The tenth international film festival, which has just started in Odesa, is not as large as – it might sound a bit clumsy – excessively cinematographic, more than in previous years.

It is no secret that earlier, most of the people striding down the red carpet in front of the Odesa Opera were politicians, businessmen and the like – the people that are important in their own way, but not in the film industry. This time, the lion’s share of the participants of this ritual passage were acting filmmakers with their families – and there were many Ukrainians among them.

The hosts of the evening were Oleh Paniuta and Yanina Sokolova, and lo and behold, some really awesome wits were scattered around their speeches, and Yanina’s war of words with the mayor Trukhanov might even go down in the festival history, “I would shoot a criminal comedy about life in Odesa. – And you’ll get the lead role?” To say that the hall exploded in laughter is an extreme understatement.

But, of course, the humor of the highest grade was demonstrated by a living classic of the British and the world’s cinematography Mike Leigh, who thanked for the honorary “Golden Duke” with the following words:

“I also want to add something about this beautiful little award. When my partner and I got here, we were very worried when we found out that we would get this Duke. I thought we’d get a real living Duke, a real full-length Duke. And that we’ll have to take care of him, clothe him and feed him for the rest of our lives. Therefore, it is very gratifying and touching that Duke is such a nice little beautiful artifact that’s convenient for storing at home.”

One of the leading feminists in Hollywood, an American actress Rose McGowan, who starred in the movies of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, and also was the first to tell the truth at a high level about sexual harassment in the film industry and in fact initiated the movement #MeToo, had somewhat different intonation. While thanking the organizers for the honorary award, Rose said:

“I am very glad that women take the place they deserve in the world at this festival. I want to tell you all – Don’t be afraid.  I came here to be the voice of truth. I believe that the most important thing in our life is to always tell the truth. Even if it hurts you. Cinema often speaks the language of metaphors. Sometimes the truth can be expressed in metaphor, but it is important to tell some things bluntly.

The opening film was a comedy from the program of the last Cannes festival — Beautiful Era (La belle epoque, directed by Nicolas Bedos, France). The main character is a 60-year-old cartoonist Victor (Daniel Auteuil) who is going through a serious life crisis. His drawings are no longer needed, he is, in fact, unemployed, his wife (Fanny Ardant) kicks him out of home, and she is dating a young lover.

ОМКФ: британський гумор, кіно в театрі й театр у кіні

Shot from the film La Belle Epoque

Then, a successful entrepreneur Antoine, who produces costume parties, organizes at the request of his friend, Victor’s son, a full reconstruction of one week of this old man’s life in 1974 – the time when Victor met his future – and now ex-wife.

Victor shaves, changes style, comes to a cafe where everything is designed in the spirit of the era that reigned 40 years ago, speaks with the actress who plays his wife – and the events start deviating from the scenario.

ОМКФ: британський гумор, кіно в театрі й театр у кіні

Shot from the film La Belle Epoque

What is interesting, Daniel Auteil once played a role in the drama Escort about an elderly man who left his well-established family life and went into the sex industry. But here he plays a kind of escort client, however, in a much frivolous plot. By arranging a sort of “theater in the cinema”, Nicolas Bedos deploys a typical French mixture of comedy and melodrama about 3 couples who get confused in their relationships. The theatrical originality doesn’t last long, and after that Beautiful Era steers to the final on a fairly template track.

Two great actors – Auteuil and Ardant – don’t let the film drown in the mediocrity. They are the artists of the level of making each shot they appear in meaningful, even if they are silent.

But still, to get full pleasure from their talents, it is worth watching movies with more skillful directing.

Anyways, the beginning of OIFF turned out to be quite vigorous.

Its continuation is even more vigorous. The International Competition and the Festival of Festivals section are starting today, and there will be a creative meeting with Rose McGowan.

To be continued.

Dmytro Desyateryk, “Day” – especially for opinionua.com

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