Cannes Film Festival 2022, the island of perfumes makes its dumb cinema

This year, the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, the largest annual meeting of international cinema, celebrated its 75th anniversary under the beautiful sun of the Cote d’Azur. The event is so important that every country, territory or department is worthily represented, proudly wearing its colors. In the absence of each country or territory in different selections, the international village and film markets open the door to different cultures where artists meet. However, again and again Mayotte, unfortunately, is listed as a missing subscriber.

Isolated territories and the Cannes selection

Entrance to Cannes for movies from overseas is unusual. A few films released in our territories and departments are rare, but often cause pleasant surprises with a few exceptions. Maybe in a few years one of these films will appear in one of the competitions.

Cannes has always had films about isolated areas. Most of the foreign films are about stories from Africa or South America.
The parallel with our island remains common.

This year, Ali Cherry’s The Dam, a Franco-Lebanese joint production in Sudan’s arid land, competed in Two Directors’ Week. A metaphor for the violence of coups, seen by a clay brick manufacturer who wants to build a strange natural dam. The film, although very beautiful in its aesthetics, tries to convince in its very slow story and the message it wants to convey. The work leaves in memory the project of the impossible in the face of the resolved environment. Distributor Sophie Dulac will release the film later this year.

Mirror effect of the festival

Still in Fortnight, in a more classic register, Les Harkis by Philip Focon. A new feature film from an already established director; the film focuses on these Algerians who fought for France during the war in Algeria. In a certain sobriety, Philippe Focon tells us about the (recent) era of the end of the French colonies and the consequences that follow. The director reminds us of the injustice caused by the French governments, which continue to persecute us today. It is hard not to think of the Mahorai soldiers who fought for France without real recognition of the homeland they chose. Sometimes too academic, the work retains an interesting cinematic role in staging with neat, fixed shots. Pyramide Distribution has scheduled the release of the film for October 12, 2022.

It was for two weeks of directors that we were able to see Fabian Hernandez’s first feature film, Un Varon. A joint Franco-Colombian production with the help of CNC World Cinema. The fate of a young Colombian in search of “identity” in a difficult area of ​​Bogota (in the youth of the director). In simplified efficiency, the film follows its mysterious hero on the streets of a complex area day and night. Light, frames and decor allow us to begin this rather simple story, sometimes shaky, fragile and ultimately complex. We like to think about James Gray’s first films, as well as the young people of Caven who might find themselves in this character who wants to be someone “real guy”. Destiny Films is scheduled to release in France in the spring of 2023.

As for the Un Certain Regard selection, we discovered War Pony by Riley Keo and Gina Gammel. The initiating story of two generations of young Indians in one of the last Indian reservations, where financial survival remains the only project of these forgotten Americans. Filmed in a quasi-documentary context, the actors and the setting are true. The film is one of the real discoveries of this publication. The production and artistic direction are worthy of a wonderful exciting film. His accuracy and power also evoked emotions in the jury of the Golden Chamber, which decided to award it. Again, the glaring parallel with Mayotte’s youth is not missed. Unfortunately, the film does not currently have an official distributor in France.

Behind the scenes, a change of red carpet

Finally, in the official selection competition, a unique and real place was given to the great film “Peace” by Albert Serra. Filmed in French Polynesia, the Spanish director’s new film focuses on the recent colonial actions of French state sponsors in Tahiti. Common points with Mayotte through social and political realities and landscapes remind us that overseas territories are always pushed to the background of national priorities. The film is powerful, we’ll talk about it very soon. This marked these hours for Cannes film lovers, where the jury preferred other, no less marginal works, such as this year’s “Golden Palm Branch” and the stormy “Triangle of Sadness” by Ruben Osltlund. Anti-capitalist satire, the action of which “partially” takes place on … the island.

Thus, officially, among all the selections, there was only one film that represented the overseas territories of Cannes this year. Stunning, sadness and misunderstanding on a date with movie buffs. But in the end, there is no worst here.

There are no representatives of culture

Golden camera in the hands of Gina Gammell, co-director of War Pony © Getty Image – Pascal Le Segreten

The annual meeting presented by Cannes is a real springboard to support the needs of film production in almost virgin areas, a great example of which is Mayotte. Numerous round tables and aperitifs are held daily for two weeks.

This year we were alone.

Worse, CNC’s overseas office was not even present at the Croisette meetings. Although the request was made by the General Delegate of the SRF (Society of Directors), the main shareholder of La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs.

Contempt and blindness to overseas departments and territories are blatant, sometimes even offensive. But when we talk directly to cultural figures, there is great excitement among the classic questions: where exactly is Mayotte? Is it possible to make movies in Mayotte?

Mayotte is an unknown and fascinating figure

Our 101st French Department is probably the most isolated and most forgotten, but most of all it wants to become a country of cinema. We have already discussed this topic on our pages. When we talk about our island with its history and culture, there is often a statement: but we have to make movies!

Only together can we be strong. Apart from the hope of seeing the team from Mayotte, which runs the red carpet of Cannes for the next few years, the greatest pride would be to bring home the Golden Palm Branch! We believe in!

Our special correspondent is Germain Le Carpentier

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