Friday, May 16, 2014

Cannes 2014 Day 2

Kendall Jenner

Karlie Kloss

hangin’ out with the boys

Actress Cate Blanchett and Trophy honoree actress Adèle Exarchopoulos pose at the Chopard Trophee 2014 ceremony

Director Atom Egoyan and actress Rosario Dawson

Blake Lively

Liya Kebede

Zoe Saldana, Julianne Moore, and Liya Kebede selfie

A collection of pieces from The Hollywood Reporter:

E Online photos: 

Hollywood Life photo gallery:

Huffington Post fashion styles: 

Best dressed from Vanity Fair: 

A French site that lists daily galleries of red carpet photos, by date, offering regular or giant sized photos: 

Cannes 2014: what happens when the sun goes down?  The night it all went wrong, by Robbie Collin from The Telegraph, May 16, 2014

In theory, one of the best places to watch a film on Earth, let alone Cannes, is the Cinéma de la Plage, just off the Boulevard de la Croisette. Throughout the Cannes Festival every year, restored screenings of classic films are projected here, most evenings, for free, on a screen the size of a rock-concert stage, to a crowd reclined in festival-branded deck chairs, here to have a good time.

The programme has been running since 2002, and is fiendishly well-curated: this year’s includes two films from Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy; Walter Hill’s The Warriors; Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, which 20 years ago won the Palme d’Or here; and John Waters’ Polyester – screened, in accordance with le droit d’auteur, in scratch-and-sniff Odorama. Even so, the Cinéma de la Plage is also the first thing most critics erase from their to-do lists, since the screenings begin at 9.30pm, which is normally the first time during the day when you can sit down and seriously write, or drink.

Last night, I joined the queue snaking along the Croisette for a specially restored screening of Federico Fellini’s 8½, his 1963 masterpiece about a director, Guido Anselmi, with crippling creative block. It’s one of my favourite films of all time, and also the inspiration for this year’s festival poster: Marcello Mastroianni gazing over the top of his sunglasses and at Claudia Cardinale, who is gliding winsomely through the park, somewhere over the camera’s shoulder. The mood was one of high excitement. It was only the second day of the festival, and news had just broken that Quentin Tarantino was coming to town to present a special screening of the remaining film from Leone’s trilogy, A Fistful of Dollars, at the Closing Night Gala.

“Tarantino’s going to be here?” said one Australian journalist to his friend. “Oh man. We’ve got to be here for that. That’s awesome.”

The queuers split into three categories: young French men and women in their early 20s, who had dressed up smartly; older couples in various shades of khaki; and festival attendees dressed in what might be called "film-blogger chic": canvas shoes, sloppy jeans, checked shirts and, vitally, the complimentary Festival de Cannes 2014 delegates’ shoulder bag.

The gates opened, and we filed in. Stewards handed out thermal blankets branded with a Stella Artois logo, while a cheerful man circulated with a tray of chouchoux: toasted cashew nuts covered in a knobbly brown crust that tasted like a mixture of Marmite and golden syrup.

The sky was already dark, and an orange moon hung low over the bay, bisected by a razor-thin slice of cloud. Buñuel was here in spirit: the omens were good. At 9.30pm, the chouchoux man began his final circuit. At 9.40pm, he was still going. At 9.45pm, a shower of fireworks burst into life over the sea, and the yachts moored off the beach mournfully sounded their horns. At 9.51pm, a man took to the stage and wished us all “a good projection”.

For the most part, it was. The new print of 8½ is a bright, digital restoration taken from the original negative: the spa outside Rome, where most of the Fellini’s film takes place, is now baking in white sunlight, and Mastroianni’s tailoring has never looked so elegantly black. Another crucial, critical point: you haven’t seen Sandra Milo wiggle until you’ve seen her wiggle on a 35-foot screen.

And then, at 11.50pm, shortly before the film’s parade finale, as Guido held his head in his hands, disaster struck. A roar of static boomed from the loudspeakers on either side of the screen, which quickly faded to a hiss. A minute later, the sound cut out entirely. Then, two minutes later, the picture followed suit.

It was a fault with the DCP – the "digital cinema package" hard-disc from which films are mostly nowadays projected. A small man with a torch on his head climbed underneath things, but there was nothing to be done. When the sound system started playing Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, we knew all hope was lost, and miserably filed out.

“So did Guido ever make the f----ing film or not?” snapped an American voice.

Of 8½, we had seen perhaps 8¼. I looked upwards and Buñuel was still up there, slowly rolling across the blue-black sky. The crowd was almightily frustrated. Maybe he would have seen the funny side.

Cannes 2014: who will win the Palme d'Or?  Tim Robey from The Telegraph, May 15, 2014

Scrutinising the list for this year’s, or indeed any year’s, Palme d’Or competition is a bit like studying the line-up for a World Cup squad. You get a lot of old reliables, and it’s a surprise if any completely unfamiliar names sneak in.

Of the 18 films up for the Palme this year, only five are directed by filmmakers who haven’t previously competed. Of these, three – Italy’s Alice Rohrwacher, Canadian wünderkind Xavier Dolan, and the Malian veteran Abderrahmane Sissako – have presented films at Cannes before, just not in the main competition. Rohrwacher’s terrific faith drama Corpo celeste (2011) was highly praised in Director’s Fortnight, allowing her a shot at Palme glory for just her second feature, which is called The Wonders.

Dolan, still a disgustingly young 25, has had to wait rather longer for this upgrade: his first three films premiered in Un Certain Regard to varying degrees of acclaim, and it was only after taking his fourth, the neo-Hitchcockian Tom at the Farm, to Venice, that he has been lured back to Cannes with the prestige of a competition spot for his new film Mommy. Sissako, meanwhile, had his greatest success to date back in 2002, when Waiting for Happiness played in Un Certain Regard.

The fourth novice hardly counts as one, despite being a newcomer to Cannes: it’s Bennett Miller, Oscar-nominated American director of Capote and Moneyball. His new film, Foxcatcher, about the murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) by a paranoid schizophrenic called John Eleuthère du Pont (Steve Carell), was meant to be a contender in last year’s awards season. But the distributor, Sony Pictures Classics, elected to delay it – apparently hopeful that it could ride a strong wave of critical support right through to the Oscars next year.

Only Argentina’s Damián Szifron counts as a truly obscure name, barely known to film fans outside his country. For a clue as to why his portmanteau sketch comedy Wild Tales has made it into competition, look to the presence of one Pedro Almodóvar, an inveterate Cannes champ, on the list of producers.

Beyond these five, all 13 of the other candidates are directors returning to the fold. David Cronenberg, whose Maps to the Stars is in competition, has competed four times, for Crash (1996), Spider (2002), A History of Violence (2005) and Cosmopolis (2012), but interestingly, never won. Jean-Luc Godard, 83, has been a bridesmaid five times – six, if you count the portmanteau effort Aria (1987) – but, even more interestingly, never won. If Jane Campion’s jury are in the mood to usher a legend into the Cannes hall of fame, you wouldn’t want to bet against one of these two.

Another stalwart returning for the sixth time, Atom Egoyan, must have come very close in 1997, when The Sweet Hereafter won four awards, including the Grand Prix du Jury, but was beaten to the Palme by a Kiarostami-Imamura tie. The advance word is that Egoyan’s new thriller, the Ryan Reynolds-starring The Captive, is some kind of a return to form. Turkey’s Nuri Bilge Ceylan, whose critically adored police-procedural epic Once Upon A Time in Anatolia was defeated – narrowly, one suspects – by Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life in 2011, returns for his fifth shot.

Tommy Lee Jones is back with The Homesman, after winning awards for Best Actor and Guillermo Arriaga’s screenplay in 2005 for his only other film as a director, the outstanding border western The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada. Olivier Assayas, never worth counting out, is in for the fourth time. Russia’s brilliant Andrei Zvyagintsev is in for the second, after 2007’s The Banishment – his Elena was probably the best film across Cannes in 2011, but had to be content with winning the Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard. Japan’s Naomi Kawase – with Rohrwacher, one of two women contending – is back after The Mourning Forest (2007) and Hanezu (2011), both of which remarkably few people have seen, and Michel Hazanavicius, Oscar-crowned for The Artist, which everyone saw, returns with something interestingly unexpected: a remake of the 1948 Montgomery Clift post-war drama The Search, starring Bérénice Bejo and Annette Bening.

Finally, there are the previous winners, of whom there are three. Well, four – the Dardenne brothers come as a duo. They’ve been in five times before, and won twice, for Rosetta (1999) and L’enfant (2005). Mike Leigh is another victor (for Secrets & Lies), but one with an unusually chequered history: notoriously, Vera Drake was turned down for the competition in 2004, before going on to win the Golden Lion at Venice. Refusing to bear a grudge, Leigh came back with Another Year (2010) and now looks like one of the competition’s big hopefuls with his Turner biopic.

The king of them all, though, the favourite, the unquestionable darling of Cannes, is Ken Loach. Starting with Looks and Smiles, in 1981, he has been asked to compete an astonishing 12 times. Only one of these, 2006’s Irish nationalist epic The Wind That Shakes the Barley, has been successfully converted into a Palme d’Or win, but he’s won plenty of Jury and FIPRESCI prizes along the way. It’s become almost a standing joke that Loach can tap the selectors on the shoulder and slip a film into competition right at the last minute – which happened with one of his least plausible contenders, Route Irish, in 2010, just two days before the festival started. Loach claims that Jimmy’s Hall is going to be his final film, or at least his final non-documentary (and docs aren’t eligible to compete). Like a pasture missing its thoroughbred, Cannes will never quite be the same without him. 

Cannes 2014 review: Red Army - the cold war, on ice    Here’s a look at a film few critics are talking about, by Henry Barnes from The Guardian, May 16, 2014
There is no "i" in communism, right? … Red Army

Cultures clash on and off the ice in Gabe Polsky's documentary about the Soviet Union's dominance of ice hockey during the cold war, and its former stars' place in modern Russia.
The Red Army ice hockey team were the Soviet Union's proof that socialism worked. They played as a collective. No one player was the star, instead they scored goals communally, pushing the puck around their team before shooting with power and deadly accuracy.

Hockey was propaganda. Players were bred to beat the west, with young children selected by Soviet officials to enter intensive bootcamps. One such player – Viacheslav Fetisov – is at the heart of Polsky's story. A Red Army recruit from the age of 8, Fetisov's playing career spanned the key turning points in his country's history. He was part of the team that lost to the USA during the Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Olympics. He became one of the first players to play in NHL after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the introduction of Gorbachov's glasnost policy. He was made minister of sport by Putin, a post he held until 2008 and he is currently a member of the Federal Assembly of Russia.

Fetisov's career in sport echoed that of his country's place on the world stage. He was one of the proud sons of the Soviet Union – a real man who played hockey. But he grew tired of the restrictions of the Soviet system, clashed with the tyrannical regime of his coach. He looked to America and saw wealth and individual prosperity. The chance to take for himself with the talent he'd developed. The Americans, meanwhile, wanted the incredible skill of the Soviet players on their side of the curtain.

Yet the story's great irony was that skills that made the Soviets fantastic hockey players – teamwork, cooperation – were useless in an American system that demanded star power. Separated they floundered. Tempted to the NHL by big money deals, each player found himself adrift in the American game, which relied on brutal individuality. "When they had the puck they shot," says Fetisov. "For us the puck-holder was a slave to the rest of the team". Soviet hockey's greatest success in the NHL was the Detroit Red Wings victory at the 1997 Stanley Cup. Coach Scotty Bowman won by building an old-fashioned Soviet team in the middle of an American sports franchise. When faced with the problem of melding cultures, he simply imported the more successful system wholesale.

The contrast between the Russian and American mindset plays off-camera too. Polsky, the son of Russian immigrants, raised in LA, is abused by his interviewees. He's told he's asking the wrong questions, berated for sounding dumb and amplifying clichés, even if they contain some truth. The former players are still playing defence, still blocking and evading with style. Red Army is executive produced by Werner Herzog and Polsky borrows some his impishness. He makes sport of the old guard's rebuffs, glories in the occasion when Fetisov gives him the finger. This, he seems to say, is the attitude that made these guys. It could also be what's holding Russia back.

The Cannes Criterion Forum is up and running:   

While Les Etoiles de la critiques is up and running as well:

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

to win the Palme d’Or 
(titles in bold have been screened at the festival)

5/2 Winter Sleep (N.B.Ceylan)
5/1 Leviathan (A.Zvyagintsev)
5/1 Timbuktu (A.Sissako)
7/1 Maps to the Stars (D.Cronenberg)

8/1 Mr Turner (M.Leigh)
10/1 The Wonders (A.Rohrwacher)
- – -
11/1 Goodbye to Language (J-L.Godard)
12/1 Two Days, One Night (Dardenne & Dardenne)
12/1 Still the Water (N.Kawase)
- – -
18/1 The Homesman (T.L.Jones)
18/1 Clouds of Sils Maria (O.Assayas)
22/1 Foxcatcher (B.Miller)
25/1 The Search (M.Hazanavicius)
- – -
33/1 Wild Tales (D.Szifrón)
33/1 Jimmy’s Hall (K.Loach)
35/1 Mommy (X.Dolan)
40/1 Saint Laurent (B.Bonello)
100/1 The Captive (A.Egoyan)
- – - -

6/4 Two Days One Night – Marion Cotillard
9/2 The Wonders – Maria Alexandra Lungu
9/1 Maps to the Stars – Julianne Moore (solo or with Mia Wasikowska)
10/1 Still the Water – Makiko Watanabe
10/1 Timbuktu – Toulou Kiki
16/1 Leviathan – Elena Lyadova
16/1 Clouds of Sils Maria – Juliette Binoche (/ K.Stewart and/or C.G.Moretz)
16/1 Mommy – Anne Dorval (/Suzanne Clement)
22/1 Winter Sleep – Demet Akbag
22/1 The Homesman – Hillary Swank
22/1 The Search – Bérénice Bejo
25/1 Mr Turner – Dorothy Atkinson


11/4 Mr Turner – Timothy Spall
5/1 Leviathan – Alexey Serebryakov (/ Vladimir Vdovichenkov)
6/1 Timbuktu – Ibrahim Ahmed
7/1 Saint Laurent – Gaspard Ulliel (/Jérémie Renier)
10/1 Foxcatcher – Steve Carell (/ C.Tatum and/or M.Ruffalo)
12/1 Wild Tales – Ricardo Darín (/ L.Sbaraglia and/or D.Grandinetti)
12/1 The Search – Maksim Emelyanov
14/1 Winter Sleep – Haluk Bilginer
14/1 Jimmy’s Hall – Barry Ward (/ Jim Norton)
16/1 Mommy – Antoine-Olivier Pilon (/Patrick Huard)
20/1 Two Days One Night – Fabrizio Rongione
22/1 Maps to the Stars – Robert Pattinson (/John Cusack and/or Evan Bird)
25/1 Still the Water – Hideo Sakaki
28/1 The Wonders – Sam Louwyck
28/1 The Homesman – Tommy Lee Jones

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:   

Drew McSweeny and Guy Lodge & others from HitFix: 

Andrew O'Hehir from Salon:   

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

Cannes Diary from Film Comment: 

Keith Uhlich offering rival reviews from Time Out New York (Mike D'Angelo's former employer):   

Cannes Fest at Time Out London: 

The Guardian collection of reviews:

The Guardian Cannes commentary: 

David Jenkins from Little White Lies:   

Eric Lavallee and Nicholas Bell from Ion Cinema:

Richard Porton and others from The Daily Beast:

Richard Corliss from Time Magazine: 

Various writers at Twitch: 

Sukhdev Sandhu and Robbie Collins from The Daily Telegraph: 

Julie Miller at Vanity Fair: 

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

The wonderful world of cinema gave me a good education today on the life's of Mother Teresa and J . M. W. Turner and the golden age of soccer in Uruguay and life in communist Poland in four of the seven movies that filled my day.  Two of the others centered on unconventional, if not perverse, relationships and the third a documentary on three extreme athletes.  It was a full and diverse and most satisfying day.  

It got off to a great start at 8:30 in the 2,300 seat Palais Theater.  It was great to get into the theater from the last-minute line for non-ticket holders, slipping into a seat in the already darkened theater, and then great that the movie was exceptional as well.  Former Palme d'Or winner Mike Leigh was given the honor, if it is one, of having the first movie in the 18-film field of Competition films.  It was "Mr. Turner," a two-and-a-half hour biopic of the British artist J. M. W. Turner.  This period piece of the first half of the 19th century wasn't on the epic scale of a film of such length, but the performance of Timothy Spall as the somewhat repugnant Turner was so riveting the film seemed no longer than ninety minutes.  The film doesn't have the grandeur or originality or emotional punch of a Palme d'Or, but Spall will be hard to beat for the best actor award.

Because Ralph, a friend from Telluride who is back for his third appearance after missing last year,  and I were able to get into the 8:30 screening and didn't have to settle for the delayed nine o'clock screening in the Soixante Theater, we were able to get into the Un Certain Regard screening of the French film "Party Girl," though just barely, and didn't have to settle for lesser fare. We were among the final ten allowed in and ended up having to sit in the aisle in the balcony.  A retired coal miner who frequents a cabaret proposes to a 60-year old dancer who he has paid to dance with for two years without having a relationship outside the club. She thinks he is joking, but then accepts his offer after consultation with her younger dancers.  It seems like this could be a feel-good romance, but she begins having doubts.  She tells her fellow dancers that she isn't capable of having sex with him.  "Can't he get it up?" they ask.  No, she is the one who has no desire for sex. She tells him she'd prefer to wait until they are married.  He is considerate enough to willingly accept this.

This was a script that was fully committed to the characters without any pandering to the audience.  The same could be said for the other Un Certain Regard relationship movie of the day, "That Lovely Girl" from Israel.  The woman director warned the audience that this was a hard film not meant for entertainment. The subject of incest wasn't a popular draw, as the 1,068 seat theater wasn't even half full for the ten p.m. screening. The movie begins with the sexual relationship between a 50-year old man and his daughter well into her twenties fully established.  She is very messed-up and morose with an eating disorder that has her stuffing herself and then vomiting and also slashing herself on her arms.  But she is very possessive of her father and is extremely jealous when he starts having an affair.  This was all-too disturbing and not a necessary movie, but quite well-done nonetheless.

For the rest of the day I dabbled in the market with films of lesser cinema-magnitude, but still of considerable merit.  An English biopic of Mother Teresa had very low production values, but more than adequately  portrayed her life.  It was called "The Letters," as it was marginally based on forty years worth of letters that Mother Teresa wrote to her spiritual advisor, played by Max Van Sydow in a very limited role, questioning her life.  The movie recounts her life beginning in Calcutta in 1946 when as a 36-year old principal of the school in the cloister she is assigned to she requests to answer a call from God to go live in the slums and help the poor.  Her request is taken all the way to Pope Pius.  He grants her a one-year leave of absence.  She soon attracts world-wide attention for her work. She reluctantly accepts the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize.  The movie alternates with occasional scenes in Rome in 2003 for her canonization process. Before she can become a saint two miracles have to be attributed to her.  So far there has only been one.

200,000 fans jammed Rio de Janeiro's Maracanazo soccer stadium for the 1950 World Cup championship game between Uruguay and Brazil.  It is considered the greatest game ever played.  Uruguay upset the heavily favored Brazilians, leading to the deaths of fans who jumped from the stadium.  It was the fourth time that Uruguay had won the World Championship, including Olympic wins in 1924 and 1928.  The story is fully recounted in the Uruguayan documentary "Maracanazo: The Football Legend."  The film is rich in archival footage of the game and of the period.  There are also interviews with a few of the players.  One of the Brazilians is emotionally overcome recalling the defeat.

My other documentary of the day, "Attention: A Life in Extremes" from Austria, featured a Norwegian who jumps off cliffs in a wing-suit, a Frenchman who dives to the depths of the oceans, and an Austrian who has competed in the Race Across America (RAAM) nine times, finishing second twice and third twice.  The three stories are interwoven.  The Race Across America is as much an exercise in sleep deprivation as a bicycle race.  Gerhard Gulewicz averages less than one hour of sleep per day over the first nine days of the race.  His tortured face and efforts to keep going do not celebrate the joy and beauty of cycling.  He is a virtual corpse when he collapses for his rare rest stops.  He struggles to decide whether to keep going when it is clear he is not going to win the race the year he is being filmed.

No new movie other than a slate of horror movies fit into my schedule in the early evening so I treated myself to one of the twenty-some classics being screened--an early Kieslowski, "Blind Chance," that played at Cannes in 1981, eight years before his seminal "Decalogue."  His daughter was on hand to introduce this new print that included segments that had been censored by the Polish authorities, though it lacked one of police beating the lead character, as no footage of it could be found.  As the extreme sports documentary, this had three stories--one each of what happens as a young man chases after a train leaving the station and whether or not he manages to make it.  The stories all reflect on the difficulties of living in a totalitarian state.

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