Twenty-one years ago, she ran away. And twenty-one years later, Carlotta (Marion Cotillard) is back from the void. But Ismael (Mathieu Amalric) has been busy rebuilding a life for himself with Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and working on his next feature film...
Arnaud Desplechin opens the 70th Cannes Film Festival with Les Fantômes d'Ismaël (Ismael's Ghosts)
For its 70th edition, the Festival presents a prestigious selection of films featuring long-time regular Arnaud Desplechin, who has seven selections to his name and was a member of the jury in 2016. In Les Fantômes d'Ismaël (Ismael's Ghosts), the director chose Charlotte Gainsbourg and Marion Cotillard to feature alongside his favourite actor, Mathieu Amalric.
As Ismael's trials and tribulations unfurl, so too do those of his film's protagonist, idle, funny and reckless diplomat Ivan Dédalus (Louis Garrel). The character is a nod to the ghost of another of Desplechin's creations, the brother of Paul Dédalus, three-time hero of Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) (My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument) (Competition, 1996), Un Conte De Noël (A Christmas Tale) (Competition, 2008) and Trois Souvenirs De Ma Jeunesse (My Golden Days) .
A film within a film - and then some. Arnaud Desplechin layers narrative after narrative:
"It's a portrait of Ivan [...] It's a portrait of Ismael [...] It's the story of a woman back from the dead. It's also a spy film, five films in one, like one of Pollock's female nudes. Ismael is out of control. And the story spirals out of control with him!"
In Les Fantômes d'Ismaël (Ismael's Ghosts), Arnaud Desplechin marks a return to the past, creating film after film as his way of stepping back in time. Sitting on the Feature Film Jury last year, the director confided that his art is "a battle against his demons". Arnaud Desplechin's brand of genius lies in his ability to find light in the darkest of places.