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Ismael's Ghosts Image

Ismael's Ghosts

Les fantômes d'Ismaël

Panorama | Spotlight on France

If one goal of cinema is to bring the stuff of dreams to life, then VIFF fave Arnaud Desplechin (My Golden Days, Kings and Queen) has to be ranked among the best at that task. His latest is his most daring film yet, a tour-de-force of mise-en-scène, shown here in the longer director’s cut not screened at the Cannes festival earlier this year. A dream cast headed up by Desplechin alter-ego Mathieu Amalric—once again playing the neurotic and harried titular film director Ismael Vuillard (first seen in Kings and Queen)—and featuring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marion Cotillard and Louis Garrel enacts this fraught fantasia about a film director (Amalric) in the midst of a troubled production whose world becomes unstuck when his supposedly long-dead wife (Cotillard) re-enters his life…

"Ismael’s Ghosts is a lucid, free-form sprawl of stories nested within stories; characters whose identities are so tenuous that they may be fictions in the diegetic world of the film, or ghosts; and plot digressions that drastically change the overall tone at any given moment… Desplechin knows that he’s pushing the limits of engagement throughout [the film], even for his faithful, but that’s also the same harried space that the best of his work has occupied."—Sam C. Mac, Slant

"While the short version of Ismael’s Ghosts [shown at Cannes] was a divertimento, I hope the director’s cut is an opera, a world. From Tel Aviv to Addis Ababa, this journey is contemporary, burlesque, epic, amorous, mad and full of wisdom."—Arnaud Desplechin

Canadian premiere
Country of Origin: France
Year: 2017
Running Time: 132 mins
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marion Cotillard, Louis Garrel
Producer: Pascal Caucheteux, Vincent Maraval
Screenwriter: Julie Peyr, Lea Mysius
Cinematographer: Irina Lubtchansky
Editor: Laurence Briaud
Production Design: Toma Baqueni
Music: Gregoire Hetzel
Production Company: Why Not Productions
Print Source: Unobstructed View

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