In a poignant speech that marked the opening ceremony of the 75th Cannes Film Festival, French actor Vincent Lindon, who chairs the official competition jury, distinguished himself with an ode to the committed and civic cinema he has described as a “weapon of massive emotion”, whose function is to “awaken consciences and shake up indifference”.
Lindon, who has repeatedly moved the Croisette through social and militant films – from “La Loi du marché » (The Law of the Market), 2005, which won him the Best Actor Award’ to ‘’en guerre’’At War), 2018 – urged the cinema to “speak loud and clear the voice of the voiceless”, saying that “even if it amounts to scooping, with a thimble, the hull of a ship which fills up in waves, our strength is is that we believe in it, and that your works are immortal”.
Here is the full verbatim of this speech which will remain, for a long time, in the memories of festival-goers and lovers of the seventh art.
“Should we not evoke, from this platform, which concentrates for a time, all the eyes of the world, the torments of a planet which is bleeding, which is suffering, which is suffocating and which is burning in the indifference of the powers? Probably yes. But what to say, if not new, or at least useful?
This is a question that all artists have been, are, and will be confronted with. Should we use our notoriety, however modest it may be, to carry the voices of the voiceless loud and clear, or, on the contrary, refuse to publicly express a position in areas where we have neither legitimacy nor special skill?
uncomfortable with comfort and privileges, even if far too human to renounce them, I have often taken the risk of speaking out, sometimes naively, to denounce the pains felt by others, but which, if they spared my flesh, tortured my conscience.
The Cannes International Film Festival continues this age-old tradition. Born from a desire to fight against fascism, which had distorted European cinema, it has never ceased to welcome, protect and bring together the greatest filmmakers of their time.
Open to all cultures, demanding nothing but high standards, its selections have retained films whose ambition was not limited to filling theaters.
This is the function of the Cannes Film Festival. It is his glory. It is this inflexible, artistic and citizen line, which makes necessary what would otherwise be obscene: to project radiant images superimposed on those abominable, which reach us from a heroic and martyred Ukraine, or even, to bury under the melody of happiness, the silent massacres that are falling on Yemen, or Darfur.
And finally to conclude, a question:
“Can we do anything other than use cinema, this weapon of massive emotion, to awaken consciences and shake up indifference? »
Even if it amounts to scooping the hull of a ship that fills up in waves with a thimble, our strength is that we believe in it, and that your works are immortal.
Even if sometimes, when the news crushes us and discouragement overtakes me, I wonder if we are not dancing on the Titanic…
Perhaps then, if we listened, we would hear, in the midst of the din of empires and nations, like a tender and weak rustle of wings, the soft murmur of life and hope.
The time has come for artists, responsible filmmakers, to carry us, to feed our imagination, and help us, to repeat ourselves in ourselves, whenever we can, in tribute to all those who suffer and who fight in the world: being alive and knowing it. »