Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cannes 2014 Day 10

Anne Dorval, Xavier Dolan, Suzanne Clément et Antoine-Olivier Pilon

Xavier Dolan kisses actress Suzanne Clément

Italian born Irish actress Aisling Franciosi

Kylie Minogue

Dutch model Lara Stone

French actress Isild Le Besco

former French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

Israeli model Bar Refaeli and actress Rosario Dawson

Jury member Willem Dafoe and his Italian wife Giada Colagrande

Leonardo DiCaprio

A collection of pieces from The Hollywood Reporter: 

Cannes photos from The Telegraph: 

A French site that lists daily galleries of red carpet photos:  

E Online photos: 

The Huffington Post: 

Elle fashion photos: 

Vanity Fair best dressed: 

International Business Times:  

Hollywood Life photo gallery: 

Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman at Cannes 2014

Uma Thurman from Pulp Fiction

Tarantino tells Cannes digital screenings have killed cinema  “As far as I'm concerned, digital projection is the death of cinema,” thus quotes Tarantino, by Alexandria Sage from The Toronto Sun, May 23, 2014

CANNES, FRANCE - Screening films in digital is like forcing audiences to watch television in public, cult director Quentin Tarantino told the Cannes film festival on Friday, adding that the lush 35-millimetre cinema he grew up with was "dead".

Tarantino is not competing in this year's event, but he spoke to journalists and film critics before a 35mm screening (all the rest are presented digitally) of his hit "Pulp Fiction" on the beach on Friday night.

"The fact that most films now are not presented in 35mm means that the war is lost," said the director of the cult hit "Reservoir Dogs".

Digital formats and distribution have swept the world of cinema, largely because of cost - most of the films in Cannes are now projected that way.

But aficionados still sing the praises of the old-school film reels - in the same way that music buffs hold on to their vinyl LPs over compact discs. Fans obsess about the warmth and fineness of the 35mm grain and its ability to record the darkest of shadows and the brightest of lights.

"Digital projections, that's just television in public. And apparently the whole world is okay with television in public, but what I knew as cinema is dead," said Tarantino.

"I'm hopeful that we're going through a woozy romantic period with the ease of digital and I'm hoping that while this generation is completely hopeless, that the next generation that will come out will demand the real thing," he added.

The director known for the energy and violence of his films said digital did have some advantages.

"The good side of digital is the fact that a young filmmaker can actually now just buy a cellphone and if they have the tenacity to actually put something together ... they can actually make a movie," he said.

Before the advent of digital, the barriers to getting a film made were so great, it was like a "Mount Everest that most of us couldn't climb".

"But why an established filmmaker would shoot on digital, I have no fucking idea at all," added Tarantino.

The director said he has a "pretty terrific" collection of 35mm prints at home, and an even bigger 16mm one, "and I screen them all the time, I'm always watching movies".

"One of the nice things about my life, because I've done fairly well in cinema, it's kind of afforded me a chance to almost live an academic's life, and so my feeling is I'm studying for my professorship in the history of world cinema and the day I die is the day I graduate."

Tarantino was asked about his win of Cannes' top Palme d'Or prize in 1994 for "Pulp Fiction."

"Winning the Palme d'Or, to this day, as far as laurels are concerned, is my single absolutely, positively, greatest achievement," said Tarantino.

"Of all the trophies that I have won, it is the one that has the biggest place of honour in my house, it's the one I want another one of, maybe, someday, before they turn out the lights."

One idea currently intriguing Tarantino is turning his 2012 Western "Django Unchained", starring Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio, into a four-part mini-series for cable, using extra unseen footage, he said.

Eighteen films are competing for the Palme d'Or in the festival's main competition this year. The prize will be awarded on Saturday.

'Leviathan' leads a Russian invasion at Cannes  Jake Coyle from The Washington Post, May 23, 2014

CANNES, France — Amid unrest in eastern Ukraine and a return to Cold War-like politics, a powerful satire that depicts local corruption in Vladimir Putin’s Russia has stormed the Cannes Film Festival.

Andrei Zviaguintsev’s “Leviathan” premiered Friday in Cannes after earning some of the best reviews of the festival for its tale of a Job-like family man stripped of his seaside home by the crooked mayor of a small North Russia town. He’s offered less than a fifth of its value, harassed by local authorities and given mere lip service by the courts. In the mayor’s office, a portrait of Putin looms overhead.

But while some wished to label “Leviathan” an artistically crafted indictment of contemporary Russia, director Zviaguintsev disputed such a reading. He said he was initially inspired by a story about a Colorado man who went on a rampage after being evicted.

“This story could have taken place anywhere in the world,” said Zviaguintsev. “But for me there is nothing closer to my heart than Russia.”

Producer Alexandre Rodnianski pointed out that approximately 35 percent of the film was financed by the state through the Ministry of Culture and the Russian Cinema Fund. But Zviaguintsev acknowledged that the Minister of Culture, Vladimir Medinsky, didn’t like the film after recently seeing it.

Rodnianski said he hopes to release the film in Russia in September.

“We’ll see how it will be received in Russia,” said the producer. “Definitely we expect this movie to be challenging.”

Only one Russian film has ever won Cannes’ top honor, the Palme d’Or, for which “Leviathan” is considered a contender. The festival’s awards will be handed out Saturday night.

The lone Russian director to win the Palme d’Or was Mikhail Kalatozov for 1958’s “The Cranes Are Flying.” During the decades of the USSR, Russian relations with the Cannes Film Festival were often strained, as Soviet delegates sought to ensure that only films showing the country in a positive light played at the festival.

In his memoir “Citizen Cannes,” Cannes president Gilles Jacob wrote of Russian masterpieces like Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Andre Rublev”: “The authorities never wanted to give them to us.” Tarkovsky’s films often premiered in Cannes, despite Soviet objections.

The 50-year-old Zviaguintsev (who has often been compared to Tarkovsky) is one of Russia’s most acclaimed filmmakers. “Leviathan” is his fourth film; his first, “The Return,” won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2003.

“Leviathan” is the sole Russian film in competition for the Palme d’Or in Cannes, but there are other movies at the festival that relate heavily to Russia.

Gabe Polsky’s hockey documentary “Red Army” depicts the grueling Soviet program to build elite hockey players, many of whom later left for the National Hockey League in the U.S. Sergei Loznitsa’s “Maiden” documents the uprising in Ukraine and the protests that toppled Viktor Yanukovych. (Presidential elections are to be held Sunday in Ukraine.) Michel Hazanavicius’ ”The Search” depicts the Second Chechen War, portraying the Russian army as a grim killing machine.

When asked about what statement he was making about Russia, Hazanavicius hesitated to answer and then said he was interested in telling a humanistic story about individuals in wartime.

Zviaguintsev, too, didn’t want to characterize his film as political.

“In all counties of the world all around the Earth, the problem of liberty is important. It’s the duty of everyone to combat the state,” he said. “Either you don’t talk about the problem or you address it in an honest and frank manner.”

The threat of censorship wasn’t unfathomable to Zviaguintsev, who argued against legislation scheduled to soon go into effect in Russia that would restrict films from including profane language. Still, he said he’s resolved to keep making films in his native country.

“For the time being, everything is absolutely fine,” he said of the Russian reaction to “Leviathan.” ‘’The film has been made. The film is there.”

Annie Silverstein’s Skunk

CANNES: 'Skunk' Tops Cannes Film Festival's Cinefondation  Elsa Keslassy from Variety, May 22, 2014

CANNES– Annie Silverstein’s “Skunk” won the top prize of the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinefondation, whose jury was presided by Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami.

Created by Cannes’ prexy Gilles Jacob and run by George Goldenstern, the Cinefondation honors the best student shorts. This year’s selection comprised 16 student shorts chosen among 1631 submissions from 457 schools.

“Skunk” turns on a 14-year old girl who lives in a rural area of Texas who learns how to stand up for herself and loses her innocence after her beloved pit bull gets stolen by a dog fighter. Silverstein, a graduate of the University of Texas, received a grant of 15,000 Euros ($20,475) as part of her prize and will be invited back at Cannes with her feature debut.

The second prize was awarded to “Oh Lucy!” directed by NYU student Atsuko Hirayanagi. It turns on a 55-year old office lady in Tokyo who is given a new identity.

Meanwhile, “Levito Madre” from Italy’s Fulvio Risuleo (Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia), and “The Bigger Picture” from U.K. director Daisy Jacobs (National Film and Television School), shared the third prize.

The second and third prize winners received 11,250 Euros and 7,500 Euros, respectively.

Kiarostami led the jury which comprised Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (“Grigris”), Noemie Lvovky (“Camille Rewinds”), Daniela Thomas (“Paris, I Love You”) and Joachim Trier (“Oslo, 31 august”).

Speaking to Variety about the selection process, Kiarostami said he and the rest of the jury came in with very high expectations and  found that most of the shorts presented were not audacious or experimental enough.

The Iranian helmer explained he was always busy making videos in between directing movies and was considering unveiling some of them to the public one day. Kiarostami also said he was currently writing his next project, a story of impossible love.

Grigory Fesenko and Yana Novikova from The Tribe

CANNES: Slaboshpytskiy's 'The Tribe' Tops Critics' Week ...  Elsa Keslassy from Variety, May 22, 2014

CANNES– Ukrainian helmer Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s feature debut “The Tribe” topped the 53rd edition of Cannes’ Critics’ Week. 

“The Tribe” won the Nespresso Grand Prize, the Revelation Prize, and the newly-launched distribution grant from the Fondation Gan. 

Repped by Alpha Violet, “The Tribe” follows the dark journey of deaf-mute teenager who enters a specialized boarding school, where he becomes part of a wild organization prone to bullying and prostitution.

Slaboshpytskiy’s previous short, “Nuclear Waste,” won a prize in Locarno.

The SACD (French society of authors, composers and directors) prize went to another feature debut, Boris Lojkine’s “Hope,” which tells the tale of a young man from Cameroon who rescues and falls in love with Nigerian woman in the Sahara desert.

The film, sold by Pyramide, marks the fiction debut of Lojkine, a documentary filmmaker whose credits include “Les ames errantes” and “Ceux qui restent.”

The Grand Jury was presided by British director Andrea Arnold, while the Revelation jury was headed by French helmer Rebecca Zlotowski.

Topped by artistic director Charles Tesson and program manager Remi Bonhomme, this year’s selection was particularly strong, with such standouts as Melanie Laurent’s toxic-friendship drama “Breathe” and David Robert Mitchell’s coming-of-age suspenser “It Follows.”

Thomas Lilti’s “Hippocrate,” a French drama about two hospital interns who come from different worlds, closed the sidebar. 

Kornél Mundruczó’s White God

CANNES: 'White God' Wins Un Certain Regard Prize  Justin Chang from Variety, May 23, 2014

CANNES — “White God,” Hungarian helmer Kornel Mundruczo’s audacious drama about a canine uprising, won the Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday.

The jury prize was given to “Force majeure,” Scandinavian helmer Ruben Ostlund’s sharply comedic tale of a family weathering a crisis while on vacation at a ski lodge. Ostlund was previously in Un Certain Regard with 2011′s “Play.”

The jury awarded a special prize to “The Salt of the Earth,” Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado’s documentary about Salgado’s photographer father, Sebastiao.

Ensemble acting honors were awarded to the cast of Un Certain Regard opener “Party Girl,” the debut feature of French helmers Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis. The actor prize went to Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil for his performance as the title character in Rolf de Heer’s “Charlie’s Country,” a drama set in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Argentinean helmer Pablo Trapero, president of the Certain Regard jury, praised “the force and originality of the films presented this year.”

Twenty films representing 23 countries screened in Un Certain Regard. In addition to Trapero, the jury included Criterion Collection president Peter Becker; Norway-based actress Maria Bonnevie; French actress Geraldine Pailhas; and Senegalese filmmaker Moussa Toure.

Adele Haenel and Kevin Azais in Thomas Cailley’s Les Combattants (Love At First Fight)

CANNES: 'Love At First Fight' Scores Historic Directors ...  Love At First Fight’ Scores Historic Directors’ Fortnight Triple, by John Hopewell from Variety, May 23, 2014

First-time director Thomas Cailley’s Gallic romcom “Les Combattants” (Love At First Fight) scored a historic triple at Cannes Friday, sweeping all three of Cannes’ 46th Directors’ Fortnight prizes, the first time that has ever happened.

Starring Kevin Azais (“Playing Dead”) and Adele Haenel – who already made a large impression in Celine Sciamma’s “Water Lilies” and Katel Guillevere’s more recent “Suzanne,” – “Fight” scooped Directors’ Fortnight’s Art Cinema Award and the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers’ SACD Prize. As just announced, it also won the section’s Europa Cinemas Label.

Added to that, and also on Friday, “Fight” snagged the FIPRESCI nod for best film in a Cannes parallel section.

Four awards on the same day is a rare feat for any film non-Cannes competition title. The trophy trawl will do nothing to staunch buzz among pundits, especially in Cailley’s native France, that he is the Next Big Thing in the biggest movie production industry in continental Europe.

True to say, the SACD prize is limited to French-language films, the Europa Cinemas Label logically enough to European titles, limiting the candidates who can sweep Directors’ Fortnight trio of unofficial kudos. The trophy trawl is sure to goose more sales for Bac Films that handles international rights and boost its box office in France, where “Fight” will be released by Haut et Court.

Gallic actor-director Guillaume Gallienne’s comic confessional “Me Myself and Mum,” which topped the 45th Directors’ Fortnight, winning its Art Cinema Award and SACD Prize went on to become one of France’s highest-grossing releases of 2013.

An acid but upbeat romantic comedy, “Fight” has Azais plays macho young carpenter Arnaud who is (literally) knocked off his feet by the wild-at-heart military fanatic Madeleine (Haenel). He decides, rashly, to join her at an army training fortnight.

Produced by veteran production house Nord-Ouest, and lensed by Cailley’s brother, DP David Cailley, “Fight” won an upbeat reception from critics at Cannes. Variety’s Peter Debruge praised its blend of “slick Hollywood-style technique with that restrained sense of storytelling so heartily encouraged among Euro auteurs.”

The only question now is how good the film really is.

For Debruge, in a comment that might now stir healthy debate, “the same film wouldn’t necessarily stand out if unveiled at Sundance, despite a pair of punchy lead performances from young hotshots Adele Haenel and Kevin Azais.”

After ‘Me’s’ win last year, “Fight’s” trippletrophy trawl also vindicatesthe move by Directors’ Fortnight artistic director Edouard Waintrop to program more comedies in the section.

'Winter Sleep,' 'Jauja,' 'Love at First Fight' Take Cannes ...  Fipresci (Competition and Un Certain Regard), Director’s Fortnight, and the Ecumenical Jury prize announcements, by Leo Barraclough from Variety, May 23, 2014

CANNES — The International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) awarded its prize for the best film in Cannes’ competition section on Friday to Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Winter Sleep,” confirming the pic’s status as one of the front-runners for the Palme d’Or.

The jury said the award had gone to a “great filmmaker who had managed to surprise and delight us again with his in-depth soul-searching, put to us in great cinematic terms.”

The director thanked the critics for having “wrote some very nice things about my films. It was a challenging year, and, I want to say, without you and the audience, art films, but especially long art films, would be very lonesome.”

The Fipresci jury chose Argentine Lisandro Alonso’s “Jauja” as best film in the Un Certain Regard lineup. The jury said the filmmaker had “created an original imaginary world with a landscape of passion, dream, and inner truth.”

Directors’ Fortnight’s buzzed-up “Love at First Fight,” from France’s Thomas Cailley, won best film in Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week sections. The jury only considered first films for this award.

The jury commented: “It is a wonderful first film: an original coming-of-age vision that captures the pulse of a generation, looking for fights to engage them.”

Abderrahmane Sissako’s “Timbuktu” won the Cannes’ Ecumenical jury prize. The director was born in Mauritania, but grew up in Mali, where the film is set. The film plays in Cannes’ competition section.

Wim Wenders’ “The Salt of the Earth” and Spaniard Jaime Rosales’ “Beautiful Youth” received commendations from the Ecumenical jury. Both films play in Un Certain Regard.

Cannes critics ratings, a composite of  7 different critic scores, where some of the highest ratings might surprise you:

Screendaily Jury Grid (Page 24 from Digital edition #8), where currently the highest rated films are Mr. Turner at 3.6 and Winter Sleep at 3.4, with the latest Dardennes film, Two Days, One Night, rated an even 3.  None of the other films are rated above 3:

Les Etoiles de la critiques is now complete, where the highest rated films are now the latest Dardennes film, Two Days, One Night, with 12 reviews at 3 or above, with 8 declaring it a masterpiece, Winter Sleep, with 10 reviews at 3 or above, and 5 declaring it a masterpiece, Timbuktu, with 11 reviews at 3 or above, with 4 declaring it a masterpiece, Mommy has 10 reviews with 3 or above, with 4 calling it a masterpiece, while Foxcatcher has 9 reviews at 3 or above, with 2 declaring it a masterpiece.  The well touted Leviathan has only 7 reviews at 3 or above, with 4 declaring it a masterpiece.  What’s interesting in looking at this completed board is how the French critics barely watch any films from Un Certain Regard, concentrating all their energies exclusively on competition films:

The Cannes Criterion Forum is up and running:  

While Neil Young from Jigsaw Lounge maintains the odds for winners: 

to win the Palme d’Or

Awards and Best Actor predictions
4/1 Winter Sleep (N.B.Ceylan) Palme d’Or
9/2 Leviathan (A.Zvyagintsev) Grand Prix
5/1 Mommy (X.Dolan) Best Director
7/1 Mr Turner (M.Leigh) Best Actor
- – -
9/1 Goodbye to Language (J-L.Godard) Prix du Jury
10/1 The Wonders (A.Rohrwacher) Best Screenplay
12/1 Timbuktu (A.Sissako)
12/1 Foxcatcher (B.Miller)
14/1 Still the Water (N.Kawase)
16/1 Two Days, One Night (Dardenne & Dardenne) Best Actress
16/1 Maps to the Stars (D.Cronenberg)
20/1 Clouds of Sils Maria (O.Assayas)
- – -
28/1 The Homesman (T.L.Jones)
33/1 Jimmy’s Hall (K.Loach)
50/1 Wild Tales (D.Szifrón)
- – -
125/1 Saint Laurent (B.Bonello)
150/1 The Search (M.Hazanavicius)
200/1 The Captive (A.Egoyan)
2/1 Two Days One Night – Marion Cotillard
7/2 Mommy – Anne Dorval (solo or with Suzanne Clement)
7/1 Maps to the Stars – Julianne Moore
8/1 Clouds of Sils Maria – Kristen Stewart (solo or with Juliette Binoche)
11/1 The Wonders – Maria Alexandra Lungu
- – -
16/1 Still the Water – Jun Yoshinaga
20/1 Winter Sleep – Demet Akbag and/or Melisa Sozen
25/1 Timbuktu – Toulou Kiki
25/1 Leviathan – Elena Lyadova
33/1 The Homesman – Hillary Swank (/female ensemble)
33/1 Mr Turner – Dorothy Atkinson
33/1 Wild Tales – Erica Rivas (/female ensemble)

3/1 Mr Turner – Timothy Spall
9/2 Winter Sleep – Haluk Bilginer
9/2 Foxcatcher – Steve Carell (/ C.Tatum / M.Ruffalo)
7/1 Leviathan – Alexey Serebryakov (/ Vladimir Vdovichenkov)
9/1 Timbuktu – Ibrahim Ahmed
9/1 Jimmy’s Hall – Barry Ward (/ Jim Norton)
10/1 Mommy – Antoine-Olivier Pilon
- – -
14/1 The Search – Abdul-Khalim Mamatsuiev
22/1 Saint Laurent – Gaspard Ulliel
25/1 Two Days One Night – Fabrizio Rongione
28/1 The Homesman – Tommy Lee Jones
28/1 The Wonders – Sam Louwyck
33/1 Still the Water – Nijiri Murakami
40/1 Wild Tales – Ricardo Darín (/ male ensemble)
40/1 Maps to the Stars – Robert Pattinson (/John Cusack and/or Evan Bird)

The round-up of various links covering Cannes:

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

The Hollywood Reporter at Cannes:

David Hudson does all the links for each review at Fandor:

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

Kevin Jagernauth, Oliver Lyttelton, and Jessica Kiang the indieWIRE Playlist: 

Daniel Kasman, Adam Cook, and likely others at Mubi:

The Guardian collection of reviews:

The Guardian Cannes commentary: 

David Jenkins from Little White Lies: 

Eric Lavallee and Nicholas Bell from Ion Cinema:

Drew McSweeny and Guy Lodge & others from HitFix: 

Various writers at Twitch: 

Sukhdev Sandhu and Robbie Collins from The Daily Telegraph: 

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

Awards speculation is rampant with all the Competition screenings completed today and the nine-person jury having to make their choices.  The Russian film "Leviathan," the final film screened, fresh in everyone's minds, has suddenly become the favorite to be named the best film of the festival.  It wouldn't be my choice.  This somewhat stylized depiction of corruption and thuggery in small town Russia had my mind wandering, mainly to the film I'd seen just before, Olivier Assayas' "Clouds of Sils Maria."  I loved it, but curiously it doesn't seem to figure in anyone else's lists of awards.  It deserves best screenplay at a minimum.  

It was a most intelligent script of a 38-year old famous movie and theatre actress played by Juliette Binoche largely interacting with her young assistant/minder.  It fully captures all the anxieties and tribulations of an actress trying to sustain her career as she prepares for a role in a play opposite the hottest young actress in Hollywood. She had played the role the younger actress will play twenty years before and it launched her career.  The relationship between the two women in the play mirrors her own relationship with her assistant.  As the two of them read lines from the play in beautfiul Swiss scenery, sometimes as they're hiking high in the mountains its not always clear when the lines come from the play or their present relationship.  Such trickery sometimes puts off critics as it did with "Certified Copy," which won Binoche the best actress award here.  

The three sidebar categories all announced their winners today.  Ralph and I were in the Debussy as the Un Certain Rewards winners called up on stage.  Best actor went to the Aboriginal film, an ensemble cast award to the French film "Party Girl," a special award to the Wim Wenders documentary on photographer Sebastiao Salgado, the second best film to "Turist" an Austrian skiing movie, and the best film to the Hungarian "White God," which was screened after the ceremony.

Neither Ralph or I had seen it so we didn't have to dash up to the Critic's Weekly award winners, at least until later.  The film opens with a young girl bicycling across a long bridge in a large city being chased by a huge pack of dogs.  Then the movie flashes back to what led to this.  It was a most remarkable film of dogs taking revenge on those who abused a lead dog, who had belonged to the girl on the bike.  Her father forced her to get rid of it when she came to live with him while her mother was away.  The dog stunts were amazing.  The lead dog had been forced into dog-fighting, transforming him from a devoted pet to a hardened killer.  Opinion is split whether this movie will antagonize or please dog lovers.  It was a brave choice by the jury, overlooking the acclaimed Argentinian experimental film "Jauje" that the FIPRESCI  jury gave their top prize to.

The Critics' Weekly gave their awards to "The Tribe" from the Ukraine and "Hope" from France.  I had avoided this small category of films to insure I hadn't seen its award winners in its end of the day time slot when only one other film was playing.  A young French woman beside me in line asked if I could google the Directors's Fortnight winner on my iPad.  She jumped up and down with delight at the news that "Love at First Fight" had won, as she was friends with its young first-time director.  

We had to wait for "The Tribe" to finish before "Hope" began at nearly eleven pm.  It was a perfect final film for the day as I will begin tomorrow with "Timbuktu," both films set in northern Sahara Africa.  A Nigerian woman by the name of Hope teams up with a guy from Cameroon out of desperate necessity as they make the long trek from their homelands to try to get to Europe.  She is forced into prostitution to pay their way when their money is taken from them by a very hostile gang that holds them hostage.  Their perilous journey is fraught with danger and human predators in this superb gripping drama of those seeking a better life.

In contrast to the genuine terror in "Hope," the Out of Competition Argentinian film "Ardor" offered up contrived terror.  This film was put on the slate only because it starred jury member Gael Garcia Bernal.  He comes to the rescue of a family in the jungle who are being besieged by a handful of white mercenaries.  I regretted I had prolonged my conversation with Ralph after our previous movie, as it delayed my arrival to the screening of Ryan Gosling's "Lost River," playing at the same time, making me fall four short of getting in.  It was said to be a failure, but it would have been a more interesting  failure than this one.

This day of fine cinema was also highlighted by the Jacques Audiard "Master Class" conducted by master film critic Michel Ciment.  There was a greater crush bent on seeing this than the Sophia Loren Master Class two days before, many of them students showing no scruples weaseling their way towards the front of the scrum at the theater entrance,  The interview included clips from all six of the films that Audiard directed, most of which had played at Cannes.  It began with a clip of a Claude Miller film that Audiard wrote the script for along with his father, a quite accomplished screen writer.  Audiard actually got his start in cinema as an editor, partially because he had a girlfriend who was an editor.  After writing he said he felt a little like Billy Wilder, who said he went from writer to director because he got tired of making the bed then having someone else sleep in it.  He also credited Ciment for inspiring him to make "The Beat My Heart Skipped," as he heard Ciment interview James Toback at Cannes the year "Fingers" played, the movie Audiard decided to do a remake of.  

After a clip from one of his early films he acknowledged he would film it differently now as one has to consider contemporary circumstances when making a film. His first film was a struggle as he learned the process, but after that it became a pleasure.  He couldn't remember where he came up with the idea for "Read My Lips," one of three of his films Ciment pointed out that feature a handicapped woman who sets a man on the straight-and-narrow.

Audiard's movies are marked by their violence, though he said it very much repels him.  He thoroughly researched prison life for "A Prophet," visiting prisons in Belgium, Switzerland and France.  He chose though not to film in a prison, but rather constructed a set resembling one.  He explained that he likes to film close-ups, as he is near-sighted.  He set his glasses on the table between him and Ciment, occasionally putting them on and then groping around forgetting where he had put them.

When Ralph and I exited the nearly two-hour session the much anticipated weekend schedule of films was available.  I was thrilled that I would be able to see the four Competition films I have missed as none of them are scheduled at the same time in the five theaters that will be replaying the fifty films from Competition, Un Certsin Regard and Out of Competition.  I don't know what the odds of that are, but I it helped make this one of the most satisfying days yet.  I will also be able to see several other films high on my list in the final two days of this extravaganza.

One of the reasons "Leviathon" has gained favor with the pundits and prognosticators as the jury's choice for the Palme d'Or is that it is very topical with Russia very much in the news, just as Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 911" won the top prize eleven years ago with the world down on George Bush.  I suspect that when the jury begins hashing it out, they'll decide on "Winter Sleep," even though I have yet to see it, but knowing well Ceylan's sensitivities.  It has to have the profundity and depth of a Palme d'Or that "Leviathan" lacked.  The FIPRESCI jury already has named it the best film of the festival. "Foxcatcher" could also be a threat depending on who are the strongest voices on the jury.  Willem Dafoe could stand up for it as could the Danish director Nicolas Refn who could well be partial to such fare, having won the best director award here himself for the fairly commercial film "Drive" in 2011.

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