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Cannes 2017Movies

Justin Chang's Cannes diary: The optimism of 'Wonderstruck' and 'Let the Sunshine In'

Millicent Simmonds, left, and Jaden Michael arrive for the screening of their film "Wonderstruck" at the Cannes Film Festival. (Alberto Pizzoli / AFP/Getty Images)
Millicent Simmonds, left, and Jaden Michael arrive for the screening of their film "Wonderstruck" at the Cannes Film Festival. (Alberto Pizzoli / AFP/Getty Images)

Sometimes a film festival holds up a mirror to the world’s harshest realities, and sometimes it provides a welcome respite from them.

On Thursday, amid what felt like an unceasing wave of news alerts from the U.S. — the unexpected deaths of Roger Ailes and Chris Cornell, a fatal car crash in Times Square, the latest developments in the Trump-Russia saga — the Cannes Film Festival saw fit to unveil two pictures notable for their exquisite loveliness, their enchanting good vibes and their sweet yet tough-minded suggestion that everything might turn out just fine in the end.

Needless to say, neither of the films in question was directed by Michael Haneke, even if his latest picture does bear the (presumably ironic) title “Happy End.” (It will screen for the press on Sunday.)

Instead, festivalgoers queued up amid heightened security for the first screenings of Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck,” which premiered in the main competition, and Claire Denis’ “Let the Sunshine In” (“Un Beau Soleil Intérieur”), which opened the parallel Directors’ Fortnight sidebar.

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