The curtain has risen on the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival: the French event, scheduled until May 27, was inaugurated by “Jeanne du Barry”, the event’s opening film and return in front of Johnny Depp’s camera .
Directed by Maïwenn, darling of the Croisette, who also plays the role of the protagonist Jeanne, a girl born in 1743 who, despite her humble origins, has always had a strong predilection for culture: thanks to her intelligence and her great charm, she is managed to climb the steps of the social ladder, even entering the good graces of King Louis XV, to the point of becoming his favourite.
“Jeanne du Barry” is a period film
Presented out of competition, “Jeanne du Barry” is a period biographical feature film, which mixes various inspirations drawn from numerous feature films of the past: from the unattainable “Barry Lyndon” by Stanley Kubrick, recalled for the use of candles, up to “The dangerous liaisons” by Stephen Frears. Like the latter, Maïwenn’s film focuses decisively on court intrigues, through the passionate love story that will lead Louis XV to break the rules of decorum and etiquette, allowing Jeanne to Barry to move to Versailles and live under his own roof. Jeanne’s arrival will give rise to a real scandal.
An elegant female portrait but with too many stereotypes
Maïwenn returns behind the camera three years after “DNA – The roots of love” to give life to an intense female portrait that speaks of freedom, independence and passion, carefully describing not only the tragic romanticism of the protagonists’ relationship, but also the customs of the royal court. Jeanne du Barry’s story is undoubtedly deeply felt by the transalpine director, but the screenplay falls into too many stereotypes and lacks a good part of that pinch of narrative originality almost necessary in an operation of this type. he author of “Polisse” (a 2011 film which still remains her best work today) has nevertheless managed to construct a film of discrete elegance, but devoid of those stylistic flashes that would have made it more interesting and original.
Maïwenn plays intensely and finds a good harmony with a newfound Johnny Depp (perhaps the most anticipated of the entire red carpet of this first day), here in his first appearance on the big screen after the trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, held in course of 2022 and which had a huge media echo. From a film chosen to open the Cannes Film Festival, however, it was reasonable to expect something more, especially in terms of courage.