Coupez, Cannes 2022, Anupama Chopra

Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Writer: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast: Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Grégory Gadebois, Finnegan Oldfield, Matilda Lutz
Cinematographer: Jonathan Ricquebourg
Editor: Dumontier Mickaël

The Japanese film One Cut of the Dead is a deliriously inventive, laugh-out-loud funny celebration of zombies, meta-horror and the chaos and joy of movie-making. The film was shot for around $25,000 and became a cult sensation in 2017. It opens with a crew shooting a zombie movie, who then have to contend with real zombies but the film’s second act takes us behind the scenes and reframes the entire film. French director Michel Hazanavicius has reworked this ingenious material into Coupez! — a film that tries but isn’t able to recreate the ramshackle charm or the almost-touching commitment to movie-making of the original. Coupez! works in fits and starts. The first half is a slog, with a few jokes repeated till they cease to be funny — like an actor vomiting on his co-stars. But the second hour, in which we see why events unravel in the way they do, works better. Coupez! is determinedly silly and undemanding. Like Hazanavicius’ Oscar-winning The Artist, Coupez! is also a love letter to the movies. My guess is that it will work better for folks who haven’t seen the original.

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