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Semaine de la Critique 2023

Semaine de la Critique

This year marks the 62nd edition of the Semaine de la Critique (labelled Critics’ Week by snobs), the section dedicated to first and sophomore works. The artistic director, Ava Cahen, presented this year’s selection earlier today, comprising 11 films, seven of which are in the competition. The opening film is Ama Gloria by Marie Amachoukeli, about a six-year-old girl who spends her last summer with her beloved nanny. Two special screenings were announced. Vincent doit mourir by Stéphan Castang, and Le Syndrome des Amours Passées by Ann Sirot and Raphaël Balboni. The latter duo broke out with their debut, Une vie démente, in 2020. The closing film is La fille de son père by Erwan Le Duc.

Semaine de la Critique
Le Syndrome des Amours Passées

When it comes to the seven competition films, six of them have a French connection. The sole exception is the Korean Jam (Sleep) by Jason Yu, a former assistant of Bong Joon-ho. Il pleut dans la maison by Belgian Paloma Sermon-Daï is a French co-production about two teenage siblings. Le Ravissement by Iris Kaltenbäck is a French drama about a midwife. Lillah Hallah’s Levante is about a Brazilian volleyball player facing an unwanted pregnancy. Inshallah Walad is the first film in the section from Jordan. Amjad Al Rasheed’s film is about a woman who has to fight for her inheritance for her only daughter after her husband dies.

Lost Country is the only sophomore work in the competition. Directed by Vladimir Perisič, the story is set in Serbia in 1996 and concerns 15-year-old Stefan, who has to face that his mother is a spokesperson for the Milosevic regime. The last film in the competition is the one I have the highest hope for thus far. Tiger Stripes is a film from Malaysia directed by Amanda Nell Eu. It’s about 12-year-old Saffan struggling with puberty and discovering a terrifying secret about her physical self.

Tiger Stripes
Tiger Stripes

The film is described as a Sci-fi work by Ava Cahen, but the main reason it tickles my interest is that it is co-produced by Still Moving, run by Juliette Lepoutre and Pierre Menahem. They are constantly involved in strong productions, such as the 2021 Semaine de la Critique winner, Feathers, last year’s Locarno winner, Rule 34 (Regra 34), and last year’s Un Certain Regard film Mediterranean Fever, among many other films. My faith in their judgement is strong, and I trust that they will, once again, present an intriguing feature.

The jury will be presided over by director Audrey Diwan. She will be joined by actor Franz Rogowski, cinematographer Rui Poças, journalist Meenakshi Shedde, and film programmer Kim Yutani. La Semaine de la Critique will take place in Cannes from the 17th to the 25th of May.

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