexico, while Italian filmmaker Marco Tullio Giordana's Once You Are Born You Can No Longer Hide deals with the transport of illegal refugees from the south Mediterranean to Europe. The protagonist of Jarmusch's Broken Flowers is an Ethiopian émigré to the US: he stands in diametrical opposition to an American character looking for his lost son. Amos Gitai's Free Zone advocates the peaceful coexistence of Arabs and Jews in Palestine, Kilometre Zero depicts the painful quest for Kurdish freedom in Iraq and Sin City sounds an alarm concerning the rise of a new, Asian neo-Nazism.
The films thus reflect a range of concerns, with the polarisation of the world lying at the centre of many of them. For a somewhat representative example -- and one worthy of being discussed simply by virtue of the award it received -- Child opens with a woman bearing her child, Jimmy, on her shoulder, while she scales the streets of the industrial town of Seraing, northern Belgium, looking for the father. In reality the drama is less about Jimmy -- the child of the title -- than the two children who brought him into the world: Bruno (Jeremy Reiner), 20; and Sonia (Deborah François), 18. Jimmy is but a 10-day-old baby whose face is never seen through the duration of the film; only his screams are heard, giving the viewer a sense of the meaning of his voice, and its implications for a wider social context in which a dire socioeconomic situation drives people to inhuman actions. Here we have three children, not one child, braving our times: the time of the production and screening of the film, rather than past or future. Bruno, robot like, lives entirely in the moment; he is capable of anything, down to employing primary students in theft, or even selling his newborn son to a child-trading gang.
At first sight a monster, Bruno nonetheless emerges equally as a victim, thanks to the director's ability to present a full-bodied human being. In response to Sonia's breakdown following the sale of Jimmy, for example -- she categorically refuses to talk to him -- Bruno retrieves the child with the same effortless ease. He has perpetrated the act in the conviction that it is no huge deal: he tells Sonia, simply, that they could make another one. In one poignant scene Bruno is at the door of his mother's; the viewer has had no knowledge of a mother's existence thus far, and when she refuses to let him in -- she will hide his whereabouts from the police but will have nothing to do with him -- the full scale of Bruno's childhood becomes apparent. A brief moment of incredible emotional import: nonchalantly, while waiting, Bruno tells her he has become a father; and her only answer is to set a Saturday appointment to see the child. Out of fear and loathing, she still will not open the door to him.

Clic here to read the story from its source.