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Ismael's Ghosts(Les Fantômes d'Ismaël)

The film tells the tale of a widowed film director who is in the middle of making a film about an atypical diplomat inspired by his brother. While he has started a new life with Sylvia, he still mourns the death of a former lover, Carlotta, who passed away 20 years earlier; then Carlotta returns from the dead, causing Sylvia to run away.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

80

The Hollywood Reporter by Boyd van Hoeij

The use of both dialogue and film language is sophisticated; sometimes Ismael’s Ghosts borders on overripe melodrama, while at other times it relies on genre tropes but then gives them an unexpected twist. [Cannes Version]
67

IndieWire by Eric Kohn

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. [Cannes Version]
91

The Film Stage by Giovanni Marchini Camia

Desplechin has frequently acknowledged his debt to psychoanalysis in general and Lacan specifically, but never had he dared plunge as deeply into the mysteries of the psyche as he does here. [Cannes Version]
58

The Playlist by Jessica Kiang

Desplechin lashes storylines and filmmaking gimmickry in to the one ginormous stewpot with gusto, slams the lid down on it and promptly forgets to turn on the heat. [Cannes Version]
90

Screen International by Lisa Nesselson

Desplechin delivers with flying colours thanks to an excellent cast and a sometimes serious, sometimes funny story that never lets up or becomes predictable. [Cannes Version]
40

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

This is an unfinished doodle of a film, a madly self-indulgent jeu d’esprit without substance: a sketch, or jumble of sketches, a ragbag of half-cooked ideas for other movie projects, I suspect, that the director has attempt to salvage and jam together. [Cannes Version]
40

Variety by Peter Debruge

In its own weird way, Ismael’s Ghosts has something profound to say about the lingering pain of past relationships and the threat they still pose to the present, but it does so in such a needlessly complicated fashion, we can’t help but be overwhelmed. [Cannes Version]
60

The Telegraph by Robbie Collin

Amalric transcends mere dishevelment here: in some scenes which flash back to the start of his relationship with Sylvia, the former Bond villain looks like a pile of leaves with a coat thrown on top. [Cannes Version]
57

Paste Magazine by Tim Grierson

Did Desplechin get seduced by the problems that plague filmmakers like himself? If so, he’s done a disservice to his own work, which needed a solution to its deficiencies—not an extended reverie that merely highlights them. [Cannes Version]

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