Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cannes 2015 Day 7






Natasha Poly
 






Eva Longoria
 







German model Toni Garrn
 







Salma Hayek
 



Salma Hayek with her husband François-Henri Pinaud and Jane Fonda with Jake Gyllenhaal







Brazilian supermodel Adrina Lima
 






Danish fashion model Nina Agdal
 







British model Lily Donaldson
 






Portuguese model Sara Sampaio
 






American fashion model Lindsay Ellington
 






Brazilian model and designer Camila Alves
 






Swiss-born American actress Kat Graham
 







French actress Virginie Ledoyen
 




Michael Jackson’s father Joe arrived at Cannes with an entourage
 






Red carpet shots from The Hollywood Reporter: 
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/gallery/cannes-2015-red-carpet-arrivals-795394/1-emma-stone 

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: 

Vogue guide to Cannes:  

Also here: 

Elle fashion photos:    

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: 















Cannes faces backlash after women reportedly barred from film screening for not wearing high heels, by Henry Barnes from The Guardian, May 19, 2015 
http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/may/19/cannes-backlash-high-heels-emily-blunt-flat-shoes

The red carpet at the Cannes film festival is an elysium of old-fashioned glitz and glamour, but the festival faced controversy on Tuesday after it emerged that it takes the odd bout of tyrannical fashion policing to keep it that way.

A group of women in their 50s were turned away from the gala screening of Todd Haynes’s Carol for allegedly not wearing high-heeled shoes, according to industry newspaper Screen Daily. The women, some of whom had medical conditions, were apparently barred entry for wearing rhinestone flats.

The festival is facing a backlash from film fans protesting against what many perceive as a sexist dress-code policy, even though Cannes’s director, Thierry Frémaux, has denied that high heels are obligatory. “The rumour saying the festival insists on high heels for women on the red carpet is unfounded,” he said in response to critics on Twitter.

Among those joining the backlash was actor Emily Blunt, who will walk the red carpet tonight in support of her new film, the FBI drama Sicario.

“Everyone should wear flats, to be honest. We shouldn’t wear high heels,” said Blunt, when asked about the controversy at the Sicario press conference. “That’s very disappointing, just when you kind of think there are these new waves of equality.”

Sicariodirector Denis Villeneuve joked that he and Blunt’s co-stars, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin, would wear high heels to the premiere in solidarity. Del Toro then mimed wobbling along the red carpet from his seat.

Also critical of the dress code was Asif Kapadia, director of the Amy Winehouse documentary, Amy, which premiered in Cannes last week. Kapadia tweeted that his wife had initially been denied entry to the screening because of her footwear, but was eventually allowed in.

It has also been reported that a film producer who has had part of her left foot amputated has also been stopped for not wearing high heel shoes. Valeria Richter told the Telegraph she had been reprimanded on the red carpet for her footwear, despite missing her big toe and part of her foot. She said she had been stopped four times by officials at the premiere for The Sea of Trees, but had eventually been allowed to proceed. Richter said: “We put on the dress and make an effort to be formal and festive, but to demand heels is not right.”

Cannes’s red-carpet screenings are by invitation only. The official dress code is explained to guests after they collect a ticket for their film. Published guidelines are hard to come by, but it is generally understood that men must wear black tie with black shoes and women must be elegantly dressed with smart footwear. Festival staff quizzed by the Guardian seemed unclear as to whether high heels are obligatory at red-carpet screenings or not.

Gender equality has been a key theme in many of the films in year’s Cannes selection. Ironically, Carol, the film to which the flat-wearing guests were denied entry, is perhaps the Competition film with the strongest feminist message. Based on the book by Patricia Highsmith (an avid fan of loafers), it tells the story of a young shop assistant, played by Rooney Mara, who embarks on an affair with a married older women.

Outside the Palais, 20-year-old Tami was one of many hopeful of being given a spare ticket to the Tuesday-night premiere by a charitable delegate. She was carrying her high heels in a plastic bag.

“It says on your ticket that you have to be smartly dressed,” she said. “For women that means high heels. I wish we didn’t have to. They’re uncomfortable.”




Festival Films Offer a Lesson in (Bad) Parenting, by Justin Chang from Variety, May 19, 2015 
http://variety.com/2015/film/columns/cannes-film-festival-a-lesson-in-parenting-critics-notebook-1201500498/

The kids are not all right, to judge by the films that have screened so far at Cannes 2015.

Louder Than Bombs,” Joachim Trier’s sensitively rendered family drama about the lingering aftermath of a mother’s untimely death, begins with a shot of a newborn’s hand clutching his daddy’s finger. It’s a perfect opening image for a film that largely concerns itself with the tensions that can arise between parents and children, particularly when each party is typically doomed to a partial understanding of the other at most. As it happens, it could also serve as one of the defining images for the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival (with apologies to Ingrid Bergman, whose regally disembodied head graces the poster for this year’s event), which has screened a number of pictures in which the price paid by neglectful, irresponsible or just plain ineffectual parenting turns out to be a steep one.

“They f— you up, your mom and dad,” Philip Larkin wrote, and some of the characters at this year’s festival don’t even have the benefit of both. In her tepidly received opening-night entry, “Standing Tall,” the director Emmanuelle Bercot traces the long, difficult reform of a French juvenile delinquent named Malony (played by Rod Paradot) under the tough but compassionate eye of a magistrate (Catherine Deneuve), but with little help from his absentee dad or his junkie mom (Sara Forestier), who’s seen noisily dumping the kid in the lap of social services in the film’s very first scene. By contrast, the four Japanese daughters at the center of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s lovely, leisurely “Our Little Sister” seem markedly better adjusted, despite having weathered their own fair share of parental short-sightedness in a movie that climaxes with two of them screaming out their anger at Mom and Dad from the hilltops.

The messed-up monarchs in “Tale of Tales” aren’t setting a much better example. So bent on motherhood that she’ll pig out on sea-monster offal and sacrifice her husband (John C. Reilly) in order to conceive, the imperious Queen of Longtrellis (Salma Hayek) turns out to be predictably domineering, alienating her son (Christian Lees) by forcing him to stay away from his identical twin brother-from-another-mother. Still, the worst-parent crown in Matteo Garrone’s lavish 17th-century fantasy omnibus easily goes to the neighboring King of Highhills (Toby Jones), who’s more infatuated with his pet flea than with his princess daughter (Bebe Cave), whom he whimsically marries off to an ogre — a bitter twist in a film that gives us no shortage of supernatural creepy-crawlies and then slyly asks us to consider who the real monsters are.

A tragic real-life example of monstrous fatherly neglect could be found in “Amy,” Asif Kapadia’s documentary about the too-short, too-troubled life and career of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse. Presented in the Midnight Screenings section, “Amy” has been one of the most resoundingly applauded films anywhere in the festival, and it’s one I’m eagerly looking forward to catching up with. I can’t claim quite the same level of anticipation for Valerie Donzelli’s “Marguerite & Julien,” which rivals only Gus Van Sant’s insipid “The Sea of Trees” as the most roundly despised film in competition, but by all accounts, neither Maman nor Papa turns out to be parent-of-the-year material in this tale of brother-sister incest.

Fortunately, not all this year’s parent-child dramas been quite so pessimistic. Maiwenn’s polarizing but deeply involving “Mon roi” is an intense, and intensely observed, romance between two uniquely self-destructive individuals, played by Bercot and Vincent Cassel. The characters’ behavior is frequently indefensible (and at times just plain inexplicable), but the young son they share has a way of uniting them and bringing out their best instincts, even though he inevitably becomes a bit of a bargaining chip, as children of divorce often do. Something similar happens in Todd Haynes’ 1950s lesbian love story, “Carol,” easily the best-received film in competition so far and a presumed frontrunner for the Palme d’Or, in which our eponymous heroine (Cate Blanchett) faces the threat of losing her daughter to her jealous soon-to-be-ex-husband (Kyle Chandler) sues for custody — a clash that leads to one of the most honest, cathartic scenes of reckoning between two parents in recent memory.

Nanni Moretti’s moderately appealing comedy-drama “My Mother” stars an excellent Margherita Buy as a stressed-out film director trying to cope with her mom’s terminal illness while also striving to be a good mother to her own teenage daughter; it’s a cross-generational family portrait that, for all its transparent manipulations, conveys a real sense of the affection and generosity that close family members feel for one another. The same goes for an even better film in the competition, “The Measure of a Man,” Stephan Brize’s Dardennes-influenced study of a working-class husband and father, Thierry (a superb Vincent Lindon), at the mercy of everyday capitalist inhumanity. The scenes in which Thierry and his wife take care of their teenage son, who has what appears to be cerebral palsy, are deeply yet understatedly moving, with none of the grotesque sentimentality that often attends stories of the developmentally disabled.

Still, perhaps the most hopeful vision amid all this parent-child Sturm und Drang has been Arnaud Desplechin’s “My Golden Days,” which is simply one of the most enveloping coming-of-age sagas I’ve seen in years — a film as spontaneous as it is surefooted, and one that wisely suggests that our parents’ bad behavior need not be the end of the story. Notably, the film opens with its young hero, Paul Dedalus, waving a knife and screaming insults at his frightfully overbearing mother, who promptly commits suicide; in a later scene, Paul’s depressive father smacks him across the face after seeing his son’s poor report card. As was widely reported before it had even screened, “My Golden Days” was passed over for a competition slot (it’s no “Sea of Trees,” after all), which is why it wound up premiering instead at the Directors’ Fortnight program. Vindication has been swift and sweet: When all is said and done, this unwanted child of the official selection will long be remembered as one of the festival’s finest.





Elad Keidan’s Afterthought  







A Jewish 'Ulysses' at the Cannes Film Festival, by A.J. Goldmann from Forward, May 19, 2015 http://forward.com/culture/film-tv/308479/in-search-of-the-jewish-films-at-cannes/

It’s the 68th installment of the world’s most glamorous film festival, and thousands of filmmakers, actors, movie execs, journalists, tourists and adoring fans have descended on this small, surprisingly unremarkable town along the French Riviera, a town whose name is synonymous with cinema.

Last Wednesday, the International Jury headed by the American directing duo The Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan) presented itself at the festival’s inaugural press conference.

The filmmakers’ relationship with Cannes goes back nearly 30 years, when their screwball comedy “Raising Arizona” screened out of competition. Four years later, their dark Hollywood satire “Barton Fink” was an unexpected triumph, capturing the festival’s highest prize, the Palme d’Or and establishing the Coens as the most exciting filmmaking duo of the day. Since then, two of their subsequent films “Fargo” and “The Man Who Wasn’t There” have scooped the festival’s directing award. Most recently, their 2013 folk-music-biopic “Inside Llewyn Davis” took home the Grand Prix, the de facto second place prize. Incidentally, the Jury President that year was Steven Spielberg. (Whether by accident or by design, the brothers’ two strangest and Jewiest films, “The Big Lebowski” and “A Serious Man,” were not chosen for this high-minded festival).

The only other Jewish member of this year’s jury, Jake Gyllenhaal, joked about the group being neatly divided into the “Joel Camp” and the “Ethan Camp.” Asked about why he had signed up for the grueling job of watching and evaluating over 20 films in a ten-day period, Gyllenhaal said, “I was just thrilled about seeing films before anyone else in the world would see them. And for free.” 

Fielding a question about Ingrid Bergman, the icon of this year’s festival, whose face is plastered on just about every conceivable surface here, Gyllenhaal alluded to father, the director Stephan Gyllenhall: “I’m Swedish and I deeply hope that I’m related to her somehow and in some form.” However, it was his mother, the producer and actress Naomi Foner, who is the avid fan. Gyllenhaal has promised her the festival poster, on which the “Casablanca” star is featured.

2014 was a bumper year for Israeli cinema, with five of that country’s films screening at Cannes in the festival’s main and sidebars sections, most impressively Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz’s “Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem” and “Self Made” by Shira Geffen. This year, there are only two Israeli features on the festival slate. The first to arrive was Elad Keidan’s “Afterthought.” It isn’t competing for any of the main prizes, but is a contender for the Camera d’Or for best first film.

Set in Haifa, the film centers on two men crisscrossing the staircases along the Carmel Mountain, leading down to the port. As boring as that premise sounds, this film is anything but. Take for instance the long opening shot, a panning wide shot of Haifa as seen from the port. The customary soundtrack of seagulls and foghorns gives way to a prolonged fit of coughing, snippets of telephone conversations and a radio broadcast of a music program called “Their Most Mediocre Performances”: the artist of the week is Jascha Heifetz, a deadpan deejay informs us (next week’s will be Yehudi Menuhin).

Moshe, a former archeologist who owns a fleet of coin-operated mechanical horses, is spending the day looking for an earring that his wife has lost (she thinks) somewhere walking on the stairs. Uri, a writer who’s just broken up with his girlfriend and is plotting to skip the country in order to ditch his mandatory reserve duty, walks up and down the endless staircases, committing his momentary inspirations into a tape recorder, and putting things in order to the extent that he can in his distracted, nervous state.

As the film meanders, a narrative arc comes into focus. My hunch is that Keidan has set out to do a version of “Ulysses.” Like Joyce’s opus, “Afterthought” follows two men walking all over a city in the course of a single day, eventually intersecting briefly yet meaningfully. Like Joyce’s alter ego Stephan Daedalus, Uri is a restless writer dreaming of going abroad. Moshe shares Leopold Bloom’s melancholy as well as heartbreak caused by an unfaithful wife.

A free associative logic seems to guide the film. The situations that Keidan throws his characters into are often absurdist or surreal, but the film’s bizarre chain of events rarely seems contrived or forced. There is Moshe in an Arab lawyer’s office explaining his dream to build a museum to the Naqba (he thinks only a Jew could get away with it and that it would be great for tourism) and Uri spontaneously deciding to be a character witness for a former classmate who once broke three of his fingers. When Uri makes it to the port to board his steamer, the barbershop quartet he sings in sends him off in classy musical style. The film’s title is explained in a hilarious monologue, delivered by an irate chassid, who doesn’t understand the function of voicemail boxes. It would be much better, he says, to be able to leave a message for someone after you’ve spoken to him, to say the things you couldn’t bring yourself to say during the conversation. This is “afterthought,” what you really meant to say, your true thought.

Keidan’s film also scores a victory for Cinéfondation, Cannes young filmmakers program. In 2008, his short film “Anthem,” won the Cinéfondation’s top award, a 15,000-euro cash prize that guarantees that the director’s next film will screen in the official Cannes selection.





Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Cemetery of Splendor  


 



 

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Cemetery of Splendor, by James Lattimore from The House Next Door 
http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/article/cannes-review-cemetery-of-splendor

Apichatpong Weerasethakul's quietly incandescent new feature, Cemetery of Splendor, is so serene, so perfectly meditative, that it puts the viewer in precisely the same hushed reverie to which its characters eventually submit, one's fluttering eyes due not to tiredness, nor boredom, but rather some strange, inexplicable desire to join in with all the collective dreaming on screen. Moving away from the spatial and temporal bifurcations of much of his previous work, the film fixes its tender gaze on all the myriad things that one specific place has been, gently and often imperceptibly shifting between past and present, legend and modernity, wakefulness and dream.

The place in question is an improvised hospital in Khon Kaen, northeastern Thailand, which has been set up to house all the many soldiers struck down by some mysterious sleeping sickness. Jen (Jenjira Pongpas Widner), a middle-aged housewife with an American husband and one leg shorter than the other, turns up at the hospital to volunteer, recalling immediately that this former school is the one she herself used to attend. She's quick to befriend Keng (Jarinpattra Rueangram), a medium and possible FBI agent able to tap into what the slumbering inmates are dreaming, and swiftly makes one soldier, Itt (Banlop Lomnoi), into the son she never had.

Hospital life unfolds at a leisurely pace, as bodies are washed, new anti-snoring machines shipped over from America installed, and seminars on meditation given, the only interruptions being the chicken and its offspring that wander in from time to time and the sound of the digger ripping through the earth outside. Weerasethakul captures the languorous ebb and flow of life here in sustained, beautifully composed shots that are strung together based on rhythm and instinct rather than any overt narrative concerns: a colostomy bag slowly filling with urine, makeshift turbines splashing water across the nearby lake, dappled sunlight on a bed of leaves. Gentle humor also leavens these quiet routines again and again: the garrulous Jen will chat with everyone, her various conversations rendered in wry, unusually frequent dialogue that's equally capable of namechecking Superman, past lives, and the number of calories in fried banana.

Yet other forces soon begin to impinge on the blissful calm. When Jen comes across two beautiful young women hawking clothes, they casually reveal themselves as centuries-old dead Laotian goddesses. They mention in passing that an ancient cemetery lies beneath the hospital, with the kings and warriors buried there draining the sleeping soldiers of their energy so that they can keep fighting their age-old wars. As Jen, Keng, and Itt grow closer, their thoughts, dreams, and eventually even bodies gradually converge, led by and suffused with all the rippling layers of reality this place contains. The neon lights by the soldiers' beds soon cast their glow across the entire town, a sumptuous palace of past days is verbally conjured out of an overgrown garden, and, as the sun threatens to break through the clouds, an amoeba slowly inches its way across the image. The tone is one of sweet, aching melancholy, the realization that everything leaves an impression carrying both rapture and great sadness for the characters and the viewer alike.

Weerasethakul's films have always been marked by their tenderness, unobtrusive rigor, and desire to splice the straightforward with the oblique, with Cemetery of Splendor perhaps the purest, most focused expression of these concerns. Yet, couched in perhaps the film's strongest scene, he also seems to be making a typically indirect statement as to what film itself should be: a darkened auditorium, the audience standing up as one to gaze at the screen, an unstemmable flow of beautifully unfathomable images, cinema as the stuff dreams are made of.

 *          *          *          *

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

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

Screendaily Jury Grid (Page 24 from Digital edition from Day 8), where the Todd Haynes film Carol is still the only film rated higher than 3 with a 3.5 average score 
http://www.screendaily.com/festivals/cannes/cannes-2015-screens-dailies/5087854.article

Les Etoiles de la critiques is up and running as well (By the way, to open up the screen, click on the link [Edition mobile : cliquez ici pour afficher l'image]): 
http://www.lefilmfrancais.com/cinema/123012/cannes-2015-les-etoiles-de-la-critique-6

While Neil Young from Jigsaw Lounge maintains the odds for winners, making some early predictions for prize winners:              
http://www.jigsawlounge.co.uk/film/reviews/cannes2015/

PALME D’OR
FRONT RUNNERS
7-2 Hou – The Assassin {prediction: Palme d’Or)
 
4-1 Nemes – Son of Saul {Grand Prix} 
9-2 Haynes – Carol {Best Actress}
– – – – – – – – – – –
POTENTIAL CONTENDERS
 
8-1 Jia – Mountains May Depart {Prix du Jury} 
9-1 Maïwenn – My King aka Mon Roi {Best Director}
10-1 Audiard – Dheepan
 
10-1 Sorrentino – Youth
14-1 Trier – Louder Than Bombs
{Best Screenplay}
 
14-1 Lanthimos – The Lobster
– – – – – – – – – – –
PRIZE CANDIDATES
 
16-1 Garrone – Tale of Tales
20-1 Moretti – My Mother aka Mia Madre
20-1 Kore-eda – Our Little Sister

22-1 Franco – Chronic
28-1 Kurzel – Macbeth
 
33-1 Brizé – The Measure of a Man
40-1 Villeneuve – Sicario

– – – – – – – – – – –
LONGSHOTS
100-1 Nicloux – The Valley of Love
 
125-1 Donzelli – Marguerite and Julien
500-1 Van Sant – The Sea of Trees

BEST ACTRESS 
5-2 Cate Blanchett and/or Rooney Mara (Carol)
11-4 Zhao Tao (Mountains May Depart)
5-1 Emmanuelle Bercot (My King aka Mon Roi)
8-1 Margherita Buy (My Mother aka Mia Madre)

– – –
 
11-1 any (or several) from Our Little Sister
12-1 Marion Cotillard (Macbeth)
 
14-1 Emily Blunt (Sicario)
16-1 Shu Qi (The Assassin)
 
16-1 Isabelle Huppert (Louder Than Bombs and/or The Valley of Love)
– – –
20-1 any (or several) from Dheepan
 
25-1 Rachel Weisz (The Lobster and/or Youth) solo
33-1 Anaïs Demoustier (Marguerite and Julien)
50-1 Jane Fonda (Youth) solo or with Rachel Weisz
50-1 The Lobster’s female ensemble

BEST ACTOR 
9-4 Vincent Lindon (The Measure of a Man)
7-2 Géza Röhrig (Son of Saul)
7-1 Michael Caine and/or Harvey Keitel (Youth)

– – –
10-1 Tim Roth (Chronic)
11-1 Antonythasan Jesuthasan (Dheepan)
 
14-1 Vincent Cassel (My King aka Mon Roi)
16-1 Colin Farrell (The Lobster)
16-1 any (or several) from Louder Than Bombs (Byrne, Eisenberg, Druid)

– – –
 
28-1 Toby Jones (Tale of Tales)
28-1 John Turturro (My Mother aka Mia Madre)

28-1 Michael Fassbender (Macbeth)
 
33-1 Liang Jingdong (Mountains May Depart)
33-1 Benicio Del Toro (Sicario)

33-1 Gérard Depardieu (The Valley of Love)
 
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/


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 

International Cinephile Society:  http://icsfilm.org/

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


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

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

And George has reconfigured his damaged computer to offer another day’s offerings: http://georgethecyclist.blogspot.com 

My day was bookended by violent-laced crime thrillers--one an American production about Mexican drug cartels and the other of office politics from South Korea.  One featured inventive plot twists and the other didn't much care about the credibility of its twists. No surprise which was which.

The American production, "Sicario" by Canadian director Denia Villeneuve, put its budget into its cast (Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro) and aerial shots and car chases rather than its script.  Its was slick enough to be shown in Competition, while the Korean film, "Office," was given an Out of Competition  slot.  

"Sicario" began with great promise as Emily Blount leads an FBI raid on a drug house in Phoenix.  Her assured demeanor along with the first-rate action directing remain a strong current through the film.  She is enlisted by higher operatives led by Josh Broslin to cross the border into Mexico and snatch a drug lord.  It is more bravado film-making, though the credibility of the script begins to ebb. It doesn't become as outlandish as Villeneuve's "Prisoners," and can be somewhat overlooked since the premise of a Colombian drug prosecutor, played with matching vigor as the other leads by Del Toro, who turns into a superhero out for the revenge for the death of his wife and daughter by drug lords adds a jolt to the script that is more for the popcorn crowd than the cineste, and a far cry from Villeneuve's masterpieces "Incendies" and "Polytchnique."

"Office" couldn't match the polish and pizzazz of "Sicario," but it was equally gripping, delving into the psyche of the detective trying to track down the employee of a company who inexplicably murdered his wife and son and disappeared.  A surveillance camera shows him returning to the skyscraper where he worked, but not leaving.  The drama bridges upon horror, but more psychological than physical.

I found myself in a minor horror movie of my own when I arrived back at the apartment after midnight and discovered  my email account had been taken hostage and a message sent out to everone in my address book saying I was in Istanbul and had lost my wallet and needed money.  The worst of it was that I could no longer receive emails, as messages replying to the plea would be intercepted by the perpetrator.  At least I can send out emails from the account,  I changed my password, but so far that hasn't helped.  So I have not received any emails in the past 24-hours allowing me to concentrate further in the film festival.

The day wasn't without good fortune as after the 8:30 am screening of "Sicario" a woman walked up to Ralph and I and offered us invitations to the next Competiton screening in the Lumiere at 11:30.  Ralph already had one.  It was the first I had come by this year.  I rushed directly to the Lumiere, but still ended up in the nose bleed seat in the last row in the balcony. Its a vantage I know well from years past and don't mind at all looking over a sea of heads at the distant screen far below.

I won't have memories of this film though, "Marguerite and Julien," a true story of incest in France in 1600.  Valerie Donzelli returns to those times but tries to jazz up the story with Rock music and odd insertions of twentieth century technology, including the flash of a helicopter.  Unfortunately it doesn't work.  A straightforward telling of this story that ends in tragedy could have made for a fine movie.  No one much liked it, with a rare below one star overall rating from "Screen's" panel of ten critics , though still twice as high as Van Sant's .4 disaster. 

Today's  Un Certain Regard film, "Trap," took me back to the Philippines through the same post-typoon disaster scene I had bicycled through a year ago.  It captured all the images I know well - - UN tents for the survivors, battered palm trees, religious services, bicycles with side cars, small road side cafes and the great resilience of the Filipinos.  Despite the sure hand of acclaimed director Brillante Mendoza, he accompanied his fine images with just a perfunctory story of recovery.

I filled the rest of the day with three documentaries.  One of them would have been Kent Jones's on the legendary conversations between Hitchcock and Truffaut that resulted in a book, but I was among a hundred or more who were turned away from the Bunuel where special events are held.  One floor below was a Market screening of the Directors Fortnight entry "Beyond My Grandfather Allende" filmed by one of his granddaughters. She was too young to remember him when his life came to an end in Chile's 1973 coup and this is an attempt to come to know him through her family members.  His elderly wife is a most unwillingly subject.  She continually cuts off interviews with her granddaughter laying beside her in bed.  The director's other family members are also very reticent to talk about their memories that they have all suppressed. The best thing about the doc was remembering the exceptional doc by Sarah Polley uncovering her big family secret.

A Swedish documentary, "Ingrid Bergman--In Her Own Words," on the actress who overlooks the entries to the Palais and Debussy as the subject of this year's poster, was given the star treatment with Isabella Rosselini on hand to introduce it in the Soixante.  She was one Bergman's four children by two husbands.  The children are all extensively interviewed in this artful rendition of her life receiving more screen time than movie clips.  Three of the children were fathered by the Italian director, and the first by her Swedish husband, who became a doctor in the US during the early years of their marriage after Bergman had come to Hollywood.  When she left her husband and eight year old daughter for Rosselini, it was an international scandal, even denounced on the Senate floor. She didn't return to the US for eight years, not even for the Oscars when she won her second, accepted by Cary Grant in a year when the Oscars were held in New York. When she finally did return to the US Ed Sullivan took a poll whether he should have her on his show.

My third documentary was one of those few films of personal interest I was most eager to see when I had spotted it in the program on my first perusal - - "The Fabulous Story of Mr Riquet."  He engineered the Canal du Midi linking the Atlantic with the Mediterranean under Louis XIV in the 1700s.  It is one of the world's first great feats.  It has a beautiful plane-tree lined bike path along it.  It was exciting to see its beauty captured on the big screen, but unfortunately it didn't have a big enough budget to have added English subtitles, the first such film I've come across in the Market.

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