Jacques Audiard's Emilia Perez, Prix du Jury at Cannes 2024: Our opinion and the trailer

Published by Manon de Sortiraparis · Published on May 28th, 2024 at 02:12 p.m.
Once again, Jacques Audiard is at the Cannes Film Festival 2024 with 'Emilia Perez'. The three actresses Karla Sofía Gascón, Zoe Saldana and Selena Gomez were awarded a triple Prix d'Interprétation Féminine; and the film was awarded the prestigious Prix du Jury at this 77th edition. Check out our review and the trailer!

It's eagerly awaited at every Cannes Film Festival selection. And just as well, since Jacques Audiard's new film, Emilia Perez, is in the running for the Palme d'Or at Cannes 2024 and has absolutely won us over. It's enough to give torpid festival-goers an early-morning pop slap in the face.

A radical change of register for the French filmmaker, who this time signs a musical comedy about the Mexican cartels ! In a night market, Rita Moro Castro(Zoe Saldaña) struggles to prepare the plea that her boss will read the next day in defense of a criminal. In this law firm more inclined to whitewash thugs than defend honest people, her work is not recognized for its true worth, and she wonders about her future. Suddenly, out of the blue, she starts humming legal terms and dancing, accompanied by passers-by. A stunning first scene that carried us along for the next two hours.

If Audiard didn't sign up for the simplest of genres, his story too was bound to leave many circumspect. One night, Rita is approached by cartel boss Manitas, who wants to retire from the business while fulfilling his greatest wish: to become the woman he's always dreamed of being, and in the process, leave his wife(Selena Gomez) and children, pretending to be dead. At a time when cosmetic surgery is sometimes considered by big-time hoodlums, this tall, tattooed fellow hums, with the utmost sincerity, about his unhappiness at finding himself in the wrong body.

This highly modern musical is pure spectacle. Carried along by hyper-stylised staging (sometimes clipped, sometimes theatrical), lively editing and songs written in Spanish by singer Camille and Clément Ducol (more or less catchy, sung or spoken), Emilia Perez takes us into Manitas' new life asEmilia Perez - embodied with strength and cracks bytransgender actress Karla Sofía Gascón.

Resolutely contemporary in its subject matter (questions of identity, corruption in Mexico), Emilia Perez could suffer from a certain Manicheanism, according to some: once a woman, Emilia repents her past male violence and sets up an association to help cartel victims. But this act of contrition, which leads to her sanctification in a moving final popular procession scene, will leave no one cold.

If we had to find fault, it would be with the film's third act, which falls well short of the mark, veers into the detective genre and, in the end, Audiard doesn't do much with it apart from a too-quickly evaded ducking. But Emilia Perez is certainly a great film.

The trailer for Jacques Audiard's Emilia Perez:

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Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
Starts August 21th, 2024

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