Cannes 2022 opens with a tribute to the teamwork of cinema
by Alex Billington
May 17, 2022
It is still time. the Cannes Film Festival 2022 starts this week, and I’m back in the south of France for my 12th time covering this festival. I always love being back, and even with the updates and frustrations, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be right now. Choosing an opening night film for any festival is always a daunting task. This year opening Cannes is the French zombie comedy called final cut (or Cut! in French), which happens to be a French remake of the beloved Japanese indie classic A cup of the dead. It was originally slated to premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, but when that festival announced it would have to close its physical in-person festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film slid. took of. I had a feeling it would end in Cannes, and yes, I was right. And here it is! Ready to wow Cannes audiences and remind them that cinema is a collaborative effort.
I first saw Shinichirou Ueda’s Shining A cup of the dead during the Sitges Film Festival 2018 in Spain. It was one of those perfect cinematic experiences – I can still remember the exact place and seat I was sitting in. I was late to watch the movie as it had already aired in the US, but glad I saw it in Sitges. because the public is particularly amusing there. They are so vocal and lively, always laughing loudly, cheering and clapping, and everyone went crazy about it. It’s the epitome of a film that plays very well with an audience. And so it is final cut. I first saw this movie just before Sundance released it while watching a digital screen sent by the PR team. As much as I enjoyed, as much as I could To feel how well he would perform with an audience watching him together. And the Cannes opening night audience will go crazy for this one, just like everyone else did while watching. A cup of the dead when it was screened at festivals a few years ago. Why do it again? Still a good question, but this remake emphasizes cinematic teamwork rather than father-daughter emotions.
The two films are pretty much exactly the same, with a later addition of meta-ness in the French remake as they also work in a story from the original Japanese filmmakers involved in this remake (in the movie) in addition to things. final cut also has the same dual narrative between the original zombie comedy in the first half and then the transition to the “how they really did it” second half, with all the same goofy moments. The best new addition is Jean-Pascal Zadi as Fatih – the film’s composer who adds a great live soundtrack. I cracked up every time he got involved and just wanted to see him more. final cut has a vibe that’s much more about how cinema is something that brings people together; everyone on set is involved in creating something memorable. It’s clearly a pandemic project shot in an “abandoned” building with a small crew, but that’s part of what makes it more intimate and enjoyable to watch. Director Michel Hazanavicius loves making movies about making movies, that’s his thing and he’s very good at it.
A little like A cup of the deadHazanavicius also does final cut a family affair – his wife Berenice Bejo co-stars, with their daughter Simone Hazanavicius. But in the end I was moved especially by the way final cut reminds us that filmmaking involves a team of people, everyone working together to create something special. The grand finale, which is borrowed from A cup of the dead again, is presented in a way that will immediately make any audience want to clap and cheer at the end with a big smile. That’s what filmmaking is. It’s not just the director, it’s not just the actors, it’s not just the producer or the makeup team or the composer or the set designer or anyone. It’s all about them, even though we don’t see most of them on screen while watching, they all provided Something. See how the final blow in final cut comes together is exactly the feel-good vibe of the collaboration perfectly captured. And it’s a great reminder that this is what’s happening in filmmaking as we head into the rest of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
Each film ends with a credits, the list in white text on black of the names of all the people who worked hard to make it. Most people skip the credits or rush at the start (especially when there’s so much to do), but it’s important to honor the creators and artisans by sticking around for 5 minutes and watching. Hundreds/thousands of people are involved in the making of movies, though often we can only remember the writer, director, or actors. final cut is a tribute to the glory of teamwork and how cinema can bring us together, just as watching movies brings us together. Enjoying movies with a crowd is incomparable, a magical experience. The late Roger Ebert summed it up with his quote about how movies “are like a machine that generates empathy. It allows you to understand a little more about the different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us identify with the people who share this journey with us.” I look forward to sharing this journey through the films of Cannes 2022 with all who celebrate cinema and storytelling.