Cannes Film Festival 2019: Day 2

Cannes Film Festival 2019: Day 2

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by Alexa Dalby

CAUTION: Here be spoilers

The Dead Don’t Die

Les Misérables

Explosive first feature from Ladj Ly, referencing Victor Hugo’s classic social commentary and set where Cosette first meets Jean Valjean in the novel.

The film is two days in the life of Montfermeil in the Paris banlieus. The run-down streets and blocks of flats are brimming with racial tension with the lid kept on by police brutality. For now.

It’s the first day in the precinct for Stephane (Damien Bonnard), newly transferred in, out on a three-man patrol with crooked, brutal, white commander Chris (Alexis Manenti) and his quiet sidekick Gwada (Djibril Zonga), a Montfermeil local.

A bizarre incident makes the tension between the various ethnic groups boil over. A young boy, Issa (Issa Perica), steals a lion cub from the travelling circus. The ‘Gypsies’ from the circus turn threatening and Muslims, Africans, community leaders – the unofficial mayor and imam – and crooks and a large gang of kids get involved as police try to contain the violence that erupts.

But meanwhile it’s all being filmed by young nerd Buzz’s (Al-Hassan Ly) drone and the police have to retrieve the damning footage. It’s an incredibly tense unravelling that builds to a shocking revenge. Urgent hand-held camerawork and passionate ensemble performances make for a shattering experience of some realities in French inner cities that are hard to acknowledge.

Deerskin (Le Daim)

As a man obsessed with a vintage fringed suede jacket, Jean Dujardin rivets Quentin Dupieux’s loopy entertaining riff on cracked masculinity. – Variety

The latest oddball concoction from French iconoclast Quentin Dupieux stars Jean Dujardin as a man who falls in love with his jacket… a film as mad as it is perfectly controlled. – Hollywood Reporter

The Dead Don’t Die, Les Misérables and Deerskin premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

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