Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cannes 2015 Day 6

panoramic view of Cannes

Hotel Martinez, where Jake Gyllenhaal and Julianne Moore take up residence during the fest

Hotel du Cap at Eden Roc in Antibes, a 30-minute drive up the coast, where Leonardo DiCaprio and Clint Eastwood reside during the fest

Hotel Majestic Barriere, where Matthew McConaughey and Robert DeNiro stay during the fest

InterContinental Carlton Cannes Hotel, the place where Grace Kelly met her husband Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1955

Le Moulin des Mougins, for a more authentic Provencal experience, head 10 minutes inland, where Sharon Stone and Elton John resided during the fest

Le Baoli, a trendy, beachfront lounge and bar, a popular nightspot where Bono and Eva Mendes have been spotted
Les Palais des Festivals plays host to all screenings, including galas, red carpet photo shoots, and opening ceremonies

Inside the Palais, the Grand Théâtre Lumière and its nightly gala screenings (by invitation only), one at 7:30 pm and one at 10:30 pm, is the place to be

Cannes beach restaurant

Cannes beach

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

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: 

also seen here: 

and still more here: 

Most Stylish Day Ever: Cannes Film Festival 1975, from GQ magazine:

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: 

Bubble House

Château de la Napoule

Villa Domergue

Château Dior

Inside Cannes' Kick-Ass Party Villas, by Liza Foreman from The Daily Beast, May 17, 2015 

When the stars party at the Cannes Film Festival, they head to the many beautiful villas of the French Riviera—many with colorful, glamorous pasts all their own.

When The Great Gatsby opened the Festival de Cannes in 2013, one could get from Baz Luhrmann’s lavish screen soiree, a feel for the wild parties that played out in sophisticated villas in the Hamptons in the 1920’s. 

But author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who called the Riviera his second home, also set some of his stories here in the South of France. His Tender is The Night is a twisted tale about tumultuous couple Nicole and Dick Diver that is set between the big parties at their French Riviera villa. 

One can still find some of Fitzgerald’s imprint down here, says long term resident Tim Swannie. 

“One of my favourite French Riviera villas is called La Picolette which is next door to the Belles Rives hotel (a previous Fitzgerald home of course) on the Cap d’Antibes,” says Swannie, who is a director of luxury realtor HomeHunts.

“It is from the same era and is full of 1930’s style, but it is has been completely renovated throughout. There is a wonderful tower with a roof terrace,” he says. “The sunset from there, looking west towards Cannes and the islands, is magical.” 

The Riviera comes to life every night, but most of all during the annual Festival de Cannes. Parties can be found in other worldly villas overlooking the blue Mediterranean or climbing up the hills that retreat into the distance of a nighttime. 

Here are some of the best party villas, homes, and castles in and around Cannes: 

The Bubble House: Pierre Cardin 

The iconic Palais Bulles, was designed by architect Antti Lovag. Wandering through its curvy curly hallways and rooms is like entering an even more surreal Alice in Wonderland adventure.  

The house is, of course, the playground of the designer Pierre Cardin. As a result, the abode is legendary for festival parties and other big events. Built over a decade from 1975 to 1989, it overlooks the Mediterranean and the red cliffs of the Esterel, with a view all the way to the bay of Cannes. 

It might feel weird to be inside this pot of bubbles, but the younger set seems to always enjoy it. It has long been a favorite of MTV for their Cannes soirees, though, ironically, the design is apparently meant to evoke cave dwellings. 

Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc 

For nearly 150 years, the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc has been hosting the most glamorous guests, from Hollywood celebrities to the political elite. The luxury resort is one of the most storied venues on the French Riviera. It can claim Fitzgerald as a guest, but perhaps Madonna overshadows him. The Kennedys vacationed there in 1938. In fact, it is supposedly the place where Joe Kennedy Sr. began an affair with Marlene Dietrich.

Few, if any, locales can boast more than a century of icons. Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall were hotel guests, but today, so are Brad and Angelina. 

Château de la Napoule 

The Château de La Napoule lies about six miles outside of Cannes. This 14th Century castle has gone through a series of renovations. It was famously bought by American couple Marie and Henry Clews Jr. in 1918. Under their watch, it was made the center for the La Napoule Arts Foundation. To fund the center, the chateau serves as a fabulous venue for soirees and weddings. 

For a long time, it was the scene of the most fabled party of the Festival, hosted by the magazine Moving Pictures at the end of the 10-day extravaganza.

The paper’s journalists (including this one) would sleep in one of the myriad of decadent rooms during the Festival. There was always a wild party in the beautiful gardens littered with sculptures and a winding labyrinth of rooms. 

Villa Domergue  

Before Villa Domergue was hosting the most elite and covert parties on the French Riviera, it was the home of Venetian painter Jean-Gabriel Domergue, He designed the villa in 1934, and his wife, sculptor Odette Maugendre, designed the gorgeous gardens and pools. The couple donated their divine art deco home to the city of Cannes in 1973.

One of the most memorable soirees at a villa in recent years was Chopard’s 2012 secret mystery party. Guests were driven to this secret location where they found inside masked partygoers and brilliant jazz bands playing. 

Villa Jeux de Toits 

This fabulous villa will be the site of a VIP filmmakers party this year organized by the Festival, Raindance. As the Raindance website notes, dancing, pool, sauna, hot tub, and a VIP Room will be available to the lucky guests to the villa. They will also get to bask in the the breathtaking view from Super Cannes and live music from the singer/actress, Justyna Kelley. 

Villa Saint George 

One must take the winding back roads of Cannes to reach this villa, which has hosted a number of fabulous soirees in recent years. During the 65th Festival de Cannes, it hosted Calvin Klein’s Women in Film celebration back. The villa was packed with super models two a penny.  

Château de la Colle Noire 

Once the Provencal home of Christian Dior, it is lovingly nicknamed the Château Dior. Built in 1860, Château de la Colle Noir is located in Montauroux in the Var region of Provence.

An easy drive, it takes just a half-hour to get there from the French Riviera coast. It has a beautiful set of gardens and outdoor pool. As a treat for fashion buffs, Dior’s bedroom and office have been preserved. The luckiest brides can even splurge and hold their weddings there.

Cornucopias of delight still in prospect at 68th Cannes Film Festival, by Donald Clarke from The Irish Times, May 18, 2015 

This correspondent has developed a theory that recent Cannes Film Festivals are a little like Star Trek films. Over the current decade, the even-numbered events have tended to be classics, whereas the odd-numbered festivals have lacked a little oomph. This lunatic notion tells us that the current event, the 68th, should offer cornucopias of delight.

Happily, we see no need to redraw the theorem just yet. True, on Friday night, we saw one of the worst films to play in competition this century. Gus Van Sant’s eye-wateringly atrocious The Sea of Trees, in which the former Palme d’Or winner presses Naomi Watts and Matthew McConaughey into a drama so soapy Nicholas Sparks might pause, wound down to the sort of booing that often precedes an art riot. A mix of New Age baloney and am-dram histrionics, the picture, set largely in a remote forest in Japan, will do nothing for any of the associated careers.

Fractious romance

On Sunday, Mon Roi, by the French polymath Maïwenn, staged a moderately interesting, fractious romance between mean restaurateur Vincent Cassel and misused lawyer Emmanuelle Bercot. The film charts many downs and few ups with some élan, but never quite explains what the heck she sees in him.

Much better was My Mother, by Nanni Moretti. Concerning a film director juggling pressures of work while her mother lies gravely ill, the picture is very moving and often funny, but it probably doesn’t have quite enough wallop to win Moretti a second Palme d’Or.

One of our major bookmakers had Yorgos Lanthimos’s blackly wonderful The Lobster down as antepost favourite for the big prize. Happily, the Irish co-production, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, delivered on the promise of Dogtooth and Alps, the director’s earlier absurdist nightmares, and added greater levels of humour. Farrell ferments a terrific blend of Josef K and Father Dougal as one of several citizens who, if they fail to find a partner in a certain period, will be transformed into the animal of their choice. The film received deserved raves, but may be a little too outré to take the top prize.

At time of press, the race for the Palme, chosen by a jury headed by Joel and Ethan Coen, looks to be between two extraordinary pictures from very different film-makers. The last time a debut feature took the prize was a quarter of a century ago, when Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies and Videotape triumphed. László Nemes’s Son of Saul could well be the film to break that run. The Hungarian picture stars Geza Rohrig as a Sonderkommando – one of those concentration-camp inmates who found themselves assisting with the exterminations – devastated by the realisation that he may have helped murder his own son. Those who cherish Theodor Adorno’s notion that there is “No poetry after Auschwitz” will have understandable worries about the picture. Nobody, however, can doubt the cinematic talent on display. The awful matter-of-fact nature of the killing is heightened by its frequent relegation to soft-focus background.

A protege of Béla Tarr, his famously austere compatriot, Nemes shoots in similarly long takes, but, unlike Tarr, he fills those shots with blazes of incident that must have caused logistical nightmares. There was a sense in Cannes that a new star had just been spotted in the firmament. We shall hear more of him.

Leading force

By way of contrast, Todd Haynes has been thinking his way through great American films for 25 years. One of the leading forces in the New Queer Cinema of the early 1990s, Haynes came to Cannes with his adaptation of an early Patricia Highsmith novel, concerning a lesbian romance in 1950s New York, titled The Price of Salt. Retitled Carol, the picture stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as, respectively, a wealthy middle-aged woman and a bohemian shop assistant who drift together over a snowy Christmas.

Haynes explained that, whereas Highsmith’s crime stories often have a homoerotic undercurrent, here the same-sex relationship leads the couple inadvertently into activities then deemed criminal.

The picture is built upon borrowings and variations. This is the America of both Edward Hopper and Norman Rockwell. Blanchett confirmed that Vivian Maier, the great photographer, was a significant influence on Edward Lachman’s gorgeous Super 16mm images. Yes, Carol will be the subject of many PhD theses, but it surges with such juddering, largely suppressed emotion that the whiff of the pop-cultural senior common room will trouble only the most resistant observer. It is infuriating that distribution conventions mean domestic punters won’t get to see this superb film until “Oscar season” in late autumn.

Prestige releases

Away from the competition, Cannes showed its continuing ability to premiere prestige releases of all colours. Woody Allen refuses to compete for prizes, so Inconvenient Man, his 44th film, arrived outside the race for the Palme d’Or. A month or so ago, when the trailer emerged, even veteran Woody watchers were unsure whether to expect a comedy or one of his late serious ones. Having the seen the film, we are only the tiniest bit wiser.

Joaquin Phoenix plays a drunken, depressed philosophy professor who, while carrying on a relationship with Emma Stone’s bright student, overhears intelligence concerning a corrupt judge and wonders – first as a mere thought experiment – what would be the moral and personal consequences if he murdered the man. If challenged to compare it with an earlier work, one might suggest that it plays like a slightly inferior Crimes and Misdemeanours. The odd mix of moral philosophy and wry humour kicks Inconvenient Man into the middle rank of Woody Allen’s oeuvre.

Also playing out of competition was Asif Kapadia’s fine Amy, a study of Amy Winehouse’s rise and sad, slow decline towards death from alcohol poisoning in 2011. Kapadia has stuck with the purist techniques he used for his classic film on Ayrton Senna: fresh interviewees appear only in audio; there are no newly recorded talking heads. The result is a work of visual integrity that allows some participants to shine and others to damn themselves.

Mitch Winehouse, the singer’s dad, has complained that Kapadia stitched him up. We don’t know. But the film certainly allows us to conclude that Mitch might have tried a little harder to get Amy off the terrifying arsenal of drugs that did for her.

There are some sour flavours. For its second hour, Amy discuss its complex subject simply in terms of her addiction, reminding us of the tabloids that latched on to her as a trigger for feigned shock. The closing tributes do, however, leave us mourning a great character and wondering where that talent might have brought her. Essential.

The Trek theory is looking good. 

The Callow Way – Why Cannes Still Matters, by Neil Calloway from The Flickering Myth, May 18, 2015 

This week Neil Calloway looks at what winning the Palme d’Or can do to your box office…

So we are in the middle of the Cannes Film Festival, and it’s easy to dismiss it as a two-week publicity vehicle for beautiful actresses to get photographed next to middle-aged European film directors on the Croisette, or a time for oligarchs and their trophy wives to entertain fading Hollywood stars on their super yachts. However, the importance of the festival to the film industry cannot be understated.

Cannes is the biggest film industry event of the year; the Oscars comes close but that only lasts one night. It is, in fact, one of the biggest annual events of any kind. As William Goldman points out in Hype and Glory, his entertaining memoir of sitting on the juries for both Cannes and the Miss America Pageant, the World Cup and Olympics are bigger, but they only happen every four years. No other cultural event can garner front pages around the world for a solid two weeks every year.

There are, of course, two festivals happening in Cannes; the Film Market is where producers attempt to pre-sell films that haven’t been made yet to international distributors so they can fund their production. If you want an excruciatingly hilarious look at this, then check out James Toback’s 2013 documentary Seduced and Abandoned, where Toback and Alec Baldwin attempt to fund and cast a film described as Last Tango in Paris, but set in Iraq. Like I said, it’s excruciatingly hilarious.

The other festival is the one that gets the front pages; the one where Salma Hayek gets photographed on the red carpet and Matthew McConaughey gets booed at a press screening. This is the glamorous part of the festival, with the festival jury being headed by Joel and Ethan Coen this year, and also featuring Sienna Miller, topping off what has been a remarkable comeback from tabloid fodder to serious actress. When the jury convene next Sunday to decide on awards, the world will be watching.

Does being awarded the Palme d’Or by the jury matter, though? It’s easy to dismiss Cannes as two weeks of selling and self-congratulation by the European Film establishment, and the winners often seem like they are plucked from the “Big Book of Great European Directors” – Ken Loach, Michael Haneke, Lars Von Trier, with the occasional “American Indie Director It’s OK To Like”, such as Gus Van Sant, Michael Moore and Terrence Malick thrown in for good measure.

The fact is, though, that winning the Palme d’Or all but guarantees your film worldwide distribution. There is no way a Romanian film about illegal abortion set in the dying days of the Communist regime would have got a release in the US had it not won, but 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days did, and didn’t do too badly at the box office there either. Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, winner in 2002, did far better at the box office (earning $120 million) than the two films he made before and after it combined, despite one – The Ninth Gate – starring Johnny Depp and the other being an adaptation of Oliver Twist. Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes The Barley, winner in 2006, made $22 million at the box office, accounting for more than half of the money taken by a Ken Loach film in a career lasting almost fifty years.

The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick’s semi-autobiographical coming of age drama, with an added birth of the universe sequence and CGI dinosaurs, won in 2011, despite getting booed at screenings, and went on to make $54 million at the worldwide box office, whereas his previous film, The New World, made only $30 million. His next, To The Wonder, made a paltry $2 million.

If you’re a young up and coming director then winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes gives you access to cinema screens around the world, if you’re already a member of the film-making establishment, then Cannes can give you the biggest box office hit of your career.

You don’t believe me? The opening film this year, screening out of competition, was Mad Max: Fury Road, which took almost $17 million on its opening night at the US Box Office. All down to those pictures of Charlize Theron on the red carpet, I bet…

Jérémie Renier from The Wakhan Front

The Wakhan Front: The invisible enemy, premiering in Critic’s Week, by Fabien Lemercier from Cineuropa, May 16, 2015 

CANNES 2015: Clément Cogitore's first feature film is an astonishing and highly original piece of young French cinema about a platoon of soldiers in Afghanistan

"Southern Post to Northern Post", "civilian in sight", warnings, patrols, long periods of waiting around, sudden exchanges of fire which pierce the silence that quickly settles in again afterwards: Clément Cogitore ventures into military territory with his first feature film, The Wakhan Front, which is being screened in competition in Critics' Week at the 68th Cannes Film Festival. A subject which has been touched on very little in French film, here the army is portrayed in a way which is all the more original for the fact that the storyline plays out in Afghanistan, centering around the inexplicable disappearance of soliders in an environment characterised by rocky ground, heat and isolation. The setting is reconstructed realistically and cleverly by the director, known for his talent as a visual artist, who clearly knows how to create atmosphere and works on the border between genres (war/fantasy; thriller/action) and areas of interest (realism/mysticism).

"Blessings are for the dead! You need a cool head if you want to return home in one piece." Captain Antarès Bonnassieu (played by the intense Jérémie Renier) firmly leads his platoon on a surveillance mission into a valley in the middle of the Afghan mountains, not far from the border with Pakistan. With the exception of minor skirmishes with the Taliban and diplomatic/stormy neighbourly relations with the local villagers, all goes to plan. From blockhouses, the soldiers observe their surroundings, on the lookout for the unexpected day and night, exchanging stories over the radio or at their camp of their memories of Kabul, of the bodies of soldiers that were blown into a thousand pieces and then sent home in sealed coffins filled with earth. But this routine comes to an abrupt halt with the inexplicable disappearance of two soliders who seem to have vanished into thin air. After holding a fruitless inquiry fraught with accusations and threats (from his own soldiers and then the villagers), and increasing security measures, another disappearance moves Antarès to take action and enter into talks with the Taliban rebels, as they are also looking for men who seem to have fallen off the face of the Earth. What's going on in this place? Why are the men having the same disturbing dreams about the disappeared men being in a cave somewhere? Antarès tries to find rational explanations to it all whilst fears that metaphysical forces are at work mount...

Filmed using a shoulder-mounted camera, The Wakhan Front paints a highly realistic portrait of daily life in the army and perfectly uses the scale of its natural setting and technology such as thermal imaging and infra-red sight to thrust the viewer (in an elegantly unique way) into the shoes of the soldiers. With a rhythm not unlike that of The Desert of the Tartars, the director skilfully creates a threatening atmosphere for a group of men (solidly portrayed, most notably by Kevin Azaïs and Sâm Mirhosseini) straying dangerously close to the edge of the abyss as if suffering from dizziness, torn between beliefs and worlds (western and eastern) that are just too different. Built on the principle of "the less you say the better", the film (the storyline for which was written by Clément Cogitore with the collaboration of Thomas Bidegain) showcases a filmmaker who, despite unfortunately going astray during the home straight of the film with an excess of mysticism and metaphors, is not afraid of being bold.

Quentin Dolmaire and Lou Roy-Lecollinet in Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days

Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days, on the other hand, recalls a more recent past, just before mainstream adoption of the Internet put an end to long-distance relationships conducted primarily via snail mail. Having heard that the film is both prequel and sequel to Desplechin’s My Sex Life…Or How I Got Into An Argument (1996), I made a point of rewatching that three-hour epic during a long layover in Istanbul on my way here. It wasn’t really necessary, though, as Desplechin has written a completely new story involving several of the characters from My Sex Life, not worrying much about continuity. Mathieu Amalric once again plays Paul Dedalus—now middle-aged and headed back to France after years working abroad—but he gets relatively little screen time, appearing primarily in bookend sequences. Most of My Golden Days consists of an extended flashback to the late ’80s and early ’90s, when Paul (now played by charismatic newcomer Quentin Dolmaire) first embarked upon his tempestuous love affair with Esther, who was embodied by Emmanuelle Devos in My Sex Life but is now seen only as a teenager (Lou Roy-Lecollinet). Neither Dolmaire nor Roy-Lecollinet looks much like his/her older counterpart, but Paul’s witty self-deprecation is a constant—he talks his way into a college course by suggesting that the other students need a doofus like him to whom they can feel superior—and Esther is still maddeningly mercurial. Desplechin depicts their years together as a series of gorgeous fragments, employing his usual arsenal of meta-cinematic gimmicks (split screen, silent-era irises, characters reciting letters directly to the camera) to convey the sense that everything shown is being freshly remembered. The film’s French title translates as Three Memories Of My Youth, which better captures its ephemeral charms, even as Paul and Esther are increasingly forced to profess their love on paper, via correspondence that can be (and is, in this case) retained for decades afterward. I’m pretty sure My Golden Days works just fine as a stand-alone work; for those familiar with My Sex Life, however, it’s a bit as if Before Sunrise had been made 20 years after Before Midnight, using entirely different actors. 

*          *          *          *

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:    

Screendaily Jury Grid (Page 32 from Digital edition from Day 7), where the Todd Haynes film Carol is still the only film rated higher than 3 with a 3.5 average score

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

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

7-2 Hou – The Assassin
4-1 Nemes – Son of Saul
4-1 Haynes – Carol

– – – – – – – – – – –
9-1 Maïwenn – My King aka Mon Roi
10-1 Audiard – Dheepan
12-1 Jia – Mountains May Depart
12-1 Trier – Louder Than Bombs
12-1 Lanthimos – The Lobster

12-1 Sorrentino – Youth
14-1 Garrone – Tale of Tales
– – – – – – – – – – –
20-1 Moretti – My Mother aka Mia Madre
20-1 Kore-eda – Our Little Sister
20-1 Villeneuve – Sicario

20-1 Franco – Chronic
28-1 Kurzel – Macbeth
33-1 Brizé – The Measure of a Man
– – – – – – – – – – –
100-1 Nicloux – The Valley of Love
125-1 Donzelli – Marguerite and Julien
500-1 Van Sant – The Sea of Trees

7-4 Cate Blanchett and/or Rooney Mara (Carol)
4-1 Emmanuelle Bercot (My King aka Mon Roi)
7-1 Margherita Buy (My Mother aka Mia Madre)
9-1 Emily Blunt (Sicario)

– – –
11-1 any (or several) from Our Little Sister
16-1 Marion Cotillard (Macbeth)
– – –
25-1 Shu Qi (The Assassin)
25-1 any (or several) from Dheepan
28-1 Zhao Tao (Mountains May Depart)
33-1 Rachel Weisz (The Lobster and/or Youth) solo 
33-1 Isabelle Huppert (Louder Than Bombs and/or The Valley of Love) 
50-1 Anaïs Demoustier (Marguerite and Julien)
50-1 The Lobster’s female ensemble

7-4 Vincent Lindon (The Measure of a Man)
7-2 Géza Röhrig (Son of Saul)

– – –
10-1 Tim Roth (Chronic)
12-1 Jesuthasan Antonythasan (Dheepan)
14-1 Vincent Cassel (My King aka Mon Roi)
14-1 Colin Farrell (The Lobster)

16-1 Michael Caine and/or Harvey Keitel (Youth)
16-1 any (or several) from Louder Than Bombs (Byrne, Eisenberg, Druid)
– – –
25-1 Toby Jones (Tale of Tales)
25-1 John Turturro (My Mother aka Mia Madre)

28-1 Michael Fassbender (Macbeth)
28-1 Benicio Del Toro (Sicario)
33-1 Gérard Depardieu (The Valley of Love)
33-1 Liang Jingdong (Mountains May Depart)
50-1 Jérémie Elkaïm (Marguerite and Julien)
50-1 Ken Watanabe and/or Matthew McConaughey (The Sea of Trees)

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/reviews/

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

a round-up of indieWIRE reviews:  http://www.indiewire.com/tag/cannes-2015

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/tag/Cannes%202015

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky at Cannes for The Onion A.V. Club:  http://www.avclub.com/features/cannes-film-festival/

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/

Cannes Diary from Film Comment:  http://www.filmcomment.com/blog

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 

Glenn Heath Jr. from the L-magazine:  http://www.thelmagazine.com/tag/cannes-2015/

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  

Today is the half-way point of the festival.  I've seen 39 films so far and have yet to see a great one.  I'm not worried though, as I've only seen five of the ten Competiton films that have screened and two of those that I have missed have been the best-reviewed--"Son of Saul" (an Auschwitz film by a first time Hungarian director that Sony just picked up for US distribution) and "Carol" (a lesbian period piece by veteran American Todd Haynes).  Plus three of the potentially best films have yet to play--those by Sorrentino, Audiard and Hsiao-Hsien Hou.  A festival rarely offers more than two or three greats, so that is still possible.  Last year was a good year with "Winter Sleep," "Foxcatcher," "Wild Tales," and "Force Majuere."  None of my 39 have provided such a jolt or uplift.

I made an attempt on "Son of Saul" this morning.  I was the eighth person in line an hour ahead of the noon screening, but none of us got in as those with priority passes filled the 63-seat theater before any of us with mere Market passes were allowed entry.  That meant I could see a South African version of "Spinal Tap," a mockumentary called "Stone Cold Jane Austen."  It could have been wacky, but was mostly silly and stupid.  The two members of the rock band of the same name as the title of the movie are trying to make a comeback.  No one much cared about them originally, and even less so now.  A cop though who recognizes them when they are out and about was a fan and even has a couple of  their CDs in his car that he asks them to autograph.  They refuse when they discover they are bootleg copies.  That upsets the cop, so he gives them a ticket, about the lone comic scene in the whole movie.

I tried for a second rock band movie, "The Green Room," as it had received rave reviews after its screenings in the Director's Fortnight.  The word was out and I fell five people short of getting in.  Playing right next door was "The Birth of Sake," a documentary on a 140-year old Japanese distillery that still brews the drink in the labor-intensive traditional manner.  Its workers live dormitory-style for six months during the winter months when the distilling takes place. They arise at 4:30 in the morning and every day manually process 2,600 pounds of rice.  One hundred years ago there were 4,600 distilleries in Japan.  There are now just 1,000 as wine and beer have increasingly become the choice of drink in Japan.  I thought I might see Gary Meier, a former director of Telluride, at the screening.  He told Ralph and I yesterday that he had left Telluride and would be launching a film festival of his own called Eat, Drink, Film  in the Bay Area.  We were sorry to learn he had ended his time with Telluride.  It will be the first Labor Day in over forty years that he won't be out there.

I didn't spot Gary, but I was joined by Milos of Facets and a member of the Board of Telluride at my next screening, part one of the three-part six-hour Arabian Tales that has been much talked about due to its running time and its subject matter--the economic crisis in Portugal.  Milos said he was leery the film might be a case of the Emperor's New Clothes, as he wasn't confident the movie would be as good as the reviews claim.  The title alone was questionable, as it was a mere attention-grabber since the movie had nothing to do with the Arabian Tales other then their structure.  Milos is someone to listen to.  He has been coming to Cannes for over thirty years and knows the tea leaves.  

He had skipped the morning's Competition film, "The Measure of a Man," as he feared this French film had slipped into the Competition to meet the French quota and also that it would be heavy-handed in its portrayal of a man out of work seeking employment.  He was right on that. I told Milos the movie had some merit, but when I described it to him, the movie met his expectations. The film concludes with the lead working as a security guard in a large supermarket.  His job is to catch shop-lifters.  They all have a sad, justifiable reason for shop-lifting, but he does his job.  He is more troubled though when he is ordered to try to catch check-out women cheating when his boss tells him they have to cut back on staff and need to fire some people.  One woman he catches, who was merely pocketing coupons, commits suicide.  When he catches another who was swiping her bonus card to get bonus points on the purchases of others, he doesn't think he can continue with his job.  The audience, most likely the French faction, cheered at the end of the movie.

And Milos was right about "Arabian Nights."  Its subject matter and its ambition, not its execution, was what had won the favor of the critics.  Its series of short tales commenting on the economic woes of the Portuguese was lifeless and plodding, and at a certain point an ordeal to sit through.  Milos was among the trickle of people who started walking out after an hour.  I stuck it out and even gave part sat through part two since I had no viable alternative.  Part one was enough for Ralph.  The film could have been effective if it had had a dollop of Romanian realism or Iranian humanity or Japanese sensitivity.

Natalie Portman's Out of Competiton directorial debut, "A Tale of Love and Darkneas," also was missing that elixir making a movie something more than simply images on a screen going through the motions.  She even failed to elicit more than a flat performance out of herself playing a young wife and mother suffering a breakdown during the early years of Israel after WW II.  

By the time I dashed a few blocks to the Arcades for its 10:30 screening of a Belgian black comedy with Catherine Deneuve about God luring based in Brussels the theater was "complet."  I had five minutes to bike a mile up Antibes to the Miramar for the Critics Week screening of "Land of Shade" from Colombia.  I made it just as the lights were dimming.  Though it had been another long day with some nodding off, this minimalist film set in the land of sugar canes had me fully riveted. The story was as sad as any of those of "Arabian Nights," a young woman working in the cane fields while her husband lay at home seriously ill.  The workers aren't getting paid and no one will help her husband.

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