Renate Reinsve wows critics once again at the 77th Cannes Film Festival - GulfToday

Renate Reinsve wows critics once again at the 77th Cannes Film Festival


Renate Reinsve poses during a portrait session on the sidelines of the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, on Sunday.

Three years after winning best actress for the much-loved “The Worst Person in the World”, Norway’s Renate Reinsve has again wowed Cannes Film Festival critics with one of the craziest laughter scenes ever filmed. Reinsve stars in “Armand”, playing in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes, about a celebrity single mother brought into school where her young son is accused of abusing another boy.

Directed by Halfdan Ullmann Tondel, grandson of Swedish cinema legends Ingmar Bergman and Liv Ullmann, the story goes in unexpected psychological directions. A major swerve happens when the lead character begins an uncontrollable fit of nervous laughter, which IndieWire described as “probably the magnum opus of Reinsve’s career.” “It was a little scary because I kind of lost control a little bit in my head,” Reinsve said of the scene.

The first-time director said the scene was based on his own embarrassing tendency to laugh in tense social situations like funerals.

“I really liked the idea of this really rigid situation where somebody totally loses control of themselves,” Ullmann Tondel said. But when Reinsve read the line in the script, “I said it’s impossible!” she recalled.

In the end, they took a full day to shoot the scene and then gave her five days off to recover. “My body resisted... but when I got over the ledge, I couldn’t stop,” said Reinsve. “To recover took a very long time.”

It has paid off, with Screen’s critic calling “Armand” a film that “sweeps from microdrama concentration to ferociously expressionistic intensity”. It has been boosted by Reinsve’s star power among cinephiles since “The Worst Person in the World”, which became a global cult hit and earned two Oscar nominations. “The night Renate won in Cannes, she sent me a text: ‘Imagine how great this is for our film,’” said Ullmann Tondel, who had been on the verge of giving up after being rejected for funding four times.

“And then I was like, okay, I’ll give it one more go.” Before that, Reinsve had worked almost exclusively in theatre, which taught her a very “analytical” approach. “I love sitting down and drawing up almost a map of the character and thinking about it for months — the longer, the better — and then letting go when I’m in front of the camera,” she said.

Meanwhile, a slew of Taiwanese movies at the Cannes Film Festival offer the island an increasingly rare chance to tell its stories on the global stage. These days few countries even have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, a self-ruled island that is claimed by Beijing.


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