77th Cannes Film Festival |  Montrealer Matthew Rankin was selected at Cannes

Montrealer Matthew Rankin's new film, A universal languageElected in 77e As part of the 56th Cannes Film Festivale Filmmakers' Fortnite, which opens on May 15 with a posthumous film by Frenchwoman Sophie Filliers.


Mathieu Rankin stars as himself in this surreal comedy in French and Persian, along with Quebec actor and playwright Mani Solimanloo, the film's co-writers Byrouz Nemati and Ila Firuzabadi — Montrealers of Iranian descent — Daniel Fichaud and young debutantes. Starring Rozina Esmaili, Saba Vahetusefi and Sophan Javadi.

“Fortnite is a category that has always fascinated me. It's independent and punk rock, which fits well with the film's identity,” the 43-year-old filmmaker said in an interview, elated at this second Cannes selection. In 2017, his short film Tesla: Light of the WorldA brief and surreal film about inventor Nikola Tesla was presented at Critics Week, another parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival.

Rankin's first film, Twentieth centuryA spoof biographical satire about former Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King (notably with Catherine Laurent and Michael Ahuja), won the Critics' Prize after its premiere at the International Film Festival in the Forum section of the Berlin Festival in 2020.

Photo courtesy of Metafilms

Matthew Rankin's new movie, A universal languageCinematographers' Fortnight will be presented at the Cannes Film Festival.

As in his earlier films, with their specific atmosphere, we can expect a scene that exudes absurdist humor and blurs spatio-temporal lines. Two students, Negin and Naskol, find an Iranian banknote frozen in ice and search for a way to extract it. For his part, Massoud leads a bewildered group of tourists through Winnipeg's increasingly absurd monuments and historic sites. As for Mathieu, he quits his job with the Quebec government and embarks on a mysterious journey to visit his mother.

“The film has been described as a Venne diagram of the cinematic codes of Winnipeg, Quebec and Iran,” says Matthew Rankin, who grew up in Winnipeg before earning a master's degree in Quebec history at Université Laval. We see the sad loneliness of Quebec, the frenetic madness of Winnipeg and the poetry of Iranian cinema. The story is told through this prism. »

The plot is obviously reminiscent of the children trying to rescue the stuck note white ball The screenplay by Zafar Banahi and the screenplay by Abbas Kiarostami, two famous Iranian filmmakers, Rankin wanted to pay tribute to. But the germ of the sceneA universal language Matthew was inspired by Rankin's grandmother, who discovered a $2 bill under ice in Winnipeg during the Great Depression.

“I adapted my grandmother's story, inspired by the Canon Institute films,” he says, which evokes the creative lab that allowed Kiarostami to direct. Where is my friend's house? “The film is an expression of my friendship with Prouse and Ila,” says Rankin, who evokes the “interculture shoot,” where experimentation and improvisation take center stage. “These are my own idealistic and international aspirations, expressed through my Quebec identity, but the approach is collective. »

“We had a lot of fun doing this together,” says co-author Ila Firuzabadi. It was an extraordinary moment. It's great for us to see a Winnipeg-born Quebec filmmaker speak Farsi so well in a film! »

Because yes, Matthew Rankin speaks Farsi too… “I can handle it! He said without false modesty. I understand, I can read and write, but I can't speak! Anyway, I found out that in France, the entire film is going to be dubbed, including those in French…”

The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 14 to 25. Pres will be on site.

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