The Cannes Film Festival : Review / “Elemental” Is Fiery and Leads The Asian Wave !

The Cannes Film Festival : Review /  “Elemental” Is Fiery and Leads The Asian Wave !

Watching this at the Cannes Film Festival Closing Night (May 27, 2023) made it even more special for me.(besides rooting for my fellow Asian Americans) it was the most sought after ticket.

Meaning it was already sold out the minute the tix were released. I resorted to lining up on the stand by line in my tuxedo ( a requirement at Cannes if you were to be admitted at evening screenings) nervously waiting for a chance to get in the Grand Theatre Lumiere at the Coisette at Cannes, France. I was in line with beautifully dressed men in tux and  women in gowns. People were  frustrated, often times I hear them praying to God to be admitted in.

After 3 hours of patiently waiting in line we got in. The trek to the Theater was so exciting, walking on the red carpet steps where all stars and models get photographed in their designer frock. We tried to take selfie pics really fast because security did not want us to do so. I was surprised when our group of about a 100 were guided to the Orchestra…. Lo and behold yes were sat in the good seats orchestra because we became seat fillers as film representatives and nominees left after the Awards Night Ceremony that happened before the “Elemental” Screening.

The it happened, lights off…Cannes Logo was projected and people clapped and screamed like crazy. All logos of the Productions in the opening credits including Disney and Pixar were also applauded ( apparently a tradition at Cannes ). I shed a tear or two. I’m here, I’m really watching the most sought after sold out tix of the festival ! I’m really really here !

One of the most sought after film at the Cannes Film Festival is the Closing Night Film “Elemental” from Asian American Director and Writer Peter Sohn.

Ember Lumen’s ( Voice  by Chinese American Leah Lewis ) from the Fire Family has always been ambitious and a go getter since birth wanting to inherit her parent’s Family Business. She is soon to be announced as the heir to the Store when suddenly she met Wade Ripple who comes from the Water Family who is sensitive and a hopeless romantic.

No Fire and Water Relationship has ever worked nor will ever be. Their friendship ensues and in time, a romance blossomed inspite of the taboo of – Fire and Water does not mix. I laugh at the fact that even though Ember keeps this a secret to her family, her Mother knew there was romantic relationship happening to the two youngsters. Mothers always have the intuition or gut feeling about all this. In the film the Mother Cinder Lumen ( Sheila Omni ) smells the scent of a Firey Romance. Ember’s Father Bernie Lumen  (Voice by Filipino American Ronnie Del Carmen) is kept in the dark from all this love relationship. Inspite of the super close bond of this family secrets were kept secret, probably of the father being a little bit of a bigot.

In the Water Family though Wade Ripple (Mamoudou Athie) is open to his entire family and actually introduces Ember to his upscale clan. She blends in well and is welcomed with warmth by Wade’s Mother Brook Ripple (Catherine O’Hara). The whole family is fun and welcoming. Ember feels at home. There is hope.

The visual explosion of spectacular color that humanizes the three aspects of nature: Fire, Water and Plants brought me to the world of Diversity, Bigotry and Acceptance. It made me realize that inspite of the excitement of Fire and Water and Plants living together – the danger and uncertainty is what makes this world relatable to me and real – which is what the real earth really is. As we grow older the colorful view of this world becomes bleek and dim. But the “fire” within us and the “fluidity” of the new world out there makes us embrace the new norm. The difference in all of us is what makes us all attracted to the opposite. The old way of thinking may still be predominant in our old way thinking but films like “Elemental” would like to remind us of the world that could be if we all accept each other.

I am plesantly happy of the the diversified Casting of this film which (Thank you Disney and Pixar) includes Asian American Director Peter Sohn, Lead Actress Chinese American Leah Lewis and Filipino American Ronnie Del Carmen to name a few.

After the film ended we were all excited to clap for the cast and crew which is also a tradition at the Cannes Film Festival. I videod myself while the  thunderous applause for the cast and crew was happening. I found myself clapping and crying at the same time. I was emotional and happy.

Director Peter Sohn spoke to say thank you to Cannes and the Audience he mentioned that he is honored to premiere at Cannes because the cinema started in France and the Lumiere Brothers started all of this, and that we are in the Lumiere theater. His final words were “This film is about the richness of diversity and that our lives are so much better when there is so many points of view and all the cultures together. It’s about living, It’s about growing and about LOVE.”

Coming out of the Theater we will surprised by a Disney like Spectacular Fireworks. Which made me cry once more and made me thank God, giving me the opportunity to be an accredited film industry member at the Cannes Film Festival. I will never forget “Elemental.” It made me continue to dream of the day that – Love conquers all, that dreams do come true and that hey in the midst of all the uncertainty and long journey in this world that is filmmaking… I too may screen my film at the Grand Theatre Lumiere in Cannes, France and maybe just maybe at the Cannes Film Festival Closing Night Ceremony in the very near Future. I will not stop believing.

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