After last year’s opening ceremony with Annette’s singing puppet, the choice to kick off Cannes 2022 with a representative of the zombie genre feels odd – but perhaps not entirely out of the blue. Once Final Cut starts, however, viewers indeed furrow their brows in confusion at what unfolds before them. Has an actual trash film made its way into the most prestigious film festival in the world?

The original title Z (comme Z) hinted at the so-called Z-movies, but was swapped for other film lingo due to the ambiguity of the letter “z” as a recent Russian military symbol. The story consists of the following: crew members on a horror filmset urn into real-life zombies because of the director’s misguided dedication to realism.

The single take in which the picture is supposedly shot involves peculiar framing and occasional pans into empty hallways without going following the characters that run through them. It doesn’t seem to stick to a coherent canon on the living dead and, for some reason, all the French, white actors have Japanese names. Final Cut just altogether fumbles through a semi-entertaining plot and ends with the wonkiest crane shot in cinema history.

After the credits roll for the first time, the action jumps back to the origins of the story and this is where the real film finally takes off. The head-scratchers of the zombie flick are given context and the feature turns into a funny and engaging meta-experience.

Final Cut is the remake of 2017 Japanese horror comedy One Cut of the Dead (カメラを止めるな!), playfully poking fun at itself and other cross-cultural adaptations.

Alongside well-paired character actors, Bérénice Bejo, who is a longtime collaborator of director Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), and Romain Duris win audiences over as an artist couple, who eventually (or rather the other way around) have to take on various roles for this project.

It’s not only fans of the genre – and trash – who will wholeheartedly enjoy this love letter to the collaborative craft of filmmaking.

★★★☆☆

Selina Sondermann

Coupez does not have a UK release date yet.

For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.

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