‘Spectateurs! ’ Debuts Trailer Ahead of Cannes Special Screenings Premiere (EXCLUSIVE)

‘Spectateurs! ’ Debuts Trailer Ahead of Cannes Special Screenings Premiere (EXCLUSIVE)

Arnaud Desplechin’s hybrid documentary “Spectateurs!” (“Filmlovers”) debuted a first trailer ahead of the film’s world premiere at Cannes on May 22.

The 88-minute docu is a love letter to cinema, inspired by Desplechin’s own discovery and passion for cinema.

More from Variety

Per the official Cannes description of the film, Desplechin wrote: “What does it mean, to go to the movies? Why have people been going for over one hundred years? I set out to celebrate movie theaters and their manifold magic. So, I walked in the footsteps of young Paul Dédalus, as if in a filmgoer’s coming-of-age story. Memories, fiction, discoveries come together in an irrepressible torrent of pictures.”

“Spectateurs!” weaves documentary and fiction with a cast including Milo Machado Graner, the young breakthrough actor of Justine Triet’s “Anatomy of a Fall,” and well-known French actors Mathieu Amalric (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”) and Françoise Lebrun (“The Book of Solutions”).

The renowned French auteur told Variety that “Spectateurs!” as an “infinitely personal essay.” A project that was “vast” and “multi-layered” that needed to be told in hybrid form.”

“[Producers] Charles Gillibert and Romain Blondeau, who both knew how much the philosopher Stanley Cavell meant to me, asked if I’d like to make a documentary about film projection,” says Desplechin. “I told them I didn’t know how to make a documentary [about that topic], but that I might think about a hybrid form. I put a few ideas down on paper, and little by little the film began to take shape. It was easy to write because I kept coming back to my own thoughts about cinema that were in my head for over twenty years, so the writing poured out of me.

A Croisette regular, Desplechin previously directed “Brother and Sister,” which competed at Cannes Film Festival in 2022; “Deception,” an adaptation of Philip Roth’s book “The Counterlife” which starred Lea Seydoux and played at Cannes Premiere in 2021; “Oh Mercy!,” which competed in 2019; and “Ismael’s Ghosts,” the opening film of Cannes’ 2017 edition. The artists in Desplechin’s films have regularly been awarded the festival’s most prestigious prizes, including the 61st Festival de Cannes Prize for Catherine Deneuve in “A Christmas Tale.” In 2016 Desplechin won the César for Best Director for his film My Golden Days.”

The director made his English-language debut with “Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian),” which starred Guillermo Del Toro in 2013. Desplechin’s first doc”L’Aimée,” was released in 2007.

“Spectateurs!” is produced by CG Cinema, the Paris-based banner behind Leos Carax’s “Annette”; Arte France Cinema and Scala Films. Les Films du Losange will distribute the title in France and handle international sales.

“Spectateurs!” will world premiere Cannes in the Special Screenings section on May 22.

Watch the trailer below.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.