And with Donald Trump, a new uproar was added to a very hectic Cannes Festival this year. The release of The Apprentice ( L’aprenent ), the film in which Ali Abbasi portrays the beginnings of the former American president as a real estate tycoon in the 1970s, is in the spotlight of the campaign team of the republican, who has threatened to denounce the producers of this film competing for the Palme d’Or. “It’s rubbish, pure fiction made of sensationalist falsehoods debunked long ago,” they stressed in a statement about a story that shows Trump’s abusive behavior in both his professional and personal life and that he does not skimp on controversial scenes. Especially the one that shows how his first wife Ivana, trying to save a marriage that is starting to crumble, gives him a book about the female G-spot and, after telling her that he no longer finds her attractive, he throws her to the floor and He rapes her as she calls out to him: “Is this your G-spot? Have I found it?” Ivana, played by actress Maria Bakalova, contributed to her husband’s empire and died in 2022 of heart failure.

It was clear that a film about Trump would not go unnoticed in the middle of an election year and with the Republican again as a candidate for the White House. “You should see her before you start reporting us. I am ready to meet him, show him around and talk about him. I think it would surprise him,” said the Danish-born Iranian director at a press conference yesterday, who was already in competition at the Croisette two years ago with Holy spider, a thriller that followed a serial killer of prostitutes in Iran.

Although the film addresses the figure of Trump, Abbasi does not believe that the tape is actually about the politician, who is facing a criminal trial for irregular payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels. “It’s a film about the system and the way the system works and has been built,” he said. Based on a screenplay by writer and journalist Gabriel Sherman, The Apprentice covers the formative years of a young Trump, superbly played by Sebastian Stan, who wanted to revitalize a decaying New York City in 1973. At 27 and with his characteristic hair, he works as a vice president in his father’s real estate company and has managed to be the youngest member to enter Le Club, an exclusive restaurant and nightclub where all the powerful people of the city meet. There he will meet Roy Cohn (superb Jeremy Strong), a lawyer with a dubious reputation and influential friends who will become his mentor. A shark who sees in Trump a man with ambition, if a little shy at first, in whom he places his trust and three golden rules that his disciple will end up executing after a short time without blinking: “Attack, attack and to attack admit nothing, deny everything, and whatever happens, claim victory and never admit defeat”. The film, highly entertaining, although received with mixed reviews, also reflects Trump’s strained relationship with a demanding father and an older brother with a fragile personality to whom he turned his back. A kind of Corleone family of the real estate business in which Trump assumes the role of Michael, the character that Al Pacino embroidered. In its gala screening, The Apprentice was received with an eight-minute standing ovation, led by the applause of an enthusiastic Cate Blanchett. “The storm is coming, it’s time to make political films again,” Abbasi pointed out.

Yesterday was also the turn of the provocateur David Cronenberg, a regular at the contest who opts for the Palme d’Or for the seventh time, and who did not take well to the criticism of The Shrouds, a disturbing thriller about the pain that caused him the death of his wife seven years ago and starring Vincent Cassel and Diane Kruger. Cronenberg, who thought he would never get behind the camera again, has turned that grief around by telling a dark tale about a widower who launches an app with cameras in coffins so customers can watch their loved ones decompose. “I’ve read some ignorant and stupid reviews that focus on paranoia. They have not understood the film at all, the idea of ​​pain. Paranoia is a strategy to fight with the pain of the death of someone you love”, he commented, upset. Another sacred cow of cinema that, like Coppola and Schrader, is certainly not past its creative prime.