Taking a chance on youth

by Philippe Rouyer

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally upon us! 

In the optimal viewing conditions of our beautiful Miramar theatre, which won the CST excellence label, we are about to discover the films of the sixty-second edition of La Semaine de la Critique. What talents will Cannes see blossom this year? Our artistic director, Ava Cahen, and her committees have placed their bets and chosen 11 features and 13 short films - all first or second works - to foray into the future of cinema. 

Cinema is an art form that has managed to resist the onslaught of digital platforms and coaxed people back in front of the silver screen after the lockdown. It is an art form rejuvenated by young creators and young spectators, who are vital to a good turnout to see our dear films. Two films from our last edition - About Kim Sohee and Aftersun - are excellent examples of what films owe the younger generations who have made these films their own and have shared their love on social media. This 2.0 version of word-of-mouth is a wonderful extension of the groundwork carried out by film critics. 

There’s nothing I enjoy more than seeing young people bond around our films from across the screen. Young creators are the DNA of La Semaine de la Critique, and we flaunt it every year like a mantra. Not only in Cannes, but everywhere we present our selection (in Corsica, Marseille, then at the French Cinémathèque in Paris before heading to Mexico and Martinique). Let’s not forget our Next Step workshop, which we hold every year in December: a host of young filmmakers from around the world, who have shown their first works at our Semaine de la Critique’s short film selection, gather with film professionals to work on their first features. This programme is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2023, and has delivered on its promise as we can see from the films that have been made, some of which are presented in this year’s edition of the Cannes Film Festival. 

Young audiences remain the main concern of the French Union of Film Critics, which rewards a young critic’s work every year with its Young Critics Award. On a larger scale, we organise a whole range of film education programmes - from secondary school to university - to sharpen the judgement of young audience members. Indeed, like every major artform, cinema requires an introduction to access its most subtle treasures. And the French Union of Film Critics is proud to supervise education schemes all year round, in both the Ile-de-France region and Région Sud, by tapping into La Semaine de la Critique’s bottomless resources of images and sounds to analyse and celebrate. 


Philippe Rouyer

Chairman of the French Union of Film Critics