Cannes Directors’ Fortnight: ‘A Chiara,’ ‘Magnetic Beats’ Win Big

·3-min read

Writer-director Jonas Carpignano has scored at Cannes with “A Chiara,” winning the Europa Cinemas Cannes Label nod for best European film at Directors’ Fortnight, the festival’s biggest independent parallel section. Carpignano took the same prize for his previous film, “A Ciambra,” which was exec produced by Martin Scorsese, in 2017.

In the second big Directors’ Fortnight prize announcement, Vincent Maël Cardona’s feature debut “Magnetic Beats (“Les Magnétiques”) won the section’s SACD Prize, awarded by France’s Writers’ Guild. Cardona’s short, “Anywhere Out of the World,” featured at the 2010’s Cannes Cinefondation student short competition.

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“A Chiara” focuses on a family’s 16-year-old daughter and her growing realization that her beloved father may be part of the local criminal organization. Set in what the Variety review describes as the “hardscrabble underside” of the Calabrian city of Gioia Tauro, “A Chiara” delivers “a complex and ultimately realistic picture,” it said.

Created at the Directors’ Fortnight in 2003, the Label’s juries are made up of managers of theaters belonging to the Europa Cinemas Network. Label movies receive incentives for their promotion. Europa Cinemas exhibitors are also encouraged to extend Label-winning titles’ run at their theaters.

“This is a work of fiction but Carpignano clearly knows the location and the situation so well that he creates a very immersive feeling,” the four-person jury said.

“This story of the gradual empowerment of the young female character and her relationship with her father and her extended family is brilliantly structured and built,” it added, praising the film’s non-professional cast and “imaginative sound design.”

Sold by MK2, “A Chiara” is produced by Stayblack, Carpignano’s own label, and prestige French shingle Haut et Court (“The Class,” “No Man’s Land,” “Possessions”).

“Magnetic Beats” is an ode to post-punk energy, soon eclipsed as big business moved in on a wild indie scene. Set in a Brittany backwater in the early ‘80s, it turns on Philippe (Thimotée Robart), a bashful teen who idolizes his older brother Jerôme, (Joseph Olivennes), a pirate radio DJ, and, just as he’s called up for military service in Berlin, falls in love with Jerôme’s girlfriend.

Billed by the French press as ‘80s veneration and punk tragedy, and well received by French and international press, “Magnetic Beats” is sold by Indie Sales and produced by Srab Films, lead producer on Lady Ly’s 2019 Cannes Jury Prize winner “Les Misérables,” and by Easy Tiger, which backed Houda Benyamina’s Cannes Caméra d’Or winner “Divines” – a powerful combination.

“Magnetic Beats” is co-written by Cardona, Romain Compingt, Chloé Larouchi, Maël Le Garrec, Catherine Paillé and Rose Philippon.

Presenting the SACD Prize, Jean-Paul Salomé, SACD vice-president, cinema, hailed its masterful mise en scène and visuals reconstructing an era and its zeitgeist, adding that the fictional recasting of slice-of-life and characters’ journeys is accompanied by a magnificent soundscape.

Organized by France’s Directors’ Guild, and under the artistic director Paolo Moretti since 2019, this year’s Directors’ Fortnight was distinguished by the sheer number of new or young directors’ movies. Ten out of the 23 titles were first features or first narrative films, more than half first or second features.

Buzz films took in Joanna Hogg’s “‘The Souvenir Part II,” the British filmmaker’s semi-autobiographical follow-up that “retains the delicate virtues of its predecessor,” runs Variety’s review; and Haider Rashid’s migrant thriller “Europa.”

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