“What shatters me most in cinema is when reality starts to shimmer, when reality becomes an epiphany.”
Arnaud Desplechin © Thomas Brunot
After many nominations and in the biggest international film festivals, witnessing the sustainability of his talent, Arnaud Desplechin returns to the Cannes competition this year with his new film, Brother and Sister. Following in the footsteps of Catherine Deneuve and Charlotte Gainsbourg, two essential figures in his work, he will serve as President of this year’s 48th Deauville American Film Festival, and we eagerly await his singular French perspective on American cinema.
With his first mid-length film, La vie des morts (1992), Arnaud Desplechin burst into the realm of cinema, the world of fiction and transcended reality, staking out his reputation most notably as a master of working with actors. A foundational work that continues to resonate to this day, it was presciently awarded the Jean Vigo Award. From that point forward, this builder of films, as Desplechin likes to define himself, would continue in his shameless and unique way to tease out the threads of the mystery of cinema. A faithful disciple of Stanley Cavell and Jean Douchet, enamored with American films, he practices a loving art that fuses the physical and metaphysical.
Arnaud Desplechin builds a cinema of romantic storytelling, never ceasing to break his own structures and norms, distilling a strange uncanniness, the better to explore the question of reality. His work is a labyrinth in which getting lost makes you think, in which seeing makes you feel and in which all doubt gets crushed… Death is also on the mind of his second film, The Sentinel (1996), in which he begins to interweave different genres and levels of narrative. From film to film, Desplechin engages in a dialogue with his own motifs and obsessions, with his own ghosts and doubles, which were made flesh in his subsequent film, My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument, in the form of the character Paul Dedalus and the actor Mathieu Amalric. No coincidence that his next film, Esther Kahn, was a thriller about the condition of being an actress, or that his foray into the series In Treatment seems like a highly unorthodox cinematic ambush on his actress, Suzanne Lindon…
Kings & Queen (2004), A Christmas Tale (2008), his American escapade Jimmy P.: Psychotherapy Of A Plains Indian (2013), and My Golden Days (2015) all further prove his taste for family drama tinged with ancient mythology, for exploring inheritance and psychoanalysis as the art of investigation, complicity, even espionage.
Ismael’s Ghosts (2017) dizzyingly tightens the screws on a labyrinthine oeuvre resounding with echoes from the past, haunted by ghosts, a filmography that continues to flirt with the modes of fantasy and thriller.
With Deception (2021), the almost fantastical adaptation of the novel by Philip Roth, he nearly whispers in our ear the Rosebud of his body of work, the secret of the entanglement between fiction and life, the game of the distorted “I” and shimmering senses, the mystery of creation…
We are delighted to welcome Arnaud Desplechin as the President of this 48th edition.