Parallel selection appeared in 1969 in the margin of the official selection to write a history as truant as prestigious, the Directors' Fortnight this year welcomes a new head coach in the person of Paolo Moretti. The 43-year-old Italian, born in Brescia in a working-class environment, succeeds Edouard Waintrop (seven editions in post), with an impressive programming career, built between the Pompidou Center, the Venice Film Festival and the Lisbon film libraries. and Madrid, and festivals such as Rome, Marseille or Nyon – for five years, he also presides over that of La Roche-sur-Yon, in the Vendée, and his arthouse cinema. At the head of a new programming team, he delivers in this 51e edition of the Fortnight a first selection with dense and broken promises, which opens this Wednesday with the presentation of the Suede from Quentin Dupieux (see page V). On the eve of the Festival, he exhibited at Release his vision of the selection exercise as the art of discourse.
You do not have a little scared?
Strangely, not too much (Laughs). Obviously, there is a certain apprehension that mixes with the excitement, but already, the Fortnight is only a room, which makes things relatively simple compared to the complexity of other events where it is spend five things at the same time. There is obviously a small, very intimate concern, but no fear, no.
The fact that the official selection is this year at its maximum power, with a very attractive program, does it does not complicate the task of someone who makes a first copy necessarily having a bit of identity manifesto character ?
I think there were moments, especially at the creation of the Fortnight, where the antagonism between the different selections was frontal and necessary. But there has been a lot of evolutions, from all sides, and we have approached the selection with this idea, which comes from the origins of the Fortnight, to ask the question of what can be brought more to the whole Festival. It is with this approach that we faced the exercise of selection, while considering the Quinzaine as a festival in the Festival, with its articulations, its spectrum, its history of avant-garde. Basically, I can only rejoice in a strong official selection, this brings attention to the Festival, and the Festival is also the Fortnight. And I'm glad some of the filmmakers I really like to see are competing or looking at Somehow. This is part of the institutional role of the Fortnight to stimulate a certain movement to practices, films, writers, which do not find themselves ultimately not necessarily home. This role is at the heart of our raison d'être. I am not in any spirit of rancor, disappointment or regret to see being held in competition the films of directors that I have been able to accompany for some since their beginnings in a very singular practice and nourished of risk taking. On the contrary, how not to be super happy?
By asking what made you decide on your appointment, while the unofficial slogan for the end of 2017 was rather to name a woman at the head of the Fortnight, we were told several times that you had "a project", by far the most thought and successful. How would you summarize this "project" ?
I know from experience that it takes some time for a project to unfold, it will take several editions. At the heart of the dialogue I had with the commission (from the Society of Film Directors, Ed) who appointed me, there was this fundamental idea to return to the origins of the Fortnight, to the necessity and the effect of its creation in a moment, a configuration which required it, where it was a question of bringing into existence films that would have remained otherwise invisible. In this, even if the situation has evolved, including the creation of Un Certain Regard in the official as a recognition of what the Quinzaine proposed, there are films that retain a particular relevance in us they would not have anywhere else. It is crucial not to forget, in order not to enter into a form of routine, this idea of the founders and the explosive dimension that it had in the macro-organism of Cannes at the time. And to find each year a new form relevant to this idea taking into account all the evolution of the environment and the cinema, to offer the most interesting and useful platform for everyone, films, authors, producers, distributors, spectators…
What do you mean ?
The Fortnight of 1969 operated on certain dynamics that are no longer there today, but the challenge is to take up this spirit of constructive criticism and to combine it with the issues of today. And that goes a long way by the way we compose a selection without working on the films as a list, without looking for objects to success, but rather thinking of the selection as articulated speech, a speech that is not against anyone but for films, for contemporary cinema. I need this concept, this ambition of selection as a global vision, as a state of the world and cinema. The films we have selected are strong enough to not need the context to exist, they stand very well alone. But to make shots, to choose films that we think will win a lot of prizes, to make a lot of entries, that interests me very moderately. Of course I'd be happy if it happens to films made by us, but if we make it a criterion, we do not make the same selection. And to create reconciliations, to bring the films into communication, gives me a much more enjoyable cinematic and intellectual pleasure. We must of course take into account the media and industrial dimension of cinema, but without forgetting where we come from. Radicalism for radicalism does not interest me, but it is above all a question of balance, and the story of the Fortnight is to have programmed films without any commercial objective, among which some have revealed market potential that nobody suspected. This dynamic, very prospective, interests me a lot.
This speech, this state, that you have the ambition to assemble in the form of a selection, he tells what, this year?
It's a monster question … Let's say we show a lot of films that are not afraid to evoke very strong contradictions, very far from any orthodoxy, with a great freedom of registry, and we find that also at beyond the Fortnight in the Festival this year. In our selection, I think, there is a great openness on the part of the filmmakers vis-à-vis their forms. There is a strong presence of the codes of the "kind", and it is something that one will find everywhere in Cannes: the official selection opens with a film of zombies (see page III), us with Quentin Dupieux's film which appropriates the language of American genre cinema in a very personal way. He expresses a great permeability to these codes of genres as varied as the horror, the music hall, the film of social struggle, coming from authors who remain fully authors. I do not know where this is transitioning, but we have had, in making the selection, the very clear feeling that there was a movement at work. And that spirit, we will find it in the most remote, unsuspected places, both in the science fiction film of Lav Diaz (great Filipino filmmaker, author of films-rivers, editor's note) that in An easy girl Rebecca Zlotowski, who plays with the idea of popular culture in an extremely subtle, risky, and successful way. On all sides, we see filmmakers win new territories and try to compose a new vocabulary, as if the acquired movie was not enough to tell the story.
Today, Cannes is strong and envy, but do you think that the current form of the film festival can still retain its relevance without being reinvented deeply in the medium term, in view of the evolution of image consumption practices and the place of cinema in people's lives?
Well yes ! (Laughter) I am deeply convinced that the festival formula keeps its load and just needs, like everything, to evolve gradually. I see in the other festival that I take care of, in La Roche-sur-Yon, how we went from 13,000 to 27,000 spectators in a city of 55,000 inhabitants. It's six days during which people who do not necessarily come to the cinema usually engage in a collective experience that, without the festival, would not exist. And it puts people in front of movies, it provokes acts of intellectual curiosity capable of changing lives – in any case, it has changed mine. The physical experience of the festival, this amplification machine where anything can happen, benefits films and audiences who really need it, and would not normally meet. And this movement, I continue to observe it. Between my first year in Venice in 2008 and today, in 2019 in Cannes, I do not feel any drop in intensity.
Julien Gester Photo Cyril Zannettacci. VU
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