Cannes Film Festival is a one of a kind event, partly because of the collisions it provokes, the least interesting of which takes place between the ultra-shiny red carpet displays and the human misery on the screens. Others, more electrifying, are played out among films, seen by the dozen in just a few incredible days where any notion of wakefulness and sleep disappears altogether. With every year the Festival becomes more and more like a sanctuary, an improbable island where cinema takes centre stage. On the Croisette, cinema is deemed essential, and perhaps because it still is, for all it knows about welcoming the most moving imaginary worlds.
Spike Lee was given a Grand Prix, which he dedicated to the “people of the republic of Brooklyn” for his movie BlacKkKlansman.
The winners at the 2018 Festival didn’t necessarily reflect this state of affairs, even though the Palme d’or being awarded to Shoplifters by the Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-Eda didn’t upset anyone. It’s a delicate film about the relationship between a father and his son who shoplift from supermarkets to survive. The author of Nobody Knows, a long-time darling of the Festival, boasts a career full of accolades and his work on family life has long avoided the traps of overarching auteur cinema, provoking no revolutions. Through this gesture, Cate Blanchett’s jury chose to give the supreme prize to a notion of cinema that’s much less ostentatious than expected: Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, whose social and lacrimal Capharnaüm about a street kid who makes a complaint against his parents “giving him life”, went home with the Prix de Jury, and a touch of disappointment.