Radiance by the Japanese director Naomi Kawase depitcs with poetry the quest of two people on a path of light towards communion with the invisible.
The Japanese director Naomi Kawase presented her film Radiance (Hikari), her sixth film to enter the Official Competition since her Camera d’or twenty years ago for Suzaku. If describing a scene to blind persons remains relatively easy, how to describe an emotion to them? Misako is writing an audiodescription of a film whose beauty she has trouble to transmit with great precison, and challenges herself under the criticism of a photographer whose eyesight is rapidly deteriorating. The young woman who crave for luminous descriptions and the older photographer distraught to lose his sight start a relationship.
A gorgeous sunset
Misako (Ayame Misaki) is working at White Light on an audio description project. She is the eye that translates the scenes of a film to the blind and visually impaired movie lovers. Misako tests her descriptions which are superimposed on the soundtrack of the film with two blind men and a woman and collect their feelings to improve her work. Masaya Nakamori (Masatoshi Nagase), a famous photographer who participates in the sessions, is particularly critical. She meets him, discovers his photos and becomes obssessed with one particular photo, a splendid sunset, like those she was running after in her childhood until dusk. Misako asks Nakamori to relive the sunset with her. It will be the dawn of a romantic relationship.
Light as a Compass
In Radiance, a film on the search for exterior and then interior light, Naomi Kawase delicately uses light as a compass: sumptuous exterior lights, backlighting that nimbuses the characters with clarity and the often melancholic soundtrack by French-Lebanese jazz artist Ibrahim Maalouf to bring the viewer into the invisible world of the inner being. Being two, seeing the world through the other’s eyes, is opening new emotional territories to explore in oneself: finding one’s interior light, feeling the action of the invisible in one’s inner self, means then to radiate towards others.
Of course, of course… Radiance is aesthetic, metaphoric, but it is also long, slow, languid, lacking tempo, and in the end, if the two main roles are very good, they carry a rather boring film…
Naomi Kawase was a jury member of the 66th Cannes Film Festival, chaired by Steven Spielberg. She presented five feature films in competition at Cannes: Shara in 2003, La Forêt de Mogari (Grand Prix 2007), Hanezu, Spirit of the Mountains in 2011, Still the Water (2014) and Les Délices de Tokyo (2015) in Un Certain Regard.
A film by Naomi Kawase
Color – 1h41
70th Birthday Night
On May 23, an anniversary party celebrated the 70th edition of the Festival de Cannes. Under the presidency of Isabelle Huppert, the scene of the Grand Théâtre Lumière was illuminated with memories via projections of archives and film excerpts. Musical interludes and artistic interventions completed the festivities before the birthday dinner, which hosted 113 celebrities and cinema personalities who came to Cannes for the occasion, including many artists, winners of the Palme d’or, or belonging to the history of the Festival. The souvenir picture on the stage brought together, among others: Pedro Almodóvar, Andrea Arnold, Jane Campion, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo Del Toro, Matteo Garrone, Michael Haneke, Alejandro Iñárritu, Ken Loach, George Miller, Nicolas Winding Refn, Jia Zhangke, Claude Lelouch…
The outstanding Red Carpet of Festival de Cannes 70th Anniversary Night in pictures
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