Saturday, May 16, 2015

Cannes 2015 Day 3

American actress Emma Stone

American actresses Parker Posey and Emma Stone along with director Woody Allen for the Cannes premiere of Irrational Man  

British-American actress Rachel Weisz  

French actress Léa Seydoux  

Léa Seydoux and American actor John C. Reilly  

Dominican and Puerto Rican-American actress Michelle Rodriguez  

Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek  

Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o  

South African actress Charlize Theron  

Charlize Theron and Sean Penn  

Charlize Theron with Sean Penn watching  

Zoë Kravitz, Charlize Theron, and Tom Hardy from the cast of Mad Max: Fury Road  

Chinese actress Fan Bingbing  

American actress Julianne Moore  

Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr  

A collection of pieces from The Hollywood Reporter:

Red carpet photos from PopSugar: 

Best dressed from Vanity Fair: 

Cannes photos from The Telegraph: 

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

Photo gallery from The Daily Mail: 

also vintage earlier looks of 18-year old model Charlize Theron: 

Celebrities arrive for the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, from The NY Daily News: 

Photo Gallery from E-Online:  

Los Angeles Times gallery photos: 

Fashionista blog: 

Daily list of best dressed at Cannes from Blouin Art Info: 

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

Best and Worst fashion choices from International Business Times: 

Most Memorable Moments ever at Cannes from The Huffington Post: 

Also the most iconic moments at Cannes from The Huffington Post: 

Harper’s Bazaar at Cannes: 

Hollywood Life photo gallery:  

Another large gallery of photos: 

People magazine hits the Cannes red carpet: 

while also performing a running behind-the-scenes diary style: 

Beatrice Mancini, Giulia Lazzarini, director Nanni Moretti and Margherita Buy, the cast from Mia Madre

John C. Reilly and Salma Hayek from Matteo Garrone’s Tale of Tales (Il racconto dei racconti)

Madalina Ghenea from Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth

Italian Directors Take the Cannes Film Festival by Storm, by Rachel Donadio from The New York Times, May 12, 2015
PARIS — In the glory years of Italian cinema, Fellini, Antonioni and Visconti used to compete against each other at film festivals. This year, the trifecta of Italy’s leading contemporary directors — Matteo Garrone, Nanni Moretti and Paolo Sorrentino — all have films in the official competition at the 68th annual Cannes International Film Festival, where each has taken home prizes before.

Mr. Garrone and Mr. Sorrentino, both in their mid-40s and both presenting films in English this year, are part of a younger generation, more stylized and often darker in their palettes and sensibilities. Mr. Moretti, 61, has evolved over the years from making sui-generis comedies in which he stars, Woody Allen-style, to more somber family dramas like the one he’s presenting this year.

Asked about the stiff national competition, the first time in years that so many Italian films have been in the running for the Palme d’Or, Mr. Garrone said he was pleased. “Finally,” he said in a telephone interview from his home in Rome.

In 2008, his film “Gomorrah,” about organized crime outside Naples, took home the Jury Prize at Cannes and in 2012 “Reality,” about a man who becomes obsessed with being on television, also competed. His film “L’imbalsamatore” (The Embalmer) was chosen in 2002 for the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, which showcases emerging talent.

This year at the festival, which runs from Wednesday to May 24, Mr. Garrone is presenting “Il racconto dei racconti” (Tale of Tales), a big-budget fantasy shot in English and starring Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones and John C. Reilly. Its official screening is Thursday.

Filmed in luscious landscapes and darkly romantic castles from Tuscany to Sicily, the film is based on the book of fairy tales by the 16th-century Neapolitan writer Giambattista Basile, who went on to inspire the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. (Italo Calvino once described the book as “the dream of a deranged Neapolitan Shakespeare.”)

Mr. Garrone said, “I fell in love with this book, and I embarked recklessly on a very ambitious film.” 
Filming in English helped the director get a strong cast and a leg up in international distribution, but Mr. Garrone said it was also a smart artistic choice — Basile’s writing is in an antiquated Neapolitan dialect and would have needed to be translated into contemporary Italian anyway.

“After ‘Gomorrah,’ I got many offers to do films in America or outside Italy,” Mr. Garrone said. “In this case I made a different choice. I brought the actors, American and English, to my house, to Italy, into my world, my culture.”

In filming “Tale of Tales,” Mr. Garrone, who was trained as a painter, said he was inspired by Goya. “It’s a fantasy, but a fantasy that keeps a certain identity and personality connected to our culture, to my point of view,” he said. “I think it’s a pretty unusual film with respect to the genre.”

The film will be up for the Palme d’Or alongside Mr. Sorrentino’s latest, “Youth,” which officially screens on May 20 and stars a bespectacled Michael Caine as a semi-retired composer and conductor. It is the director’s first film since “La grande bellezza” (The Great Beauty), an elegy to decadent Roman decline, which competed at Cannes in 2013 without winning any awards, before going on to win the best foreign language film prize at the 2014 Academy Awards.

Six of Mr. Sorrentino’s seven films have competed at Cannes. His 2008 film “Il Divo,” about the powerful Italian prime minister, Giulio Andreotti, won the jury prize there. Sean Penn was the president of the jury that year and after meeting Mr. Sorrentino he later agreed to star in his “This Must Be the Place,” which was filmed in English and competed at Cannes in 2011.

Mr. Sorrentino also shot “Youth” in English. The French-Italian co-production is set partly at a spa in the foothills of the Alps, and also stars Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and Jane Fonda. The film’s score is by the New York composer David Lang, whose music can also be heard in the opening sequence to “The Great Beauty.”

In a telephone interview from his home in Rome, Mr. Sorrentino said he loved working with Mr. Caine. “He’s a real phenomenon,” he said, “an actor who doesn’t need to make an effort to become unforgettable. It’s a quality that very few actors have, an absolute naturalness.”

The most seasoned director of the trifecta, Mr. Moretti, is presenting “Mia Madre” (My Mother) this year, screening on May 16. The film is a tragicomedy in which he stars with Margherita Buy, one of Italy’s most soulful actresses. She plays a director whose mother is dying and who is trying to keep it all together in the middle of filming a movie with a difficult American actor played by John Turturro, who speaks in Italian.

It is Mr. Moretti’s seventh film in competition at Cannes since 1978, when his Italian cult classic “Ecce Bombo” was shown. In 1994, he won the best director award for “Caro diario” (Dear Diary), which helped launch his international career. “Habemus Papam” (We Have a Pope), about a reluctant pope, competed at Cannes in 2011.

Outside of the three directors in the main competition, two other Italian filmmakers are also showing at the festival. Roberto Minervini, an Italian working in the United States, is presenting “The Other Side,” about people living on the margins in America; it will compete in the Un Certain Regard section, reserved for more difficult and innovative works. And “Mediterranea,” about African immigrants in Calabria directed by the Italian-American director Jonas Carpignano, will be shown in the Critics’ Week selection.

Rise of Netflix met warily at Cannes Film Festival, by Jake Coyle from U-T San Diego, May 15, 2015

CANNES, France (AP) — In Netflix's first official visit to the Cannes Film Festival, the streaming service's ambitions have been met warily at the Cote d'Azure cinema capital, a 68-year-old movie palace reverential to the theater-going experience.

Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, appeared Friday as part of Cannes' NEXT conference to tout Netflix's global strategy and its desire to upend the traditional window release schedules of movies. Sarandos drew a packed theater in the Palais des Festivals, but not all in attendance were swayed by his prognostications.

One French reporter shouted that Netflix will "destroy the film ecosystem in Europe." Sarandos protested that Netflix would benefit European film. Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein, a collaborator with Netflix who was sitting in the audience, also came to his defense, calling Netflix "a visionary company."

The confrontation illustrated the unease felt by some at the Cannes Film Festival about the encroachment of digital operators into an art form seen as hallowed in France, the birthplace of cinema.

Cannes is a place where a trailer for Quentin Tarantino's latest film, "Hateful Eight," drew applause when it advertises itself as shot "in glorious 70mm." On the first day of the festival, jury co-presidents Joel and Ethan Coen were cheered for their disinterest in television.

"How do we feel about people watching 'Lawrence of Arabia' on their iPhone?" Joel Coen said, pointedly rephrasing a question about digital media. "There's something special about sitting with a big crowd of people watching a movie on a big 80-foot screen."

But Netflix's inroads into original movies has been celebrated by many viewers, has helped increase the streaming service's 60 million-plus subscribers and has drawn a lineup of major names in Hollywood.

Netflix has inked deals with the Weinstein Co. for a "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" sequel, a new Pee-wee Herman movie with Judd Apatow, and a series of comedies with Adam Sandler. Other plans include a movie with Ricky Gervais, a documentary deal with Leonardo DiCapiro and a four-picture deal with Mark and Jay Duplass.

Two documentaries ("The Square" and "Virunga") have earned Netflix Oscar nominations in the last two years. Its growing prominence in the movie industry is now seen everywhere from the Academy Awards to Cannes.

On Friday, Sarandos insisted that Netflix wasn't "anti-theaters," but "pro-movies."

"If you don't want to put on your shoes, nothing in the theaters can compete with Netflix," said Sarandos.

Theater owners, however, have pushed back. All the major North American chains have refused to play "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend" on Aug. 28 when it's to be released day-and-date, both online and in theaters.

Sarandos said that movie budgets for Netflix range from below $10 million to more than $50 million, though TV shows still make up about 2/3 of its programming.

Netflix hasn't announced any purchases at Cannes yet, but it is shopping. The company has already had a large impact at other festivals, acquiring Cary Fukunaga's "Beasts of No Nation" at the Sundance Film Festival for a reported $12 million. At the Berlin Film Festival, it reportedly snagged Richie Smyth's "Jadotville" for $17 million.

Those acquisitions point to Netflix's deep pockets — not a common quality in the largely tight-fisted independent film market. That, plus a reputation for allowing the creators to have creative control and the chance for a global audience, has made Netflix a very appealing option for filmmakers.

Netflix, Sarandos said, will increase its push into original movies and continue in its attempt to revolutionize the movie industry.

"Everything about how we consume entertainment has been changed by the Internet," said Sarandos, "except windowing for movies."

Women earning Cannes respect in 2015, by Bryan Alexander from USA Today, May 14, 2015

CANNES, France — Women are coming on strong at Cannes Film Festival in 2015.

While the prestigious film festival has perennially dealt with complaints of under-representation of women in key roles and film selection, Cannes organizers are making a statement with their first two days of the festival, which started Wednesday.

Director Emmanuelle Bercot was the first woman since 1987 to open Cannes with Standing Tall. It was a clear statement, trumpeted by festival director Thierry Fremaux at the April media conference announcing the slate of films.

Rather than the big, splashy Hollywood movie opening that has kicked off most Cannes festivals, Standing Tall is a gritty drama about France's juvenile justice system starring French acting icon Catherine Deneuve.

Bercot appeared ill at ease answering gender questions Wednesday, even exhaling loudly when asked about the female directing distinction.

"I'm going to disappoint you. But I don't think it's important that a woman directed the opening night film," Bercot said. "What's important is that the films chosen are beautiful ones. It doesn't matter if it's made by a man or woman."

Thursday featured an equally rare film event, a female action hero holding her own in a big-budget Hollywood movie. But that describes Charlize Theron's role in Mad Max: Fury Road, which rolled into Cannes for its gala premiere.

In the film, Theron's Furiosa liberates women used as breeding machines by the film's villain Immortan Joe. She spends the movie fleeing and fighting off his vengeance.

Longtime Cannes media conference moderator Henri Behar asked director George Miller if the movie was, as one pundit put it, a "sociopolitical pro-feminist film." Miller talked around the terminology in his answer.

Tom Hardy, who stars as the Max from the title, was asked if he was concerned that he was "outgunned by estrogen" in the film.

"Not for a moment," Hardy smiled.

Theron mentioned that she was drawn to her character's strength.

"There was a lot of talk about a female character to stand alongside Max. For a female actress, that's sounded really good," said Theron. "It was incredible to be in this sandbox. And to be a woman, not try to be a man."

Also taking place Thursday: Isabella Rossellini gave a discussion on female discrimination in cinema, part of the new "Women in Motion" Cannes festival initiative (sponsored by Kering, the company run by billionaire François-Henri Pinault, who is married to actress Salma Hayek).

The talks will continue throughout the festival and have included topics such as "How can cinema help improve women's rights?"

Louise Beveridge, Kering senior vice president of communications, says the problem with female representation is apparent well beyond Cannes. It's a theme through film festivals around the world and the industry itself.

"It's understandable that the debate gets higher attention at these events because of their high media exposure," Beveridge said. "However, film festivals are only the tip of the iceberg."

That's what the Cannes talks are meant to address.

"We want women's voices to be heard and their work to be more visible," says Beveridge. "The more we are to talk about it, the easier it will be to make the debate move forward and to find solutions. What's better than the number one film festival in the world to do it?"

(The talks can be seen in their entirety on a two-part video seen here:

Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster  

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos explored restrictive social constructs with his darkly satirical movies "Dogtooth" and "Alps," a fixation that comes into full bloom with his first English-language feature, "The Lobster." As with his earlier works, Lanthimos builds a world that looks not unlike our own, but injects it with a bizarre rulebook that gives his topic a scathing edge. Though at times almost too peculiar for its own good, "The Lobster" brings Lanthimos' distinct blend of morbid, deadpan humor and surrealism to a broader canvas without compromising his ability to deliver another thematically rich provocation.

It doesn't take much to synopsize the fundamental weirdness of "The Lobster," a movie set in a world where being single is a crime and subordinates get transformed into animals of their choosing. Perhaps understanding as much, Lanthimos gets that high concept premise out of the way upfront, establishing the plight of leading man David (Colin Farrell, mustachioed and pot-bellied, submerged in a wonderfully unglamorous turn), one of the unlucky bachelors in question. David is a hapless anti-hero less interested in rebelling against the system than unsure of what it wants from him — a brilliant encapsulation of the romantic loner, and the ideal agent for setting Lanthimos' allegory in motion.

Forced to submit himself for 45 days at an isolated hotel, David must spend that time attempting to find a mate, or go with the animal option. It's there that he befriends two other single contenders (John C. Reilly and Ben Whishaw), all entirely clueless about their needs from the opposite sex, who form a curious entourage as they roam the compound accompanied by David's former brother, now transformed into a dog. Eventually, David does latch onto a woman, but the situation doesn't exactly go as planned. Lanthimos uses this prolonged first act to establish a world that's equally ridiculous and haunting, most significantly during a slo-mo montage in which the hotel inmates must hunt down rebellious single refugees in the nearby woods. Set to a lovely show tune, the sequence brings a more advanced scope of imagination than anything found in Lanthimos' comparatively subdued works.

Not content to simply to push the situation around in the same restrained environment, the director opens things up during the oddly galvanizing second half, when David leaves the compound to join the aforementioned rebels in the woods. It's here that he answers to the call of a renegade leader (Lea Seydoux in femme fatale mode), learning to survive while ironically contending with a whole new set of rules opposite to the ones he escaped. Naturally, it's here that David actually does find a worthwhile companion (Rachel Weisz), and their mutual attraction leads to yet another escape plan. Through David's ongoing search for happiness, Lanthimos cleverly asserts that the problem lies with the goal itself.

There are times when the scale of the story, with its ensemble of idiosyncratic characters and outrageous circumstances, strains from too many ingredients. Though her character supplies voiceover narration, Weisz is a dispiritingly underutilized creation who mainly serves to complicate David's priorities. The narration feels perfunctory as well, sometimes overstating some of the richer ideas in the narrative. Whereas "Dogtooth" slowly revealed the larger mystery while leaving much up for interpretation, "The Lobster" is loaded with explanations.
However, the inherent absurdity of the premise maintains its appeal thanks to an unlikely combination of depravity and deadpan comedy. Lanthimos is aided in that tricky balance by a terrific cast, led by the frumpy Farrell in his most original performance ever. The story also benefits from a host of appealing minor characters, from Whishaw as a man who forces himself to get nosebleeds to attract a woman with the same ailment to Lanthimos regular Arianne Labed as an all-purpose hotel maid.

Yet the real star of the show is Lanthimos' willingness to shift his typical edginess away from the dreary claustrophobia of "Dogtooth" and "Alps" to more outwardly comedic terrain. The humor sets in early and fast, when David checks into his hotel ("Is there a bisexual option available?" he asks the concierge) and never slows down. Lanthimos' script (co-written by Efthymis Filippou) has fun with the tendency to categorize the intangible aspects of human relationships. At one point, a character is asked at gunpoint to rank his love for his partner on a scale of one to 15, and replies, "14."

The hint of a science fiction premise never entirely comes into play, though "The Lobster" uses it to flesh out the zany environment, such as during one scene in the forest when a camel casually lurches past in the background over the course of an unrelated conversation. Even then, however, the grander conceit remains in play — why did someone choose to transform into a camel? — as Lanthimos suggests that you can't account for the whims of personal desire.

Overall, though, "The Lobster" is sustained by Lanthimos' blatant disdain for any set of demands imposed by society on individual expectations for companionship. At the hotel, residents are forced to watch a hilariously dumb set of sketches designed to illustrate why men and women belong together. It's a flimsy aid, which is exactly the point.

There's so much rage against the system in "The Lobster" that it leaves the impression Lanthimos has finally expunged this particular dystopian premise from his system. With "Dogtooth," which assails family dynamics, and "Alps," a critique of organized religion, "The Lobster" completes a sensational trilogy of diatribes against powerful extremes. Notably, the new movie's climactic moments rhythmically mirror those in "Dogtooth," with an outrageous act of self-inflicted violence followed by a shot of utterly mundane circumstances. With the implication that destructive pressures lurk beneath seemingly ordinary moments, "The Lobster" transitions from a ridiculous world to the real one.

*          *          *          *

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

The Cannes Criterion Forum is up and running:

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

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

5-2 Hou – The Assassin
7-2 Nemes – Son of Saul
7-1 Audiard – Dheepan
8-1 Trier – Louder Than Bombs
8-1 Haynes – Carol
9-1 Garrone – Tale of Tales
– – – – – – – – – – –
10-1 Lanthimos – The Lobster
10-1 Sorrentino – Youth
12-1 Franco – Chronic
16-1 Villeneuve – Sicario
18-1 Kore-eda – Our Little Sister
20-1 Jia – Mountains May Depart
– – – – – – – – – – –
25-1 Kurzel – Macbeth
25-1 Maïwenn – My King
25-1 Brizé – The Measure of a Man
– – – – – – – – – – –
33-1 Moretti – My Mother
50-1 Donzelli – Marguerite and Julien
100-1 Nicloux – The Valley of Love
200-1 Van Sant – The Sea of Trees

2-1 Cate Blanchett (Carol) solo
6-1 Margherita Buy (My Mother) solo or with Giulia Lazzarini
6-1 any (or several) from Our Little Sister
7-1 Emily Blunt (Sicario)
– – –
10-1 Marion Cotillard (Macbeth)
12-1 Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (Carol)
12-1 Isabelle Huppert (Louder Than Bombs; solo or with The Valley of Love)
14-1 Rachel Weisz (The Lobster and/or Youth) solo
16-1 Shu Qi (The Assassin)
16-1 any (or several) from Dheepan
– – –
20-1 Rooney Mara (Carol) solo
22-1 Zhao Tao (Mountains May Depart)
25-1 Emmanuelle Bercot (My King)
25-1 The Lobster’s female ensemble
25-1 Anaïs Demoustier (Marguerite and Julien)
33-1 Shirley Henderson and/or Salma Hayek (Tale of Tales)
40-1 Rachel Weisz and/or Jane Fonda (Youth)
40-1 Blanchett, Mara & Paulson (Carol)
50-1 Naomi Watts (The Sea of Trees)

BEST ACTOR 11-4 Géza Röhrig (Son of Saul)
9-2 Vincent Lindon (The Measure of a Man)
6-1 Colin Farrell (The Lobster)
8-1 Tim Roth (Chronic)
8-1 Michael Caine and/or Harvey Keitel (Youth)
8-1 Jesuthasan Antonythasan (Dheepan)
– – –
12-1 Toby Jones (Tale of Tales)
14-1 Vincent Cassel (My King, singly or plus Tale of Tales)

14-1 any (or several) from Louder Than Bombs (Byrne, Eisenberg, etc)
20-1 Michael Fassbender (Macbeth)
20-1 Gérard Depardieu (The Valley of Love)
– – –
25-1 John Turturro (My Mother) solo or with Nanni Moretti
25-1 Liang Jingdong (Mountains May Depart)
33-1 Jérémie Elkaïm (Marguerite and Julien)
40-1 Ken Watanabe and/or Matthew McConaughey (The Sea of Trees)
50-1 Kyle Chandler (Carol)
50-1 Benicio Del Toro (Sicario)

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:

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

The Film Center's Barbara Scharres and Michał Oleszczyk, also Ben Kenigsberg and Chaz Ebert at Cannes from the Roger Ebert blog:

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

The Guardian collection of reviews:

David Jenkins from Little White Lies:   

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

Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa:

Sukhdev Sandhu and Robbie Collins from The Daily Telegraph:

Cannes Diary from Film Comment:

Eric Lavallee and Nicholas Bell from Ion Cinema:

Drew McSweeny and Guy Lodge & others from HitFix: 

Various writers at Twitch: 

And, of course, George is back at Cannes this year, where he finds off the beaten track film fare:  
None of us in the Last Minute Line this morning gained entry to the morning's Competition entry "Lobster."  I had several worthy options--"Survivalist," (an English film that had been well-reviewed)? "I Am Michael," (a true story about a gay-rights advocate who had renounced his homosexuality, one of several films starring James Franco),  or "Arteholic," (a German documentary about the German actor Udo Kier who loved art).  

I chose the documentary as it had a running time and location that would give me a chance to see "Rams," an Icelandic film in Un Certain Regard at eleven.  I was also tricked into seeing it as Lars Von Trier was listed in the cast.  Kier had appeared in "Breaking the Waves" and was a friend of his, but his appearance in the movie was simply a joke.  Kier does visit him during the shooting of the documentary, but the two of them simply sit and read for a minute or so.  Not a word comes out of Von Trier's mouth, not even a greeting.  The whole movie was less than honest.  Kier does like art and was a friend of Warhol and Mapplethorpe and others, but he's hardly an "arteholic" and has very little to say about the art that is shown in the movie.  He does like to be on camera though, and somehow managed to get a totally unnecessary documentary, a most indulgent, giant-selfie, made about himself. Usually one can find some redeeming value in any documentary.  I did learn in this one that the signature chapter scenes in "Breaking the Waves" were designed by an artist friend of his and not by Von Trier.

The documentary at least did allow me to see "Rams," a classic Icelandic story of sheep farmers who have to destroy their flocks because a disease has been discovered in them.  This is the nightmare of every Icelandic farmer, and in particular two brothers who live side by side but haven't spoken in forty years.  The scenery was magnificent as were the abundance of lush beards.  This was a full cultural immersion, the next best thing to bicycling around the island as I did the summer before I began coming to France for Cannes and The Tour de France.

The Italian Matteo Garrone is known for making movies about his culture.  He turned his back on that in his Competition entry "Tale of Tales," which I stood in line for over an hour in its repeat screening today in the Soixante.  Not all in line gained entry, despite the tepid reviews.  The most tepid came from Michel Ciment, the most respected of French reviewers.  He gave it a rare zero stars, meaning it had no redeeming value.  He was absolutely right.  This series of three fairy tales were utterly inconsequential grotesqueries.  Since his last two films in Competition had won awards he was given the best odds by bookmakers to win the Palme d 'Or this year.  This proves how utterly useless such predictions are by those who haven't even seen the movies they are speculating about.

I got right in line afterwards for yesterday's other Compeition film, "Our Little Sister" from Japan that had been better reviewed.  It was the second film of the day I was turned away from.  That allowed me to see a "Sembene!," a documentary on the father of African cinema.  As I was waiting in line, Jason Silverman, a fellow staffer from the Telluride film festival who used to direct the Taos film festival and now programs an art house in New Mexico greeted me.  I was shocked to see him and furthermore that he was wearing a suit.  The biggest shock was that he had co-directed the film.  I had no idea.  And then Mark Steele, a former Telluride staffer, came over.  He had co-produced the film.  They said this wasn't its world premiere, as it had opened at Sundance.

This solid bio-pic was a narrative by the other co-director of the film, Samba Gadigo, a Sengelese admirer of Sembene's who now taught in the US.  Sembene died a few years ago, but there was ample interview material of him to make it seem he had been a full collaborator on the film.  There were clips aplenty from his many films.  This wss a most worthwhile contribution to the world of cinema.  The ninety minute documentary was followed by a recently restored "Black Girl" from 1966 about the less than pleasant experiences of young black woman who works as a servant for a young French couple, first in Dakar and then in France.  Seeing both of these was more than worth being shut out of "Our Little Sister," which I'll have a chance to see in the days to come, unlike these films.

I was denied the conclusion of "Black Girl" as I had to meet Ralph at 7:45 in front of the credentials office, as he had just flown in from LA via Zurich and I had to give him keys to our apartment.  He said he had slept well on the eleven hour flight and was eager for a movie or two.  Unfortunately the credentials office had closed at six and he'd have to pick up his credentials at nine the next morning, also preventing him from seeing the 8:30 a.m. Compeition screening.  He was too thrilled to be here for the fourth time and with nine days of cinema left wasn't too chagrined.

After the handing over of the keys I rushed back into the Palais complex of screening rooms for "Shades of Truth," an attempt at a movie about a Jewish journalist who looks like Robet Redford seeking the truth about whether Pope Pius XII was a Nazi sympathizer.  I was drawn to this movie as Pope Pius XII consecrated the Madanna del Ghisallo chapel overlooking Lake Como as a bicyclist's shrine in 1949.  The journalist goes to Rome, Israel, Berlin and Spain meeting with people who convince him that the Pope saved the lives of hundreds of Jews, including his parents he learns at the end of the movie.  It was a nice little history lesson, but a very feeble movie filled with miscast actors, including the journalist's heavily made up girl friend and boss, who looked as of the director had plucked them off a model's runway thinking their good looks would look nice on the screen.

Per usual I was able to end the day with an "Un Certain Regard" film, this time from South Korea, that  looked all that more stylish and accomplished compared to what I had just seen.  A young, very determined and idealistic detective in "The Shameless" goes undercover in a brothel seeking a murderer.  This was more like it, and a fine way to end the day.  I was only sorry I wasn't able to discuss it with Ralph on a hike back to our apartment.  Instead, for probably the last time I rode my bike home.

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