Monday, May 19, 2014

Cannes 2014 Day 5


Suki Waterhouse

Jennifer Lawrence

Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy

French actress Aymeline Valade and actor Gaspard Ulliel

Argentine director Lisandro Alonso and actor Viggo Mortensen

Actors Sam Louwyck, Monica Bellucci, director Alice Rohrwacher, and actress Alba Rohrwacher

Thierry Frémaux et Monica Bellucci

Leila Bekhti 

Red carpet shots from The Hollywood Reporter:

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:!1/blake-lively-cannes-5/

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: 

People magazine hits the Cannes red carpet:,,20700799,00.html, or more here:

Cannes Film Festival: Strauss-Kahn Film Under Fire  Rachel Donadio from The New York Times, May 18, 2014

Late Saturday night at a beach club here, revelers gathered on the dance floor wearing unique party favors: white terrycloth bathrobes with black monograms that read “WTNY.” The letters stood for “Welcome to New York,” Abel Ferrara’s graphic and barely fictionalized film about the sexual assault case involving Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

As a techno remix of Madonna blasted from the speakers, a woman dressed in a nurse’s outfit dispensed blue-hued shots in large plastic syringes and guests inspected gift bags filled with handcuffs, a small whip and a black eye mask.

The explicit film stars Gérard Depardieu as Mr. Devereaux, a character inspired by Mr. Strauss-Kahn, who was arrested in New York in 2011 on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper. The charges were later dropped, although Mr. Strauss-Kahn still faces charges in France of participating in a prostitution ring. Jacqueline Bisset plays his wife, Simone, modeled on Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s former wife, the popular French journalist Anne Sinclair.

“Welcome to New York” has generated controversy in France, where it was seen as over-the-top and was not picked up for theatrical distribution. On Sunday, writing for The Huffington Post in France, Ms. Sinclair expressed her disgust for the film, and called the references to her family “degrading and defamatory.”

Though it is not an official selection of the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival, its producer-distributor, Wild Bunch, organized the party and a screening for journalists at the beach club on Saturday to coincide with the film’s release on video on demand in France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The film will be shown in the United States later this year.

Asked why the film wouldn’t be shown in theaters in France, the producer Vincent Maraval accused some French distributors and outlets of “self-censorship,” indicating that they might have been afraid of offending Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s family. Mr. Strauss-Kahn was once a contender for the leadership of the Socialist Party and Ms. Sinclair is one of the country’s best-known television and radio interviewers.

A power player in French cinema, Mr. Maraval seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the media spectacle he had created here. Asked whether the family had expressed discontent, he said the movie opened with multiple disclaimers. Asked if he expected lawsuits anyway, he smiled. “If they want to make us publicity, they’re welcome,” he said.

At a news conference following the screening, Mr. Depardieu called the movie a Shakespearean saga about power, sex and money. He said, “I never questioned the morality of my character,” adding, “I do understand passions and impulses.”

Mr. Ferrara, who was wearing dark sunglasses even at night, said he had asked Mr. Depardieu and Ms. Bisset to improvise for the film, which he described as “some kind of cross between a documentary and haiku poetry.”

The poetry may be lost on viewers. The film includes a scene in which Mr. Depardieu has sex with two women at once and another in which he and two associates eat ice cream off the bodies of call girls. After he assaults a housekeeper at a New York hotel, Mr. Devereaux is arrested at the airport by New York police officers, put in a holding cell with other inmates and subject to a strip search that leaves nothing to the imagination.

A furious but still-loving Simone pays to bail him out and rent a duplex-apartment downtown. She looks around the place, with its mediocre art, and tells him, “This is what $60,000 gets you in New York.” She means the monthly rent.

Ms. Sinclair is an heir to the fortune built by her maternal grandfather, Pierre Rosenberg, an influential art dealer to Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse and others, who was forced to flee the Nazis and renounce his French citizenship. In one scene in the film, Mr. Depardieu’s character says that he is just a professor, while Simone, with her background, is the one who really understands money and power.

In The Huffington Post, Ms. Sinclair wrote that she would not give Mr. Ferrara and Mr. Maravel “the pleasure” of suing them. “I am not attacking this filth,” she wrote. “I am vomiting on it.”

Cannes Film Festival: 'Timbuktu' Director on Africa and Fundamentalism  How about more by Rachel Donadio from The New York Times, May 17, 2014

There’s a sad, powerful scene in “Timbuktu,” Abderrahmane Sissako’s well-received new film about that ancient capital’s recent takeover by Islamic fundamentalists, that resonates even more strongly in light of the schoolgirls kidnapped last month as child brides by Islamic fundamentalists in Nigeria.

In the scene, a foreign jihadi who’s new in town asks a local woman for her teenaged daughter’s hand in marriage. When the mother refuses, saying it’s not a local tradition to marry her own child to a perfect stranger, the jihadi grows angry. He came here peacefully, he says, but if she won’t give her consent, then he will have to use force. And he does.

In an interview here on Friday, Mr. Sissako said that he hoped “Timbuktu,” which is in the feature-film competition here at the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival, could help provide insights into how fundamentalism has been encroaching across Africa in areas where Islamic practice has long been less strict.

“The film, could help people understand — not to change anything, but to give an insight into these themes and issues,” Mr. Sissiko said, speaking in French. The director, 52, was born in Mauritania, raised in Mali, and educated in Moscow; he lives in France now.

He said he was inspired to make the film after reading about a young Malian couple stoned to death for having two children out of wedlock. “It was just five or six lines in a local newspaper,” he said.

Filmed in Timbuktu and Mauritania, the film will be released in France this summer, and its producers are in talks at Cannes for distribution elsewhere, including the United States. This is Mr. Sissako’s third film at the Cannes Film Festival, after “Waiting for Happiness” in 2002 and “Bamako,” which was shown out of competition in 2006. He has also served on the festival jury.

It was during the filming of “Bamako” in in 2005 that Mr. Sissiko befriended a local imam who would later help inspire the imam in “Timbuktu,” played by Adel Mahmoud Cherif. The character chides the jihadis for wearing shoes and bringing their weapons inside the mosque. The director said the imam was the film’s key role. “That’s the real Islam,” he said.

“Timbuktu” unfolds quietly through a few characters — a Tuareg herder, Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed), whose happy life with his wife (Toulou Kiki) and their daughter is threatened when a series of accidents lands him in the local Islamic court, which also sentences a man and women to stoning after they are caught playing the music for which Mali has been known for centuries.

Mali underwent major upheaval when a 2012 Tuareg rebellion gave way to a military coup; Islamic militants meanwhile took over the desert north, leading to French intervention. The Islamists “managed to impose their vision but not to change the people,” Mr. Sissiko said. When he returned to prepare the film, “I became aware of the city’s peaceful resistance during the occupation. This is why they managed to free themselves from the siege quite quickly,” the director said, adding that the intervention last year by French-led troops was relatively smooth because the local population was also opposed to the Islamists.

“Timbuktu” depicts a city where sassy women, unaccustomed to covering their heads, talk back to the foreign Islamic police who enforce a ban on music and soccer even as they discuss highlights of championship matches and sneak the occasional banned cigarette.

Mr. Sissako said he wanted to show the Islamists as fully realized characters. “My starting point was to think of them as human beings like us,” he said. “We don’t share their vision or values, we condemn them,” he added.

But “I didn’t want to have a Manichean attitude, to have the good on one side and the bad on the other. That’s not the way it is in real life,” the director continued. He paused. From Nazi Germany to Rwanda in the 1990s, he added, “history has proven many times to us, that very often our neighbors become our hangmen.”

Robert Pattinson

Scott Foundas  review of David Michôd’s post-apocalyptic road movie, The Rover, from Variety May 17, 2014

The promise of Australian director David Michod’s 2010 debut feature, “Animal Kingdom,” is amply realized in “The Rover,” a post-apocalyptic road movie of sorts set a decade after some unspecified cataclysm has turned the world — or at least one far-off corner of it — into a mercenary no-man’s-land. Tipping its hat to George Miller’s “Mad Max” trilogy while striking a more somber, introspective tone, Michod’s sophomore feature isn’t exactly something we’ve never seen before, but it has a desolate beauty all its own, and a career-redefining performance by Robert Pattinson that reveals untold depths of sensitivity and feeling in the erstwhile “Twilight” star. A commercial challenge due to its mix of explicit violence, measured pacing and narrative abstractions, the pic should earn the warm embrace of discerning genre fans and further establish Michod as one of the most gifted young directors around. Upstart U.S. indie A24 rolls “The Rover” out June 13, simultaneous to Oz release via Roadshow.

Exactly what has gone wrong in the world (referenced only as “the collapse”) is never explicitly stated here; nor are the motivations of the film’s taciturn central character, Eric (Guy Pearce), up until a deftly handled and unexpectedly moving final scene. All we know for most of “The Rover” is that Eric really, really wants to regain ownership of his car, which is stolen in an early scene by a trio of agitated, desperate-looking men fleeing from the scene of a crime. After flipping their truck outside a forlorn watering hole, the men — a white Australian (David Field), a black New Zealander (Tawanda Manyimo) and an American (Scoot McNairy) — continue on in Eric’s dust-covered sedan. Having rehabilitated the damaged truck, Eric promptly gives chase. We are somewhere in the south Australian outback, and the road stretches toward an infinite horizon.

Eric’s journey takes him ever deeper into the parched, desolate landscape, shot by Michod and the Argentinian-born d.p. Natasha Braier (“The Milk of Sorrow”) in arresting widescreen compositions that constantly frame the actors small against the vast, enveloping nothingness. Makeshift trading posts dot the way — only American dollars are accepted, in one indication that the “collapse” was at least partly an economic one — while periodic glimpses of military convoys imply that society may be under martial law.

Also en route: arguably the creepiest farmhouse since “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” where a disturbingly courtly grandma (the excellent Gillian Jones) keeps watch over a traveling circus that long ago stopped traveling. It’s there that Eric crosses paths with Rey (Pattinson), the badly wounded fourth member of the fugitive gang (and the younger brother of the lone American), whom he takes as a kind of hostage before continuing on his way.

Slow of wit and tongue, Rey resists his captor’s prying questions about the others’ whereabouts and motives — as well as his repeated suggestion that Rey had been left by his own brother to die on the side of the road (a point of connection with “Animal Kingdom” and its insidious, intra-familial betrayals). But after being patched up by a lady doctor (Susan Prior), he agrees to lead Eric to their hideout and his hoped-for reunion with his beloved automobile.

The road traveled from there shares something with the existential highways of movies like “Two-Lane Blacktop” and “Vanishing Point,” in which the characters keep forever moving forward because stasis looms as a kind of symbolic death. Only gradually do both men divulge a few spare details of their respective pasts: Eric admits to a crime in his past for which he was never brought to justice, further eroding his already fragile faith in humanity; Rey says that he and his brother came to Australia looking for mining work — evidently one of the only growth industries left in this new world order. To say that these unwitting traveling companions gradually grow close would be a bit of an exaggeration, but a hesitant sort of trust takes hold, and when the two find their backs against the wall, they join forces against a common threat.

Pearce is fiercely impressive here as a man who gave up on the human race even before the latest round of calamities, and if there are occasional glimpses of the kinder, gentler man he might once have been, we are more frequently privy to his savage survival instincts. But it’s Pattinson who turns out to be the film’s greatest surprise, sporting a convincing Southern accent and bringing an understated dignity to a role that might easily have been milked for cheap sentimental effects. With his slurry drawl and wide-eyed, lap-dog stare, Rey initially suggests a latter-day Lennie Small, but he isn’t so much developmentally disabled as socially regressed — an overprotected mama’s boy suddenly cast to the wolves — and Pattinson never forces or overdoes anything, building up an empathy for the character that’s entirely earned. He becomes an oasis of humanity in this stark, forsaken land.

Those looking for big action and bombast will inevitably be disappointed, but Michod (who also wrote the script, based on a story he conceived with actor-writer-director Joel Edgerton) strikes an eerie, unsettling tension early on and rarely lets go — a mood immeasurably enhanced by “Animal Kingdom” composer Antony Partos’ original score, which compensates for the film’s spare dialogue with an inspired mix of industrial shrieks, tribal drumbeats and wails, and fleeting snatches of melody. The rich soundscape is further enhanced by sound designer Sam Petty’s crisply recorded and mixed effects, which bring every humming electric light, chirping cricket and whirring engine to the fore.

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)

7/2 Winter Sleep (N.B.Ceylan)
5/1 Leviathan (A.Zvyagintsev)
8/1 Mr Turner (M.Leigh)
8/1 Foxcatcher (B.Miller)
9/1 The Wonders (A.Rohrwacher)
10/1 Timbuktu (A.Sissako)
- – -
14/1 Maps to the Stars (D.Cronenberg)
16/1 Two Days, One Night (Dardenne & Dardenne)
16/1 Still the Water (N.Kawase)
20/1 Goodbye to Language (J-L.Godard)
20/1 Clouds of Sils Maria (O.Assayas)
25/1 The Homesman (T.L.Jones)
- – -
33/1 The Search (M.Hazanavicius)
33/1 Jimmy’s Hall (K.Loach)
40/1 Mommy (X.Dolan)

66/1 Wild Tales (D.Szifrón)
66/1 Saint Laurent (B.Bonello)
- – -
200/1 The Captive (A.Egoyan)
2/1 Two Days One Night – Marion Cotillard
11/4 Maps to the Stars – Julianne Moore (solo or with Mia Wasikowska)
7/1 The Wonders – Maria Alexandra Lungu
10/1 Still the Water – Makiko Watanabe
12/1 Mommy – Anne Dorval (/Suzanne Clement)
12/1 Winter Sleep – Demet Akbag / Melisa Sozen
14/1 Timbuktu – Toulou Kiki
16/1 Leviathan – Elena Lyadova
16/1 Clouds of Sils Maria – Juliette Binoche (/ K.Stewart and/or C.G.Moretz)
18/1 The Homesman – Hillary Swank
18/1 Mr Turner – Dorothy Atkinson
20/1 Wild Tales – Erica Rivas (/female ensemble)
22/1 The Search – Bérénice Bejo

4/1 Mr Turner – Timothy Spall
9/2 Foxcatcher – Steve Carell (/ C.Tatum and/or M.Ruffalo)
6/1 Winter Sleep – Haluk Bilginer
7/1 Leviathan – Alexey Serebryakov (/ Vladimir Vdovichenkov)
8/1 Timbuktu – Ibrahim Ahmed
11/1 The Search – Maksim Emelyanov
16/1 Jimmy’s Hall – Barry Ward (/ Jim Norton)
20/1 Mommy – Antoine-Olivier Pilon (/Patrick Huard)
20/1 Two Days One Night – Fabrizio Rongione
20/1 Saint Laurent – Gaspard Ulliel
20/1 The Homesman – Tommy Lee Jones
20/1 The Wonders – Sam Louwyck
25/1 Maps to the Stars – Robert Pattinson (/John Cusack and/or Evan Bird)
25/1 Still the Water – Hideo Sakaki
28/1 Wild Tales – Ricardo Darín (/ male ensemble)

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:   

a round-up of indieWIRE reviews:, with everything consolidated here:

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

Cannes Diary from Film Comment: 

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:  

With no cycling films in the market this year, running films have had to take their place for me.  I saw my fourth today and have another tomorrow.  Anna is an 18-year national caliber sprinter in Czechoslovakia in the early 1980s in the Czech film "Fair Play."  She's been taking vitamin B injections and then is told to add another injection to her regimen.  When she starts sprouting thicker hair on her legs and a mustache and her period is late, she learns this new injection is steroids. She stops taking them and her results suffer.  Her mother wants her to make the Olympics so she can have a better life and potentially be able to escape the country as did her athlete father fifteen years before.  She's been the one administrating the drugs to her, so resumes the steroids, pretending they are the B vitamins.  Her daughter's performance improves.  When she is given a blood test and the doctor is pleased by her blood levels, the daughter realizes what her mother has been doing and isn't happy about it.

There was also some running in the Spanish film "Beautiful Youth" in Un Certain Regard.  Four guys chase after a guy who slashed the throat of one of them after the court case trying to gain compensation from him fails.  The injured guy is desperate for money.  His girl friend has just had a baby and the two of these high school drop-outs still live with their parents, both single mothers, and don't have jobs.  This virtual documentary of the near hopelessness of life in economically depressed Spain has the boy's girl friend contemplating moving to Germany where she can get a job. This was as honest and as real as a movie can be, but almost too real to be of any great interest.

The Tommie Lee Jones' Competition film "Homesman" didn't get my day off to as good a day as I had hoped.  I had no tension of gaining entry with an Invitation in hand, but my high expectations based on Jones' other film he directed, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, that won two awards at Cannes in 2005, fell short.  Hilary Swank as a strong, independent 31-year old surviving on her own in the man's world of homesteaders in 19th century Nebraska made for an interesting character and so did the premise of the harsh life driving woman crazy, but the script did no justice to the other women and resorted to acts that begged reality.  As with every premiering film here that has yet to be assessed by the reviewing hoards, I was strongly rooting for this film to rise to the heights I hoped of it. It started out adequately, as did "Saint Laurent," but did not grow.  Not a failure by any means, only in the respect that it didn't stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the out of the ordinary.

The day's other Competition film, "The Wonders" by the Italian director Alice Rohrwacher, one of two women in the field, gave an entertaining lesson in bee-keeping.  It is a full-fledged family operation with the young children of an eccentric, very Italian father responsible for much of the labor.  The family is battling to survive, but the heart of the movie is what its like to be around bees and honey all day.

I included the French Canadian film "Miraculum" on my slate for the day as the cast included Xaviar Dolan, who has a film in Competition.  He generally directs, but when he acts he lights up the screen with his intense, explosive personality.  His visage with fierce, blazing eyes open this movie of multiple stories, not all of which intersect.  He plays a Jehovah Witness minister of all things who is suffering from leukemia and refuses to have the blood transfusion that could save his life. Another of the stories is about a guy who smuggles sixty tubes of drugs in his intestinal track into the country.  This market film was another example of the strength of Canadian cinema, what with three films in Competition, more than any other country.

When Australian Gracie Otto noticed everyone flocking around an older man at a party at Cannes several years ago and learned who he was she decided to make a documentary about him, resulting in "The Impressarior."  The man was Michael White, a long-time London producer of plays and movies, including Oh Calcutta, My Dinner with Andre, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Unfortunately White has suffered three strokes and couldn't express himself very well. The film is dominated by interviews with dozens of people he worked with--John Waters, Wally Shawn, Naomi Watts.  In the hands of a more accomplished filmmaker this could have been an extraordinary film but instead it was another of those ho-hum documentaries that was more informative than entertaining.

I couldn't find a new film in the eight p.m. slot with any promise, so rather than risking mind-numbing fare I treated myself to another Cannes Classic--"The Good Life" from 1966 by Jean-Paul Rappeneau on hand to introduce it.  This comedy starred Catherine Deneuve as the wife of a wealthy orchard owner during WWII.  Their chateau has been commandeered by the Germans.  They are also providing temporary refuge to a member of the Resistance.  He along with the German commander are flagrantly vying for the attentions of Deneuve right in the face of her husband.  D-Day is imminent.

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