During its seventy-fifth celebration edition, the Un certain regard selection in Cannes has shown different movies that seem to try to talk about the old links with the childhood, the origins, the families of their characters and/or directors.
The Cannes film festival has come back. Last year, in 2021, we tasted an appetizer version of the film festival: there were many movies, talents and film critics. But that one was an edition a little bit less crowded than usual. This year, Cannes prepared a welcome back party for the seventy-fifth edition. Everything was set as usual, without particular defections. In Un certain regard, it is possible to look at the new paths of cinema. This year, they presented a very interesting program that says a lot about the film industry’s contemporary state of art. But, if we must notice something new, we should talk about the Un certain regard section: One of the most critical programming sections in the world to discover new talents and new directors. Indeed, the twenty films in the program seem to be linked by a common theme. They want to speak about a return. Every movie presented in Un certain regard tells a story about someone who is strictly linked to his past. Among the storylines we have; someone running from his secrets (The Stranger, by Thomas M. Wright; or The Blue Caftan [Le bleu du caftan], by Maryam Touzani), a character returning after a long journey (Butterfly Vision [Bachennya metelyka], by Maksim Nakonechnyi) and the person who needs to value his memories and to think about his priorities (Metronom, by Alexandru Belc).
If one were to try to translate the section’s name, Un certain regard would become A certain gaze. So, the contemporary cinema’s gaze looks like a gaze interested in the past. Two years of pandemic have been a good moment for directors to focus on their steps, make order between their memories, and find a connection linking the past to the present. So, maybe it is for the same reason that the gaze, the style, the cinema watched in 2022’s Un certain regard is a cinema that looks old. Except for a few titles, more or less every movie seems to have a debit with a narrative idea of cinema. We did not watch experimental film, and we did not feel the new waves of this industry.
The Un certain regard’s gaze has been the gaze of storytellers who wants to tell a story (maybe their personal story) tasting a feeling of old cinema. Today, the bravest directors are the directors who have enough courage to not search for a new style but to hug a scholastic one because they need to start again from the origin. Nowadays, we can often hear many slogans saying that cinema is dead. Well, Un certain regard 2022 is telling us that cinema is not dead; it is boring again. So keep calm, take a breath and be patient. We will see what cinema could make again very soon, and we are sure that it will be an amazing show.
Edited by Justine Smith
© FIPRESCI 2022