Cannes 2021: Critics’ Week brings a French heavy lineup
After taking off a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Semaine de la Critique aka Critics’ Week, the Cannes Film Festival parallel festival dedicated to first and second films, has announced the selection for its 60th edition with an expanded lineup from previous years.
The opening night film will be, Constance Meyer’s Robuste (Robust), which stars Gérard Depardieu, Déborah Lukumuena and Lucas Mortier. The film centers on an aging film star (Depardieu) given an assistant, Aïssa (Lukumuena) when his regular right hand man has to go away for a few weeks. The disillusioned actor and the young female security guard forge a special relationship and bond. It’s the first time a French woman director has opened Critics’ Week since 2004.
Additional films include Julie Lecoustre and Emmanuel Marre’s Zero Fucks Given, starring Palme d’Or winner Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color) as a struggling young woman working as a flight attendant for a low-cost airline; Libertad (above), about two girls who become friends over the summer only to be torn apart by their different social statuses. The closing night film is Leyla Bouzid’s erotic drama A Tale of Love and Desire.
The 2021 program features 13 world premieres, seven of them in competition, chosen from nearly 1,000 films by Charles Tesson, artistic director, and his committee. The lineup this year favors French talent, with no American directors or films in the mix.
“Anais in Love embodies what Critics’ Week is all about,” said Tesson. “Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet previously presented her short ‘Pauline asservie’ in competition in 2018, and she then participated in our Next Step program to develop ‘Anaïs in Love,’ a refreshing film full of humor with a wonderful, whimsical performance by Anaïs Demoustier.”
“We’re proud to have put forward so many filmmakers on the international scene over the years,” he added. “This year’s official selection underscores this with the new films by Julia Ducournau (in competition) and Hafsia Herzi (in Un Certain Regard), who had their feature debuts, Raw and You Deserve Love, respectively, play at Critics’ Week in recent years.”
The president of the jury of th 60th edition is Cristian Mungiu, the first Romanian director to have won the Palme d’Or at the 2007 Cannes Film festival with 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, his second feature film. He is joined by actress and singer Camélia Jordana, producer Didar Domehri, artistic director of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Karel Och and consultant Michel Merkt.
The lineup of the main festival was announced last week with Directors Fortnight coming up on June 8. Here is the lineup for this year’s Critics’ Week films.
“Robuste,” Constance Meyer
“Anaïs in Love,” Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet
“Bruno Reidal, Confessions of a Murderer,” Vincent Le Port
“Petite Nature,” Samuel Theis
“A Radiant Girl,” Sandrine Kiberlain
“A Tale of Love and Desire,” Leyla Bouzid
“Amparo,” Simón Mesa Soto
“Feathers,” Omar El Zohairy
“Libertad,” Clara Roquet
“The Gravedigger’s Wife,” Khadar Ayderus Ahmed
“Olga,” Elie Grappe
“Small Body,” Laura Samani
“Zero Fucks Given,” Julie Lecoustre & Emmanuel Marre
Short Films in Competition
“Brutalia, Days of Labour,” Manolis Mavris
“Lili Alone,” Zou Jing
“An Invitation,” Hao Zhao & Yeung Tung
“Inherent,” Nicolai G.H Johansen
“Intercom 15,” Andrei Epure
“If It Ain’t Broke,” Elinor Nechemya
“Noir-soleil,” Marie Larrivé
“Safe,” Ian Barling
“Soldat noir,” Jimmy Laporal-Trésor
“On Solid Ground,” Jela Hasler