Cannes 2017's opening film Ismael’s Ghosts labelled 'atrocious' and compared to The Room

The film was reportedly neither booed nor clapped but left the room in 'stunned silence'

Jack Shepherd
Wednesday 17 May 2017 11:36

Cannes Film Festival has just begun, Arnaud Desplechin’s French drama Ismael’s Ghosts kicking off the prestigious affair.

Despite starring Mathieu Amalric, Marion Cotillard, and Charlotte Gainsbourg, the film has already been met with scathing reviews, being labelled “atrocious” by one critic.

Ismael's Ghosts is as atrocious as you might expect from the festival that once opened with Grace of Monaco,” writes Deadline’s Joe Utichi, referencing the Nicole Kidman-starring 2014 opener that was widely panned.

Jason Gorber added: “Opener leaves press screening with stunned silence. Maudlin and meandering, a French tale of sombre clichés.”

In their written review, Variety compared Ismael’s Ghosts to Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, widely known for being one of the worst films of all time.

“As phoney emotional showcases go,” the reviewer writes, “this one’s full of unintentionally comedic melodrama, rivalling cult favourite The Room at times as Amalric (reprising his role as the chronically unstable Ismael Vuillard from Kings and Queen) overturns furniture and heatedly berates Marion Cotillard (as the wife who walked out on him) before making sweaty love to her.”

IndieWire are slightly more positive with their review, awarding the film a B— and saying: “Like the fictional director, Desplechin seems to be lost in the rabbit hole of his winding narrative and unable to complete its journey — and while Ismael’s Ghosts isn’t his best movie, it’s almost certainly his most personal statement on his tangled relationship to his art.”

The A.V. Club’s AA Dowd was also somewhat more positive, admitting the film “loses the three” but “in a delightfully digressive Desplechin way”.

According to the director, an extended cut, adding 20 minutes of footage to the two-hour flick, will be released at some stage but wasn't screened in Cannes.

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