“Your opinions don't matter at all.” Le Deuxième Acte between irony and AI, the future of cinema in Cannes


By John

«Your opinions don't matter at all»: this is the key phrase of Le Deuxième Acte, Quentin Dupiex's ramshackle and crazy comedy which opens the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival this evening.

A film within a film, always poised between reality and fiction, which indicates, between irony and extraordinary acting performances, that the future of cinema now belongs to Artificial Intelligence and its algorithms. Outside of these, no freedom with all due respect to everyone. This is the simple plot: the beautiful Florence (Léa Seydoux) wants to introduce her father, Guillaume (Vincent Lindon), to David (Louis Garrel), the man she is madly in love with. But David is not attracted to her at all and wants to throw her instead into the arms of her friend Willy (Raphael Quenard). These four characters meet in a restaurant in the middle of nowhere called Le Deuxième Acte and is run by a clumsy barman (Manuele Guillot). And again: David must contain the non-politically correct excesses of his friend Willy who is angry with everything that is not clearly male or female. David, on the other hand, is the apparently liberal one, open to the new and Guillaume, a slightly bombastic macho macho, especially when he lets everyone know that he has been called to shoot a film with Paul Thomas Anderson, “the greatest director of all”. And finally Florence, much more concrete and solid than she would like you to believe.

That's it pure fiction, from which however the actors escape as soon as they can to reveal their true nature, often completely opposite to the one represented. The absurd and cynical gaze of the workaholic director, who hit the box office in France with Yannick and is also an electronic musician under the alias Mr Oizo, can also be felt in this film in which we often laugh not only at cynicism, but also at immediate comedy, from silent cinema (the scene of the barman struggling with a bottle of red wine is striking).

Anyway This year's all-French opening – just like last year when it was the turn of Jeanne du Barry – The Favorite with Maïwenn and Johnny Depp – and certainly in the sign of greater disengagement in a festival that does not lack strong themes.

Returning to Le Deuxième Acte and the key phrase «Your opinions don't matter at all», it is precisely the reply of the virtual director, a product of artificial intelligence, to the actors' requests for clarification. Now the director is nothing more than a virtual image on the laptop of a production employee, but he has clear ideas and doesn't compromise. An example above all: it indicates to the actors that in case of poor adherence to the sentences in the script, the system is able to correct them, but with a relative financial charge on their compensation. Welcome to the future.