Photograph: Cannes Film Festival
  • Film
  • Recommended



4 out of 5 stars

Cate Blanchett and Charles Dance are superb in an off-kilter political farce with folk horror flourishes


Time Out says

A fictional G7 summit at a German chateau to prepare a statement addressing an unspecified global threat may sound like a dry old time, but Rumours is an off-beat comic delight. There’s all the oddball charm, noirish atmosphere and visual flourishes you’d expect from experimental Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin, who co-directs with Evan and Galen Johnson again after their found-footage collaboration The Green Fog.

This G7 line-up is stacked: Cate Blanchett is German Chancellor Hilda Ortmann; Charles Dance plays American President Edison Wolcott (with an English accent, for some reason); and Denis Ménochet is French premier Sylvain Broulez. As you’d expect with that cast, it’s consistently smart and well-acted. 

After posing for press photos with 2000-year-old human remains in the chateau’s neighbouring forest, the seven world leaders sit at a bandstand, eating and drinking in comfort. A conversation between troubled Canadian Prime Minister Maxime Laplace (veteran Maddin collaborator Roy Dupuis) and British PM Cardosa Dewindt (Knock at the Cabin’s Nikki Amuka-Bird) suggests the pair had a one-night stand previously, though it’s Maxime and Hilda who have their own secret tryst this time.

There’s endless talk about broad topics from climate change to finance, but they never quite manage to get into any details, merely bloviating about nothing instead. Each character is deliberately and hilariously self-regarding, while facial expressions and line readings are often accompanied by pastiche melodramatic music. As political farces go, it’s in the territory richly explored by Armando Iannucci in The Thick of It, In the Loop, and The Death of Stalin.

Rumours is a strange brew, but there’s a lot of fun to be had if you like its flavour.

Though comedy is at the fore, Rumours shapeshifts into an unsettling thriller-horror hybrid when all the chateau’s staff disappear. Strange bog people, seemingly derived from the human remains, conduct a communal sex act; the polite president of the European Commission (Alicia Vikander) is discovered alongside a giant brain in the woods; and the G7-ers end up using the Neil Young lyrics from ‘Hey Hey, My My’ used in Kurt Cobain’s suicide note as part of their statement.

If that sounds dark, perhaps it’s more indicative to consider that Broulez spends a large chunk of the film being pushed around in a wheelbarrow and writes a bizarre section of the statement about sundials. Rumours is a strange brew, but there’s a lot of fun to be had if you like its flavour.

Rumours premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

Cast and crew

  • Director:Guy Maddin, Galen Johnson, Evan Johnson
  • Screenwriter:Evan Johnson
  • Cast:
    • Takehiro Hira
    • Cate Blanchett
    • Charles Dance
    • Nikki Amuka-Bird
    • Alicia Vikander
    • Denis Menochet
You may also like
You may also like