Spike Lee’s jury has 24 films to choose from.
One of the beauties of cinema is its diversity. From formal themes and approaches, but also from their own opinions about the films. Who has not already discussed a certain film among friends, realizing that someone was indifferent to a film they loved, or the other way around?
There is, however, an idea that journalists and film critics should have an objective opinion, as if a film, or other artistic object, could be placed in a machine from which a truly unambiguous result would come out, without any right to discussion. That’s why many people don’t realize that, in those star paintings, the same work can take a black ball from one critic and five stars from another. Fortunately that is how it is and that it always will be.
This is due to the only film in the Cannes 2021 competition that radically divided opinions, between those who hated it or left right in the middle of the screening and those who already elevated it to a cult object. This is “Titane”, the second foray by Frenchwoman Julia Ducournau into the horror genre.
The cannibalism of his early work, “Grave” (or “Raw” in the international title, as the film did not premiere in Portugal) is followed by a mutant character, after a titanium implant was made in his childhood, following a serious car accident. There are those who put the name of the director and David Cronenberg in the same sentence, there are those who consider the film to be pure pseudo-gore fanfare, combined with a fashion effect.
“Titane” is one of 24 films that the Spike Lee-directed jury had to see and analyze in the last 12 days to reach the awards that will be unveiled this evening in Cannes. In addition to the American director, the jury includes personalities as diverse as singer Mylene Farmer, actors Tahar Rahim, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Kang Oh Song and directors Kleber Mendonça Filho, Jessica Hausner and Mati Diop. How can we guess which films will feature in the Cannes awards, especially the Palme d’Or of the 74th edition of the most important and media-oriented festival in the world?
Could Spike Lee have induced his colleagues to bet on films with a more political approach to reality, such as the Moroccan “Casablanca beats”, by Nabil Ayouch, about a group of young rappers from Casablanca; “Lingui”, by the Malian Mahamat Saleh Haroun, about the problem of women in that Muslim country; “La fracture”, by French Catherine Corsini, about the failure of the country’s health system; or “A Hero” by the Iranian Asghar Farhadi; or even, in honor of its director, involved in legal matters in Russia, Kirill Serebrennikov’s “Petrov Fever”?
Will the jury have been seduced by the mental problems of characters from Australian “Nitram” by Justin Kurzel and “Les Intranquilles” by Belgian Joachim Lafosse, or by visions of inner America in Sean Penn’s “Flag day” or “Red rocket “, by Sean Bakker? Or, on the contrary, is it the classicism of “Benedetta” by Paul Verhoeven, “Three floors” by Nanni Moretti or “Les Olympiades” by Jacques Audiard that will prevail?
Will the nine members of the jury have preferred the cinema ideas of the Japanese Ryusuke Hamagachi (“Drive my car”), the Danish Joachim Trier (“The worst person in the world”) or the Norwegian Juho Kuosmanen (“Compartment nº 6” )? And they will have given priority to the artifice of Leos Carax’s “Annette” and Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” to the formal minimalism of François Ozon’s “Tout s”est bien passé or Mia’s “Bergman”s island Hansen-Love?
There is also the possibility, always present, of surprising everyone and everything with films that no one expects to find in the list, such as those by Nadav Lapid, Ildiko Enyedi or Bruno Dumont. And we left our favorite for the end: “Memoria”, by Apichatpong Veerasethakul. But it would take many hours of heated discussion among the members of the jury to deliver a second Palme d’Or to the Thai. To check more soon.