We Are One Retrospective – Offerings from Cannes

This mini-review roundup of the We Are Global Film Festival covers my favourite contributions from the 72nd Festival de Cannes Short Film Selection (and an Actor’s Masterclass).

White Echo (2019, USA, 16 min)

Written & directed by Chloë Sevigny. I mainly enjoyed this for its portrayal of a group of female friends played by a range of talented actresses, but the spine of the 14 min story is the main character’s attempt to learn about the previous occupant of her house (a female suicide) through enlisting her friends into a seance during a party.

Anna (2019, Ukraine/Israel/UK, 15 min)

Winner of Best British Short at the 2019 British Independent Film Awards, shortlisted for Best British Short BAFTA. An engaging and revealing look at the “Ukrainian bride” industry from the inside, from the perspective of an atypical prospect. Quite touching, very well made. Another favourite.

Who Talks [Ingen lyssnar] (2019, Sweden, 15 min)

Uses the format of a Swedish public council meeting discussing immigration of young male refugees to illustrate the way in which heated debate from entrenched extremes makes reasoned debate and genuine attempts to communicate increasingly difficult. Very well constructed, stuck with me.

Rendez-vous with Zhang Ziyi (2019, France, 100 min)

Billed as an actor’s masterclass. The interviewer speaks in French, Zhang Ziyi speaks mostly in Mandarin (but occasionally in English) with a French translator, and there’s an English translation of the French from the PA. Very enjoyable interview ranging across the length of her career, her work with a number of high profile Chinese directors, her approach to acting, and aspects of her life. I was annoyed by the interviewer’s first question, which displayed an ignorance of the variety of female roles in martial arts cinema prior to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” despite attempting to display a knowledge of Chinese culture, but he might just have been overstating the case in order to pay the actress a well-deserved compliment. (And I’m no expert, but I don’t think the English translator knew how to pronounce “wuxia” – which is an extremely minor and pedantic complaint.)

Watched But Not Reviewed

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