"Another world is necessary"

Echoes from the Festival de Cannes 2016
I, Daniel Blake

I, Daniel Blake (Ken Loach)

«It is urgent to say that another world is not only possible but necessary» said Ken Loach, when he received the Golden Palm at the award ceremony of 69th Festival of Cannes. And all the 21 films of the official competition, showing many themes like the rejection of minorities, loneliness, guiltiness, and also tenderness, solidarity, were saying it: another world is necessary!


Movies with social issues

Ken Loach, tireless defender of human rights, especially of the poorest, and the smallest, presented in the competition I, Daniel Blake (UK 2016), awarded by the Golden Palm and a Commendation of the Ecumenical Jury. Feeling anger and indignation he films with energy, with love, with humour when he portrays all these rejected people forgotten by the society, these people who fight everyday for their survival and their dignity. Ken Loach has a moral point of view and films almost in a documentary style. He sends a strong message and touches our heart. Moreover he has a number of magnificent actors. It is a great Ken Loach film.

Loving by Jeff Nichols (USA 2016) tells a true story: Mildred and Richard Loving loved each other and got married in Washington. But she is black and he is white; in Virginia their love is punished by the law. They are sentenced to jail, exiled and forbidden to return to Virginia for 25 years. From 1958 to 1967 the movie follows their fights, their pains, their hesitations, and their hopes till the decision of the Supreme Court who judged in their favour: they recover their civil rights and they can freely love each other. A useful, sober, plain, intense movie with a strong emotion saying that love is stronger than hate. I was particularly touched by this movie because in 1972 I was pastor in Virginia (United Church of Christ) and I heard so many times all the racist arguments from my parishioners. Sometimes the laws change quicker than our mentalities.

American Honey by Andrea Arnold (UK 2016), awarded by the Ecumenical Jury with a Commendation, is situated in the United States today, telling the story of a teenager, Star, who joins a team of lost people for a job without any future. It is at the same time a road movie, a musical comedy, karaoke and the story of an initiation. It is an American story without any goals, presenting a very violent form of capitalism. The film implies a cruel social critique – Star and her friend are dreaming but for which hope, which future?

With Ma Rosa by Brillante Mendoza (Philippines 2016) we plunge in the poorest roads in Manila with its violence, its drugs, its corruption, its lived solidarity. A strong movie!


And films more intimate

Xavier Dolan’s film Juste la fin du monde (Canada, 2016), awarded by the Ecumenical Jury with its Prize, does not leave us indifferent. 27 years old, Dolan is very gifted, presenting now his sixth movie addressed to very experienced film lovers. We love it or we hate it. Dolan seduced the official and ecumenical juries. He troubles and impresses us with a movie played by a lot of French stars set in a familial, stifling, ridiculous and hopeless “huis-clos” (behind closed doors). Everything is shown until the extremes: the situation, the confrontations, the play of the actors with their language made of cries and clamours. Everybody is unable to communicate except by insults and clamours. So everybody stays with his loneliness, and his secret and his resentment! What a family! However, sometimes we see in close-up of a face a little of tenderness and of dream in a look or in a smile.

In the new film La fille inconnue of the brothers Dardenne (Belgium 2016) a young woman doctor feels very guilty after a death near her office. So she is taking many risks to give name and dignity to the dead woman. As a thriller this classic movie is dark and moving.

All these movies are questioning us with violence or softness about our world: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Mel Gibson when he once received an award in Cannes said: “The cinema brings dreams but also has a mission of protest”. Is another world possible? Dreams, protests, a world with more humanity, more solidarity. What a great program for the next festivals and for the next elections.