The Innocent (L’Innocent)
All-rounder Louis Garrel has his hands full at the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival: as actor, he is competing for the Palme d’Or with Forever Young and stars in Scarlet, which is a contribution to the Directors’ Fortnight. Meanwhile his latest work, in which he resumes roles in front of as well as behind the camera, charms audiences into wishing The Innocent didn’t screen out of competition, as it would have been a worthy candidate for a number of the festival’s awards.
Abel (Garrel) and his mother Sylvie (Anouk Grinberg) have a tender, yet complex relationship. In the prudent way he looks out for her, he feels more like “her brother and her father”, as he puts it, than her son. Through an acting workshop, which she conducts with prisoners, the 60-something-year-old woman meets and falls in love with Michel (Roschdy Zem), who is close to completing his five-year sentence for armed robbery. Their wedding and Michel’s ensuing release puts Abel on high alert.
Though Abel is the focus of the film’s emotional trajectory, Garrel is a pleasantly unobtrusive protagonist and often acts as sounding board for his fellow cast members’ performances. Zem, Grinberg and Noémie Merlant (who plays Abel’s extroverted friend, who constantly tries to get him to take more risks in his life) flourish throughout the film’s many turnarounds.
This French production attends to a broad spectrum of human feelings, as it fluctuates between comedy, thriller, heist movie, romance and family drama. It jovially experiments with stylistic devices: a tense scene employs a split screen to show parallel occurring events and Abel’s reaction. L’innocent is equal parts an homage to the great European cinema of the past, and a novel and innovative viewing experience that raises hopes for its future.
The Innocent (L’Innocent) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2022 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.