Cannes Critics’ Week to open with Ghost Trail

Record number of contenders vie for space in the selection

by Richard Mowe

French-Tunisian star Adam Bessa takes one of the lead roles in the Cannes Critics’ Week opener Ghost Trail
French-Tunisian star Adam Bessa takes one of the lead roles in the Cannes Critics’ Week opener Ghost Trail Photo: La Semaine de la Critique
On song in Alexis Langlois’s first feature Queens of Drama, a pop musical
On song in Alexis Langlois’s first feature Queens of Drama, a pop musical Photo: La Semaine de la Critique
Hot on the heels of the official Cannes Film Festival launch last week comes today’s announcement in Paris of the selection for this year’s 63rd edition of Critics’ Week, devoted to first and second features and running between May 15 and 23.

Ava Cahen, the Week’s artistic director, revealed a selection of 11 titles including the opener Ghost Trail, a psychological thriller, inspired by real events, by Jonathan Millet and the closing film by Emma Benestan, Animale, styled as a “genre piece” set in the Camargue and is described as “at the “crossroads between western, slasher, body horror, and revenge film.”

Constance Tsang’s Blue Sun Palace is the sole US film in the round-up, described by Cahen as “a bittersweet film about two Chinese immigrants living in Queens who bond following a tragic death and find meaning in each other’s company. As humble and dignified as its characters, this first, realistic and intimate, film sheds light on a community that is little seen”.

Critics’ Week director Ava Cahen
Critics’ Week director Ava Cahen Photo: © Aurélie Lamachère/La Semaine de la Critique
The section of Special Screenings will include Saïd Hamich Benlardi’s Across The Sea, a melodrama about the life of a clandestine Moroccan immigrant in Marseille and featuring Grégoire Colin and Anna Mouglalis and Ayoub Gretaa. Also included is Alexis Langlois’s first feature Queens of Drama, a pop musical about an influencer who falls for a punk singer. Cahen suggest the film is “a glittery, vibrant love letter to cinema and its history, its styles and genres.”

The section will see world premieres of Locust, a feature debut for Taiwanese multidisciplinary artist KEFF; Leonardo Van Dijl’s Julie Keeps Quiet; Argentinian director Federico Luis’s Simon Of The Mountain; Brazilian director Marcelo Caetano’s Baby; Nada Riyadh and Ayman El Amir’s The Brink Of Dreams and French director Antoine Chevrollier’s Block Pass.

Cahen noted that a record-breaking 1050 features were submitted for inclusion in the section and a third of them were by female directors.

Cahen’s selection of shorts will be unveiled on Thursday 18 April. Spanish director Rodrigo Sorogoyen already has been named as the president of the jury for its 63rd edition.

Emma Benestan’s Animale is styled as a “genre piece” set in the Camargue
Emma Benestan’s Animale is styled as a “genre piece” set in the Camargue Photo: La Semaine de la Critique

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