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Cannes selected 2020 films: marvellous!

Published: Jun 17, 2021

Cannes International Film Festival in France was chosen as a single topic  for an editorial by billy LAx because of its significance in establishing a barometer to judge each year’s slate of Art-House Indie films. Particularly in 2020, due to the pandemic hitting at nearly the same time as the kick-off of Cannes forcing its shutdown, this international film festival, or lack thereof, became even a more important topic of the Indie film world. Please leave us your opinion in the comments section.  


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“Times were terrible for those of West Indian descent which included police harassment of their establishments including a restaurant named the Mangrove in West London.”


Billy LAx – Chief Editor

Even though Cannes Film Festival was canceled this year(2020), and no awards were given to any film, the Festival did make the usual 56 selections stamping the great films helping them to achieve the Cannes accolades necessary to advance their films within the other festivals and markets. This report will highlight four films which were selected by Cannes: Steve McQueen ‘Mangrove;’ Wes Anderson’s ‘The French Dispatch;’ Peter Docter’s ‘SOUL;’ and Francois Ozon’s ‘Summer of 85.’ Review of Steve McQueen’s ‘Mangrove:’ McQueen’s ‘Mangrove’ is a real-to-life film about the perpetual social injustice in the UK that occurred against blacks in the early ‘60s. McQueen also created a second film that emanated from the same social dysfunctionality as ‘Mangrove’ called ‘Lovers Rock’ which also was selected this year at Cannes 2020 Film Festival. Unlike ‘Mangrove,’ ‘Lovers Rock’ was fictional. 

Nine black activists, called the Mangrove 9, were tried in a British court for instigating violent protests to bring omnipresent police brutality to the attention of the UK public and world. The West Indians were at the time, much the same way they are now, a happy people and musically inclined. They cause little crime and have developed a unique culture that is the same now as it was in the ‘60s. The Mangrove restaurant was a hub of the West Indians and a social scene. It was the place to be in West London if you loved the music and ready for a night of happiness. A particular group of London police did not have it in them to appreciate these wonderful people and raided the Mangrove restaurant several times finding no criminal intent. Finally, rather aggressive protests were led by The Mangrove 9, they were arrested and changed. The movie was over the court hearing and a ruling that went in favor of the defendants setting into place important changes in the UK.



Review of Wes Anderson’s ‘French Dispatch;’
One of the best of 2020 and selected the 56 at Cannes, is Wes Anderson’s ‘The French Dispatch’. It truly is another Anderson masterpiece. The star, Bill Murry does a great job at keeping this light comedy intriguing and the audience on the edge of their seats. The movie starts with Arthur Howitzer Jr, played by Murry, an editor of a paper in the mid-west of the US, taking a holiday in France and looking for a retirement opportunity, rather dreading the thought of spending the rest of his life in mid-America. Upon traveling to France, Arthur became an editor of the ‘French Dispatch’, a publication on current world events. Arthur and his hand-picked experts from the US printed three stories from US travel logs in the publication intending the stories to be real occurring in France. The stories created a huge social-economical upheaval in France allowing for an entertaining satire.
Review of Peter Docter’s “Soul:”
Peter Docter’s “Soul” Is an animation aimed at adults. More so, the film customer it is mainly targeting is those that are on the artsy end of the spectrum.

Docter’s ‘SOUL,’ dives deep into the metaphysical. It askes the question, “What happens after death?” It explores the immortal world and a possible scenario of what may happen in the hear-after. The film does have the typical animated characters with lots of black characters. It starts on the streets of New York City when the start, Joe Gardner (Voice over by Jamie Foxx) has just won a new great job performing Jazz on stage. Docter sets his character up by making him a loveable music school music teacher. Now, in Joe’s thrill to start his new gig, while crossing a street, he falls through an open sewer. Now things go wrong when Joe’s spirit is sent into the Great Before. He then meets 22 (Voice over by Tina Fey) and with the aide of 22, Joe’s adventure is to get back to his old life.
Review of Francois Ozon’s ‘Summer of 85:’
Can you go back to when you were sixteen, or maybe you are sixteen now? Do you remember the insecurities you had? The battle to find yourself. The fear that everything would not turn out okay. The sexual urges would drive a young body to craziness wondering if you would ever find that special person. Francois Ozon brought it all out in his ‘Summer of 85’ film which took place in the mid-eighties in Normandy France.


Alex Robin (played by Felix Lefebvre) was sixteen, gay, and one of those teens trying to figure himself out and deal with the constant sexual issues we all know about. The film took place at an oceanside hotel with the gorgeous French summer waters creating a peaceful atmosphere. Alex was certainly enjoying the summer and one day, when he was boating, the weather turned, and the boat was turned over. Nearly ready to drown, our 16-year-old was then saved by eighteen-year-old David Gorman (played by Benjamin Voisin) Both needed a relationship especially Alex and so began the summer fling. Many of us had a summer fling or at least dreamed of one. Dreaming of one may be better than having one. It is perfect when you dream. Ozon made that dream come to life in his audience’s mind and the summer love affair began. With most of us, it ends not well, one person getting hurt because the other wants it to be just a fling. Or parents get in the way and soon the superficial love goes to someone else. However, Ozone gives Alex and David an ending that will stay with them, or at least with Alex, the rest of his life. David dies with Aides leaving sad young Alex with changes he will take with him for the rest of his life.

Maxx TEE – Content Writer

As a new director, putting together my first film, the Cannes International Film Festival is the ultimate of the Independent Film Festivals and Markets. There certainly is something exotic… something sexy… something special about going to Cannes sitting close to the French Riviera. Who could turn down that trip? To think of all the excited filmmakers vying for one of the selected fifty-six films, drinking and eating in the quaint French cafes seems to be an experience one would never forget. And I am talking about just going, let alone being that director that has one of the fifty-six films.

Possibly soon it will be my turn with my flick that I have, seemingly, the whole world donating to the production. I can hardly wait to watch that first batch of film watchers as they take in the experience that has been in my mind for a year now. I certainly have a severe case of Festival fever and if I had to choose one fever over another, it would be Cannes fever all the way. One of the reasons Cannes is the main festival to do well at, besides of its prestige, is that it is one of the first of the years. A selected or awarded film at Cannes propels the film in the following festivals and markets.

Hats off to Wes Anderson and his “French Dispatch” this year who was stamped at Cannes and selected. Bill Murry, even at his age, is still the comedy actor that can make it work. It is a masterpiece and made for Cannes with its European stage set. Coupled with a partially American theme, it should bring down the entirety of world audiences.

Another film that was chosen in the top fifty-six was Disney Pixel’s “SOUL” directed by the Head of Pixel, Peter Docter. Docter’sstarred animated characters with Voice Overs by Jamie Fox and Tina Fey. SOUL is a deep-thinking movie about the star falling through a manhole in New York City and entering the afterlife only to find out that he got there by accident and needs to find his way out. In his stereotypic film theme, Docter moves his audience into asking themselves questions like, “what happens after I die.”

The 2020 Cannes was one of the first casualties of the virus, forcing the closure of the festival doors for the second time in history. The first was a consequence of World War II The festival owners did not award the winners but did stamp fifty-two films allowing them to reap the benefits of Cannes in their future festival and market appearances. Being a director, I can feel the frustration and disappointment of those directors that we’re fortunate to create one of the best movies of the year, only to get it tamped down by a virus. Lots of the Cannes activities, as well as other film festival and market activities, were moved online and the new social distancing and cleaning methods were put into place, making the usually close wheeling and dealing to take new forms that most likely are not so conducive to business. Many questions still to be answered such as how long will the bad for business effects of the virus last and what part of the new way of business will the industry keep. Possibly a lot of the new virtual business process is good in that it cuts costs.

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