A French film crew is trying to make a zombie movie final cutthe opening film of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
Photo Credit: Lisa Ritaine/Wild Bunch Films
The organizers of the Cannes Film Festival are famous for their programming, but we should also take a second to appreciate their dedication to it Switch-Programming. For all the festival’s associations with the glittering heights of prestige cinema, each year Cannes devotes a few spots in its official selection to the big, the fun and the silly – and not just in unusual screenings, but often on the Plum opening night, which has in the past to people like has gone The da Vinci Code, The fifth Elementand primal instinct.
Michel Hazanavicius final cutthis year’s opening film, fits the trend: a goofy, light-hearted comedy and, oddly enough, the second zombie-tinged comedy to climb that spot in three years, after Jim Jarmusch The dead don’t die in 2019. (Like a teenager in the late aughts, is Cannes just going through its zombie phase?) It’s a French remake of the 2017 Japanese film A cut of the dead, a micro-budget indie that found an audience through festivals. Hazanavicius’ film has a bigger budget and more stars, but it retains the textural vanity of the original, which I don’t want to spoil except to say that it starts out as a one-take project about a film crew in a zombie movie that shoots at a real zombie apocalypse meets. As the recording progresses, the viewer might notice that the artistic quality of this film falls far short of usual Cannes standards. The whole thing is oddly stilted, even amateurish at times. Is Hazanavicius still rolling out his Oscar win? The artistor is he up to something?
“I’m ready to be booed,” Hazanavicius told Vulture over Zoom a week before the festival. “And maybe a few whistles after 20 minutes. After a while the audience will really wonder Is it like this for two hours? But maybe there are some elements that are intriguing.”
What I can reveal is that the film finally reveals its true intention as a love letter to cinema, even the mediocre kind made by Romain Duris’ director’s character, a journeyman whose trademark is ‘fast, cheap and decent’. These aren’t the first three words that spring to mind when thinking about the types of films that play at the Grand Théâtre Lumière, but the point of the film – and the film that’s showing at Cannes – is to break this lockdown. “We’re all in the same boat,” said Hazanavicius. “There are no ‘artists’ and ‘other guys’. Sometimes you make good films and sometimes you fail and make a bad film.”
Still, the fact that this footage didn’t have an eye on the Croisette does have some merit. final cut was originally scheduled to premiere at Sundance in January until the Omicron variant forced that festival to go virtual. “Showing this film on a computer makes no sense,” said the director. The film’s title has had its own tumultuous journey. In France it should be called Z, a reference to both zombies and the French term for B-movies: Series Z. Then war crimes got in the way. After the letter was seen as a symbol of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Film Institute asked the filmmakers to come up with a new title. They admitted: It was changed to Coupez!which means “cut!”
There’s a lot of geopolitical weight to shoulder for a little zombie film. Luckily, that’s about the only pressure final cut, which competes out of competition is under. Hazanavicius’ previous three films were all screened in competition, viz The artist was very popular, the sequel of 2014 The search, was significantly less. “You don’t know how people will react. Because you entered the competition, you think You have to show us that you deserve this wonderful place‘ said Hazanavicius. “On opening night, I’m coming with a big fat comedy. It’s obvious that I want to make people laugh and that’s it. So it is a great privilege.”
Perhaps the festival should create its own award to honor films like this. Do you call it the palme d’oh?
https://www.vulture.com/2022/05/cannes-2022-michel-hazanaviciuss-opening-night-final-cut.html Michel Hazanavicius’ Opening Night “Final Cut”