Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cannes Day 11 Awards








The glitz and glamor, Phạm Băng Băng, and the impatience from the inevitable waiting, at Cannes







Who says the Chinese haven't picked up on international sign language? 






What would a Cannes festival be without an Asia Argento sighting, appearing in Dario Argento's Dracula 3D









Cannes photos from The Guardian:

and more:

Cannes photos from The Hollywood Reporter:

The Un Certain regards Awards at Cannes have been announced.  For those in the know, Le Grand Soir filmmakers Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern were the ones that made the Kaurismäki style miserablist comedy Aaltra (2004).  Also, glad to see Dolan's film, likely strong enough to be In Competition, come away with something. 

Kevin Jagernauth at the indieWIRE Playlist:

The Cannes Film Festival wraps up today. Awards are starting to be handed out and first up are the prizes for the festival's Un Certain Regard category, which tends to feature newer, lesser known directors and slightly edgier fare than the main competition lineup.

The jury presided over by Tim Roth (who also starred in the Critics' Week opening film "Broken") has given the Prize Of Un Certain Regard to Mexico's "Después de Lucía." To be honest, we heard very little about this one on the grounds of the fest, but the film directed by Michael Franco follows a father and daughter who are starting their lives over in a new town. This should give a nice boost to the film which doesn't have domestic distribution yet, but for the buyers left in town hoping to make one last deal, this one looks like a smart bet.

In a rather interesting change, the jury awarded two Best Actress prizes this year -- that's not right, no one took Best Actor. First up, Suzanne Clement earned recognition for her great turn in Xavier Dolan's ambitious and beautiful (read our review here) "Laurence Anyways." She plays the girlfriend of the titular Laurence whose decision to become a woman finds her admirably standing by her man, but suffering some tremendous emotional fallout as a result. It's a great performance, and we're glad she (and the film) got some some love. Also taking an acting trophy is Emilie Dequenne for her role in Joachim Lafosse's "La Pedre La Raison" another film that didn't quite land on our radar at the fest, but follows a romance that becomes tested by marriage and children.

Finally, the Jury Prize went to "Le Grand Soir" a story of two brothers who couldn't be more different while the Special Distinction Of The Jury was awarded to Aida Begic's "Djeca" ("Children Of Sarajevo"), about two orphans following the Bosnian war. We had heard some good word about the film, so we'll see if it lands stateside. 

Winners recap below.

PRIZE OF UN CERTAIN REGARD
DESPUÉS DE LUCIA by Michel FRANCO

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
LE GRAND SOIR by Benoît DELÉPINE and Gustave KERVERN

UN CERTAIN REGARD AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS
Suzanne CLÉMENT for her performance in LAURENCE ANYWAYS directed by Xavier DOLAN

UN CERTAIN REGARD AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS
Emilie DEQUENNE for her performance in À PERDRE LA RAISON directed by Joachim LAFOSSE

SPECIAL DISTINCTION OF THE JURY
DJECA by Aida BEGIC
(Children of Sarajevo)

David Hudson at Fandor:

Jury President Tim Roth and his fellow Jury members (Leïla Bekhti, Tonie Marshall, Luciano Monteagudo and Sylvie Pras) have awarded the Prix Un Certain Regard to Michel Franco’s After Lucia.

On Thursday, James Quandt wrote in the National Post that “Franco has studied the art film tropes of contemporary cinema, and the elliptical, quietly modulated first half of his film reveals a mastery of suggestive storytelling. A chef and his teenaged daughter move from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City after their wife/mother is killed in a car accident. These facts emerge slowly, with great indirection, so stating them this bluntly seems like a misrepresentation of the film’s initial moderation.” The “daughter’s popularity at school quickly turns into its opposite when a cellphone video turns viral, and she is labelled a whore. Intent on protecting her father in his grief, she reports nothing of the campaign of degradation—bullying is too mild a term for it—directed against her…. Franco’s narrative and visual control renders the facts of brutality as indisputable, though his restraint unfortunately falters in the final half hour, when the film becomes a revenge drama, betraying its previous abstention.” More from Emissions in the Dark, Charles Gant (Variety) and, in the Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney: “The film is of a piece stylistically with Franco’s debut, Daniel & Ana, which premiered in the Directors Fortnight at Cannes in 2009. Austerity and rigorous control are his signature notes, with an unflinching realism marked by extended silences and a distinct preference for conveying information via oblique glimpses rather than in dialogue.”

The Special Jury Prize goes to Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern’s Le Grand Soir, which, as David Fear writes for Time Out New York, “follows the misadventures of two brothers—one an aging gutter punk (Man Bites Dog’s Benoît Poelvoorde), the other a yuppie mattress salesman (Albert Dupontel). While the former runs around a middle-class strip mall causing mayhem, the latter teeters on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Not to worry: His punk brother will be there to give him a mohawk, tattoo the word ‘Dead’ on his forehead and empower his sibling to join the imaginary resistance. The longer the film’s anarchic last act goes on, the more its tweaked tribute to family really flips the bird to the notion of conformity. It climaxes with an epic gesture of futility and a flaming bale of hay rolling right toward the camera.” More from Megan Lehmann (Hollywood Reporter; “scabrous but still kind of sweet”) and, at Cineuropa, Fabien Lemercier: “Their latest opus confirms a path without concessions, on which they are refining their cinematographic skills but also allowing themselves a few excesses, without however deviating from what is essential: an innate sense of revolt and derision.”

Instead of a Best Actor award, the Jury’s going with two for Best Actress: Suzanne Clément for her performance in Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways (see our roundup) and Emilie Dequenne for hers in Our Children, “another tightly wound study of domestic malaise from Belgian auteur Joachim Lafosse,” according to Jordan Mintzer in the Hollywood Reporter. And he highlights, too, the “riveting lead turn from Emilie Dequenne as a young mother caught between two men (A Prophet stars Tahar Rahim and Niels Arestrup) in a claustrophobic nightmare… Inspired by events which took place in a distant suburb of Brussels in 2007, the script—co-written with Thomas Bidegain (Rust & Bone) and Matthieu Reynaert—sticks to many of the facts in the case of Genevieve Lhermitte, who turned herself into the police after coldly and clinically murdering her five kids with a kitchen knife (the film reduces the number to four, but who’s counting?). While such an act may ultimately be inexplicable, the various reasons posited by Our Children very much fit in with the oeuvre of the 37-year-old Lafosse, whose previous films (Private Property, Private Lessons) explored the effects of perversely close-knit relationships on a handful of characters.” More from Peter Debruge (Variety), Fionnuala Halligan (Screen) and Boyd van Hoeij (Cineuropa).

Special Mention goes to Children of Sarajevo. Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian: “The 38-year-old Aida Begić is the Bosnian film-maker who won the Grand Prix at the Critics Week in Cannes four years ago for her debut feature, Snow…. Children of Sarajevo—the original title, Djeca, means ‘children’—is set in the present-day city, in which the ghosts of a terrible past loom all around. The movie does not entirely tie up its narrative threads, but the strange, potent atmosphere makes up for this.” More from Mark Adams (Screen), Megan Lehmann (THR), and Alissa Simon (Variety).

Filmmaker‘s Scott Macaulay takes note of the day’s other awards: “Earlier today, Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild picked up the FIPRESCI prize, given by an international jury of film critics, as the best film in the Un Certain Regard section of the main selection. Sergei Loznitsa’s In the Fog picked up the FIPRESCI prize in the Competition, while the jury gave the Director’s Fortnight prize to Rachad Djaidani’s Hold Back. The Cannes Ecumenical Jury gave its prize to Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt, with Beasts of the Southern Wild receiving a mention.”

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For the last Competition film to screen at Cannes, the American film Mud by Jeff Nichols, Mike Goodridge offers comments from Screendaily:

A conventional narrative may be a rarity in Cannes competition this year, but Jeff Nichols’ Mud makes no apologies for its classic storytelling. A confident, nuanced, richly satisfying coming-of-age story which is part Huckleberry Finn, part Badlands, the film is another illustration that Nichols is becoming one of the most assured US auteurs at work today.

A long running time and a slow-burning pace might be considered commercial restrictions here, but the critical response and word-of-mouth should be strong and the name cast led by Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon will only enhance box office chances. It’s a film for adults, and yet, like Twain or To Kill A Mockingbird, it is devoid of bad language or excessive violence and could, one day, become a family perennial

Nichols doesn’t break much new ground here and the themes and situations feel familiar from countless stories and previous movies. But he tells his particular story with elegance, wit and poignancy and never condescends to the boys who are both spunky and smart. He also elicits a fine performance from Tye Sheridan as Ellis whose confusion with the realities of adult romance and the world of girls rings painfully true.

The adult cast is also terrific from the increasingly impressive McConaughey to Witherspoon in a touching role as the complicated Juniper, and the always reliable Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon and Joe Don Baker.

The influence of Terrence Malick is writ large in Mud and there are parallels to Badlands and Days Of Heaven as well as David Gordon Green’s Undertow, which Malick produced. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Malick’s producer Sarah Green is also a producer on Mud.

more praise from Jason Solomons from The Guardian:

Screening right at the end of the festival, Jeff Nichols's film Mud made an urgent late bid for the Palme d'Or. An atmospheric thriller and coming-of-age tale set on a slow bend in the Mississippi river, Mud has the look and feel of an American indie classic. It is a surefire best picture nominee at next year's Oscars and likely to win some kind of award at Cannes, receiving the warmest applause of the festival at its morning press screening.

Mud takes its name from its lead character, played by Matthew McConaughey, delivering the best performance of his career (and his second at the festival, after The Paperboy) as a fugitive holed up on an island in the Mississippi after murdering a rival for his lover Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). Mud is wanted by the police and bounty hunters hired by the murdered man's family. He is discovered, however, by two 14-year-old boys, Ellis and Neckbone, who live in houseboats along one of the river's swampy tributaries. They fall under Mud's charismatic spell and are talked into helping him rebuild an old motor boat stranded in a treetop – dumped there, one assumes, years before by a flood or a tornado.

The boys are beautifully played by Tye Sheridan (who starred as one of Brad Pitt's sons in last year's Palme d'Or winner, The Tree of Life) and Jacob Lofland. The teenagers' thrill and adventure in secretly aiding Mud gives the film a Huckleberry Finn-ish flavour that blends with something akin to Rob Reiner's 1986 classic Stand By Me and Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter. For such an American film, there are also clear echoes of British classics such as Great Expectations and Whistle Down the Wind.

Writer-director Nichols, working with cinematographer Adam Stone, succeeds in capturing the life and the geography of his locale, its beauty and its dangers, as venomous snakes crawl in the swirling, brown water and local divers fish for oysters and crabs in their own nets. Mud, which also stars Sam Shepard and Michael Shannon, is a very fine film about innocence, father figures and love, a work that manages to be thrilling, unsentimental and emotionally rewarding. This is, sadly, an all too rare combination in so many films, particularly the other American ones that showed in this year's Cannes competition, making Mud all the more worth the wait.

Director Jeff Nichols talks about his desire to make this film for over a decade in an interview with Nigel M. Smith from indieWIRE:

It was an idea I had in college, around the same time I was going to Cannes. I found this book in a public library in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was photographs from the Mississippi river. I was inspired by it. I got this idea of these boys finding this man hiding out on a little island in the Mississippi River. Once I said that to myself, I knew it was a good idea. I spent the next eight, nine years slowly building the story up and building these characters up.

Every film I've made, I've tried to approach from two tracks: One of them's the plot, the other's from some kind of emotion. With "Shotgun Stories," it was the thought of something bad happening to one of my brothers -- that was such a tangible feeling for me to write from. With "Take Shelter," it was obviously anxiety. And with this, I was reaching back into high school, thinking of when I got my heart broken for the first time. I know lots has been written on that, but why not throw one more on the pile?

So it's really close to me, because it's all about the heartbreak and stuff that you experience with young love and our ability to bounce back from it and push through. They're all personal.

Eugene Hernandez talks to Nichols about portrayals of the American South in films from Film Comment:  http://www.filmlinc.com/blog/cannes-entry/cannes-2012-diary-southern-tale-wraps-fest-competition

Jeff Nichols' Take Shelter won the Critics Week sidebar Grand Prize last year, but he told Indiewire that his inaugural visit was actually as a Kodak intern twelve years ago, waiting tables at the American Pavilion. At centerstage in Cannes here this year, Nichols drew immediate praise this morning for a film that has had little buzz. It lacks U.S. distribution, wasn't on Cannes hit lists earlier this year, and the film screened today after a lot of press and industry had already gone home.

Tye Sheridan, last seen as one of the young boys in the Palme d'Or winning Tree of Life here a year ago, is at the center of Mud, a Mississippi River story set in Arkansas. The child of a troubled home finds a reckless role model in a reclusive man with a questionable past (Matthew McConaughey). The teen maintains a brotherly bond with a compatriot his own age even as his interest is piqued by an older girl at school.

"It was really about this boy searching for a version of love that works," filmmaker Jeff Nichols explained at a press conference in Cannes this morning. You get banged up by love, Nichols elaborated. "For some reason we go pull ourselves together and go after it again."

Critics and journalists who watched the film this morning drew immediate comparisons to Rob Reiner's Stand By Me and Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The American South has been broadly represented here at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, particularly as seen through the eyes of young people. In addition to Mud, Cannes showcased the fantastical survival story in Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild and the steamy murder mystery in Florida in Lee Daniels' The Paperboy.

"There are very few movies about the American South that are accurate. This is one of them," praised actress Reese Witherspoon, who appears in Mud in a rare supporting role. The Southern actress credited the kids in the film and Nichols' script as her reasons for wanting to make this movie.

Jeff Nichols, who was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and studied film at the public North Carolina School of the Arts, expressed pride in the South at this morning's press conference.

"It's a dying way of life, it's a dying accent," he said, when asked by a journalist to talk about what the South means to him. "I wanted to capture a snapshot of a place that won't be there. The South is a precious place and it's easy for it to get lost. The South is fleeting."

He paused for a moment noting that his comments sound depressing. Putting a positive spin on the remarks he added, "you always seem to find it again."

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How about an interview with Ashim Ahluwalia, director of Miss Lovely, who insists this is *not* Bollywood, from The Hollywood Reporter:  http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/indian-cinema-is-not-all-327511














Ashim Ahluwalia: If you talk about indie cinema, it's really these guys working in the underbelly that are the indie players even if sometimes their films are terrible. They shoot films with no resources in five days. They use whatever they have, kitchen utensils – everything - and make films and recover their money. They are confident and are saying “F--- you” to Bollywood (the mainstream Hindi film industry). For 20 to 30 years these kind of films have been watched not just in remote rural cinemas but also in cities. Audiences are watching cheap sex-horror films with titles like Maut Ka Chehra (The Face of Death). So these kind of filmmakers are quite ballsy. They are not intimidated by Bollywood stars. I could identify with their rebellion. Also, this film is not a parody. (While researching for this subject initially as a documentary), hanging out with these guys I knew that I was not going to make fun of them. Miss Lovely is a very Indian film and yet it is not typical Bollywood or so-called parallel cinema.

THR: What do you want international audiences to take away from Miss Lovely?
Ahluwalia: The primary thing I want them to take away is that Indian cinema is not all Bollywood. That's the misconcepetion. My film wants to break that perception that we are under-educated about films. We are actually the laughing stock in terms of cinema internationally. It's important for us to have the language and vocabulary of cinema and be very confident. And that is what Cannes seems to have picked on (with respect to the Un Certain Regard selection of Miss Lovely). I am already getting international feedback from observers who are now seeing that we are getting to be more confident about a new kind of cinema.

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And finally a stark admission from Festival President Gilles Jacob:
  
Cannes chief admits: we must search harder for films directed by women

Festival president says it was a mistake to raise expectations by picking so many women last year

After suffering two weeks of fierce criticism, the organisers of the Cannes film festival admitted that they needed to make a concerted effort to increase the number of female film-makers competing for the Palme d'Or.

Festival president Gilles Jacob said: "I am sure that next year the chief selector, Thierry Frémaux, will look more carefully to find films by women."

Jacob also said it was a "shame" that only one female director, Jane Campion, had ever won the festival's top prize. He lists the film-maker among his proudest "discoveries".

"Cinema is dominated by men," he said, "and Cannes is just a reflection of cinema." However, Jacob also defended the actions of Frémaux, whom he appointed his successor in 2001 when he was made president. He said: "The selector has said it is not his intention to take a film made by a woman because it is made by a woman but because it has the necessary quality."

Eighty-one-year-old Jacob, who has attended every festival since 1964 and became its chief selector in 1978, added: "The job of feminists and of people like me who like the work of female film-makers is to say to him: 'Are you sure there isn't somewhere a film by a woman that deserves to be competing?' That is always the conversation we have here."

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Observer to be broadcast tonight on the Variety Live@Cannes internet TV show, Jacob said the festival set a tough precedent in picking four films by female directors in 2011, including Lynne Ramsay's We Need To Talk About Kevin.

"That was maybe a wrong move," he said. "Now everyone this year was expecting five films, then six, then seven. In France nowadays, they speak of parity. They want parity in government, parity everywhere, so why not at the Cannes film festival?"

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There is an online Criterion Forum discussion on the films at Cannes:

A big thank you shoutout to George the Cyclists's West coast friend Matt Langdon (http://bunuel.blogspot.com/ and http://rashomon.blogspot.com/) for mentioning the Cannes coverage at this blog on the Mubi Forum:  http://mubi.com/topics/cannes-film-festival-who-to-read

Les étoiles de la critique is a scorecard of French critics, completed through Sunday's edition, where Audiard's Rust and Bone and Haneke's Amour still remain the best reviewed films so far:  Interestingly, despite the alleged critical acclaim, Holy Motors is rated five 4 stars, three 3 stars, two 2 stars, four 1 stars, and one less than 1 star on the French critic vote.   http://www.lefilmfrancais.com/109997/cannes-les-etoiles-de-la-critique

Over at Screendaily, the highest scores are Mungiu's Beyond the Hills, rated 3.3, and Haneke's Amour, rated the same, with Audiard's Rust and Bone, Dominick's Killing Them Softly, Vinterberg's The Hunt, and Loznitsa's Into the Fog rated 2.9.  After that, Loach's The Angel's Share and Jeff Nichols' Mud are rated 2.8, Walter Salles On the Road is 2.7, while the Resnais You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet and Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom are both rated at 2.6, while the Kiarostami scores 2.4.  Holy Motors, interesting enough, only averages a 2. For the completed Digital Jury Grid Ratings:  Click here for full grid pdf. 

While at Jigsaw Lounge, Neil Young finally removed Kiarostami as the favorite to win the Palme D'Or prize, changing to 3rd prize, recommending Haneke's Amour as the favorite. Young's predictions seem to be erratic and are in a constant state of flux, but these are his final odds at Jigsaw Lounge:  http://www.jigsawlounge.co.uk/film/reviews/cannes12odds/ 

7-2 : AMOUR - Haneke
{prediction : Palme d’Or and festival’s 65th Anniversary Award for the actors}
9-2 : IN THE FOG - Loznitsa {Grand Prix}
6-1 : RUST AND BONE - Audiard {Best Director}
7-1 : HOLY MOTORS – Carax {Best Actor}
8-1 : LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE  - Kiarostami {Jury Prize}
10-1 : BEYOND THE HILLS - Mungiu {Best Actress, ex-aequo}
- – - – - – - – - -
16-1 : COSMOPOLIS - Cronenberg
16-1 : YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET! - Resnais {Best Screenplay}
22-1 : THE HUNT – Vinterberg
25-1 : PARADISE : LOVE – Seidl
25-1 : POST TENEBRAS LUX - Reygadas
25-1 : KILLING THEM SOFTLY - Dominik
25-1 : MUD - Nichols
25-1 : MOONRISE KINGDOM – Anderson
33-1 : REALITY - Garrone
40-1 : ON THE ROAD - Salles
66-1 : IN ANOTHER COUNTRY – Hong
100-1 : AFTER THE BATTLE - Nasrallah
100-1 : THE ANGELS’ SHARE - Loach
100-1 : LAWLESS – Hillcoat
100-1 : THE TASTE OF MONEY - Im
150-1 : THE PAPERBOY – Daniels



















Nanni Moretti in a Christ-like pose believes his work on this earth is done, as his disciples look on in awe


Final Awards, in the order of presentation:

Palme D'Or (1st)
Michael Haneke, Amour

Grand Prix (2nd)
Matteo Garrone, Reality

Best Actress
Cosmina Straten and Cristina Flutur, for Cristian Mungiu, Beyond the Hills

Best Actor
Mads Mikkelsen, for Thomas Vinterberg's Jagten (The Hunt)

Best Director
Carlos Reygadas, Post Tenebras Lux

Best Screenplay
Cristian Mungiu, Beyond the Hills

Jury Prize (3rd)
Ken Loach, The Angel's Share

Camera D’Or (First Time Directors)
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Short Film
L Rezan Yesilbas, Sessiz-Be Deng


Some big surprises, especially the nearly forgotten Loach and the critically despised (except for George) Carlos Reygadas film which wins Best Direction. 

Romanian Cristian Mungiu was reportedly not looking too happy (do Romanians ever look happy?) when his name was called for Best Screenplay, but then his set of actresses won as well, in something of a surprise. 

Matteo Garrone is a stunner - - certainly an unpopular choice.   

Also some notable omissions - - films that got completely shut out:

Léos Carax, Holy Motors
Sergei Loznitsa, In the Fog
Jacques Audiard, Rust and Bone
David Cronenberg, Cosmopolis
Abbas Kiarostami, Like Someone to Love
Ulrich Seidl, Paradise: Love
Alain Resnais, You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet

Screendaily still has paywalls, but they are open to the public, though some still remain mysteriously unavailable: 

or even better:

The Hollywood Reporter at Cannes:

David Hudson (formerly of Mubi) does all the links for each review at Fandor:

Variety at Cannes:

Matt Zoller Seitz and Kevin B. Lee at Press Play from indieWIRE

the indieWIRE Playlist:

indieWIRE reviews, with grades listed:

At this late date, I'm adding yet another link to Cannes reviews, this time from Pop Matters:

Robert Koehler from Filmjourney:

Daniel Kasman at Mubi:

The House Next Door at Cannes:

Drew McSweeny and Guy Lodge from HitFix:

Mike D'Angelo at The Onion AV Club:

The Film Center's Barbara Scharres from the Roger Ebert blog:

Richard Corliss from Time Magazine:
http://entertainment.time.com/tag/cannes-2012/

Karina Longworth at LA Weekly:

Cannes Fest at Time Out London:

Cannes Diary from Film Comment:

The Guardian Cannes commentary:

And, of course, George is back at Cannes this year, where he finds off the beaten track film fare:    http://georgethecyclist.blogspot.com

All went as planned with no excess crowds or unexpected circumstances preventing me from knocking off four Competition films in a row, two that received their premieres today and the two that premiered yesterday.  It was a risk to skip Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis" yesterday and hope I could see its repeated screening today, but I got away with it.  If I had seen it yesterday though, it would have made for a pair of Competition films centered around a guy driving around a big city in a stretch white limo in a dream sequence of a movie.  Yesterday it was in Paris, today in New York.  I didn't much care for yesterday's drive, nor today's either.  The script might have been sitting in Cronenberg's drawer for fifty years, dating back to the era of Ionseco and the Theater of the Absurd.

A young big-time executive wishes to drive across a traffic-clogged, not so safe New York to get a hair cut.  He has security guards jogging alongside his car.  Rats are on the verge of becoming a unit of currency replacing the gold standard.  The guy stops a couple of times to have breakfast and then lunch in a small diner with his young wife who isn't as interested in sex as he is.  When he takes off his sun glasses she comments, "I didn't know you had blue eyes."  She asks him to tell her something.  He says, "When I was four I figured out how much I would weigh on each of the planets."  Several times during the movie  he comments on having an asymmetrical prostrate.

Keller and Ralph were awaiting me at the day's first screening of "Mud" by the winner of Critic's Weekly last year, Jeff Nichols, with "Take Shelter.".  I hadn't seen Keller in several days.  It was good to see he had stuck it out, rather than leaving early in frustration as he thought he would.  "Has Cannes won you over?" I eagerly asked.  "No, but I've made my peace with it," he said.  He had been spoiled by the ease of Telluride, the only other festival he has attended, and the quality of its films, with such a limited schedule compared to most festivals.  After ten days he had figured things out here but wasn't willing to admit to being a full-fledged devotee such as Ralph and I.

"Mud" offered up remarkable performances by a pair of teen-aged boys who befriend a man wanted for murder played by Matthew McConaughey who is hiding out at a secret spot of theirs on an island in the Mississippi.  He is awaiting the arrival of his girl friend played by Reese Witherspoon.  He murdered her husband, rescuing her from a marriage gone bad.  Along with the police a group of Texas vigilante friends of the murder victim are in pursuit as well.  The dialogue is crackling and the plot gripping.  Various sub plots are all cautionary tales on idolizing women.  This could win the award for the best screen play.

My two other Competition films were genre pieces from Russia and South Korea.  "In the Fog" took place on the Western front during WWII amongst Russian peasants. One of them is arrested by the Nazis.  They threaten to hang him unless he agrees to a confession.  Against his better judgment he decides to live, but then is ostracized by his community for seeming to be a collaborator.  This is another of the character in Deep Shit films that have come to dominate the festival.

A young administrative assistant/executive in "The Taste of Money" wallows in at least shallow shit after he allows himself to be seduced/raped by the 70-year old woman who runs a huge family corporation.  Corruption and sex dominate this slick, but irrelevant film.

Ralph, Keller and I slipped into the awards ceremony for Un Certain Regard before dashing to the Director Fortnight's Award winner.  Jury president Tim Roth lamented the impossibility of selecting the winners because the films were all so good.  They always say that, but it was quite true in this instance.  The three of us were rooting for the Mexican film "After Lucia,"  which won.  Roth gave an extra award to "Le Grand Soir" the French black comedy.  He thanked Thierry Fremaux for including a comedy in the schedule as they were so many heavy dramas.

The Director Fortnight's jury must have had a similar reaction, as its winner was the French light-hearted comedy "Camille Rewinds."   It started out like an all too-typical French film on a film set, but then veered off into slightly original territory when the lead actress, a 40-year old, returns to her parents home and slips into a time warp going back to being a 16-year old.  She goes to school as her 40-year old self and connects with her classmates who are still themselves.  She doesn't want to have anything to do with her old boy friend and tells him she doesn't want to have him leave her accusing her of being his ball-and-chain.   This was a refreshing dose of lightness after the many heavy films, but not necessarily exceptional cinema worthy of an award.  At least she rides her old bicycle on occasion, but my enjoyment of the movie was deflated by a couple of crashes, once hitting a car and another time just having the bike slip out from under her, giving me a start and a gasp each time.

The traditional final screening of the festival before Sunday's repeat of all the Competition films and the Closing Night film was a Director Fortnight's film at the Arcades at 10:30 pm.  "Fogo" was a largely dialogue-less documentary on a mostly barren, rugged  island with just a few residents and their dogs. This was a very questionable example of minimalism with very little explanation of what the movie was about.

We were all eager for Sunday's schedule of Competition films.  I was most lucky that the four I have not seen are all playing in different time slots allowing me to see them all.  Ralph was not so lucky. Two of his three are playing at the same time and at the same time as the Reygadas film, which he wanted to see again.  And that will be his choice.  Its hard to believe the festival is drawing to a close.  It flew by faster than ever.  As Ralph and I walked along Antibes after "Fogo" Ralph commented on how much he loves this experience, every aspect of it, and will most certainly be back next year for his third time;  I will be celebrating my tenth.  Yes it has been another fabulous immersion in the world of cinema.

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