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Candid at Cannes 2015: Day 4

May 18, 2015

FestivalsFilm + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia

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Saturday saw the first screening, out of competition, of anticipated documentary Amy, directed by Asif Kapadia (who directed 2010’s Senna) and focusing on the behind-the-scenes life of music artist Amy Winehouse, before and after her thrust into limelight and her subsequent death. There had already been some controversy about the film before its premiere due to Amy’s father distancing himself from the movie because of his portrayal in it.

After seeing the film I certainly agree it is a one-sided argument and could have used the man’s defence to the accusations of his being a naïve (if not absent) parent. The film becomes a blame game as to what caused Amy’s addiction to alcohol, drugs and her bulimia problem; it’s a strong attempt to find out what was going through her mind. In order to accomplish that, over 100 friends and family were interviewed, unseen home videos, archive footage and unreleased songs were used – there is so much outside input that Amy herself is hardly seen. The best moments are when her personality shines through in interviews, but those clips are rarely used. Regrettably, for such a personal documentary, it lacks the most important piece – Amy Winehouse.

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In the Un Certain Regard category Nahid and Maryland made their debut. Nahid is an Iranian film by Ida Panahandeh, set in a city in northern Iran which borders the Caspian Sea. Sareh Bayat plays Nahid, a single mother divorced from her gambling-addict ex-husband. Her only consolidation is to keep her son Amir Reza on the condition she never remarries. However, she’s found love with Masoud and faces a dilemma.

Nahid is a skilfully resilient woman, against her landlord, her son and her ex-husband she seems to get no relief and plays each person like a poker game where she holds no good hand but has an excellent poker face. Amir Reza is a handful and to her displeasure takes after her father. Desperate to move on but keep her son, she opts for a temporary marriage that may appease both men in her life. Honest and funny, it was worth a watch.

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Maryland (Disorder) follows Vincent (Matthias Schoenaerts) a French soldier suffering PTSD after a tour in Afghanistan. The talented actor’s performance is enhanced by the stylistic flourishes of director Alice Winocour during his many episodes with stress. Now working as a security guard, Vincent finds himself drawn to a woman he’s been hired to watch over while her husband is out of town.

Jessie (Diane Kruger) is a trophy wife, but she’s very withdrawn as the stakes get higher through the film, leading her chemistry with Vincent to be poignant and sometimes funny. As a drama and thriller Maryland keeps you engaged and is able to draw you into Vincent’s point-of-view, filled with moments of tension and humour, a nice change of pace from the films that have so far dominated the Un Certain Regard category.

Sunny Ramgolam