CANNES – Cannes, mon amour! After the misanthropic Donbass, in which man’s inhumanity to man is the theme, Cannes suddenly did an about-turn and turned into something of a lovefest. First was the gorgeous Summer, in black-and-white, but so colourful and bright at times that it hurt. That was followed by one of the strangest love stories to be told: Border was about an unlovely woman working as a border guard in Sweden. This semi-feral woodland creature finds herself more at home in nature and when she literally sniffs out a kindred spirit whilst at work, we are presented with a film that is part thriller, part romantic comedy and part fairytale, and has a very brilliant twist in its tail – literally.
Yet in this film, it wasn’t just about finding love, but about finding humanity, and was the perfect riposte to Donbass, which leaves you feeling there was no hope for humanity. In Border there is hope – though not exactly for humanity. It was a quick hop from the Swedish hills to Parisian apartments for Sorry, Angel, Christophe Honoré’s disappointing love story about a pretentious and narcissistic novelist and his Breton lover. However, this morning’s film was Pawel Pawlikowski’s highly anticipated Cold War. Needless to say, he did not disappoint.
The film tells the story of two lovers, both musicians, in post-war Poland. The story takes us on a European tour as we follow the musicians and their seemingly impossible relationship as they become entangled in the Iron Curtain. Like Summer, Pawlikowski’s film is also in black-and-white (as was his beautiful previous film Ida). It seems that love under a Soviet regime can brook no colour. Cold War was such a sublime piece of filmmaking that it already looks like a classic. And at a mere 84 minutes, the Polish director proves that a monumental story can be told in under two hours. Fellow directors, take note.
Still on the theme of man’s innate humanity was Joe Penna’s Arctic. It stars Mads Mikkelsen, a man so beloved in Cannes (and pretty much everywhere else) that when his name appeared on the screen, people started clapping. To be fair, the man’s cheekbones alone deserve a round of applause. Arctic revolves around Mikkelsen as a nameless man stranded in the Arctic after his plane has crashed.
There were some similarities between his character and that of Robert Redford’s nameless protagonist in All Is Lost: they are both resilient men with the capabilities of a Boys’-Own hero, they are desperate to return to civilisation and are down-to-earth in the face of calamity. Though there were a few too many calamities in this film, Mikkelsen just about saves it and restores hope for our kind, as we see the human need for companionship and contact: love, in other words. So, lovers of the world unite – in Cannes! Having said that, I am sure the festival will set out to break my heart at some point. Until then, lots of love.xx
- Dear Diary #1: Selfies, Netflix and Cannes new regime
- Dear Diary #2: A Storm in a Teacup or the Calm before the Storm?
- Dear Diary #3: Orson Welles, Leto and other stories
- Watch here: Mads Mikkelsen and Arctic Photocall in Cannes: