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Lily-Rose Depp: ‘It’s always a little sad to see mean, false things said about someone you care about’

Cannes diary 2023: The actor, whose father opened this year’s festival, is dismissive of accusation of disruption on the set of her HBO show The Idol

You wouldn’t say this demonstrates any shift in dynamic. Until it slides into the sea, Cannes will always be about the big screen first. But one of the noisiest celebrity events this year has been the debut of two episodes from the HBO TV series The Idol. Set in the same universe as the popular Euphoria, the new show casts Lily-Rose Depp (whose dad helped open the festival) in a decadent fantasia on the world of pop music. Depp joined Sam Levinson and Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, co-creators of the show, on Tuesday to discuss the explicit content and accusations in Rolling Stone of disruption on set.

Levinson said of that piece: “When my wife read me the article I looked at her and said, ‘I think we’re about to have the biggest show of the summer.’” Depp was equally dismissive. “It’s always a little sad and disheartening to see mean, false things said about someone you care about. It wasn’t reflective at all of my experience,” she said.

To the Screen Daily grid. For the past 40 years Screen International has daily published a grid that aggregates selected reviews of competition titles. This year, for example, Stephanie Zacharek of Time magazine, Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian and Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times are among the panel. In truth, the average scores are an indifferent guide to what’s in the running for the Palme d’Or – Amour and Parasite are among the few grid-topping titles to win the Palme in recent years – but it does give an interesting taste of where the critical wind is blowing.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Aki Kaurismäki’s utterly charming – and entirely typical – Fallen Leaves (reviewed below) leads the pack, with 3.2 out of four. Todd Haynes’s May December and Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall (also reviewed below) follow with four.


The Zone of Interest, 4/1 favourite with the amateur oddsmaker Neil Young at Jigsaw Lounge, is next, at 2.8 (dragged down by negative notices from Positif and Don’t pay too much regard. Two years ago Titane won, despite being second from bottom, with just 1.6.

Put your hands over your ears and yell “Ya, ya, ya!” – Oscar speculation has already begun for 2024. In four of the past five Academy Award races, a film from the Cannes competition has been nominated for best picture. Parasite won in 2020. So the two, supposedly divergent competitions have overlap.

At time of writing, the two likely candidates for what we can maybe now call the “Cannes spot” are Todd Haynes’s May December and Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest. Sandra Hüller’s turn in Anatomy of a Fall could maybe grab her a rare non-English-language nomination in the best actress category. But the intriguing speculation hangs around a notion that The Zone of Interest could be the UK’s entry in best international picture. It seems to qualify. The UK is one of three named producing countries. The film is not in English. That nation has only previously submitted 19 titles – some in Welsh – and has never had a sniff at the title.

Barely a year goes past without a political protest on the red carpet here. On Monday night, a woman wearing a dress in the blue and yellow of Ukraine covered herself in fake blood at the premiere of the allegorical horror film Acide. Last year a feminist collective called “Les colleuses” let off smoke bombs at the premiere of Holy Spider – a film about a murderer of women in Iran – and unveiled a banner listing the 129 women killed since the previous festival. There are a lot of eyes on those red steps.

Cannes review: Fallen Leaves

Fallen Leaves
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Director: Aki Kaurismäki
Cert: None
Starring: Alma Pöysti, Jussi Vatanen, Janne Hyytiäinen, Nuppu Koivu, Matti Onnismaa, Simon Al-Bazoon, Martti Suosalo
Running Time: 1 hr 21 mins

The great Finn Aki Kaurismäki, a favourite at Cannes, has, since his emergence in the 1980s, been associated with a school of doleful comedy that is all his own. Tales of loneliness. Tales of regret. Yet a glance at this delightful, wholly typical romantic comedy (it merits that description, though it rubs against few of the current genre conventions) reminds us that his films exist in a kind of romantic wonderland.

Yes, down-at-heel Helsinki is home to two lonely people who, for different reasons, can’t hold down a job. True, news from the war in Ukraine, constantly on the radio, casts a wider pall on the low-key action. But every restaurant table seems to have a poster for a classic neorealist film on a neighbouring wall. The colours are bold. The internet exists, but nobody seems to pay it any attention. There is always a cute dog on the corner. Now 66, Kaurismäki is every bit as much a visual nostalgist as Wes Anderson.

Ansa (Alma Pöysti), a sensible woman expelled for the most harmless of thefts in her supermarket job, and Holappa (Jussi Vatanen), sacked after boozing on a construction site, meet up at a characteristic Kaurismäki drinking den. They go and see Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die. (Is this the first time footage from a Cannes opening film appears within a subsequent competition title?) She gives him her number. He loses it. Later they meet up again and he behaves like a heel. You know how it goes.

In one scene, Kaurismäki positions the two beneath a poster for David Lean’s Brief Encounter, and the movie shares that sense of desperate, everyday people seeking solace in each other’s arms. But he also conspicuously sneaks in the same bits of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony that accompanied Bette Midler’s grand misery in Now Voyager. Always in control of his wry dramedy, Kaurismäki encourages smaller gestures and near deadpan delivery. But that cue reminds us that great emotions beat beneath the drabbest facades.

There have been some complaints about the great age of the auteurs at this year’s competition. Kaurismäki’s unstoppably comforting flick – toasty warm in the Scandinavian chill – confirms that such complaints are hardly worth bothering with.

Cannes review: Anatomy of a Fall

Anatomy of a Fall
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Director: Justine Triet
Cert: None
Starring: Sandra Hüller, Swann Arlaud, Milo Machado Graner, Antoine Reinartz, Samuel Theis, Jehnny Beth, Saadia Bentaïeb
Running Time: 2 hrs 31 mins

Critics are sometimes snitty about the courtroom drama. Has the legal system already laid out too many of the narrative mechanics? Justine Triet shakes up the genre with a film that works endlessly fascinating shell games around the protagonist’s juddering psyche.

Sandra Hüller, already a best-actress contender this Cannes with The Zone of Interest, compels as a writer whose already complex homelife is further disrupted when she discovers her husband dead in front of their lodge-like home at the foot of the French Alps. Or does she “discover” him? Doubts emerge. The blood splatters suggest it is unlikely the man hit his head in, as first seems apparent, a fall from the top-storey window. It transpires the deceased resented his wife for transforming one of his unfinished novels into a hit book of her own.

Triet, admired for In Bed With Victoria and Age of Panic, handles the growing intrigue with admirable clarity. A sometimes darting camera conveys the protagonist’s increasing panic. The French trial system allows for a more fluid to-and-fro than you would get from an American or British courtroom yarn. The screenplay from the director and Arthur Harari rations doubts about the accused at a pace that allows one explanation – or rationalisation – to take effect before the next uncertainty is instilled. This is one of those mystery movies designed to generate confusion. Few viewers will be sure of their position as the denouement looms.

What really sells the film is another standout performance from Hüller. The character is also named Sandra, and one would not be surprised to hear the screenplay was written with her in mind. Performing in three languages, the German actor masters the immeasurably difficult business of acting as if her character may or may not herself be acting. There are just enough creaks in Sandra’s impassioned pleas to suggest the police could well be onto something.

The result is a sleek, satisfying, convoluted drama that makes just the right sort of demands of its audience. Much talked about on the Croisette, Anatomy of a Fall seems destined for awards.