[Editorial] International Competition 2019
With over 7400 films submitted this year, deciding on the program for the International competition was not an easy task. Productions from all over the world tell us stories of the times, of their countries, or choose to transport us into other realities. After countless hours of viewing, 76 films remain to make up this 31stInternational Competition.
At a time where gender issues and norms are at the center of public debate, short films have also chosen to seize upon this theme and show characters who suffer from the weight of a heavy secret, or who decide to break free of rules and labels. In Miller & Son, a young transgender mechanic must confront her father; in Saras Intime Betroelser, Sara philosophizes with her vulva about the limits she imposes on herself, confronted with a body that she struggles to live with; in Haus, two young gay dancers accept who they are and have fun. Identities are built and taken apart in portraits where the hope of a more open and more tolerant future is predominant.
The future is our youth, and the youth in this International Competition are lost and without points of reference. In Skinand Soy Une Tumba, children are powerless witnesses to the violence of the adult world whereas in Detainment, a fictional movie based on a true story that shook up England in the 1990s, it is the loss of their innocence that sends chills down our spines. In Fauve, two young boys on their own appear to grow up in a post-apocalyptic universe, whereas in Interiør(a Swedish drama directed by Reek Van Dyk, back in competition after his 2017 Grand Prix in Clermont for his film Dekalb Elementary), young Anders tries in vain to get his absent mother’s attention. The imperfect maternal figure is also the theme in Mama, where two social workers lose a young runaway in the middle of a sea of ice.
Mothers, but above all women, are very present in this 2019 selection in the wake of the #MeToo and the #BalanceTonPorc movements. Women who fight (in every sense of the word) against a male chauvinist society in Me Vas a Gritar?, who struggle to hold things together in Viktoria, who refuse that their daughters suffer as they have in Turning Ten, who seem lost in a dreamlike universe in Blueby Apichatpong Weerasethakul, or who simply try to live their lives in Prints.
While major themes from past competitions are still at the heart of today’s international directors’ concerns (Tracing Addai, animated documentary about a long-lost childhood friend turned terrorist; Yousef, the portrait of an Italian chef dismissed by his peers because of the color of his skin), the International Competition will carry us away this year into surprising and absurd landscapes and have us take a salutary step back from the world’s suffering: in To Plant a Flag, Jason Schwartzman and Jake Johnson are two American astronauts lost in the Icelandic wilderness; the president of Mexico, who impatiently awaits the end of his term, must face the plagiarizing of his country’s flag in Mamartuile; a young man and a robot face off in a game of ping-pong in Twenty One Points.
A never-ending voyage between fiction and reality, between serious subjects and light-hearted interludes, awaits you next February over the 14 programmes offered in the International Competition.