Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cannes Day 4

The considerably older looking director Xavier Dolan, no longer 18, now (gasp!) a receding hairline at age 23, poses with cast member Monia Chokri for Laurence Anyways

The ever-frazzled looking Jury President Nanni Moretti is hounded by paparazzi wherever he goes

Simultaneous to the Cannes Festival is the NATO Summit taking place in Chicago this weekend, where the big news story was the police arrest ahead of time of 4 suspects who were charged by police with building Molotov cocktails, allegedly intended to throw them at President Obama’s headquarters and the Mayor’s home, as well as other targets.  The suspects denied all charges, claiming the equipment seized by police was used for local beer brewing.  The story made the international press here:
You can follow the story here from a blogger who is closer to the ground action:

While The Chicago Tribune blog has basically quoted the police version of events:

Meanwhile, the Fest has been controversy free, without any films yet rising to elevated heights - - that is until today. Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone had been the highest rated film of the Fest, but that may quickly change, as Michael Haneke, winner of the Palme D’Or three years ago with The White Ribbon, may have produced another singularly masterful work with Amour (Love).  More on that tomorrow when the reviews come in.

Cannes photos from the Guardian:

and here:

photos from The Hollywood Reporter:

Fashion photos from Cannes at Time magazine:

Vintage photos from the golden years at Cannes from The London Telegraph:

from Mark:
The international review sites are really interesting because the writers come at the movies from distinctly different angles than American writers. For example, the European reviews I've read of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" are distinctly unimpressed, as opposed to the rapturous reception it had at Sundance. The European writers tend to find the movie goofy and fake-naive. (The trailer didn't do much for me, but trailers can be highly misleading as we know.)

Europeans have never heard of David Gordon Green, as none of his films ever played at Cannes, who has all but abandoned an American indie style he helped create, along with Julie Dash in Daughters of the Dust (1991), both of which seem prominently influential in this film.

According to Barbara Scharres, covering Cannes at the Ebert blog, on Sundance winner Beasts of the Southern Wild:

Holding "Beasts of the Southern Wild" together is the incredibly remarkable performance of Quvenzhané Wallis. I don't know how old this child is in real life, but she is a prodigy, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if she were to win this year's Best Actress prize. Introduced onstage briefly at the Debussy Theatre screening this morning, she was today's most adorable movie star, with her head of brown curls and her silver and peach-colored party dress with its skirt of cascading ruffles. The film received the most prolonged and enthusiastic applause that I've seen yet in this year's festival.

while also offering thoughts on Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl and Paradise:  Love:

The thing about Seidl's films is that no one is ever wholly innocent, and no one ever gets to watch the scenes he portrays as an act of voyeurism. He aims to make it uncomfortable, and it is. "Paradise: Love," is rife with male and female nudity, but the story isn't structured for pleasure. The women are often ugly, not in their oversized stretch-marked bodies, but in the vileness of their greed as clueless users. The men, while beautiful to look at, have become appalling conmen in their slavery to a system that makes their manhood a commodity.

In a scene that sums up the film for me, Teresa lies naked and asleep under a filmy blue mosquito net on Mungu's bed in his tiny hole of an apartment. He sits nearby on his couch, also naked, smoking a joint and drinking, his face an unreadable mask as he watches her in the near-dark.

Leaving the "Paradise: Love" screening, Vogue magazine film critic John Powers and I fell into a discussion about the ultimate intention behind Seidl's work. It's deliberately provocative to the extreme, even offensive to many, but to me, nothing he depicts is gratuitous. The lower his characters fall, the more degraded they become, even when they are themselves the perpetrators of cruel debasement, the more some essential kernel of humanity, some potentially sympathetic and graspable quality is revealed. We may not like it but I believe it's there.

What do 5 films have in common?  How about musical composer Alexandre Desplat:

If one theme dominates this Cannes it is Alexandre Desplat. The prolific composer's name – he's done scores for The King's Speech, The Tree of Life, Harry Potter, The Queen - flashes up on the credits of a record-breaking five films in the selection: Audiard's Rust and Bone, Garrone's Reality, the Polanski documentary, Moonrise Kingdom and Gilles Bourdos's Renoir which will close Un Certain Regard next week. You'd think they'd get his name right by now, at least, then? "I've been nominated for four Oscars and they alway read my name out wrong," he tells me. "It's Day-plah, I say, no S, no T, and yet every time they read the nominations: Alexander Dessplatt." Maybe they're waiting till he actually wins one to get it right, I venture? "In that case, I will be very forgiving."

the latest on the missing Terrence Malick film now called To the Wonder:

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

 Les étoiles de la critique is still nearly empty, but is a scorecard of French critics:

Haneke moves up, Cronenberg moves down just a bit over at Neil Young with the current odds at Jigsaw Lounge:

5-2 : LIKE SOMEONE IN LOVE  - Kiarostami
5-1 : YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET - Resnais
5-1 : AMOUR (aka LOVE) - Haneke
13-2 : RUST AND BONE - Audiard
13-2 : POST TENEBRAS LUX - Reygadas
10-1 : COSMOPOLIS - Cronenberg
11-1 : IN THE FOG - Loznitsa
12-1 : ON THE ROAD - Salles
- – - – - – - – - -
16-1 : BEYOND THE HILLS - Mungiu
20-1 : KILLING THEM SOFTLY - Dominik
22-1 : MOONRISE KINGDOM – Anderson
28-1 : HOLY MOTORS - Carax
33-1 : THE HUNT – Vinterberg
35-1 : PARADISE : LOVE – Seidl
- – - – - – - – - – - -
50-1 : MUD - Nichols
50-1 : THE PAPERBOY – Daniels
66-1 : LAWLESS – Hillcoat
80-1 : THE ANGELS’ SHARE - Loach
80-1 : REALITY - Garrone
100-1 : AFTER THE BATTLE - Nasrallah

Screendaily still has paywalls, but if you click on the reviews, they are open to the public: 

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:

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:

Richard Corliss from Time Magazine:

Karina Longworth at LA Weekly:

Cannes Fest at Time Out London:

Cannes Diary from Film Comment:

The Guardian Cannes commentary:

Movieline Cannes Coverage:

Various writers at Twitch:

Michael Oleszczyk from Hammer to Nail:

Melissa Anderson at ArtForum:

Julie Miller at Vanity Fair:

Sukhdev Sandhu from The Daily Telegraph:

Alex Billington from First Showing:

Michael Phillips at Cannes from the Chicago Tribune:

The Envelope, the Cannes Blog from The LA Times:

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

The Huffington Post:

Emanuel Levy:

Eric Lavallee Ion Cinema:

Brad Bevet from Ropes of Silicon:

Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa:

Charles Ealy at the Austin Movie Blog:

Matt Bochenski from Little White Lies:

And, of course, George is back at Cannes this year, where he finds off the beaten track film fare:

Today was catch up with the Competition Films day.  I would have seen four of the 22 if I hadn't been turned away from "Reality" for the third time, though I am getting closer, within the final 25.  The day began with John Hillcoat's "Lawless," a superb recreation of  moonshiners during the prohibition era with another role for Jessica Chastain.

For the first time I was able to sit through a movie with Keller, my friend from Marfa, Texas who has been a Telluride regular for the past 18 years, getting hooked on it two years after me.   He's been a passholder and lately a Patron/Sponsor at Telluride, though he always likes coming by my shipping department and pitching in.  This is his first Cannes experience.  It has been a bit intimidating and overwhelming for him.  The Palais theater with a seating capacity of 2300 could accommodate the entire population of Marfa.  The crush in and out of theaters has been too much for Keller and finding his way around as well.  Whenever he sees a cruise ship out in the bay he's upset that even more people are coming to town.  In the first three days of the festival he had only sat through two movies in their entirety.  Every day he says will be his last so he can resume his three month motorcycle trip around Europe.

"Lawless" passed the Keller test though and so did "Love: Paradise," Ulrich Seidl's Competition entry we saw later in the day about older, very fleshy Austrian and German women on holiday in Kenya living it up as sex tourists with young African men.  This was a virtual documentary with stunning authenticity.  It was very real but also very sad and somewhat pathetic.

Keller had walked out of "After the Battle"on Day Two when this Competition entry about the latest Egyptian uprising and revolution had its premiere in the Palais.  He wasn't the only one.  I could understand why at first, but I was very glad I don't have such inclinations as this was a worthy portrayal of the issues dividing the country.

There are two movies in the market capitalizing on famous figures in their title--"You Can't Kill Stephen King," a horror film and "The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom."  I didn't know it, but the Dolly Parton film becomes a bicycle film, when an adolescent girl hops on her bicycle to ride from her small Canadian town to Minneapolis to attend a Dolly Parton concert.  She is adopted and is convinced Dolly Parton is her mother.  Her mother chases after her when she discovers she has gone missing, dressed up in her Dolly Parton outfit with white boots and frilly skirt and bright red lipstick and white jacket with red trim.

My documentary for the day was "Sexwork and Me" about the legal window prostitutes of Amsterdam.  The government is trying to phase them out, even though it is a big tourist draw.  The female director was able to convince five of the prostitutes to go on camera with her, though two refuse to reveal their faces.    One is an older woman who could have been cast in the Seidl film.  She also earned money from the government by servicing men with autism and other disabilities.  Nothing out of the ordinary in this documentary.

As usual I ended my day at the final post ten pm screening of an Un Certain Regard film in the Debussy.  Today it was "Antiviral" by Brandon Cronenberg, the first film by the son of David, who has a film in Competition. Proud father was in attendance.  This perverse sci-fi tale of an agency that will inject celebrity diseases to those who wish to experience them was a waste of time.  Lots of needle time--injecting the diseases and also withdrawing a blood sample from celebrities with a virus.  This is supposed to be a commentary about celebrity infatuation.

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