On paper, it all looked so promising. After his triumphant, Oscar-winning “The Artist,” Michel Hazanavicius pivoted toward serious drama and arrived at Cannes this year with “The Search,” a loose remake of Fred Zinneman‘s 1948 film of the same name. The war drama stars Berenice Bejo and Annette Bening in the tale of an NGO worker who bonds with a young boy in war torn Chechnya. The ingredients were there for something powerful, and the 2 hour and 40 minute runtime suggested something epic. But the result was, as our critic put it, “one of the more prominent disappointments of the festival, and indeed of the year as a whole.” Reviews out of Cannes were largely negative, but Hazanavicius has gone back to the editing room to try fix the film.
We missed the report last month during the crush of festival coverage, but La Parisien reported that Hazanavicius snipped 17-minutes from the film. However, at a recent screening, the director said he cut 20-minutes to re-focus on the human side of the story. Allocine puts the final runtime at 2 hours and 14 minutes. See the tweet below from the Editor In Chief of Ecran Total:
— Olivier du Jaunet (@Odujaunet) October 2, 2014
We’ll see how critics react to this latest cut, and if it addresses some of the criticisms the movie received out of Cannes. “The Search” opens on November 26th in France, but still has no U.S. distributor.