Engine, we turn and we drive. How many cars and motorized vehicles (ambulance, motorbike, truck, etc.) will have invaded the screen of the Grand Théâtre Louis-Lumière in Cannes, during this 74e edition of the festival. We have seen models of all kinds circulating, not necessarily from French brands. How many accidents and crashes have interfered in the scenarios of the twenty-four films selected in competition (including eight French)!

What happens with the men behind the wheel? Two fathers, Bertand Bonello in Titanium, by Julia Ducournau, and Benjamin Biolay in France, by Bruno Dumont, spin and roll, with their child on board. In The Unquiet, of Belgian Joachim Lafosse, a mother (Leïla Bekhti) trembles every time her bipolar husband (Damien Bonnard) takes the car to accompany their son to school. Drunk young man loses control of his vehicle and kills pedestrian in inaugural scene of Tre piani, by Nanni Moretti. Finally, in Nitram, Australian Justin Kurzel, an antihero sitting in the passenger seat (Caleb Landry Jones) causes the death of the driver by turning violently. On the other hand, in Everything went well, by François Ozon, the ambulance driver leads to safe harbor an old man (André Dussollier) who leaves for Switzerland to die with dignity.

Not all good films of this 2021 edition have included a car vignette in the camera field

Not all good films in this 2021 edition have included a car vignette in the camera view. It takes a few exceptions to confirm the rule. In Ahed’s Knee, by the Israeli Nadav Lapid, a splendid work on the edge of the performance, the hero (Avshalom Pollak) does not roll: he flies, aboard a helicopter, filming the territory of his country plagued by absurdities and dramas of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Let us also point out Compartment no 6, by the Finnish Juho Kuosmanen, where two completely separated passengers meet in a train.

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In the bodywork department, we will retain a sumptuous image: that of the red coupe spinning on an expressway, swallowing the kilometers, as if to mourn, in Drive My Car, by Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, one of the most critically acclaimed films. Its interior resonates with Tchekhov’s tirelessly repeated dialogues, but also with unexpected confidences between a woman at the wheel and a director who was kind enough to give it to him. “Baby, you can drive my car”, one might say, in homage to the cult title of The Beatles. After all, didn’t the songs light up the selection, starting with the Sparks in the musical? Annette, by Leos Carax? On a highway from Los Angeles, Adam Driver rides his motorcycle on the sublime night filmed by Caroline Champetier.

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