Cannes #75 - "Coupez!"
Updated: May 21, 2022
The Trauma Show -
And so it began, the 75th edition of the most prestigious cinematic rendezvous in the world.
To represent such a landmark anniversary, this year’s poster portrays the iconic shot from The Truman Show finale, with the protagonist reaching the sky-painted physical end of his fictional, artificial world. The devastating realization that everything, even the sky, is fake, prompts him to walk out into the real world. Yet, for the upcoming days, we are doing the very opposite.
After a harmful number of controversies on the eve of its inauguration, the festival starts with a few sour notes. Anachronistic censorship claims made by international newspapers, on top of rumors for a potential class action by the accredited festival-goers against the new, disastrous online booking system which crashes continuously without delivering, and the unjustified and hyperbolic increase in the number of accreditations… But the cherry on the gateau is its opening film. Cannes certainly has a fascination to open with bad zombie flicks, having repeated the mistake in 2019 with Jim Jarmush’s The Dead Don’t Die. This year it’s Coupez! turn, directed by The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius- a lot of emphasis on the vicious, please.
Flashback- It’s 2020, and Michel Hazanavicious lies in his bed, bored. He can’t do much in these lockdown days, creativity is running out, and he hasn’t made a film in years- let alone a good one. His wife and muse Bérénice Bejo, is sleeping next to him, upset. They don’t speak anymore. She wants him to make something new with her, but he can’t, he knows the golden days are long gone. Jaded, he turns on his computer and decides to take a looksy at the latest Japanese sensation of the month, the indie zombie movie One Cut of the Dead, from which he heard good things about. He enjoys it, and chuckles to himself. “Steal it”, whispers the dusty academy award on his shelf, “Do it, the world needs a shot by shot, angle by angle remake of this mediocre comedy- but in French”. I like to believe this is how this embarrassing remake came to life.
In the Japanese original, which is itself a rip-off, duplicating the more successful structure and formula of the play & film adaptation Noises Off, showing in three acts the chaotic making of a live show from its front and backstage, the gimmick works. But the purposely low-quality remake results in an insufferable watch, full of pantomime performances and highest humoristic peaks achieved through fart jokes.
Despite the Ukrainian outcry and the consequent change in programme, the original version of the title, "Z", was displayed in the credits. Yet, Ukrainians shouldn’t worry about this- it feels more like an insult to the Russian army.
Walkouts used to be a selling point in Cannes, but not this time, with zero laughs and an incessant flow of people leaving the screening, depressed. And just like Truman, they preferred abandoning fantasy and stepping back into reality: "In case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight."