Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cannes 2015 Day 1

Sienna Miller, Xavier Dolan, Rossy de Palma, Jury Presidents Joel and Ethan Coen, Rokia Traoré, Sophie Marceau, Guillermo del Toro, and Jake Gyllenhaal  

Jake Gyllenhaal, Guillermo del Toro, Sophie Marceau, Rokia Traoré, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Rossy de Palma, Xavier Dolan and Sienna Miller  





Jury presidents Ethan and Joel Coen  



Jury member Sophie Marceau with Jury presidents Joel (left) and Ethan Coen  





Jury members Sophie Marceau and Jake Gyllenhaal  




Jury member Jake Gyllenhaal and festival director Thierry Frémaux  





Cannes jurors Jake Gyllenhaal and Sienna Miller  




Cannes jurors Rossy de Palma and Rokia Traoré   





Cannes jurors Rossy de Palma, Xavier Dolan, and Sienna Miller  






A collection of pieces from The Hollywood Reporter:  
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/package/cannes-style

 Photo gallery from The Daily Mail:

Stars flock to France for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, from The NY Daily News: 
http://m.nydailynews.com/entertainment/celebs-arrive-2015-cannes-film-festival-gallery-1.2219462



Photo Gallery from E-Online: 
http://www.eonline.com/photos/16102/stars-at-the-2015-cannes-film-festival 

Indian actress and former beauty queen Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as she has appeared at Cannes through the years, from International Business Times:

Best Cannes festival dresses of all time, from Marie Claire:

Hollywood Life photo gallery: 

People magazine hits the Cannes red carpet:


 







Naomi Watts







Supermodel Doutzen Kroes







French actress Frédérique Bel







French actress Sara Forestier







Israeli fashion model Bar Rafaeli








Ethiopian-born model Liya Kebede












 

La Tête Haute (Emmanuelle Bercot, France)

Closing night film 
La Glace et le Ciel (Luc Jacquet, France)

In competition
The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan)
Carol (Todd Haynes, US-UK)
Cronic (Michel Franco, Mexico)
Dheepan (Jacques Audiard, France)
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece-UK-Ireland-Netherlands-France)
Our Little Sister (Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japan)
Louder Than Bombs (Joachim Trier, Norway-France-Denmark)
Macbeth (Justin Kurzel, UK-France-US)
Marguerite and Julien (Valerie Donzelli, France)
Mon Roi (Maiwenn, France)
Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke, China-Japan-France)
My Mother (Nanni Moretti, Italy)
The Sea of Trees (Gus Van Sant, US)
Sicario (Denis Villeneuve, US)
A Simple Man (Stephane Brize, France)
Son of Saul (Laszlo Nemes, Hungary)
The Tale of Tales (Matteo Garrone, Italy-France-UK)
The Valley of Love (Guillaume Nicloux, France)
Youth (Paolo Sorrentino, Italy-France-Switzerland-UK)

Out of competition
Inside Out (Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen)
Irrational Man (Woody Allen, US)
The Little Prince (Mark Osborne, Fr)
Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller, US-Aus)

Un Certain Regard
Alias Maria (José Luis Rugeles Gracia)
AN (Naomi Kawase)
Cemetery of Splendour (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
The Chosen Ones (David Pablos)
Fly Away Solo (Neeraj Ghaywan)
The Fourth Direction (Gurvinder Singh)
The High Sun (Dalibor Matanic)
I Am a Soldier (Laurent Lariviere)
Journey to the Shore (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
Lamb (Yared Zeleke)
Madonna (Shin Suwon)
Maryland (Alice Winocour)
Nahid (Ida Panahandeh)
One Floor Below (Radu Muntean)
The Other Side (Roberto Minervini)
Rams (Grimur Hakonarson)
The Shameless (Oh Seung-uk)
Taklub (Brillante Mendoza)
The Treasure (Corneliu Porumboiu)

Midnight screenings
Amy (Asif Kapadia, UK)
Office (Hong Won-chan, South Korea)
Love (Gaspar Noé, Argentina)

Special screenings
Amnesia (Barbet Schroeder)
Asphalte (Samuel Benchetrit)
L’esprit de l’escalier (Pabla Lucavic)
Hayored lema’ala (Elad Keidan)
Oka (Souleymane Cisse)
Panama (Pavle Vuckovic)
A Tale of Love and Darkness (Natalie Portman)

Critics’ Week
Dégradé (Arab and Tarzan, Palestine)
Krisha (Trey Edward Shults, US)
Mediterranea (Jonas Carpignano, US/Italy)
Ni le Ciel, Ni la Terre (Clement Cogitore, France)
Paulina (Santiago Mitre, Argentina)
Sleeping Giant (Andrew Cividino, Canada)
La Tierra y la Sombra (Cesar Acevedo, Colombia)

Special Screenings
Opening film: The Anarchists (Elie Wajeman, France)
Les Deux Amis (Louis Garrel, France)
Une Histoire de Fou (Robert Guédiguian, France)
Closing film: La Vie en Grand (Mathieu Vadepied, France)

Directors’ Fortnight
Opening film: In the Shadow of Women (Philippe Garrel, France)
Allende, Mi Abuelo Allende (Marcia Tambutti, Chile)
Arabian Nights (Miguel Gomes, Portugal)
The Brand New Testament (Jaco Van Dormael, Belgium)
The Cowboys (Thomas Bidegain, France)
Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra, Colombia)
Fatima (Philippe Faucon, France)
My Golden Years (Arnaud Desplechin, France)
Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier, US)
The Here After (Magnus von Horn, France)
Much Loved (Nabil Ayouch, Morocco)
Mustang (Deniz Gamze Erguven, France)
Peace to Us in Our Dreams (Sharunas Bartas, Lithuania)
A Perfect Day (Fernando Leon de Aranoa, Spain)
Songs My Brothers Taught Me (Chloe Zhao, US)
Special screening: Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War of the Underworld (Takashi Miike, Japan)
Closing film: Dope (Rick Famuyiwa, US)

Breaking Down the Cannes Jury: Who They Are, How They'll Vote




The red carpets are being unrolled, tuxedos retrieved from the dry cleaners, stepladders set up by the paparazzi; Cannes is getting ready to welcome its annual influx of the flotsam and jetsam of the global film community. As ever, the entire industry will make the trip, from Seoul to Sacramento, from the buyers’ scouts who are forced to hop through scores of screenings a day, to the most lordly financiers lounging in their billion-dollar superyachts in the harbour. It looks like business as usual.

But there is also change in the air. The Cannes film festival has always been a contradictory beast: it is an event that thrusts itself so shamelessly into the glare of the international media machine, but is dedicated to showcasing the most recondite areas of world cinema. Steepled-fingered critics rub shoulders with nickel-and-dime movie hucksters. So while the broad mass of activities in Cannes remain unchanged – bar a currency crisis or two – subtle shifts in emphasis can have surprisingly far-reaching effects.

Most striking is the sense that the festival has tilted dramatically in the direction of its more serious, socially-concerned side. The opening film, a prestige slot that has in the recent past been concerned to parade a string of A-list Hollywood movie stars on the festival’s enormous red carpet, with the likes of The Great Gatsby, Robin Hood and The Da Vinci Code, has this year been handed to a French film, La Tête Haute (aka Standing Tall), from a little known director called Emmanuelle Bercot. No doubt this selection was influenced, at least in part, by the fiasco that was Grace of Monaco, the putatively glamorous biopic of Grace Kelly that attracted radioactive levels of ridicule. Of course, like every film festival, Cannes has hosted some appalling films, but never before in such a visible slot.

Festival chief Thierry Frémaux confirms that time has been called on the era of what he terms the “gala-glamour”. “I wanted to engineer a renewal,” he says, “and change the traditional idea that the opening film is a glamour event. This year we are kicking off with a film that could have easily have gone in the competition: a socially-concerned film, a political film. It’s a film that says, essentially, that the world may be suffering, but that we must believe that it can get better. The Cannes film festival wants to say the same thing.”

La Tête Haute follows the tough upbringing of a teenager in Paris and northern France as he is processed through various social agencies; it contrasts spectacularly with the culpably indulgent fripperies of Grace of Monaco. (However, the fact that France’s eternal queen of glamour, Catherine Deneuve, plays a key role, of a local judge, won’t have harmed the film’s chances of securing the red-carpet slot.) Cannes’ new seriousness is in keeping with Frémaux’s widely-reported desire to clamp down on red-carpet selfies, which he described as “a practice that’s often extremely ridiculous and grotesque” at the festival’s announcement of its programme in mid-April.

La Tête Haute also leads a strong French contingent at the festival which, despite Cannes’ international outlook and reputation, is also a forcing-house for the country’s homegrown cinema. As a result, there is always a significant French presence at the festival, with three or four films in competition - though occasionally they may be shown up in the heat of competing with the world’s biggest names. This year, there are five French directors in competition – though only one can be considered as issuing from a premier-league source: Dheepan from director Jacques Audiard, previously responsible for the likes of Rust and Bone, A Prophet and The Beat That My Heart Skipped. Frémaux has given another prestigious slot, the non-competing closing gala, to a French film-maker, March of the Penguins director Luc Jacquet, whose new climate-change documentary, La Glace et la Ciel (Ice and Sky) will receive its world premiere.

Frémaux says that, essentially, the festival is only responding to what it sees out there – “this is what the year is” – and that French cinema has not been especially favoured (“there are five American films in competition, and three Italian”); he says in 2014, French cinema was “weak”, but in 2015 it is “strong”. But he does go as far to say that the film industry in France is “well structured and organised”, and possesses “productive financial system”. “Cinema has a central place in French policy, and we see the results.” Frémaux is a diplomat to his fingertips, and this may or may not be a rebuke to Britain’s film-making hopes, in a year when only one British director, Asif Kapadia, made any impact on the Cannes selectors, whose documentary about Amy Winehouse was given a non-competing Midnight Screenings slot. However, French cinema strength runs throughout the festival’s parallel events, with homegrown directors being given high profile screenings at the Critics Week sidebar (including The Anarchists from Elie Wajeman, and Les Deux Amis, directed by actor Louis Garrel), and at the Director’s Fortnight, where the latest film from Garrel’s director father Philippe, In the Shadow of Women, has been picked as the opener, and My Golden Years, from Arnaud Desplechin, has been given house-room after controversially being rejected from Frémaux’s official competition.

Perhaps most significantly of all, however, Cannes is throwing its weight behind women film-makers, after attracting considerable criticism for its male-dominated line-up in 2012. Not only is Bercot leading the festival out – only the second time a woman has been picked to do so – but a rarely-awarded Honorary Palme d’Or is to be presented to veteran film-maker Agnes Varda, the idiosyncratic director of Jacquot de Nantes, The Gleaners and I, and Vagabond. The festival are also citing her 1954 feature film, La Pointe Courte, as the wellspring of the (largely male) French new wave.

With its rhetoric of politics and justice, Cannes remains extremely sensitive to accusations of sexism and paternalism. Film critic Agnès Poirier, who also acts as an independent adviser on British films for Cannes, says: “Every major festival is acutely aware of the issue; they try and promote women film-makers – as well as film-makers from countries which are under-represented in festivals as often as they can. The good news is that it’s going to becoming easier as a younger, more mixed generation will emerge.”

“Film selectors, in the end, go for the films they think are the strongest, whatever the nationality, language or gender of the director.”





Catherine Deneuve










La Tête Haute director Emmanuelle Bercot and actress Catherine Deneuve

 





La Tête Haute review – Catherine Deneuve rules over solid Cannes opener  Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian, May 13, 2015

It takes a village to bring up a child, runs the old saying, and Emmanuelle Bercot’s Le Tête Haute (Standing Tall) is about the modern village of well-meaning and desperately hardworking government functionaries, trying to raise a violent, delinquent child who has gone off the rails and become an angry and resentful dependent of the French state.

It is a high-minded, often touching movie which replaces the nihilism and miserabilism often to be found in social realism, and replaces them with a positive vision of what the state can – and can’t – do to help. Officials often tell the youth concerned that they are there to provide “structure” and in a sense that is what this film does – telling the story of a troubled life within a framework of officialdom: court hearings, social-worker interviews, counselling sessions.

It’s a movie with quiet strength and purpose, unembarrassed about its own optimism, perhaps inspired by Dardenne brothers movies such as Le Fils. However, Standing Tall is sometimes schematic, with elaborate expository dialogue, especially at the beginning, letting us know what is happening and what is at stake. There are also some pretty exaggerated performances – the aggressive teen repeatedly ends scenes by uncorking an actorly tirade, which often seems indistinguishable from the violent tirade he gave us in the previous scene.

Catherine Deneuve brings her habitual queenly presence to the somewhat improbable role of juvenile court judge, who is universally respected for the humane concern she shows for the unhappy souls who slouch into her office. Benoît Magimel is Yann, a tough, caring youth counsellor who – it is implied – has gone through exactly this process as a reformed criminal. Magimel’s own boyish looks appear to be cragging up and he is almost resembling a young Johnny Hallyday.

Sara Forestier plays the mother who cannot control her son – Malony, played by non-professional newcomer Rod Paradot. Malony is seriously out of line, addicted to hot-wiring cars and attacking everyone. Bercot has a funny scene in which the judge drolly asks for the scissors and paper-knives – and even a flower vase – to be removed from her office before the scowling Malony is admitted to her presence.

Eventually, Malony is sent to a juvenile rehabilitation centre in idyllic country surroundings, but it is here that he meets the daughter of the supervisor who is effectively teaching him how to read and write: like Yann, she too may have had her problems, and be another successful graduate of the system. The ensuing relationship changes everything.

There are some shrewd and interesting touches. Malony holds his pen in a crude and illiterate fist in those early scenes: later, when he has to sign some release forms, Bercot’s closeup shows that he now can hold a pen: things have changed. On the phone, Malony talks about the disability ramps that he has been making – but confesses that he finds disabled people “weird and scary”. For all his tough-guy act, Malony is scared all the time.

Standing Tall (perhaps another translation would be “chin up”) is a film about hope and it unfashionably insists that authority figures can be the good guys. There are moments of slightly easy resolution – a spectacular car crash seems to have no ill effects – and occasionally the drama is a bit pedagogic. But this is a refreshingly high-minded film.


Catherine Deneuve criticises 'selfie-obsessed' celebrities  Hannah Furness from The Telegraph, May 13, 2015
 
Modern day celebrities have robbed their fans of the chance to dream by giving them too much insight into their private lives and removing any mystique, the actress Catherine Deneuve believes.

Deneuve, who stars in the opening film of this year's Cannes Film Festival, accused a new generation of celebrities of spending too much time projecting their private lives across social media.

Calling the 21st-century celebrity phenomenon a "pity", she claimed being a star necessarily entails a degree of secrecy, adding it is "hard" to keep the mystery in a world of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Speaking at a press conference for La Tête Haute (Standing Tall), a gritty film about a teenage delinquent in the care system, she said: "It's the social networks that don't allow people to dream any more."

The film has been seen as an unusual choice of opening film for Cannes, which usually favours a glitzy opening packed with Hollywood stars for its curtain raiser.

It is just one indication of a new direction for the festival this year, after it also sought to clamp down of red carpet selfies.

The edict, which is intended to speed up the red carpet and stop unflattering self-taken photographs surpassing the more glamorous official photographers, will be tested for the first time at tonight's red carpet premiere of La Tete Haute.

Speaking to the press after a first screening of the film, Deneuve, the 71-year-old Oscar winner, said she had been misunderstood in a previous interview, in which she appeared to say she believed there were "no stars" left in France.

"It's not that there are no stars," she said. "There could be stars, but it's this system. It's the social networks that don't allow people to dream anymore. These people, these stars... the private lives of actors and actresses are displayed around the globe. People even post up their own private photographs on these social networks. I find this a pity. You can do what you want in life, but this is not conducive to dreams.

"Being a star entails glamour and secrecy. You have to keep something of yourself; you shouldn't display everything of your private life. You see so many images, it's hard to keep any degree of mystery."

Deneuve plays a youth judge in the film, which traces the story of a troubled young boy left to the mercy of the French care and legal systems.

It is the first film directed by a woman to have opened the Cannes film festival since 1987.

Deneuve also said she hoped it would give insight into the terrorist attacks which shocked Paris earlier this year, as she welcomed the festival's decision not to open with a "blockbuster".

Emmanuelle Bercot, the director, added it showed how children left without education and guidance could end up disaffected by society, saying it was clearly linked with the Charlie Hebdo attacks. When asked about the unflattering portrayal of herself on the cover of Charlie Hebdo this week, which she had not yet seen, Deneuve said: "You can't expect Charlie Hebdo to show a photo of you looking like you do in a fashion magazine. I hope it's funny at least, even if it's a bit nasty."

She also surprised her audience by dismissing excitement over the rise of the female director, insisting women suffered no discrimination in France. "I don't feel a minority," she said. "We can't say we don't have a rightful place, or suffered any form of discrimination. In France, women directors are represented and are emerging."

She did, however, go on to challenge the festival's president over why her film was not selected for the main competition.


 




Paolo Sorrentino competition film Youth
 





Sex on the beach: a brief history of Cannes and erotic cinema  Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian, May 10 2015  

The posters, the trailers, the teaser trailers, and the teaser-posters are all emerging. And though it is rash to generalise, there is a certain preponderance of flesh, lust and concupiscence at this year’s Cannes film festival. In Valérie Donzelli’s Marguerite and Julien, there is incest. In Todd Haynes’s Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, there is forbidden love. In the poster for Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, a somewhat haggard Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel appear to be ogling an unclothed young woman from the vantage point of their hot tub. And perhaps most startlingly of all, the great enfant terrible Gaspar Noé has revealed on the web an explicit “poster” for his quaintly titled Love, the 3D sex film that is showing as a midnight screening. It is not clear if this poster could possibly exist anywhere but online. Displayed in shopping malls and tube stations, it might mean that members of the public wishing to walk past it must present proof of age to a specially positioned squadron of police to show that they are 18 or over.

Even when there is no actual sex on the screen, there is always a great deal of intensely publicised sexiness at the festival. The gowns, the bling, the paparazzi, the swimming pool at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc – it is all suffused and perfumed with generalised sexiness, a concept that merges with being rich, famous and desirable. Cannes encourages a televised theatre of glamour on the red carpet every night, which is adored by L’Oréal, the festival’s major sponsor. In their hearts, some people believe that this kind of sexiness is sexier than sex.

Long before reality TV and the Kardashians, the concept of Z-list celebs publicly cavorting in a state of undress was pioneered at Cannes with the semi-official tradition of “starlets” appearing in skimpy swimming costumes on the Croisette. In 1953, 18-year-old Brigitte Bardot posed in a bikini opposite Kirk Douglas. The next year, the now-forgotten actor Simone Silva went topless at Cannes opposite a bemused Robert Mitchum. In 1964, Jayne Mansfield also appeared in her swimming costume and did an unedifying dance called the monkey bird with her chihuahua. Each event triggered huge overexcitement among the jostling photographers, in an age when this kind of photo op was not as strictly policed as it is today.

But there was also a good deal of scandale up on the screen. In 1961, Luis Buñuel’s Viridiana won the Palme d’Or. The strong sexual content of the film, about a woman on the verge of becoming a nun visiting her reclusive uncle, astonished and outraged many at Cannes – and indeed the Catholic church. In 1962, the bow-tied audiences at the festival were similarly affronted by Mondo Cane. Directed by Paolo Cavara, Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi, Mondo Cane was an explicit “freakumentary” using genuine (and sometimes less than genuine) archive footage showing weird sexual rituals from all over the world, including a rite of passage in Nepal in which Gurkhas dress in women’s clothing.

Shockable though Cannes audiences have always been, the idea of being upset simply at sex became a bit passé, and the shocking films became increasingly about violence, from Michael Haneke’s Funny Games to Gaspar Noé’s Irréversible. But sex is always a hot ticket at the festival. Steven Soderbergh’s sex, lies and videotape, the Palme d’Or winner in 1989, will hardly seem shocking to modern audiences, but the idea of videoing oneself talking about sex was racy for its time.

In the 1990s, we saw Larry Clark’s Kids, a disturbing film about the sex lives of teenage New Yorkers that was widely condemned as exploitative and quasi-paedophile. A critic friend said that the first press screening for Kids was so packed and disorderly that he had the shirt ripped from his back in the melee outside. A year later, David Cronenberg unveiled his Crash, a version of the JG Ballard novel about a sexualised fetish for car crashes. The film was probably the last great censorship/moral-panic case in Britain surrounding a sexually explicit film.

In the new century, Cannes revealed itself to be diverted and overexcited by several explicit films that appeared in the market, though not in the official selection. One was Baise-Moi (that is, Kiss Me, or, ambiguously, Fuck Me), about two young women who go on a kind of Bonnie and Bonnie tour of sex and violence, from the writer-directors Coralie Trinh Thi and Virginie Despentes. In 2004, Michael Winterbottom’s interesting and underrated 9 Songs was also in the market rather than the official selection, and generated a huge amount of interest for its (rather romantic) view of obsessive, consenting sex. Two years earlier Carlos Reygadas’s Japón, which showed in the Director’s Fortnight, became a great talking point for showing a middle-aged man having sex with a very old woman.

Vincent Gallo’s The Brown Bunny was squawked and screeched at in 2003 for what was admittedly a self-important and self-indulgent display, culminating in Gallo copping a 10-minute blowjob from Chloë Sevigny. The scene was supposedly authentic, though undermined by on-set reports of a large and realistic-looking phallic prosthesis being used.

In more recent years, John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus, which played out of competition in 2006, provided a wacky panorama of pervitude, beginning with a shot of a man bending over and giving himself oral pleasure. It becomes a mosh pit of mass fornication in which someone murmurs: “Isn’t it great? Like the 60s, but without the hope.”

French films about sex tended to be very gamey and very serious in a way that only French cinema can manage. Jeune et Jolie, in competition in 2013, was a film that swooned over the sexiness of a beautiful teenage girl who becomes involved in high-class prostitution: it was a romanticised view of bought sex. Ulrich Seidl’s far more brutally candid Paradise: Love tackled sex tourism in Kenya and was decidedly unsexy.

A Stranger By the Lake is intensely about sex in a way that straight films typically aren’t.

It is a perennial complaint that gay sexuality and gay relationships are underrepresented at Cannes, and that the festival is a quite conservative and heterosexual institution. Perhaps it is, though Wong Kar-wai’s much admired Happy Together, which showed in 1997 and examined the love affair between two men played by Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, is often cited as a great gay movie at Cannes. The Queer Palm was founded by journalist Franck Finance-Madureira in 2010 to recognise lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-relevant films at the festival. The award has gone successively to Gregg Araki’s Kaboom, Oliver Hermanus’s Beauty, Xavier Dolan’s Laurence Anyways, Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger By the Lake and Matthew Warchus’s Pride. Of these, I think the best is Stranger By The Lake. A thrilling and fascinating story about a murder in a gay cruising spot, it’s intensely and passionately about sex in a way that straight films typically aren’t.

Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or-winning Blue Is the Warmest Colour, showing the love affair between two women, has a real claim to be the most sexually explicit film to have won the big prize at Cannes, although many commentators, gay and straight, dispute the idea that this is an example of gay or queer cinema – more an example of the straight world’s perennial fascination with lesbians. But sexy it certainly is. And I think Nicole Kidman’s masturbation scene in Lee Daniels’s much-misunderstood Florida noir The Paperboy – in competition in 2012 – is funny and sexy.

But for my money, the best sex film ever presented at Cannes was Polissons et Galipettes (or Rascals and Romps). Shown in 2002, and released in the UK under the title The Good Old Naughty Days, it anthologises a dozen sex films furtively made in France between 1905 and 1925 to be shown in brothels and at stag parties. A chapter in the secret history of sex and the belle époque, it’s bizarre and hilarious – and in the UK was awarded the notorious R18 certificate (stricter than 18 and requiring licensed club conditions), evidently on the grounds that it shows a woman dressed as a nun pleasuring herself with a Jack Russell terrier. That was probably the supreme Cannes sex moment.

*       *          *          *

Cannes critics ratings, a composite of  7 different critic scores, where some of the highest ratings might surprise you:  http://cannes-rurban.rhcloud.com/index.pl/2015

The Cannes Criterion Forum is up and running:   
http://www.criterionforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=513599

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


PALME D’OR
FRONT RUNNERS
5-1 Garrone – Tale of Tales
6-1 Audiard – Dheepan
7-1 Hou – The Assassin
7-1 Trier – Louder Than Bombs
8-1 Sorrentino – Youth
9-1 Nemes – Son of Saul
9-1 Haynes – Carol
– – – – – – – – – – –
CONTENDERS
11-1 Lanthimos – The Lobster
14-1 Franco – Chronic
16-1 Jia – Mountains May Depart
– – – – – – – – – – –
PRIZE CANDIDATES
20-1 Villeneuve – Sicario
22-1 Kore-eda – Our Little Sister
25-1 Moretti – My Mother
25-1 Maïwenn – My King
28-1 Kurzel – Macbeth
28-1 Brizé – The Measure of a Man
– – – – – – – – – – –
LONGSHOTS
33-1 Van Sant – The Sea of Trees
50-1 Donzelli – Marguerite and Julien
66-1 Nicloux – The Valley of Love

BEST ACTRESS
2-1 Cate Blanchett (Carol) solo
11-2 Margherita Buy (My Mother)
6-1 any (or several) from Our Little Sister
8-1 Emily Blunt (Sicario)
– – –
10-1 Marion Cotillard (Macbeth)
12-1 Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (Carol)
14-1 Isabelle Huppert (Louder Than Bombs and/or The Valley of Love)
16-1 Shu Qi (The Assassin)
16-1 any (or several) from Dheepan
– – –
20-1 Rooney Mara (Carol) solo
20-1 Zhao Tao (Mountains May Depart)
22-1 Emmanuelle Bercot (My King)
25-1 Anaïs Demoustier (Marguerite and Julien)
28-1 Salma Hayek (Tale of Tales)
33-1 Rachel Weisz and/or Jane Fonda (Youth)
40-1 any (or several) from The Lobster
40-1 Blanchett, Mara & Paulson (Carol)
50-1 Naomi Watts (The Sea of Trees)

BEST ACTOR
7-2 Géza Röhrig (Son of Saul)
5-1 Vincent Lindon (The Measure of a Man)
5-1 Michael Caine and/or Harvey Keitel (Youth)
6-1 Tim Roth (Chronic)
8-1 Jesuthasan Antonythasan (Dheepan)
– – –
12-1 Vincent Cassel (My King and/or Tale of Tales) solo
12-1 any (or several) from Louder Than Bombs (Byrne, Eisenberg, etc)
14-1 Michael Fassbender (Macbeth)
16-1 Gérard Depardieu (The Valley of Love)
16-1 Ken Watanabe and/or Matthew McConaughey (The Sea of Trees)
– – –
20-1 any (or several) from The Lobster (Farrell, Reilly, etc)
25-1 John Turturro (My Mother) solo or with Nanni Moretti
25-1 Liang Jingdong (Mountains May Depart)
28-1 John C Reilly (Tale of Tales and/or The Lobster) solo
33-1 Jérémie Elkaïm (Marguerite and Julien)
40-1 any (or several) of the actors from Tale of Tales (Reilly, Jones, etc)*
50-1 Kyle Chandler (Carol)
50-1 Benicio Del Toro (Sicario)

*but not Reilly solo



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:  http://www.screendaily.com/, also:  http://www.screendaily.com/festivals/cannes


David Hudson does all the links for each review at Fandor:  https://www.fandor.com/keyframe/daily-cannes-2015-lineup  also seen here:  https://www.fandor.com/keyframe/category/daily

The Film Center's Barbara Scharres and Michał Oleszczyk, also Ben Kenigsberg and Chaz Ebert at Cannes from the Roger Ebert blog:  http://www.rogerebert.com/cannes/cannes-2015-table-of-contents

Kevin Jagernauth, Oliver Lyttelton, and Jessica Kiang the indieWIRE Playlist:  http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/tag/cannes-film-festival   


The Guardian collection of reviews:  http://www.theguardian.com/film/cannes-2015

David Jenkins from Little White Lies:  http://www.littlewhitelies.co.uk/features/festivals   

Daniel Kasman, Adam Cook, and likely others at Mubi: https://mubi.com/notebook/posts/cannes-2015-day-0

Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa:  https://storify.com/cineuropa/cannes-2015

Sukhdev Sandhu and Robbie Collins from The Daily Telegraph:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/cannes-festival/2015-movie-reviews/



Eric Lavallee and Nicholas Bell from Ion Cinema:  http://www.ioncinema.com/category/news/film-festivals

Drew McSweeny and Guy Lodge & others from HitFix:  http://www.hitfix.com/movies/cannes-film-festival 

Various writers at Twitch:  http://twitchfilm.com/festivals/cannes/ 

And, of course, George is back at Cannes this year, where he finds off the beaten track film fare:  http://georgethecyclist.blogspot.com  

I was among the first in line at eight a.m. Tuesday when the office opened that was dispensing credentials and programs.  Once I got my hands on that eagerly-awaited program, I headed to a bench in the shade looking out over the Mediterranean to began my day-long process of digesting each synopsis of the thousand films that will be screening here over the next twelve days and trying to narrow down what I wanted to see besides the nineteen films in Competiton.  For the first couple of hours every film, other than the all too many horror films, had some appeal.  But as I neared the finish of the program nearly twelve hours later back at the apartment I'm staying at, the descriptions began to seem all the same and to start losing their appeal, especially since I hadn't come upon a single film with a bicycle theme.  

This could be the first Cannes  I've attended without such a film.  I haven't given up hope though, as there are always films added during the fest, and one year there was such a film from Belgium.  As I perused the Day One issue of Screen magazine the next day, I was encouraged by the photo of a cyclist in an article on films from Asia promoting a film that was being offered by Emperor Motion Pictures called "To the Fore."  It wasn't scheduled to screen, but there is always that chance.

This year's program is surprisingly short on films devoted to the world of sports.  Last year there were three on running to go along with three on cycling.  There are none this year, nor any on baseball or basketball or surfing.  As usual, there are a handful on the international sports of soccer and boxing, along with single films on fencing, skiing, and windsurfing and car racing and horse racing, if they can be considered sports. Its a bad year too for mountaineering films with none other than a hike with horses from Mexico to Canada through the rugged west.

For the first time some films were identified as dealing with "social issues."  There was also an environmental category.  There could have been one on filmmakers as there are films on Orson Welles, Hitchcock and Truffaut, Sidney Lumet, David Lynch, Eisenstein and Ousman Sembene. There are even more on musicians (Quiet Riot, Hillsong United, Wilko Johnson and two on Curt Cobain) and the music industry (Henry Stone of TK Records) and movies on reggae and hip-hop and more.

It is too early to establish any theme or trend, but there were quite a few films dealing with an inheritance or a windfall of money from the lottery or an insurance payoff, including "Wild Oats" a comedy with Jessica Lange and Shirley MacLaine receiving a check for $5 million rather than $50,000.  There is also a glut of films on kidnapping and hostage-taking.  Two films mention beheadings and two deal with euthanasia.  Once the festival beings and I become submerged into all the films,  stray strands appear that link one film to another.  My very first film "Sunshine" from South Korea had a scene in a bookshop with a book on David Hockney in the background.  A documentary on him has a single screening Saturday morning.

"Sunshine" was one of only two films playing in the the first time slot of the day, ten a.m., later than the usual 8:30 first film when the festival is in full swing on Day Two.  It was showing in the 19-seat Gray 5 screening room, the smallest by nearly half of the fifty venues. Only sixteen of us were interested in this film about a young woman in South Korea who had defected from North Korea.  She was working in a flower shop and painting murals to supplement her wages.  A young filmmaker discovers her art and wishes to make a documentary on her.  She's not interested, despite his argument that it could bring her fame and wealth, though she finally relents to his persistence.  The program didn't identify this is a "social issue" film because unfortunately it just barely scratched the subject, with just a couple brief references to how those from the North are treated as second-class citizens.

"My Bakery in Booklyn" was an inheritance movie.  It may have taken place in Brooklyn and been in English, but it was a Spanish production with an international cast. Two single young women inherit their aunt's bakery.  It is $230,000 in debt and the bank wishes to repossess it.  One of the young women happens to fall into conversation with  the young banker assigned the task in a small cafe with neither of them knowing who the other is until the next day at the bakery when he comes with the bad news.  He agrees to give them three months before closing them down.  The two women can't agree on how to run the bakery, so they divide it in half and battle over every customer who comes into the shop.  This had as much social realism as a Hollywood movie.  But it also had the polish and energy of a studio film and some entertainment value as well.

"We Were Young" from France was equally commercial. It featured five middle-aged men who are long time pals.  One has decided to buy a boat and sail around the world.  All five are having women problems--divorce, blind dating, nagging wives.  This too had energy and humor catering to those who go to the cinema for escapism rather than insight.  The five guys are all just below A-level actors who have been in a lot of movies and seemed to be having a grand time together.  The film would be a pleasure to any of their fans. 

Rather than going to "Criminal Activities" next, directed by Jackie Earle Haley with John Travolta, for a buddy movie that leads to a kidnapping, I went serious with the documentary "The Man Who Mends Women--the Wrath of Hippocrates."  This two-hour Belgian film thoroughly covered the subject of rape in the Congo.  The focus of the film, Doctor Mukwege, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Award for his work helping over 30,000 rope victims in the past twenty years, not only performing operations on them, but giving them refuge until they have recovered mentally and physically.  Twice he has come to New York to address the UN on the issue.  Part of his work is an appeal to the men of the Congo to stand up to this horrible epidemic that  has gripped the country victimizing their mothers, wives and daughters.   After an attempt on his life he fled to Europe, but returned when there was such a great demand for him from the thousands that he had helped.  He now has a full-time UN security detail safeguarding him so he can continue his work.  The film included heart-rending testimonials from many victims and also a military trial of several soldiers accused of rape.

I chose "Road Games" as my final film as it was about hitch-hiking in France and featured a collector of road-kill.  It was described as a "thriller."  If it had more aptly been placed in the "horror" category I would known better than to have wasted my time on this nonsense.  I stuck it out wondering why anyone else did, remaining mystified why this genre is so popular.  Only two or three people of the hundred of us in the theater had the sense to leave early.

The first day of the festival with only seventy screenings compared to two hundred and fifty or more in the days to come is always marginal fare, so I knew better than to be discouraged by such a lackluster opening day.

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