Impacts can be heard from afar.

Then they come closer.

When the people can go outside again, they collect shrapnel, many of the jagged pieces of metal are still hot.

A man tells of a neighbor who was thrown through the air after an explosion with his head half ripped off.

"He was still wearing his gardening gloves." In her house, all the windows were blown away, says a woman.

Andrew Kilb

Feature correspondent in Berlin.

  • Follow I follow

These are the first images from the war in Ukraine to be shown in Cannes.

The man who took them in, Lithuanian director and anthropologist Mantas Kvedaravičius, is no longer alive.

He was killed by Russian soldiers in early April while trying to escape from the besieged port city of Mariupol.

His Ukrainian partner and a friend of hers edited a film from the material he left behind.

"Mariupolis 2" ran in Cannes in a special screening out of competition.

Where else would he run?

At the moment, no other film can compete with the images it contains.

He looks at the victims: civilians, old men, women and children

Kvedaravičius does not show any fighting, he focuses his gaze on the victims of the fighting: civilians, old men, women and children.

At the heart of the action is a brick building in a north-eastern part of Mariupol that used to serve as a place of worship for a Protestant community.

Now it serves as a refuge for survivors from the neighborhood.

In the basement they seek shelter from the shells, in the courtyard they cook their meals, in the nave they thank God for their temporary rescue.

When the shooting stops, some of them go out to search the ruins for useful items.

The men don't care about the corpses lying in front of a house entrance, they are only interested in the power generator of the dead.

Thus war produces its own concept of property.

Only in the evening, when the director returns to his quarters on a hill above the city, does the drama of the siege come into the picture.

In the distance, on the far left, you can see the harbor and the towers of the Azovstal steelworks.

Later it starts to burn there, and at some point the firelight is so intense that it lights up the night sky.

It's often quiet, but never long enough to dispel the uneasiness caused by previous artillery bursts or gunfire.

The evenings are clear, the sunsets are magnificent, and during the day spring is already in the air.

The birds sing, the trees blossom, and Mariupol dies.

Kassiber from a lost city

It's hard to call "Mariupolis 2" a documentary.

His sequences of cuts are too unformed for that, his scene changes too sudden, his shots too monotonous.

One should rather speak of a message in a bottle, a cinematic secret that reaches the world from the lost city on the Black Sea coast.

It is therefore pointless to try to judge Kvedaravičius's pictures according to film-critical standards.

The film is successful because it exists.

For two hours he tore the Cannes festival audience out of the world as it appears on screen and into reality as it is at the moment.

After this lesson in aesthetics and truth in cinema, it was difficult to return to the normality of the Croisette competition.

Meanwhile, a new work by French director Arnaud Desplechin was showing there: "Frère et sœur" (Brother and Sister).

Marion Cotillard and Melvil Poupaud play a pair of siblings who hate each other as fervently as they once loved each other when they were children - a constellation like Bergman and Robert Altman, only with Desplechin you never quite understand what the two (except his writing and acting careers) actually drove them apart.

When their parents are in the hospital after a serious accident, Alice and Louis have to return to their hometown of Roubaix (where the director grew up) to say goodbye.

There they meet the rest of the family, the brother, the nephew, the best friend, the mutual partner.

Desplechin handles this group picture as one would expect from an expert: if the talk is about the past, he inserts a flashback, if he has to help coincidence, he lets it rain.

Nevertheless, the family puzzle does not hold together.

The film moves from scene to scene, and if you look closely, you realize that it's more about the drama's set pieces than its characters.

So he is big in small things and clumsy in big ones.

Twenty years ago, "Frère et sœur" would have been classified as a latecomer in the tradition of French social panoramas.

In the meantime, his narrative style seems to have fallen out of time.

Since the turn of the millennium, the old masters of the Nouvelle Vague have said goodbye to the cinema stage, and now it's their students' turn.

Arnaud Desplechin, born in 1960, is a fitting example.

His last eight feature films were screened in the Cannes Competition, and he was a member of the jury in 2016.

It's time for a generational change on the Croisette.

Keywords: