LA CIVIL a Belgian film by Teodora Ana Mihai will premiere in the Official Selection / Un Certain Regard of the Cannes Film Festival
It has just been announced that Belgian Flemish film La Civil by Teodora Ana Mihai has been chosen for the Official Selection of the Festival de Cannes 2021, in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ section. Following on from Hugo Claus’s The Sacrament in 1990 and Lukas Dhont’s Girl in 2018, this is only the third time in recent history that a Belgian Flemish production has been included in the prestigious official selection.
La Civil is the first fiction feature by Belgian-Romanian director, Teodora Ana Mihai (born 1981). The film tells the story of Cielo, a Mexican mother searching for her daughter who has been abducted by members of a drug cartel. As the authorities fail to help her, Cielo takes things into her own hands and gradually turns from housewife to avenging activist. The film was shot in November-December 2020 in Durango, Mexico, during the COVID-19 pandemic. La Civil is based on real events and is the result of several years of extensive research undertaken by the director in collaboration with Mexican writer Habacuc Antonio de Rosario.
The film was produced by Menuetto (Hans Everaert), an Antwerp-based production company in coproduction with high-profile partners, including the Dardenne brothers from Belgium (several Palmes d’Or), Cristian Mungiu from Romania (Palme d’Or) and Michel Franco from Mexico (Silver Lion, Venice). Cinéart will release the film in Belgium end 2021.
“I am truly happy with this selection in Cannes. I’m incredibly grateful that it has been possible to tell this heart-breaking story of families who lost their children to drug cartels, says Teodora Mihai. La Civil is a film about a strong woman and mother who refuses to be a victim and defends herself. She is motivated by a primal force to find her daughter at whatever cost. It is a universal story that will touch everyone.“, says Teodora Ana Mihai.
La Civil was inspired by the terrifying stories of drug cartel victims and their families, such as the compelling and tragic life of Miriam Rodríguez, recently featured in the New York Times. The atmosphere of La Civil is reminiscent of the crime drama series Narcos, but is narrated from the victim’s point of view. Mexican writer Habacuc Antonio De Rosario co-wrote the screenplay with Teodora Mihai.
La Civil tells the story of Cielo, a mother in search of her daughter, abducted by a drug cartel in Northern Mexico. As the authorities fail to offer support in the search, Cielo takes matters into her own hands.
Cielo begins her own investigation and earns the trust and sympathy of Lamarque, an unconventional army Lieutenant working in the region. He agrees to help Cielo in her search, because her research data could be useful to his operations as well. Cielo’s collaboration with Lamarque pulls her further into a vicious cycle of violence.
The film focusses on Cielo’s emotional rollercoaster, as she is drawn into increasingly intense and dangerous circumstances. The camera stays close, we never lose sight of her as she gradually transforms from housewife into avenging activist.
As events unfold, Cielo gets closer to the truth: discovering a mass grave, obtaining official DNA analyses, confronting one of the presumed kidnappers, but corruption and apathy keep her from finding resolution. Until the end finally comes, unpredictable and uninvited…
The story was inspired by true events.
The lead role is played by Arcelia Ramirez, who starred in Such Is Life (Cannes, 2000) and I Carry You with Me(Sundance 2021). Álvaro Guerrero plays the role of the father, Gustavo. The charismatic Lieutenant Lamarque is played by Jorge A. Jimenez (Narcos and From Dusk till Dawn).
Teodora Ana Mihai was born in Bucharest, Romania, during the Ceausescu regime and moved to Belgium in 1989 with her parents. She discovered her passion for cinema at high school in San Francisco, California and went on to film school in New York. She started work in Belgium as a screen writer and then assistant director, in particular, for Frank Van Passel. Her documentary Waiting for August has won prizes in over ten countries and was nominated for the European Film Awards.
Habacuc Antonio De Rosario is a Mexican writer from Reynosa. In 2014 his book Without Trenches won the prestigious Premio Binacional de Novela Joven Frontera de Palabra (Border of Words Binational Youth Novel Prize). His latest book No me van a agarrar durmiendo (They won’t catch me sleeping) will be published by Dharma Books in the autumn of 2021.
The director of photography is the famous Romanian Marius Panduru, who has made numerous films selected in festivals around the world. La Civil was edited by Alain Dessauvage, who also edited Girl (2018) and so this is therefore his second film to be chosen for the official selection at Cannes.
La Civil is a production from Belgian company Menuetto (Hans Everaert) in coproduction with One for the Road (Teodora Ana Mihai – Belgium), Les Films du Fleuve (Brothers Dardenne – Belgium), Mobra Films (Cristian Mungiu – Romania) and Teorema (Michel Franco – Mexico). Menuetto is a production company established in 2017 by Hans Everaert, former general manager of Menuet (Girl, The Broken Circle Breakdown and The Misfortunates).
The project was developed in collaboration with the Cinéfondation (Festival de Cannes) and Torino Film Lab. The main funder of La Civil was the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) with additional support from the Belgian Cinema and Audiovisual Centre, the Romanian Film Centre (CNC) and Eurimages. Urban Distribution International is the sales agent of La Civil.
Ruben Östlund President of the Jury of the 76th Festival de Cannes
50 years after fellow citizen Ingrid Bergman, Swedish director Ruben Östlund, a two-time winner of the Palme d’or, will preside over the Jury o
« I am happy, proud, and humbled to be trusted with the honor of Jury president for this year’s Competition at the Festival de Cannes. Nowhere in the film world is the anticipation as strong as when the curtain rises on the films in Competition at the Festival. It is a privilege to be part of it, together with the Cannes audience of connoisseurs. I am sincere when I say that cinema culture is in its most important period ever. The cinema has a unique aspect – there, we watch together, and it demands more on what is shown and increases the intensity of the experience. It makes us reflect in a different way than when we dopamine scroll in front of the individual screens », declared the futur President Ruben Östlund.
With a track record of only 6 features, the filmmaker was already selected twice at Un Certain Regard, where he was awarded the Jury Prize in 2014, before later entering the Competition. No sooner does he appears there that the Palme d’Or is awarded to him twice; first for The Square at the 70th Festival de Cannes, and then for his next film acclaimed last year, Triangle of Sadness.
After studying cinema in Gothenburg, he directed his first feature film, The Guitar Mongoloid, in 2004. On the edge of the documentary genre, the film describes the intersecting destinies of outcasts in a fictional city that closely resembles Gothenburg. Humor as a tool of sociological description is already apparent.
His next short film, Autobiographical Scene Number 6882, gathers all the ingredients of his future work, which are affirmed in Involuntary, a feature film selected at Un Certain Regard in 2008. Östlund positions the camera at a relevant distance to better observe human behavior: small weaknesses and major flaws caused by group dynamics are then dissected to the point of discomfort. Two years later, Incident by a Bank won the Golden Bear for best short film at the 60th Berlinale – it examines the reactions of passers-by to a bank robbery. His third feature film, Play, which was presented at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes in 2011, describes harassment between youth gangs. When it was released in Sweden it gave rise to a major debate across Swedish society.
In Force Majeure, which was screened at Un Certain Regard in 2014, the situation takes on the aspect of an avalanche where a father prefers to take cover rather than save his wife and children: how can he accept the aftermath, in bad faith and in fear of losing face? Such is the issue that the director examines with ferocious acidity.
Ruben Östlund repeatedly explores a provocative dialectic which has become his signature: an initial situation sets the stage for a sociological examination where the baser instincts of our humanity are painstakingly and uncompromisingly examined with corrosive humor.
In 2017, in The Square, he tells the fictional story of an artistic experiment he conducted in his native country. The film addresses brilliantly the boundaries of public space, art and the animal aspects within ourselves.
Finally, in 2022, Triangle of Sadness chronicles a cruise ship caught in a storm that reshuffles the cards of class struggle in Western societies in a nauseating hullabaloo.
By inviting Ruben Östlund to preside over the Jury, the Festival de Cannes wishes to pay a tribute to films that are uncompromising and forthright and which constantly demand that viewers challenge themselves and that art continue to invent itself.
Ruben Östlund has therefore become the third two-time winner of the Palme d’or to be the President of the Jury, following Francis Ford Coppola and Emir Kusturica, and the very first to take on this role the year after his acclaim in Cannes.
« As President, concludes Ruben Östlund, I will remind my colleagues in the Jury about the social function of the cinema. A good movie relates to the collective experience, stimulates us to think and makes us want to discuss what we have seen – So let’s watch together! ».
f the 76th edition of the Festival de Cannes to be held from May 16 to 27.
The Official Selection of the Festival de Cannes at the Oscars 2023
The Academy Awards nominations were announced this Tuesday, January 24th. The Festival de Cannes is delighted to see the films of the Official Selection, represented in 15 categories and cumulating 21 nominations: Best Picture, Directing, Actor in a leading role, Visual effects, Cinematography, Film editing, Production design, Makeup and hairstyling, International feature, Documentary feature, Short Film (Live Action), Original song, Original screenplay, Adapted screenplay, Sound and Costume design.
The Festival de Cannes wishes good luck to all these artists for the ceremony to be held on Sunday, March 12 in Los Angeles.
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Out of Competition
Actor in a leading role (Austin Butler)
Cinematography (Mandy Walker)
Film editing (Matt Villa, Jonathan Redmond)
Production design (Catherine Martin, Karen Murphy, Bev Dunn)
Makeup and hairstyling (Mark Coulier, Jason Baird, Aldo Signoretti)
Sound (David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson, Michael Keller)
Costume design (Catherine Martin)
TOP GUN: MAVERICK
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Out of Competition
Visual effects (Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson , Scott R. Fisher)
Film editing (Eddie Hamilton)
Music – Original song (Hold My Hand by Lady Gaga and BloodPop)
Writing – Adapted screenplay (Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie, Peter Craig, Justin Marks)
Sound (Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor)
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Competition – Palme d’or
Directing (Ruben Östlund)
Writing – Original screeplay (Ruben Östlund)
ALL THAT BREATHES
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Special screenings
Documentary feature film
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Competition – Grand Prix
International feature film
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Competition – Jury Prize
International feature film
Festival de Cannes 2022 – Premiered as part of the “Rendez-vous avec”
Short Film (Live Action)
The Festival de Cannes demands the immediate release of filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof, Mostafa Aleahmad and Jafar Panahi
On Friday, July 8, 2022, Iranian filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad were arrested and imprisoned at an unknown location for protesting against violence against civilians in Iran. Mohammad Rasoulof had already been deprived of his freedom of movement and work since 2017, following the screening of his film A Man of Integrity, which won the Un Certain Regard Award at the 70th edition of the Festival de Cannes. His films Manuscripts Don’t Burn, which won the Fipresci Prize in 2013 and Goodbye, which won the Best Director Prize at Un Certain Regard in 2011, had also been screened in Cannes. He had subsequently won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival in 2020 with There is No Evil.
Today, on Monday, July 11, Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was also arrested in Tehran. The director presented numerous works at Cannes, including Three Faces, which was selected in Competition in 2018 and awarded the Prize for Best Screenplay, as well as Crimson Gold, which won the Jury Prize at Un Certain Regard in 2003. Jafar Panahi also won the Golden Bear at the Berlinale in 2015 for his film Taxi.
The Festival de Cannes strongly condemns these arrests as well as the wave of repression obviously in progress in Iran against its artists. The Festival calls for the immediate release of Mohammad Rasoulof, Mostafa Aleahmad and Jafar Panahi.
The Festival de Cannes also wishes to reassert its support to all those who, throughout the world, are subjected to violence and repression. The Festival remains and will always remain a haven for artists from all over the world and it will relentlessly be at their service in order to convey their voices loud and clear, in the defense of freedom of creation and freedom of speech.