Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cannes 2015 Day 4

Rachel Weisz

Léa Seydoux and Rachel Weisz

Léa Seydoux

German actress Diane Kruger

Salma Hayek and Diane Kruger

British singer and fashion model Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

Emma Stone

Emma Stone and American indie actress Parker Posey accompany Woody Allen

French actress Emmanuelle Béart

American actor Matthew McConaughey and British actress Naomi Watts

Israeli-American actress and first-time feature director, Natalie Portman

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: 

Also here:

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: 

Salma Hayek for the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign
Senior Advisor to Under Secretary-General UN Women Elizabeth Nyamayaro, Salma Hayek and Parker Posey, producers Elizabeth Karlsen and Christine Vachon, actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Variety Co-Editor-In-Chief Claudia Eller

Salma Hayek, Parker Posey Blast Hollywood Sexism, by Ramin Setoodeh from Variety, May 16, 2015

Salma Hayek blasted the movie industry for giving up on women both behind and in front of the camera at a Variety-hosted event Saturday afternoon at the Cannes Film Festival.

“For a long time they thought the only thing we were interested in seeing were romantic comedies,” said Hayek, who appears in the Cannes drama “Tale of Tales.” “They don’t see us as a powerful economic force, which is an incredible ignorance.”

Joining the conversation about gender inequality in Hollywood were actresses Parker Posey (“Irrational Man”) and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (“Jazbaa”), as well as producers Christine Vachon and Elizabeth Karlsen (who both worked on “Carol”). The event was co-hosted by the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign, and moderated by Variety co-editor-in-chief Claudia Eller and UN Women head Elizabeth Nyamayaro. Variety publisher Michelle Sobrino welcomed the crowd at the Radisson Blu hotel.

Despite the success of films like “The Hunger Games,” “Frozen” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” women only directed 17 of the top 250-grossing films of last year, and there seem to be fewer A-list leading ladies who are paid as much as their male counterparts. “The only kind of movie where women make more than men is the porno industry,” Hayek said. “It’s simple ignorance.”

Bachchan said that even in international markets, a women starring in a movie is considered a niche product. “It’s pretty much the same everywhere across the globe,” Bachchan said. “We keep coming back to reiterating preconceived ideas.”

Posey talked about how she loved to watch Turner Classic Movies from the ’40s, where the female characters were witty and three-dimensional. “It’s so rare that I see that in movies now,” Posey said. She added: “We’re in very masculine times. We’re at war. The culture is eating nature, it’s overpowering storytelling.”

Hayek said that she’s lost out on jobs because A-list actors have approval over her casting, whereas top actresses in Hollywood don’t get similar deals. She noted how studio executives suffer from amnesia when it comes to female-driven hits. “They don’t know what we want to see,” Hayek said. “When women don’t direct and women don’t write and tell our own stories, we stopped going to the movies and started watching them on television.”

Vachon acknowledged that there are certainly more powerful roles for women on the smallscreen. “I think to some degree it is because television, at least in the United States, has become a place where riskier stories are told, more character-driven stories are told and often those are female-driven,” she said.

Karlsen noted the amount of pressure to succeed for “Carol,” a lesbian 1950s love story directed by Todd Haynes and starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, which premieres at Cannes on Sunday night. “Certainly there’s a huge question mark,” Karlsen said. “It’s female-led. It’s a lesbian romance. There’s a huge wave of expectation.”

Hayek said that women in Hollywood can’t continue to allow themselves to be sidelined. “Look, we cannot stand as victims and say they are not looking at us,” she said. But she noted that Hollywood does care about money, and women — who make up 50 percent of tickets sold — need to continue to exercise their strength in numbers.

“What gives me hopes is that we are in a position of power,” Hayek said. “And I am so grateful to gay men. If it wasn’t for Tennessee Williams and Pedro Almodovar, it would be even worse.”

The Other Side of Cannes, Exposed: Debauchery, Danger and the Dirty Secrets Aboard the Super-Rich's Superyachts, by Dana Kennedy from The Hollywood Reporter, May 12, 2015

Just a few years ago, a young steward working on one of the glossiest superyachts anchored at Cannes for the film festival threatened to call the police on a well-known movie producer who was badly beating two prostitutes during sex in the master stateroom.

"He couldn't believe I'd actually do it," said the man, who no longer works on yachts but signed a confidentiality agreement that precludes him from being identified. "But it was the only way to stop him. He was violent and out of control. The girls were screaming, and he didn't care. He did care about the cops being called."

That incident, says a former chief stewardess, is not atypical of the behavior aboard some of the world's multimillion-dollar mega yachts, a global armada that recently has exploded with bigger, even more opulent vessels being launched on the seas — or into Cannes — every year.

"I could tell you stories that would make your head spin and make you reach for the Dramamine on dry land," says Elizabeth Moore, who was based in Nice and worked on mega yachts in the Mediterranean and Caribbean for 11 years before quitting the lucrative but stressful business and moving to Australia last year.

The average have-not gazing out at the sumptuous floating party palaces from the Croisette only can imagine the luxury aboard these vessels, the most expensive of which cost up to $400 million. Amenities include movie theaters, wine cellars, gyms, detachable "beach clubs," helipads, storage for Jet Skis and submarines, anti-paparazzi shields and jellyfish aquariums.

"Jealous? Don't be," says power publicist Peggy Siegal, a Cannes veteran. "Here's the dirty little secret about the parties on the yachts. People don't want to get stuck on them. Then there's the shoe problem. They make you take your shoes off. Nobody looks good without their shoes. Then you've got the weather. The tenders [which transport guests to the yachts] are a real pain in the ass because you get wet. You've got to bring shawls and sweaters and wind­breakers and you're still freezing. Black tie in early May on a boat is not a good combination."

Even Paul Allen's annual party aboard his yacht Octopus, once the festival's hottest ticket, has lost its allure. "Nothing but hookers on that boat now," says one longtime attendee. Then again, the ambiance aboard a yacht at Cannes can be so magical that the stars become secondary to the experience. "Diane [von Furstenberg] and Barry [Diller] threw a famous party for Madonna a few years ago on their boat Eros," says Siegal. "It's a fantastic 300-foot sailboat with computerized sails and a beautiful green hull. Madonna never showed up, but it was such a gorgeous night, nobody cared. They barely noticed she wasn't there."

The silent army keeping this glamorous world afloat are the crewmembers, whom Nice-based yacht broker Valeria Alekhina calls "the world's most discreet people because they have to be." They often work 18 hours a day, seven days a week, scoring tips that can average $5,000 a week — a reward for the unique challenges of serving the world's wealthiest and most entitled.

"Some of the celebrities who are guests on the boats are fantastic," says Moore. "We had Tom Hanks and his family on board. Nicest people you will ever meet. Meg Ryan was a doll. The only star I ever remember having a problem with was Sigourney Weaver, who refused to take off her stilettos and left marks on the deck."

It's not the guests but rather some of the owners — and the megarich who charter what top boat designer Dickie Bannenberg calls "the sexy trophy yachts" — that are the problem, say past and current crewmembers and brokers.

For Moore, the final straw came during a cruise on the Amalfi Coast on a yacht chartered by a Russian billionaire who brought two prostitutes with him but proceeded to hole up alone in his stateroom, almost drinking himself to death. After coaxing him out, says Moore, "I spent about an hour in there, scrubbing vomit off the walls and sheets, picking up the broken glass and pulling out all the bottles rolling around in the drawers. He apologized to us in the end, but it was too late for me. It was time to get out. The tips weren't worth it."

Moore earned her skeptical view of superyacht enthusiasts: "All you really need to know is that it's not about the boats and the sea for these guys," she says. "They're out to one-up each other, and they can be awful to work for. The yachts are just extensions of their dicks; it's a big status game."

No wonder superyacht websites are all about measurements, listing the world's 100 biggest yachts in descending order with little more than their names and length. Azzam, owned by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the secretive emir of Abu Dhabi and the UAE president, is No. 1 at 180 meters (590 feet). Roman Abramovich's much-chronicled Eclipse — with its reported three-man leisure submarine, two swimming pools, a dance floor, six tenders, three helipads and an exterior fireplace — comes in second at 162 meters (553 feet). The only American in the top 20 is David Geffen, whose Rising Sun, a regular at the festival, is a relatively puny 138 meters (453 feet). (For context, Titanic was 269 meters, or 882 feet.) Yachts longer than 60 meters have to anchor outside the harbor and send tenders that are, according to Siegal, "bigger than my apartment."

But the larger the yacht, the larger the target — and casting a pall over this year's floating fetes will be an added layer of security that would have been unthinkable just five years ago, according to boat owners, captains and maritime security specialists. "There's a real threat in the Med now, and yachts are a high target," says Tony Sparks, who spent 10 years as a U.S. Army Special Operations officer and now runs Phantom Services, a maritime security company that was based out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., but is moving permanently to the South of France this year. Sparks is in charge of security for three yachts coming to the festival this year, which means his team has trained the crew and will be stationed incognito aboard the vessels.

"Superyachts have always been a target for thieves because of the jewelry and cash people often have aboard, but now we're on alert for terrorists as well," he says. Some yachts now have security systems that rival the White House's, with anti-aircraft weapons, rocket launcher systems, lethal and nonlethal pepper guns and radar "geo-fences" that extend for up to 3,000 yards around the vessel.

Crews are trained, but they are the "weakest link," says Sparks. Because of that, superyachts, especially those owned by Saudis and Russians, have security teams on board masquerading as guests.

"I never know who they are when they come on board," says veteran captain Ovidiu Serbanescu, speaking to THR via Skype from a mega yacht cruising off Genoa, Italy. "But I know they're there, and it's a big relief."

Asif Kapadia's Amy

Asif Kapadia's Amy Winehouse Documentary is Heartbreaking and Extraordinary, by Kaleem Aftab from indieWIRE, May 16, 2015

"Amy," a behind-the-scenes look at the rise and fall of the late British singer Amy Winehouse, should put filmmaker Asif Kapadia on speed dial for anyone looking to produce an archive-heavy documentary about an iconic figure. The "Senna" director digs deep into the popular myth surrounding Winehouse -- that she’s another singer who lost control of her own life when fame and drugs overtook her -- and finds a much deeper story.

Who can ever forget the footage of the singer drunk on stage and refusing to perform in Belgrade on what turned out to be her last public appearance on a stage? Winehouse’s most famous song "Rehab" is all about not seeking treatment for addiction. As such, while it’s easy to empathize with her story, her struggles have been largely simplified by their reflection in popular culture. Two hours in the company of Kapadia’s heartbreaking documentary change all that.

The movie starts in 1998 with Winehouse in Southgate. At the age of 16, she’s already in a jazz orchestra and clearly having fun. The cigarette in her hand hints at emerging rebelliousness, but Kapadia first shows the witty, affable side of Winehouse, before fleshing out the more sour notes -- such as the trauma she experienced when her father, Mitch Winehouse, left the family home when she was nine years old. In one of the sound bites of the interviews conducted with her taxi driver dad, he admits that he was having an affair from the time Winehouse was 18 months old and would avoid the house on a regular basis. As for her mother Janice, she’s unable to control her daughter’s outgoing nature and cedes control to the singer's grandmother, who passes away in the midst of Winehouse's rise. In one telling bit of footage, Winehouse chides, "You should be tougher mum, you’re not strong enough to say stop."

Kapadia has done a brilliant job of coaxing friends and family to broadcast some of their own private footage. In doing so, the film develops an intimate window into Winehouse fundamentally different from her celebrity. These home videos have been mixed in with archive footage from interviews and television shows. The new material includes over 100-plus interviews, but no talking heads. The voices play out over the footage, enhancing the immersion into Winehouse's past.

Along with Winehouse's parents, the principle supporting figures of the story are her first manager Nick Shymansky, her childhood friends Juliette Ashby and Lauren Gilbert, as well as her wayward husband Blake Fielder-Civil, whom she married in 2007 and divorced in 2009. But the most surprisingly introspective interviewee is Yasiin Bey, the hip-hop artist formerly known as Mos Def, who was a friend of the British singer after they met at the Urban World festival in 2004.

The first section of the film highlighting Winehouse’s rise shows her getting a record deal with Island, buying her first flat with the proceeds of her first album "Frank" and giving an vivacious interview on Jonathan Ross’s popular talk show. Everything else is a downward spiral. Former Winehouse colleagues suggest that it was when she bought a house in Camden that her condition started to change for the worse. It's there that she's seen hanging out with an entourage of local singers, such as Kate Moss’s notorious ex-boyfriend and Libertines frontman Pete Doherty as well as Blake Fielder-Civil, with whom she cheated on her then boyfriend.

Drugs became a major part of her life. Winehouse was so off the rails that her friends and manager took her out of London to encourage her to go into rehab in November 2005. The film shows how the singer hung on her father Mitch's every word while he remained visibly ignorant to her plight. She told her friends, "I'll go if my father says I have to," and when daddy says "no, no, no," she refuses to go. With unsettling footage from the recording of her hit sophomore album "Back to Black," it's suggested that if Winehouse had gone to rehab after wrapping the album, she may have saved herself. The movie lingers in these recurring "what if" scenarios while ominously foreshadowing the singer's eventual death.

"Amy" manages to both celebrate Winehouse's talent and bemoan her dour circumstances. Unsurprisingly, in the run-up to its Cannes premiere, Mitch Winehouse and Reg Traviss -- Winehouse's partner at the time of her death --have argued that the film provides an unfairly biased perspective of its subject. Mitch argued that he only meant the best for his daughter, alleging that a scene in which he turns up in St. Lucia with a reality TV camera crew -- while Winehouse was attempting to get clean -- only showed part of the story. Traviss, meanwhile, has argued that in the last two years of her life, when he was together with the singer, she was much happier than the documentary claims. 

But when considered in the context of the narrative presented in "Amy," these arguments seem fairly moot. It would be wrong to ascertain that Kapadia has sought to scapegoat anyone while exploring the years leading up to Winehouse's death. Instead, he assembles a collage of bad influences – her parents, the drugs, and her unstable relationship with her husband, during which she wanted to ape everything he did. The media pressure (some of whom involved morbid jokes at her disposal) didn't help -- nor did, in a more abstract sense, her own inner demons and self destruction. To that end, Kapadia makes it clear that nobody was solely responsible for Winehouse's problems. On the night she wins her Grammy, she takes a friend aside and says, "This is boring without drugs." The greatest tragedy in "Amy" is the singer's complicity in her demise.

Kapadia leaves it up to the audience to determine whether Winehouse's situation could truly have gone another way. Whether he has or hasn’t captured the true essence of the singer may require further debate, but what’s beyond question is that "Amy" is an extraordinary, powerful work.

Saul Fia by Lászó Nemes

‘Saul Fia’ From Lászó Nemes, Is a Hungarian’s Horror Story, and a rare film screened today shot on 35 mm, by Nicolas Napold from The New York Times, May 12, 2015

The Hungarian film “Saul Fia” (Son of Saul) takes place in a hell within hell: the world of the Sonderkommandos, the Jews in Auschwitz who were forced to dispose of the dead. Separated from the general population of prisoners, they manned the crematories, and were themselves purged every few months. The routine epitomizes a death camp where, as Primo Levi wrote in “Survival in Auschwitz,” “many social habits and instincts are reduced to silence.”

Auschwitz would be a grim challenge for any filmmaker to portray, but “Son of Saul” is in fact a debut feature, by the Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes. His unusual Holocaust drama is a rare first film selected for the competition at the Cannes International Film Festival.

“Laszlo Nemes shows what we thought would be impossible to show in a fiction film, an extermination camp at work, as a factory of death,” said the film historian and critic Antoine de Baecque. “By following the specific gaze of a cog inside this machinery,” he added, “the movie successfully adopts, with discipline and fairness, the only possible representation of a tragedy morally unfilmable.”

In writing and directing the story, Mr. Nemes, 38, sought a clear-eyed realism about horrors that remain painful to imagine. Set over a 36-hour period in October 1944, “Son of Saul” hews to the perspective of Saul Auslander, a fictional member of a Sonderkommando unit. One day, Saul thinks he recognizes his lost son among the dead to be cremated, and his obsessive efforts to bury the boy puts him in conflict with prisoners who are plotting a rebellion.

“Our approach was to follow a main character through a very limited space and time, and have a very simple and almost archaic story as the skeleton of the film,” Mr. Nemes said in a Skype conversation from Budapest, where he lives. “We felt that we couldn’t shoot the whole Holocaust. We didn’t want to tell too much and shoot too much.”

For verisimilitude, Mr. Nemes and his co-writer Clara Royer drew on survivor accounts as well as writings that prisoners buried in the earth and that were discovered years later. Rather than offer a broad view of the camp, as many past movies of the Holocaust have, “Son of Saul” sticks close to its protagonist with very dynamic, very mobile camerawork and limits our focus to what he is looking at.

“The overall idea is you’re like a sea snake, going all over the place,” Mr. Nemes said of his 107-minute feature. “We remain inside the limitations of a human being.” His 2007 short film “With a Little Patience” maintains a similar focus on a blinkered German clerk during the Nazi era.

Mr. Nemes’s formative experience includes a two-year stint as assistant to the Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr on “The Man From London” (2007) (Mr. Nemes’s father, Andras Jeles, is also a director.) With Mr. Tarr, he said, he learned about not only a sense of organic realism and the artistic importance of choosing your battles, but also the centrality of the actor.

For “Son of Saul,” Mr. Nemes found a deeply committed performer in Geza Rohrig, a Hungarian poet who wrote his first collection about the Holocaust and plays Auslander in the film.

“We did not want to talk about the message of Auschwitz,” Mr. Rohrig said of the film’s aims, speaking by telephone from New York, where he has lived for 15 years. “We wanted to create an experience that works on you on a different level, with your bowels, your intestines. We want you to get the intensity and tempo of the life of a Sonderkommando worker.”

Mr. Rohrig had acted a little in Polish and Hungarian films. He said a major religious change in his life came in the 1980s with a visit to Auschwitz, where he recalls seeing among the prisoner artifacts the same brand of toothbrush as his own.

For the actor, “Son of Saul” transcends the tendencies of many Holocaust films, such as “Schindler’s List,” to seek refuge in survival narratives and good-and-evil clichés. Through the death of a son, his character gets an unexpected emotional release. “Everybody is a zombie already in the camp,” Mr. Rohrig said. “People are already destroyed. They only care about their next meal. But witnessing his son’s death, Saul all of a sudden becomes normal.”

Mr. Nemes first met Mr. Rohrig during a short stint at New York University as a film student, and describes him as “very intellectual but at the same time extremely instinctive and physical.” The rest of the film’s cast is mostly international, part of an effort to suggest what he calls the “Babel of languages” in the chaotic camps.

The director’s close-knit creative team included the cinematographer Matyas Erdely, who also shot Mr. Nemes’s short films and features by the Cannes veteran Kornel Mundruczo, also of Hungary. One of the rare features to use 35-millimeter film, “Son of Saul” was shot in 30 days.

“What a first feature can afford,” Mr. Nemes said. The budget of about 1.5 million euros, or $1.65 million, came mostly from the Hungarian National Film Fund and the New York-based Claims Conference.

An old military base on the outskirts of Budapest served as the movie’s location. The burden of history was always present for Mr. Nemes, he said — he and some members of his team had relatives who died in the camps. “Why I don’t have a family right now — it’s a very small family — is because of that,” he said. “You can feel the society being haunted by these traumatic experiences and by never having to face what happened.”

Mr. Nemes, , who grew up partly in Paris, felt an “edge of suspicion” from interviewers when talking about the film on television shows in his home country.

“You can feel that they cannot really connect with the material,” he said. “It’s like: Oh, another Holocaust movie. That’s the best you can get. Then: Why do you have to talk about the Holocaust? Why is it important to you?”

For Mr. Rohrig, he is wary of critics who might object to the very attempt to portray the Holocaust with such fidelity.

“I don’t think any subject matter is off the table when it comes to art,” he said. “I think it can be done. I hope it was done by us.”

For Mr. Nemes, however, the film’s importance will not necessarily lie in such external reactions, but in whether it provokes an emotional response in viewers. The film aims to show “the importance of the inner voice when there’s no more hope,” he said, adding, “We still reaffirm some kind of faith in something — some would say God, some would say this belief in humanity, in something universal.”

*          *          *          *

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:

Screendaily Jury Grid (Page 72 from Digital edition from Day 5), where only a few films are currently rated, the highest being Son of Saul with a 2.8 rating:  

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

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

3-1 Hou – The Assassin
7-2 Nemes – Son of Saul
9-2 Haynes – Carol

8-1 Audiard – Dheepan
9-1 Trier – Louder Than Bombs
– – – – – – – – – – –
12-1 Lanthimos – The Lobster
12-1 Sorrentino – Youth
14-1 Maïwenn – My King aka Mon Roi
14-1 Garrone – Tale of Tales
16-1 Franco – Chronic
20-1 Moretti – My Mother aka Mia Madre
– – – – – – – – – – –
22-1 Villeneuve – Sicario
22-1 Jia – Mountains May Depart
25-1 Kore-eda – Our Little Sister
28-1 Kurzel – Macbeth
28-1 Brizé – The Measure of a Man
– – – – – – – – – – –
50-1 Donzelli – Marguerite and Julien
100-1 Nicloux – The Valley of Love
500-1 Van Sant – The Sea of Trees

EVENS Cate Blanchett and/or Rooney Mara (Carol)
9-2 Emmanuelle Bercot (My King aka Mon Roi)
7-1 Margherita Buy (My Mother aka Mia Madre)
9-1 any (or several) from Our Little Sister

– – –
14-1 Emily Blunt (Sicario)
14-1 Marion Cotillard (Macbeth)
16-1 Isabelle Huppert (Louder Than Bombs; solo or with The Valley of Love)
– – –
25-1 Rachel Weisz (The Lobster and/or Youth) solo
25-1 Shu Qi (The Assassin)
25-1 any (or several) from Dheepan
28-1 Zhao Tao (Mountains May Depart)
33-1 Anaïs Demoustier (Marguerite and Julien)
50-1 The Lobster’s female ensemble
66-1 Shirley Henderson and/or Salma Hayek (Tale of Tales)
100-1 Rachel Weisz and/or Jane Fonda (Youth)

4-1 Géza Röhrig (Son of Saul)
5-1 Vincent Lindon (The Measure of a Man)
5-1 Vincent Cassel (My King aka Mon Roi)
8-1 Tim Roth (Chronic)
10-1 Colin Farrell (The Lobster)
10-1 Jesuthasan Antonythasan (Dheepan)
– – –
11-1 Michael Caine and/or Harvey Keitel (Youth)
16-1 Toby Jones (Tale of Tales)
16-1 any (or several) from Louder Than Bombs (Byrne, Eisenberg, etc)
20-1 John Turturro (My Mother aka Mia Madre)
– – –
22-1 Michael Fassbender (Macbeth)
25-1 Gérard Depardieu (The Valley of Love)
28-1 Liang Jingdong (Mountains May Depart)
40-1 Jérémie Elkaïm (Marguerite and Julien)
50-1 Ken Watanabe and/or Matthew McConaughey (The Sea of Trees)
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:  

It was a day of socially relevant cinema with docs on food, jihadists in Pakistan and Mexican drug cartels to go along with features on women's rights in Iran, interacting with the indigenous and another featuring striking workers and a dying woman.

Nanni Moretti's Competition entry "Mia Madre" may not fully fall under the umbrella of social relevancy as the movie was split between a movie director on the set dealing with a difficult actor and in the hospital room of her dying mother.  John Tuturro flies in from America to star in an Italian movie as a factory owner dealing with his striking workers.  He is a nightmare to work with as he can't get his lines right.  What is meant as a comedy quickly grows tiresome.  The hospital scenes, which include Moretti as the director's brother, are serious but all too typical.  This movie was akin to a Hollywood sequel, with Moretti sticking to safe, recycled material that didn't go beyond the ordinary, only meriting inclusion in the Compeittion category because of his reputation and connection to the festival as a former award winner and jury president.

The Iranian "Nahid" in Un Certain Regard was one of full slate of films on the second-rare status of women in the Islamic world. There are others from Turkey, Palastine, India and elsewhere.  Janina could see several films a day that would make good material for the gender studies class she teaches, including a feature about young girls who are transformed into boys and how they much prefer being girls.  Nahid is a thirty-year old mother of a son who is separated from her drug addict husband.  She'd like to remarry as she is destitute and on the verge of being evicted.  A wealthy man, whose wife has died, has proposed.  She likes him but fears she'd lose custody of her son if she does.  He assures her he has a good lawyer to achieve that.  She agrees to a series of trial thirty-day marriages.  She is frazzled and doesn't really know what is best as she fights battles on several fronts.

Two young girls are given away in marriage against their wills in the Pakistani documentary "Among Believers."  They are just an incidental, but telling moment, in this movie that concentrates on jihadists, while giving attention to other aspects of Pakistani society.  Young boys are recruited to Islamic schools with the promise that if they become jihadists they will wear a crown in heaven and so will their parents who give them up to the schools.  This well-balanced film also interviews more rational clerics and gives a well-informed view into today's Pakistan.

"Cartel Land" was even richer with remarkable, unguarded footage of how it is deep in Mexico in Michoacan where the drug cartels have terrorized the local populations and also on the border of the US where vigilante groups patrol.  Michoacan gave birth to its own local vigilantes as well, led by a local doctor, frustrated by the corrupt government failing to control the drug lords.  The doctor is initially a great hero, recruitng dozens of armed locals to take the law into their own hands, but then feels the wrath of the government and the all-powerful cartels.  The movie almost plays as a feature with a rich cast of fascinating characters and dramatic action during shoot outs and interrogating suspects.

Less dramatic, but equally well shot, "Ten Billion--What's On Your Plate," a German documentary on how the world will feed itself when its population doubles to ten billion in the next few decades, deals with another pertinent subject.  The director travels the world examining the present state of food production to what needs to be done to save the planet.  He cites concerns, including India transforming itself from a country of vegetarians to one of carnivores and a visit to Chicago's Board of Trade (the largest in the world) where he interviews one of its biggest traders upsetting the prices of grains.   He sees hope in the high productivity of small, organic farms.  

Ralph and I were fortunate to see "Embrace of the Serpent," a luscious Colombian film on two early nineteenth century explorers canoeing the Amazon on separate missions, thanks to falling thirty people short of the night's final Un Certain Regard film.  We had to wait an hour for this Director's Fortnight film at the Arcades, where films are occasionally shown without English subtitles, as was the case here.  We thought we would give it a look, but lasted the entire two hours, easily managing the French subtitles, keeping us out until after one, as we were fully consumed by this exceptional film shot in black and white.  This is what the Amazonian explorer film, "Pure Life," from Day Two aspired to be, but failed.

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