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Cannes press questions Abdellatif Kechiche's "Brown Bunny"

“Mektoub” from Abdellah Kechiche’s new film Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo  on the trail of "Mektoub, My love: Canto Uno" has a complex meaning in Arabic ("written") but one cannot help but notice that letters and the pronunciation of "ME k TOU b" are found in #METOO. Kechiche took his time to answer questions at the press conference of his new film at Cannes. He chastised journalists for their "inferior cameras" (cellphones) and asked them not to film or flash during the session. Kechiche called one journalist’s questions “stupid” when asked about a police investigation by a woman who brought charges against him for sexual harassment. Kechiche apologized to the audience at one screening for the length and left with a couple of the actors, the other "stupid" question.  In the end he regarded his press conference as too long.

Much of what he says about his film is borne out by the experiences of some of his spectators – not the ones that left the Cannes screenings,  but those who perceive it as a meditation on the duration of time with an array of his favorite objects akin to the sculptures he looks at around Paris:  human body parts and objects including gluts, abs , and “bread”. Desire is what he wants to capture, and body parts and sculptures are non-interactive unless given  "cinematographic elements".

Léa Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos were less than thrilled with having their body parts filmed in lengthy scenes with frequent retakes in the Palme d'Or winner for both actors and Kechiche in La Vie d'Adèle (Blue is the Warmest Colour, 2013). This raises the question: were these unused scenes used for his own gratification? Kechiche claimed he cut part of Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo  to 3 hours and 48 minutes but it was dialogue not choreographed body parts. He seemed indifferent to not only the police charge but to the actors he shared the Palme d' Or with in claims that echo the voices of #MeToo.  

The French Tunisian director was asked if his film populated by actors set in an environment of “equality and fraternity” was possible today and agreed there is no evidence of this. 

The use of time was often cited as the reason why this film does not work for many but for Kechiche it means something "cinematically" profound in his search for different ways of “shaping gods and angels” in human form in order to create “great pleasure for graceful bodies".

Moira Sullivan

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