The Cannes Film Festival has a strong stomach.
After handing its first award, the Palme d’Or, to the blood-stained Titan last year, there’s even more horror on the 75th edition slate kicking off May 17th.
Among the most anticipated posts is the return of physical horror maestro David Cronenberg with “Crimes of the Future.”
The new story of the devious genius behind “The Fly”, “Crash” and “Videodrome” is set in a future world where people undergo disgusting surgical changes for the sake of art and sexual pleasure, starring Lea Seydoux and Viggo Mortensen.
The festival’s opening film is also an ode to the horror genre, although this time with a firm tongue in the cheek. “Final Cut” is a zombie movie parody from the makers of the Academy Award winning silent film “The Artist”.
It’s not a one time. Cannes opened with another zombie comedy, “The Dead Don’t Die” by Jim Jarmusch in 2019.
he crossed his boundaries
Such veneration of genre films is less common in Hollywood.
Only six horror films were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, “The Exorcist”, “Jaws”, “The Silence of the Lambs”, “The Sixth Sense”, “Black Swan” and “Exodus”. “The Silence of the Lambs” won Best Picture at the 1992 Academy Awards, and is thus, to date, the only horror film to achieve this feat.
But the festivals were increasingly open to blood.
New York-based film expert Kate Robertson told AFP: “Film festivals like Cannes are known for showcasing cinema that pushes boundaries… Horror films offer some of the most unique, innovative and challenging films.”
That’s certainly the case with “Ex Machina” Alex Garland’s “Men” starring Jessie Buckley, which will premiere in the director’s Fortnight section in Cannes next week.
She uses horror metaphors – a home invasion, an inescapable village full of monsters and various rebellious bodily deformities – but diffuses them for a witty and very contemporary story about a woman dealing with the trauma of a manipulative ex-husband.
“Horror is not just about entertainment. It can allow us to experience and resolve emotions, provide catharsis, and consider our relationships and even our place in the world,” Robertson said.
Our deepest fear
Cannes often sought posts to shake those present.
Vomiting and droppings in the 1973 movie “The Big Feast”, in which the heroes of the film try to eat themselves to death, the head of the jury Ingrid Bergman is disgusted.
The outspoken rape scene in Gaspard Noé’s 2002 film Irreversible, which was equally praised and criticized, was another horrific and memorable moment in the Cannes tradition.
The scene of Charlotte Ginsburg with rusty scissors on her genitals in the 2009 film “The Antichrist,” which was booed and shocked laughter at the premiere, was also the scene of Charlotte Ginsburg holding rusty scissors over her genitals for his “most misogynistic” film. “
Last year’s “Titane” victory, however, marked a new level of respect for the horror genre.
The film depicts a heroine whose body is spread by a mass of metal growing in her stomach, sweating and bleeding from engine oil.
“I have always wanted to bring cinema of the genre or exotic films into mainstream festivals so that this part of French film production stops being ostracized,” director Julia Ducornu told AFP at the festival. “People need to understand that genre cinema is a way to talk about individuals and our deepest fears and desires in a deep, candid and direct way.”
It remains to be seen whether “Titane” sets a precedent or remains an exception.
“The lack of interest in this type of movie is reflected in the awards,” Robertson said. “Ducorneau’s victory for Titane last year was an exciting surprise to many and hopefully signals broader changes in the industry.” JB
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