Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cannes 2014 Day 3

 Hofit Golan

Mara Rooney, Naomi Watts, Lupita Nyong’o, and Julianne Moore, all wearing Calvin Klein Collection

Naomi Watts

Blake Lively

Rita Ora

Eva Longoria

Lupita Nyong’o

Aida Yespica

Cheryl Cole Zuhair Murad

A collection of pieces from The Hollywood Reporter: 

Cannes photos from The Telegraph: 

Vogue guide to Cannes: 

Elle fashion photos:

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:

International Business Times: 

Another large gallery of photos: 

Cannes has been a hotbed of controversy since the beginning. The first festival, organized by the French in 1939 as a response to the Venice Film Festival -- then a vehicle for Nazi propaganda movies -- had to be canceled after it launched on the day WWII broke out.

The festival returned in 1946 and has since been a fertile ground for taboo-breaking films, wannabes disrobing for a shot at fame, public spats between directors and critics and publicity stunts gone wrong.

The latest rumpus surrounds "Grace of Monaco," a biopic of Grace Kelly, the Oscar-winning American actress who subsequently became the princess of Monaco.

The film has been criticized by the Monaco royal family who said it contains "major historical untruths and a series of purely fictional scenes." The festival would not comment on whether Prince Albert and his sisters, Caroline and Stéphanie would attend the gala premiere.

Altercations, scandals and stunts are arguably as much the lifeblood of Cannes as the films and here, in no particular order, are some of the greatest.

Robert Mitchum and the topless starlet

Publicity-hungry starlet Simone Silva took her top off during a photo shoot with Hollywood star Robert Mitchum and briefly made global headlines during an infamous incident at the 1954 festival.

The British B-movie actress and glamor model turned up on the Croisette looking for exposure and was quickly crowned "Miss Festival" by organizers who set the photo shoot up for her on the beach.

"The photographers got down on their knees to plead with me to take the top off," she was quoted as saying in Ohio newspaper, The Daily Reporter.

She did, removing her flimsy scarf top and cuddling up to Robert Mitchum, in just a grass skirt and covering her breasts with her hands. In the ensuing scrum three photographers fell into the Mediterranean, a fourth broke his ankle and another suffered a fractured elbow.

Silva left the festival a few days later, after being asked to leave, but remained defiant: "As long as sex is box office and I keep my figure, I'm out to be the sexiest thing on, oh, two legs."

Dead pigeon gag gone wrong

There are some things you just know are a bad idea, right? Apparently not if you are the upstart cast of a hot Brit-flick.

In 2001, actors from "24 Hour Party People," which tells the story of the Manchester music scene in the late '80s, attacked each other with dead pigeons on a private Cannes beach splattering diners at an exclusive restaurant with fake blood, feathers and worse.

Security guards threatened the actors with mace and they were unceremoniously ejected from the beach along with the film crew and entourage of British journalists who had been watching gleefully.

Actor Danny Cunningham, who played Shaun Ryder the wild lead singer of Manchester indie band Happy Mondays came up with the ill-judged publicity stunt. He said it was inspired by an alleged incident from Ryder's youth shown in the film where he poisoned 3,000 Manchester pigeons with crack cocaine. The actors brought stuffed pigeons as props for the stunt.

Cunningham, who received a cut to the head in the scuffle, told the BBC: "I think Shaun would have been proud of us. We came to Cannes to be wild and now we are going home."

New Wave on the beach

It was May 1968 and revolution was in the air. Students were marching in the streets and workers were participating in the biggest strike France has ever seen. It was, perhaps, inevitable that some of that fever would infiltrate the rarefied movie theaters of Cannes.

Politics burst into the festival when a group of filmmakers led by New Wave directors Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut demanded it close in solidarity with the strikes.

"We're talking solidarity with students and workers and you are talking dolly shots and close-ups," Godard memorably shouted from behind a pair of Ray-Bans. "You're assholes!"

Godard and Truffaut stopped the next screening by hanging off the curtain as it was being pulled back and the festival was canceled shortly after, five days before its scheduled end. No prizes were handed out.

Over the next few years, counterculture also invaded the content of the festival with films like "Easy Rider" and "M*A*S*H."

Vincent Gallo vs Roger Ebert

When cult film director and actor Vincent Gallo turned up to Cannes in 2003 with "The Brown Bunny," an incoherent road movie with a graphic, unsimulated oral sex scene, the critics booed in boredom and disgust and Roger Ebert called it "the worst film in the history of the festival."

A humiliated Gallo returned to the U.S. and began a new edit of the film but found the time to embark on a vicious war of words with Ebert, calling him "a fat pig," who "had the physique of a slave trader," topping it off by putting a hex on his colon and saying he hoped he got cancer.

Ebert retorted, tartly: "I had a colonoscopy once, and they let me watch it on TV. It was more entertaining than "The Brown Bunny."

And added, in a twist on late UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill's immortal line: "It is true that I am fat, but one day I will be thin, and he will still be the director of 'The Brown Bunny.'"

Amazingly, the spat ended in a truce. Gallo finished his re-edit and showed "The Brown Bunny" at Toronto where Ebert saw it again, this time awarding it three out of a possible four stars.

Lars von Trier: 'Ok, I'm a Nazi'

In 2011, famously eccentric Danish director Lars von Trier told onlookers at a press conference that he was a Nazi, that he understood Hitler and that his next film could be The Final Solution.

"I understand Hitler. I think he did some wrong things, yes absolutely, but I can see him sitting in his bunker in the end. I think I understand the man," said Von Trier while Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg, stars of his sci-fi drama "Melancholia," looked on in helpless disbelief.

"How do I get out of this? Ok, I'm a Nazi," he added shortly after in what could kindly be described as an ill-judged joke. Festival officials condemned his statements, which he retracted shortly after, but officials still took unusual step of banning him from the festival.

Von Trier has been a one-man scandal factory since he started showing films at Cannes in the '80s. Incensed at being passed over for the top prize in 1991, he called Jury President Roman Polanski a "midget," while Icelandic musician Bjork, who won Best Actress for her starring role in his 2000 film "Dancer in the Dark" said she would never act again.

But perhaps his greatest scandal (apart from the Nazi joke) was in 2009 when there were reports that some audience members fainted from shock after watching a scene in his grotesque art-horror "Antichrist" in which Charlotte Gainsbourg mutilates her genitals. The ecumenical jury at Cannes called it "misogynistic" and awarded it a special anti-prize.

The 'journalist' who just sexually harassed America Ferrera on the red carpet  Alyssa Rosenberg from The Washington Post, May 16, 2014

The weirdest part of a story the New York Post just published about an incident on the red carpet at Cannes is not that it happened at all. Sadly, the news that a man tried to get under America Ferrera’s dress is not actually shocking in a media moment where paparazzi regularly take, and sell, crotch shots of female celebrities. It is that the Post is referring to the guy who did this, Ukranian Vitalii Sediuk, as a journalist, saying “a reputation for putting celebrities in comprising positions as part of his shtick.”

It is true that Sediuk’s career — or at least, his place in the headlines — mostly consists of sexually harassing celebrities, male and female alike. Just because some people think that Will Smith is gay and closeted does not mean that it is in any way reportage to try to plant a kiss on him at a movie premiere. And I have no idea what it is supposed to be when Sediuk puts his face on Bradley Cooper’s crotch on the red carpet.

These are not only totally unrevealing stunts, if that is what they are supposed to be. They are assault. Just because they happen to men as well as well as women does not mean they should be treated as examples of puckishness or pranksterism.

It is true that much of the time, Sediuk is crashing the events where he causes a scene. He apparently had a credentials pass in Cannes, though it is not yet clear if any organization actually granted it to him directly, or if Sediuk got his hands on someone else’s badge. When he tried to ruin Adele’s Grammy’s acceptance speech, it was just as a crasher. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took steps to legally bar him from the 2013 ceremony.

It is not particularly clear who Sediuk is working for at any given time. In 2012, he was affiliated with Russia Life News. In 2013, he was apparently presenting himself as a Eurovision correspondent. At other times, he has apparently worked for 1+1, based in Ukraine. That rotating roster of employers, or at least of assignments, seems in keeping with Sediuk’s actual professional seriousness. But it gets at a larger problem for entertainment journalism.

It is a wonderful thing that there is a global market for American movies, and the global press attention for American actors that comes with it. That interest, coupled with the founding of a dizzying number of Web-based publications, creates both opportunities and dilemmas for American networks, studios, and entertainment festivals and conferences.

This means that the entertainment industry can prioritize smaller friendly outlets, giving them opportunities and denying them to more established, and critical, organizations. It also means studios and networks have to pay more attention to foreign journalists who help ensure an ever-bigger part of their box office or advertising. These pressures are one of the reasons the Golden Globe Awards, the ceremony run by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is such a big draw despite the often-odd choices made by its voting pool. The lines between reporting and stenography can get blurred, given these pressures — as can the lines between reporting and pranksterism.

Big organizations like the Academy and the Grammys seem to have figured out that Sediuk, at least, is not a journalist, refusing him credentials and alerting security to his tactics, even if those briefings are not always successful. Outlets like the Post and the Hollywood Reporter, which has emerged as both buzzy and serious under the leadership of Janice Min, should make the same call, naming Sediuk for what he is.

The entertainment industry and the journalists who cover it are not always going to be on the same page about who should get credentials and what constitutes reporting. Journalists, who have a range of assignments, will not always agree on these questions either. But I hope we can reach a basic consensus that Vitalii Sediuk does not deserve the title that still gets attached to him, and that harassing and assaulting stars may be vigorous, but it is not reporting.

Cannes Review: Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s ‘Winter Sleep’  Jessica Kiang from The Playlist, May 16, 2016

Impenetrably dense, extravagantly wordy and very, very long, safe to say Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Winter Sleep,” before this afternoon’s Cannes screening the bookie’s favorite to take the Palme, won’t be winning him many new fans from the general public. And in its deliberate, almost mischievous delight in eschewing any kind of conventional narrative structure (one in which things occasionally happen), it may even lose him a few, especially among that number (this writer included) inclined to goodwill based on his last film, “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” which, in its embrace of certain genre elements, felt like a breath of fresh air and, strangely, a liberation from the occasionally stultifying vibe of his prior films. But judging by the ovation that followed, for the benefit of the film team who were in attendance as this press screening doubled as the film’s gala premiere (forcing VIP guests into the daft-looking position of having to wear full evening dress in the middle of the day), those already fully on board the Ceylan train will rally around it, maybe, we could cattily suggest, because they simply don’t want to see a hard afternoon’s work (and this film is work) go to waste. 

The adjective “Chekhovian” is already being bandied about by the film’s supporters in an effort to convey the film’s claustrophobic theatricality (helpfully, Ceylan includes a “thanks to Chekhov” note in the closing credits to point potentially floundering viewers in the right direction). And the comparison is somewhat apt as until its last third it's largely a three-hander, and really amounts to a series of long, involved and frequently fractious conversations between the three principals, Aydin (Haluk Bilginer), his wife Nihal (the gorgeous Melisa Sozen) and his sister Necla (Demet Akbag). Together as a threesome or in pairs, curled up in the warren-like hotel that Aydin and Necla own, their various relationships all start to fray as winter closes in, and they progressively rip shreds from each other’s perceived vanities and follies (intellectual arrogance, moral naivety, misanthropy, to name a few). The theatrical parallels are clear, but as unforgivingly dialogue-driven as it is, often with ten-minute-plus scenes in which there’s not a single moment of hush as the protagonists alternately pontificate and sling barbs at each other, for anyone relying on the wall-to-wall subtitles it feels more like a novel—it’s a film we spent three-and-a-quarter hours reading. In fact, there are ideas and attitudes outlined here that may even have made for a pretty good novel, so it's unfortunate that the experience is like reading that book only with someone else turning the pages at a speed you can’t control. And you can’t just skip the boring bits.

Of course, Ceylan can’t be accused of lacking skill as a director or intelligence as a writer—there certainly is psychological insight into the character of Aydin, an ex-actor who rules his sprawling hotel, has a handy lackey to drive him around and carry his bags, and collects rent from nearby tenants in the manner of a feudal lord. Less so, however, the female characters who seem to exist solely to be alternate mouthpieces for some long and self-contradictory quasi-intellectual tirade, just so the camera can point at someone other than Bilginer. That said, the performances are strong (bar a scene between Aydin and Nihal in which Bilginer suddenly plays Aydin as so one-note patronizing and condescending toward his young wife that we just wanted to punch him) and Ceylan’s and DP Gokhan Tiryaki's way with composition and cinematography is in evidence even in the interior scenes (which are most of them), lighting faces warmly and designing shots richly, which needs to happen when almost everything takes place in shot-reverse-shot, he-says-then-she-says format.

But the unpleasantness of being constantly trapped in the middle of conversations of increasing resentment and bitterness starts to take its toll less than halfway through this marathon-length film as we start to realize that just as the characters all seem defined by the overweening desire to have the last word in every discussion (the “and one more thing” syndrome reaches epic, almost comical, proportions later on when scene after scene seems to have ended only for Aydin to chime back in with a another lengthy bit of speechifying), it’s a foible of Ceylan’s too. The overwriting of every single discussion smacks less of realistic debate than of a writer/director in the throes of a fit of didacticism who simply never trusts his audience to get his meaning without it being iterated and reiterated to the point of white noise. 

Cinema, we’re often told, is a dialogue between audience and filmmaker, a two-way street in which meaning is constructed in space between the words and pictures the director presents, and the mind of the viewer. But Ceylan’s film is a monologue and a relentless one, leaving no room for us to interpret or engage with the material he presents. That material may indeed be rich with ideas and replete with insight, but you have to be a very dedicated viewer not to feel a bit cheated at the paltry return on the investment of so much time and effort into a film that is at best disinterested in, and at worst disdainful of its audience. [C]

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)

3/1 Winter Sleep (N.B.Ceylan)
9/2 Leviathan (A.Zvyagintsev)
11/2 The Wonders (A.Rohrwacher)
- – -
7/1 Maps to the Stars (D.Cronenberg)
8/1 Timbuktu (A.Sissako) 
11/1 Mr Turner (M.Leigh)
- – -

16/1 Goodbye to Language (J-L.Godard)
16/1 Two Days, One Night (Dardenne & Dardenne)
16/1 Still the Water (N.Kawase)
20/1 Clouds of Sils Maria (O.Assayas)
22/1 The Homesman (T.L.Jones)
22/1 Foxcatcher (B.Miller)
25/1 Wild Tales (D.Szifrón)
- – -
33/1 The Search (M.Hazanavicius)
33/1 Saint Laurent (B.Bonello)
40/1 Jimmy’s Hall (K.Loach)
40/1 Mommy (X.Dolan)
- – -
150/1 The Captive (A.Egoyan)

6/4 Two Days One Night – Marion Cotillard
5/1 The Wonders – Maria Alexandra Lungu
10/1 Maps to the Stars – Julianne Moore (solo or with Mia Wasikowska)
12/1 Still the Water – Makiko Watanabe
14/1 Timbuktu – Toulou Kiki
14/1 Mommy – Anne Dorval (/Suzanne Clement)
16/1 Leviathan – Elena Lyadova
20/1 Clouds of Sils Maria – Juliette Binoche (/ K.Stewart and/or C.G.Moretz)
22/1 The Homesman – Hillary Swank
22/1 The Search – Bérénice Bejo
25/1 Winter Sleep – Demet Akbag (/Melisa Sozen)
25/1 Wild Tales – Erica Rivas (/female ensemble)
25/1 Mr Turner – Dorothy Atkinson

3/1 Mr Turner – Timothy Spall
9/2 Winter Sleep – Haluk Bilginer
5/1 Leviathan – Alexey Serebryakov (/ Vladimir Vdovichenkov)
7/1 Timbuktu – Ibrahim Ahmed
10/1 Foxcatcher – Steve Carell (/ C.Tatum and/or M.Ruffalo)
12/1 The Search – Maksim Emelyanov
14/1 Jimmy’s Hall – Barry Ward (/ Jim Norton)
16/1 Mommy – Antoine-Olivier Pilon (/Patrick Huard)
16/1 Wild Tales – Ricardo Darín (/ male ensemble)
20/1 Two Days One Night – Fabrizio Rongione
20/1 Saint Laurent – Gaspard Ulliel
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 reviews from Time Out New York: 
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:

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:  

Though none were on cycling, I had a nice string of three sports films today--soccer, running and hockey. Gerald Depardieu plays Jules Rimet, a Frenchman who served as president of FIFA, the Federation International de Football Association, for thirty-three years up to 1954 in "United Passions," an aptly named French film that traces the history of soccer's governing party from 1904, when it was established, to present day.  

Rimet was president when the World Cup was inaugurated in 1930 in Uruguay and was also at the helm when the the greatest game in the history of the sport was played in Rio de Janeiro in 1950, recounted in a documentary I saw yesterday.  Both events receive extra emphasis.  That first World Cup was actually the brain child of a wealthy Uruguayan, who fully funded it, even paying for the transportation of all the teams and constructing a new 100,000 seat stadium.  Sam Nell plays a later president from Brazil and Tim Roth a fundraiser for the organization when it was struggling.  He brought Coca- Cola in as a sponsor.

The running movie, "Back on Track" from Germany, centered on an 80-year old guy recently sentenced to a nursing home by his flight attendant daughter.  He's not happy there at all.  He is a former champion marathoner who was said to have won Boston and Berlin and the 1956 Marathon at the Melbourne Olympics, making him a national hero in Germany, although he is a fictional character.  He resumes running in frustration against the wishes of the administrators of the nursing home, hoping to run in the Berlin marathon once again.  This movie has already had a successful commercial release in Germany.  

The real-life charismatic captain of Russia's Red Army hockey team, Slava Fetisov, was on hand to introduce "Red Army," an  American documentary produced by Werner Herzog, an Out of Competition selection.  The team was the most dominant team in all of sports history going two years at one stretch  without defeat. The film had the flair and fast-pace of the sport it covered.  If it had been produced a year earlier it would have been an ideal opening film for the new Herzog Theater at Telluride in the town's indoor ice rink.  It could well play there this year.

The Austrian documentary "The Great Museum" on Vienna's Art Museum lacked any strong characters to center on and to give it a sense of life.  This was an uninspired, standard point-and-shoot documentary that failed to do justice to its subject.  I would have been spared it if Ralph and I hadn't fallen five people short of gaining entry into Atom Egoyan's Competition entry to start the day.  Although the general consensus was that we were lucky to miss it, we will both make an effort to judge for ourselves, committed as we are to see everything in Competition.

Ralph went straight to the Debussy for the eleven o'clock screening of Mathieu Amalric directing himself in  "The Blue Room" in Un Certain Regard.  I arrived too late from "The Great Museum" to gain entry falling way short.  Ralph said I didn't miss much.  But if I gotten in I would have been spared of even less, the utterly inane American feature "May the Best Man Win," a pale imitation of the Jackass movies.  Two young guys compete against each other to get the most YouTube views for various infantile pranks, including each trying to seduce their own mother.  The pranks are meant to be funny, but only one or two raised much more than a smirk from the handful of us subjecting ourselves to it.

It's not  Cannes without a Isabelle Huppert movie.  Rather than waiting for her in Olivier Assayas' Competition entry at the end of the festival, I gave her a look in "Paris Follies," a gentle, feel-good French commercial film.  Huppert is bored as a housewife on a cattle ranch.  She goes to Paris for a weekend to revive herself.  She takes a boat ride down the Seine and does all the things a tourist would do other than taking advantage of any of the thousands of rental bikes scattered around the city.  She also has a fling with a Danish guy that is as sweet and inconsequential as the movie before returning to her husband.

As usual Ralph and I ended our day at the Debussy at ten p.m. with an Un Centain Regard entry.  This one was "Amour Fou" from Germany, another directed by a woman.  It was a plodding period piece taking place in the early 1800s with a character loosely based on the morose poet Heinrich von Kleist trying to seduce a woman into ending her life with him.  He has two candidates.

After the screening we returned to the Palais complex after midnight to see if anyone had returned Ralph's iPhone that he lost at the afternoon screening of Ceylan's much acclaimed Competition entry.  No luck, so Ralph will have to replace it as it is instrumental in acquiring Invitations to the Palais the instant they are made available.  We've both had some success, lessening the stress of waiting in line sweating out whether we'll get in or not, though it is no guarantee.  Ralph had initially been turned away in the balcony to Ceylan's film, but made an attempt on the first floor, though his ticket was for the balcony.  But if he hadn't gotten in, he'd still have his phone.  Though it will cost him 350 euros to replace, it was almost worth seeing this movie that is fulfilling the predictions that it could win the Palme d'Or.

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