If you count Monday, 5.16 (flight arrival, moving into the pad, picking up my pass, buying groceries), this is HE’s ninth day of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. Three full days to go plus a wakeup…home stretch. At this point I always take a breather and kick back a bit. And now it’s raining with a little lightning and thunder, and some nice cool air filling the kitchen.

Just two films today — Jean Pierre and Luc DardennesTori and Lokita, a tragic immigration drama set near Liege, Belgium, about a pair of young, unrelated African kids (Pablo Schils as the younger Tori, Mbundu Joely as the teenaged Lokita) who get exploited and kicked around and treated cruelly by drug-dealing wolves. It ends sadly and shockingly. I didn’t melt down but I felt it.

The Dardennes have always had this plain, unaffected directing style — just point, shoot and watch. Believable characters, realistic dialogue, no musical score. Straight-up realism, a dependable brand. I’ve always emerged from their films saying “yup, that was a good, honest film” but I’ve never really been knocked flat. Because their plain-and-straight signature only penetrates so much. In my case at least.

At 10:30 this evening I’m catching Mario Martine‘s Nostalgia, about an older guy returning to his home town of Naples after a 40-year absence. My insect antennae are telling me not to expect too much, but it feels wrong to waste the opportunity.