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Arnaud Desplechin Responds to ‘Ismael’s Ghosts’ Alternate Cut Controversy: ‘There Aren’t Actually Two Films’

The Cannes opener doesn't have two different cuts...or does it?

Ismael's Ghosts Marion Cotillard

“Ismael’s Ghosts”

The way filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin explains it, his Cannes opening night offering “Ismael’s Ghosts” doesn’t have two different cuts, it simply has two different tones. 

At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon — held, as per tradition, after the press screening of the film, which will officially open the festival later tonight — Desplechin attempted to explain away rumors that the film bowing at the festival is not his preferred version, Variety reports.

READ MORE: The 2017 IndieWire Cannes Bible: Every Review, Interview and News Item Posted During the Festival

“This is an idea that dates from a long time ago,” Desplechin told the crowd. “It was a proposal by the producer. We were looking at the situation…There aren’t actually two films. There’s the original version and the one you saw. The original one is a more intellectual one. The version you saw is the more sentimental one.”

The so-called “original version” of the film is a full 20 minutes longer and is currently set for just one screening venue: Paris’ Cinema du Pantheon, owned by producer Pascal Caucheteux.

Le Pacte will release the Cannes-debuting version in French theaters later this year. As for its domestic release? Variety reports that Magnolia Pictures, which is distributing the film in the United States, “still hasn’t decided which version to show.”

The “more sentimental version” reportedly contains “more of a love triangle between the film’s protagonist, a temper-tantrum throwing director (Mathieu Amalric) who is torn between the ghost of his former lover (Marion Cotillard) and his pregnant girlfriend (Charlotte Gainsbourg).”

READ MORE: Cannes Review: Marion Cotillard Won’t Stay Dead in Arnaud Desplechin’s Opening Night Film, ‘Ismael’s Ghosts’

In our review of the film, Eric Kohn wrote that the “Ismael’s Ghosts” is “a wild hodgepodge of genres that often risk collapsing on top of each other. At its best, the movie is a freewheeling gambit, hurtling in multiple directions at once, and it’s thrilling to watch Desplechin try juggle them all.”

“Ismael’s Ghosts” opened the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Magnolia Pictures will release it in the U.S. later this year.

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