In “Grand Tour”, Miguel Gomes stops the time of cinema and the love story

In “Grand Tour”, Miguel Gomes stops the time of cinema and the love story
In “Grand Tour”, Miguel Gomes stops the time of cinema and the love story


After having swallowed nine days of Festival and films of all kinds, the Cannes spectator was treated to a diversion, Wednesday May 22: boarding Miguel Gomes’ new ride, Grand Tour, title of his sixth feature film in the running for the Palme d’Or. As if perched in the Ferris wheel (the first image of the film), the spectator immediately knows that he is going to take off – from the traditional story, from the temporal markers – in this love story at the ” Escape me and I will follow you “.

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The action takes place in 1918, with two main characters, English, who nevertheless speak in Portuguese. A man, Edward (Gonçalo Waddington), an official of the British Empire, and engaged to Molly (Crista Alfaiate), escapes to avoid or delay the time of the wedding. From Rangoon, in Burma, he travels through South-East Asia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, in a magical setting (Asia fantasized in the studio) mixed with documentary images, shot in 2020.

The vaporous grain of black and white melts the past into the present, the beginning of the 20th centurye century in the 21ste. In Saigon, a roundabout is invaded by scooters, their drivers masked due to Covid, against a backdrop of Austrian waltzes. Then here we are caught in front of this pond filled with lotus flowers, in a shade of pale gray. Meanwhile, Molly is always a train (or boat) late and never catches up with her man.

Experimental dimension

Real, fiction, silent cinema, sung or dialogued, the mechanics of the work go beyond genres. As always with Gomes, who likes to invent devices, going back in time to cinema, working on the fable and questioning Western domination: film tribute to Murnau in Taboo (2012), recycling of the tale in the triptych The thousand and One Nights (2015), a chronicle of Portugal in crisis, presented in Cannes at the Quinzaine des filmmakers. His first films were produced by Luis Urbano (O Som ea Furia). Grand Tour inaugurates another cycle with a new producer, Filipa Reis, also a filmmaker – she directed with Joao Miller Guerra Légua (2023).

The first image, one of the only ones in color, announces the experimental dimension of the project. Here is a Ferris wheel, at night, captured in a fireworks display of lights: while some are having fun, others, contorted on the ground beneath the machine, turn the structure and give it light. momentum, with hands and feet. We can also see this Ferris wheel as an immense roll of film (here 35 and 16 millimeters), and besides, didn’t cinema begin in fairgrounds, like a curiosity?

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