Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cannes 2015 Day 8

American fashion model Karlie Kloss

Kloss is joined by Puerto Rican model Joan Smalls and Russian Natasha Poly

British model Cara Delevingne

Michelle Rodriguez


Brazilian model Izabel Goulart


Joan Smalls


American model Chanel Iman

Nina Agdal

Adriana Lima

Swedish Ex Machina actress Alicia Vikander

French filmmaker Valérie Donzelli (left), whose film Marguerite et Julien stars actress Anaïs Demoustier (right)


Aishwarya Rai

American singer Mary J. Blige

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 here:

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

A glamorous view from the Business Insider:

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 director Thierry Frémaux (left) greets British actress Emily Blunt with President Pierre Lescure looking on

Blunt with cast members Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin

Emily Blunt in front of giant Ingrid Bergman poster

Frémaux again introduces Cate Blanchett


Cannes Film Festival red carpet dance is a tightly controlled choreography  Jake Coyle from The Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 20, 2015

CANNES, France — Red carpets are all the same color, but they are not alike. And none equals the prestigious red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival, a rigidly organized gauntlet of glamour, a surreal choreography of stage-managed glitz.

It's a world of its own, with strict rules and tradition, and passage through it is dizzying for even the most experienced stars. The Cannes red carpet, along with its companion photo calls in front of a bank of photographers, creates the festival's flashy French Riviera iconography, a global calling card that rivals the Academy Awards' famous promenade.

The recent dustup over footwear on the Cannes carpet epitomizes the strangeness of its elevated ecosystem. Several women were turned away from the premiere of the Todd Haynes' '50s drama "Carol" for not wearing high heels. When word got out, an outcry spread. The festival insisted the incidents were the fault of overzealous security guards, but even top Hollywood executives have stories of being denied admission from their own premieres for improper shoes or for having a long black tie instead of a bowed one.

"There's a tradition," says Cate Blanchett, who stars in "Carol" alongside Rooney Mara. "There's something kind of gentlemanly about it."

Whereas most red carpets are a messy maelstrom of media, fans and stars, Cannes runs like clockwork. Two or three times a day, a lengthy caravan of festival cars chauffer the premiere's stars down Cannes' main drag, the Croisette, dropping them at one end of the carpet.

They only walk after most other guests have entered, pausing at a few points to pose for tuxedo-clad photographers, who themselves are also held to festival dress code. Then they climb Cannes' 24 steps, entering the Palais after taking a moment to stand and wave at the top of the steps, where they're greeted by festival directors. It's a literal and metaphoric ascension to cinema's regal firmament.

"You climb the steps of the pyramids," says Blanchett. "Usually most red carpets have a lot of step-and-repeat. You don't have to discuss a film before you go and see it. You're at a film festival, so it's about a film. It's not about what we think of the film."

Premieres elsewhere often proceed on the stars' timetable, but at Cannes even the most famous will be whisked through by the festival's many protocol guardians and told not to dally or hold things up with their own photographs. Festival director Thierry Fremaux this year clamped down on selfies on the red carpet, calling them "grotesque."

"It's funny because there are so many rules," says Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, who premiered his satirical drama "The Lobster," starring Colin Farrell. "You have to walk in a line. They tell you when to turn around, which way you need to turn around. It's a very funny, happy, ridiculous, strange awkward situation."

The Cannes carpet has become a much-watched fashion runway. Models typically parade before a film's participants, and the dresses of celebrities are followed closely around the world. This year's festival has seen Charlize Theron ("Mad Max: Fury Road") stroll with beau Sean Penn and Lupita Nyong'o recall her Oscar red-carpet glory. Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Matthew McConaughey and Natalie Portman have all basked in the Cannes glow.

"In my youth I never paid attention to glamour," says Jane Fonda, who co-stars in Paolo Sorrentino's "Youth," which was to premiere Wednesday. "In those days if you came to Cannes or you went to the premiere of a film in the United States, no one would say, 'What are you wearing?' You'd think they were crazy! 'I'm wearing clothes, what you mean?'"

The formal ballet of the procession has a surreal, fairy tale-lie fantasy to it. "I felt like I was getting married," said Mara of her first red carpet trip in Cannes. But it can also feel like a limelight overdose.

"It used to make me really, really nervous and upset. I just hated it, hated it. It felt so phony," said John C. Reilly, a Cannes veteran who attended two premieres this year as a star of "The Lobster" and Matteo Garrone's "Tale of Tales." ''Now I'm just used to it. I don't take it personally. You want to take my picture because I'm in this movie and I have a nice suit on. As soon as they stop screaming my name, they're going to start screaming somebody else's name."

The pomp has a bit more substance to it at the Cannes Film Festival than most other red carpets because it's in the service, ultimately, of celebrating some of the most artistically ambitious films of the year. Cannes rolls its red carpet out for only a highly select few dozen films each festival, and the majority of them come from the most well-regarded directors in international cinema.

And yet not everyone is so bowled over by the Cannes red carpet. The comedian Louis Black made his first trip to the festival for the premiere of Pixar's "Inside Out." To him, the experience didn't live up to the billing.

"I was a little disappointed," deadpanned Black.

Digital upstarts upend tradition at Cannes Film Festival  Steven Zeitchik from The LA Times, May 20, 2015

The market at the Cannes Film Festival, where international movie rights are bought and sold, has long been a bastion of the old-school film industry. Theatrical viewing is central. The same deal makers have been attending for decades. Signs of the digital age are generally hard to come by.

But at this year's festival, cracks are beginning to appear. One of the entertainment world's most traditionalist gatherings is letting in the 21st century — slowly.

In a period when a number of Silicon Valley firms have taken the plunge into film, their presence is being felt at this annual springtime event, the most prominent event on the global cinema calendar and often the most set in its ways.

Presentations by companies such as Netflix and virtual-reality outfit Oculus have been priorities for attendees. Agents who once never gave a second thought to nontraditional platforms are now courting them. Beefed-up teams from digital entities such as Amazon and Vimeo are pursuing rights with the zeal once reserved for studios like Universal Studios and Warner Bros.

On Tuesday, Netflix sent a signal about its growing clout when it acquired the Kevin James' movie "The True Memoirs of an International Assassin," its first major original-film buy at Cannes.

The result is a vibrant if combustible time for the worldwide film business and the Cannes market that represents it, which in recent months has begun to catch up to the changes of its TV counterparts. But as much as people want progress, they remain cautious about the ways these efforts could upend the business.

"The conversations I've had here have been all over the map," said Jeremy Boxer, the creative director for film and television at Vimeo. "A lot of people are excited, and many are worried. But there's an awareness that the revenue they could depend on even three or four years ago they can no longer depend on. And that is prompting change."

The talk has been catalyzed by Netflix. The streaming giant has dived into original films during the past eight months, paying a reported $12 million for rights to distribute "Beasts of No Nation," an African war drama from "True Detective" director Cary Fukunaga. But although Netflix has opened the vaults for filmmakers, it also has polarized the industry with a model that controls all rights — moving away from ancillary revenue streams such as DVD and also eschewing a theater-first release.

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos stirred strong reactions when he spoke Friday at an official Cannes event.

When French moderators and attendees pressed him on questions about his non-theatrical model — the European film community has been slower to embrace digital shifts — he said: "Nothing we're doing is meant to be anti-theater or anti-cinema," adding, "People will still go to movies. But I think people want choice, and if you don't give them choice it will only harm" studios' interests.

Contrary to perceptions, Cannes is far from just a place of high-end directors and cinephiles. Sales agents and buyers this month pour into this coastal French town to do business at what's informally known as the market. The market serves as a bazaar of international rights for a wide range of movies that are not screening as part of the official festival selection, functioning as a sort of trade show distinct from the upscale proceedings going on nearby.

With nearly every important global buyer and seller present, attendees gather on a dedicated convention show floor as well as the town's many hotel bars and restaurants to hash out deals for territorial rights. It is one-stop shopping, a place where a producer in Asia can seal a deal with a buyer from Eastern Europe, and where star appearances and footage samples are often brought out to sweeten the pitch.

This year, for example, The Weinstein Company paid a reported $6 million for rights to "Three Generations," a teen transgender story starring Elle Fanning, off just ten minutes of footage.
Digital companies have been participating more heavily in these activities this year, as evidenced by Netflix's James buy.  But Sarandos' keynote had an even tonier feel, taking place in the festival's elegant Bunuel Theater.

The event even featured opening remarks from Cannes festival director Thierry Fremaux, a sign tech firms had infiltrated the ranks of the official, prestigious festival. Fremaux, too, questioned Netflix's model. "Ask him," Fremaux told he audience before the talk, "whether he wants to support the production of film for theaters."

Amazon has also been gathering steam on the international film scene. The company, best known in television for its Golden Globe-decorated "Transparent," several months ago hired the veteran film producer Ted Hope to run its operations. Last month it announced that it would back Spike Lee's new drama "Chiraq."

The company has employed a less radical model, incorporating theatrical exclusivity into its plans, and also offering both subscription and one-off viewing options to consumers.

Vimeo has tried another approach. The company that began primarily as an online industry screening service has come to the festival looking to buy movies for online-only viewing. It marks a switch from a time not long ago when films would move straight from theaters to DVD.

Riding high on the breakout success of its episodic pot comedy "High Maintenance," Boxer and another colleague are also in Cannes seeking original content. Though Vimeo's reach is shallower than Amazon or Netflix, it hopes to entice filmmakers with a more favorable revenue split.

Even without making a buy, sales agents say companies like Netflix have exerted influence on the market. Producers are sometimes less likely to agree to a traditional studio deal if they think a big payday from a digital player is looming.

Film industry insiders say that they need to rethink the traditional ways of doing business, in which producers sell movies primarily to theatrical distributors, who often hold or then sell DVD and television rights.

"These are all new buyers, and woe unto us if we don't take them seriously," said veteran sales agent John Sloss of Cinetic Media.

But Sloss said the digital companies' models are far from entrenched.

"What's fascinating about this period is that the portals are feeling their own way about what works for them, even as filmmakers and financiers need to figure out what works on their end," he said.

For directors accustomed to a more conventional world, this can be a shock and presents a challenge.

"All filmmakers want the undivided attention of theaters. They don't want people to text or turn off the movie; they want the communal experience," said Asif Kapadia, the director of the acclaimed documentary "Senna." His latest selection, "Amy," about the late soul singer Amy Winehouse, premiered to warm reviews in the Cannes official selection Saturday.

"But the other side is that you want as many people as possible to see the work," Kapadia said. "In the old days, if you didn't have a distributor you were confident in, no one would see the movie, and that was years of your life wasted. In the digital world that's not the case."

Digital issues even came to a head at Cannes during a meeting between Woody Allen and reporters at the festival several days ago.

Allen embodies the old school — he has premiered many new movies at Cannes," including "Midnight in Paris" in 2011 and the new existential comedy "Irrational Man" this year. But Allen has also signed up to do an Amazon series. It does not seem to be taking as well.

"It was a catastrophic mistake," he said of his Amazon commitment. "I'm struggling with it. I hope I don't disappoint Amazon. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm floundering. I expect this to be a cosmic embarrassment."

New platforms may only be the start, however.

Oculus, which is working to build a new medium with virtual reality, will fly in top executives to address attendees Wednesday and try to woo support from the traditional filmmaking community.

In a screening of a Cannes competition title, Joachim Trier's "Louder Than Bombs," virtual-reality equipment made a surprise appearance. A character played by Jesse Eisenberg donned a headset and was schooled in how to use it, offering a rare burst of cutting-edge technology in the more staid realm of a Cannes red-carpet screening.

Those involved in the changes say that these technologies offer a further hint of the future.

"I feel like it's come really far in a year," Sloss said. "But it feels like it will come even further next year, with new companies, new models, new experiments. I don't see this plateauing anytime soon."



At the Cannes Film Festival, Some Gems Midway Through  Manohla Dargis from The New York Times, May 20, 2015

CANNES, France — Midway through the 68th Cannes Film Festival, and the critics are restless. There have been good and great movies, and even triumphs; almost tout le monde has gone over the moon for “Carol,” Todd Haynes’s exquisitely directed and acted drama about women in love in 1950s America, starring the well-matched Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Yet as the disappointments roll out, including “The Sea of Trees,” Gus Van Sant’s hostilely received male weepie with Matthew McConaughey, the jeers and chatter have deemed the main competition — that roster of high-profile, star-crammed titles eligible for the Palme d’Or — the weakest in years.

That at any rate seemed true until the Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien blew the roof off one of the biggest theaters here with “The Assassin,” a staggeringly lovely period film set in ninth-century China. Shu Qi, the star of several of Mr. Hou’s more recent films (and the first “Transporter” movie), plays Nie Yinniang, who returns to her provincial home after years of being trained in the murderous arts by a nun-sorceress. Filled with palace intrigue, expressive silences, flowing curtains, whispering trees and some of the most ravishingly beautiful images to have graced this festival, “The Assassin” held the Wednesday-night audience in rapturous silence until the closing credits, when thunderous applause and booming bravos swept through the auditorium like a wave.

Such highs make more painful lows like “The Sea of Trees,” which centers on an American, Arthur (Mr. McConaughey), who journeys to a remote Japanese forest that’s a suicide hot spot. There, amid the creaking trees, bones and maybe some ghosts, his plans are waylaid by a stranger, Takumi Nakamura (Ken Watanabe), whose bloody wrists suggest that he too is another would-be suicide. The perennially, wildly unpredictable Mr. Van Sant (when he’s good, he’s very, very good, etc.) produces some striking images but never transcends the banality of Christopher Sparling’s script, particularly in flashbacks featuring Arthur’s boozing, hectoring wife (a badly served Naomi Watts) kicking him around the house for some cut-rate George-and-Martha hilarity.

Far more favorably received, “My Mother” finds the Italian director Nanni Moretti fluently moving between buoyant comedy and affecting tragedy. The humor comes from the efforts of a director, Margherita (Margherita Buy), to make a movie about a labor protest with a comically miscast American star, Barry (John Turturro), a difficulty she shares with more than a few real directors at Cannes this year. The heartbreak, in turn, is provided by Margherita’s dying mother, Ada (Giulia Lazzarini). Mr. Moretti tends to be better at laughs than tears; here, though, despite the perils of pathos in the autobiographical material — his mother died in 2010 — his touch is as delicate as the moment when a reflective Margherita, standing before her mother’s desk, pushes in the chair one final time.

This has been one haunted festival, and not just by the ghosts of auteurs past. A few days after Mr. Van Sant’s movie played, another Japanese ghost story — Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Journey to the Shore” — had its premiere. Playing outside the main competition, Mr. Kurosawa’s movie involves a piano teacher, Mizuki (Eri Fukatsu, all minor keys), whose husband, Yusuke (Tadanobu Asano), materializes several years after his death. He looks great, as does his vibrant pumpkin-colored overcoat, which both gives the movie a splash of color and suggests the dead man is more alive than his grieving wife in her gray jacket. Together, like Orpheus and Eurydice on a holiday, Mizuki and Yusuke visit several other characters, some of whom have not yet crossed over either.

Mr. Kurosawa, whose films include “Bright Future” and “Tokyo Sonata,” has long been known for his intensely eerie thrillers and horror films. “Journey to the Shore” is more wistful and plaintive than strictly unnerving, with an emotional force that edges in like an afternoon shadow. One of the most meaningfully beautiful and moving images that I’ve seen in the festival so far is of a darkened bedroom wall that slowly brightens to reveal a mural of vibrantly hued flowers. The house belongs to an old man, who, you learn through Mr. Kurosawa’s spare dialogue, was cruel to his long-gone wife. Now the old man spends his free time cutting out pictures of flowers, as if collecting blooms for a bouquet that will convey the longing and regret he can no longer express to his wife.

Little in the main competition has elicited the kind of excited attention and debate that has greeted “Son of Saul,” a Hungarian movie set almost entirely inside Auschwitz-Birkenau. Directed by Laszlo Nemes, making his feature directing debut, this radically dehistoricized, intellectually repellent movie tracks the title Sonderkommando, one of the Jewish prisoners whom the Nazis forced to help run their death machines. The story largely involves Saul’s desperate, perhaps mad attempt to find a rabbi to deliver the funeral prayer for a boy who, rather miraculously, had briefly survived being gassed only to be killed by a Nazi.

Like a death camp Virgil, Saul guides us from one circle of hell to the next, from the gas chamber to the crematory to the edge of the pits where prisoners are shot and then fall into a mass grave amid shooting flames. Mr. Nemes’s technical virtuosity is evident every meticulously lighted, composed and shot step of the way, which means that your attention is continually being guided as much to his cinematic abilities as to the misery on screen. Strikingly, he tends to use head-and-shoulder close-ups and shallow focus, as if to suggest how drastically narrowed Saul’s world has become: He’s surviving, and that’s about it. Yet these filmmaking choices also transform all the screaming, weeping condemned men, women and children into anonymous background blurs.

Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem  Jessia Kiang from The Playlist, May 20, 2015

A film not to watch, but to gaze at, Hou Hsiao-Hsien's "The Assassin" has famously been 25 years in gestation and five years in production. It seems extravagant — until you see it, at which point you start to wonder how he possibly can have dashed off something of such extraordinary beauty and observation so quickly. The pacing is geologically slow (as though every minute of those 25 years is distilled into every shot) and the story is a game of join the dots in which the dots are spaced so far apart it's hard to connect them into a bigger picture. But what bigger picture can there be than almost any one of these individually colossal frames (not literally, Hou shoots in Academy ratio), so packed with layers of painterly detail that foreground-middleground-background hardly covers it (Hou and DP Mark Lee Ping Bang adhere to the Christopher Doyle school of shooting from behind billowing curtains sometimes, I must say, nearly to the point of distraction)? The story becomes a moment-to-moment thing, and epic visual poem concerned with the putting on of an earring or the setting of a bath or the gradual obscuring of a cliffside by a cloud that roils up from far below while a woman in white is approached by a woman in black on a green mountain. There are miracles in these shots, things that looks like the most serendipitous happenstance, but even over the course of five years of on-and-off shooting, no one gets that lucky that often. So, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, did you direct the clouds?

Opening with a prologue in black-and-white, Hou announces several of his intentions early. Dialogue will be minimal, exposition almost non-existent, and the bursts of action will be perfectly staged, completely inhabited, and over before you know it — this is wuxia as art film, not the other way around. He also establishes that this will be a story dominated by women, as Princess/Nun/Fighting Master Jiaxing (Sheu Fang-Yi) tells her silent, lethal protege Yinniang (Shu Qi) to dispatch a man passing by, a pawn in the bigger game of politics that the film alludes to but rarely explains. Darting near-silently from cover, with a quick shuck of her knife, the governor's throat is slit, whereupon his guardsmen descend on Yinniang. Here's where we really see how different Hou's approach is going to be — he pulls back from this action, allowing it to take place far off in the forests, a flurry of flashing blades amid the tree trunks and foliage. It's ridiculously gorgeous, and he hasn't even introduced the color yet, which happens with the opening title, set against an indecently crimson sky at sunset.

The barely sketched-in story goes that, as Yinniang failed to kill one of her targets because he was with his young son at the time, the Princess Nun Jiaxing punishes her human weakness by ordering her home to kill the man she was betrothed to, before his mother betrayed the match and Yinniang was sent away to train. This man, Tian Ji'an (Chang Chen) is now the most powerful leader in the breakaway state of Weibo, and has problems of his own, with a wife (Zhou Yun) jealous of his favorite concubine, Huji (Hsieh Hsin-Ying), who is pregnant with his child. Yinniang will also have to contend with her parents (her father is an advisor to Tian Ji'an), on her way to making her ultimate choice between loyalty to her creed and her Master, or to her innate sense of decency and her old, never-spoken love for Tian Ji'an. (As in other arty wuxia pictures, the depth of someone's love is often inversely proportional to how often they actually see its object). Elsewhere, Hou populates his startling landscapes with various short-lived soldiers and raiding parties, a bald wizard figure with whose facial hair grows such that his eyebrows meet his wiry white beard, a female assassin adversary in a red tunic and gold mask, and a man who polishes mirrors.

Suggesting in every sweep of the landscape and every textured, brocaded interior that 9th Century rural China might well have been the most beautiful time and place to have lived, Hou's concern is not to deliver thrills, though the infrequent fight scenes, and even rarer, subtle wire work, suggest it's not because he wouldn't know how. Instead, he presents us his scenes like individually wrapped gifts, each one a small masterpiece of timing, set design, costume, and immaculately researched detail. Almost never employing close-ups, he often shows the room to us before anyone enters, or hovers after the action's over. Historical customs like covering one's mouth when drinking are woven in unshowily: this is simply how people do things here. Because maybe Hou's greatest achievement in "The Assassin" is a very rare kind of period naturalism, where he makes this elaborate, exquisitely detailed past feel real, and the people seem human. A hug of comfort between Tian Jian and his concubine; a child's giggle of delight as he chases a butterfly; a lingering, quiet shot as a servant has a hard time poking a decorative comb into Lady Tian's elaborate hairdo.

His actors are all wonderful, especially Shu Qi, who has fallen in onscreen love with Chang Chen for Hou before, three times over, in fact, in the film "Three Times." Her impassive face speaks volumes (for she herself says next to nothing) of her determination and solitude, whether she's mid-fight, watching silently from the sidelines, or perched in the rafters eavesdropping. And Chang Chen, who essentially has the arthouse wuxia triple with "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon," "The Grandmaster," and now this, is equally graceful, whether fighting, holding court, or, as in one lovely, lively scene, dancing.

But it isn't really about the people as much as about the pictures, and for once that does not seem to be a trade off that compromises the power of the resulting film at all. These are pictures that feel like time (which will make them hard to sit through for the impatient) — they feel steeped, marinated in time, as though Hou has waited, not 25 years, but eleven centuries with his camera parked on this hillside or beside that thatched barn, to get just exactly the right combination of light and cloud and movement and stillness, just the right fall of a sleeve or tremble of a drape in the breeze. It has been seven years since Hou's last film, "The Flight of the Red Balloon," and I hope it won't be as long till his next, but "The Assassin" is the literal embodiment of the rewards, for the film and for the viewer, of patience and held breath. [A-]

Jia Zhang-ke’s Mountains May Depart is a mysterious and in its way staggeringly ambitious piece of work from a film-maker whose creativity is evolving before our eyes. It starts by resembling a classic studio picture from Hollywood, the sort of thing George Stevens or Douglas Sirk might have made, or perhaps something like Mu Fei’s Chinese classic Spring In A Small Town. Then it morphs into a futurist essay on China’s global diaspora and its dark destiny of emotional and cultural alienation. In this movie, the boundaries are getting pushed, visibly, between the opening and closing credits. The pure work-in-progress energy of all this is exhilarating, and if the resulting movie is flawed in its final act, then this is a flaw born of Jia’s heroic refusal to be content making the same sort of movie, and his insistence on trying to do something new with cinema and with storytelling.

His movie is split into three parts, taking place in 1999, in 2014 and in 2025. We begin with a bunch of people dancing to the Pet Shop Boys’ Go West, and as the new century and millennium dawns, the movie shows China more or less obsessed with doing that: going West, embracing capitalism while at the same retaining the monolithic state structures of the past, and beginning to worship consumer goods as status symbols: stereos, cars, and perhaps most importantly mobile phones — a technology which the film shows retaining its fetishistic power for the next quarter-century.

Jia’s longtime collaborator and wife Zhao Tao gives a superb performance as Tao, a young woman who is dating a coal-miner Liang (Liang Jingdong). But Tao is also being courted by the impossibly conceited Jingsheng (Zhang Yi), one of China’s new breed of pushy entrepreneurs who actually buys the coalmine, forces Liang out of the picture, and marries Tao. They later have a child that Jingsheng in a grotesquely celebratory mood insists on naming “Dollar”, so great is his belief in the child symbolising a prosperous quasi-Western future. Meanwhile, the devastated Liang moves away but later in 2014, they are all to meet again and later in 2025, when Dollar is a twentysomething college dropout in Australia, his life appears to have absorbed a genetic destiny of alienation and pain.

Zhao Tao begins the movie as a girlish, ingenuous soul: always bouncing happily around, treating both her suitors with a kind of frank, sisterly affection while she internally ponders the question of love and marriage. When this becomes a more insistent reality, she appears to grow up emotionally on camera: deeply affected by how wounded Liang is by his romantic defeat. She becomes a beautiful, but melancholy woman in the light of her own marital disaster, and then her sadness assumes a tragic dimension in the wretchedness she experiences after her beloved father dies, and sees how her own son has been encouraged by her ex-husband to think of her feelings and her family as irrelevant. And finally all this is reconfigured in Jia’s almost sci-fi sketch of the future, incarnated in the form of Dollar who appears to have forgotten his mother and his mother country. But he experiences the return of the repressed.

It is extraordinary to think how Jia Zhang-ke’s film-making has changed since his early, more opaque movies like Platform (2000) or Unknown Pleasures (2002). Now the performances he is getting are far more emotionally demonstrative. This is not a violent movie like A Touch of Sin (2013), his satirical adventure in Tarantinoesque pulp: but it has a shockingly violent moment when someone gets punched in the face. Yet it also has a bewilderingly surreal moment when Tao witnesses a light aircraft crashing next the road down which she is walking, yet without reacting or calling for help. Did she dream it? Did Tao, in fact, dream the movie’s entire final Australian section? Jia allows us, fleetingly, to suspect this.

That final coda does not entirely work: inevitably, some of the dreamed-up technological innovations and stylings look self-conscious and the sheer weirdness means that the emotional power of ordinary life is no longer available. And yet without this unexpected leap into the future, the movie would not have the savour that it has. And what a wonderful performance from Zhao Tao.

*          *          *          *
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 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

Les Etoiles de la critiques is up and running as well, where Nanni Moretti’s Mia Madre remains the highest rated film. (By the way, to open up the screen, click on the link [Edition mobile : cliquez ici pour afficher l'image]):

While Neil Young from Jigsaw Lounge maintains the odds for winners, making some early predictions for prize winners:                         

7-4 Hou- The Assassin {prediction: Palme d’Or) 
5-1 Nemes – Son of Saul {Grand Prix} 
5-1 Haynes – Carol {Best Actress}
– – – – – – – – – – –
12-1 Jia – Mountains May Depart {Prix du Jury} 
12-1 Maïwenn – My King aka Mon Roi {Best Director} 
14-1 Sorrentino – Youth 
16-1 Audiard – Dheepan 
16-1 Trier – Louder Than Bombs {Best Screenplay} 
20-1 Lanthimos – The Lobster
– – – – – – – – – – –
25-1 Garrone – Tale of Tales
25-1 Moretti – My Mother aka Mia Madre
28-1 Kore-eda – Our Little Sister

28-1 Franco – Chronic
33-1 Kurzel – Macbeth
40-1 Brizé – The Measure of a Man
50-1 Villeneuve – Sicario

– – – – – – – – – – –
150-1 Nicloux – The Valley of Love
200-1 Donzelli – Marguerite and Julien
1000-1 Van Sant – The Sea of Trees

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)
– – –
22-1 Isabelle Huppert (Louder Than Bombs and/or The Valley of Love) 
25-1 Shu Qi (The Assassin)
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

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)

– – –
12-1 Tim Roth (Chronic)
14-1 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:, 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:   

a round-up of indieWIRE reviews:

The Guardian collection of reviews:

David Jenkins from Little White Lies:   

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

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky at Cannes for The Onion A.V. Club:

Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa:

Sukhdev Sandhu and Robbie Collins from The Daily Telegraph:

Eric Lavallee and Nicholas Bell from Ion Cinema:

Drew McSweeny and Guy Lodge & others from HitFix: 

International Cinephile Society:

Various writers at Twitch: 

Glenn Heath Jr. from the L-magazine:

Cannes Diary from Film Comment:

And, of course, George is back at Cannes this year, where he finds off the beaten track film fare:  

Thank you Paolo.  You still have much to say and can express it in inventive ways. You haven't succumbed to the ennui and melancholy of the octogenarians Michael Caine, playing a composer, and Harvey Keitel, a movie director, in your latest contribution to cinema.   Though "Youth" doesn't have your trademark Sorrentino exuberance and playfulness of your Oscar winning "Great Beauty," it does have its depth and humanity.  It may not register as high on the "Wow" index, but it is still a wow, and not because you twice use the "riding a bike" metaphor to good effect. 

Caine refusing a knight-hood from an emissary of the Queen at the outset while he is hanging out at a health spa in the Swiss Alps with Keitel and others of great means made for a fine opening.  Then his initial refusal to tell his daughter why her husband, son of Keitel, was leaving her for a ditzy singer also added spice to the story and so it continued as your films always do.  At last a film came along that I didn't want to end and was looking forward to seeing again on Repeat Sunday before the awards ceremony.  This probably isn't Palme d'Or material, but it could be without anything off the charts just yet.

This fine day of cinema continued with the second Competition film of the day "Mountains May Depart."  This Chinese film, told in three parts, also had an emotional depth beyond most of the rest of the fare.  Part one takes place in 1999.  A young woman dumps her working class boy friend, who she has a genuine rapport with, to marry a crass, wealthy upstart.  In part two fifteen years later their marriage is over and the one she truly loved has come down with cancer and can't afford medical attention.  His wife seeks out his former girl friend.  And then the film jumps ahead to 2025 in Australia where the rich guy has gone, taking his son with him, who he had named "Dollar," as bizarre of a name as "Sinbad," as Vincent Cassel named his son in the earlier Competition film "Mon Roi."  Throughout these are genuine, well-defined characters.  A thank you goes out to Jia Zhangke as well for his directing.

The two Un Certain Regard films of the day maintained this sidebar's theme of giving a fine portrayal of another land.  "Lamb" was the first film from Ethiopia to play in this category.  In some instances that would give extra impetus for programming a film that might not necessarily be up to par,  but this film had the quality to be from anywhere and accepted.  Like many of the festival films, it was a story of coping with hardship.  Drought is making it difficult to scratch out an existence for a farming family.  A young boy who has come to live with them is continually trying to find a place for a lamb to graze and incurs the wrath of many.  The spectacular mountain scenery adds great luster to this sensitive, heartfelt story.

The illicit side of dog selling in France provided the backdrop for "I Am a Soldier," the story of a thirty year old woman who has been looking for work for eight months and is reduced to moving in with her mother.  She begins working for her uncle who sells dogs.  She quickly learns not all is on the up and up, but is a good soldier and goes along with it and even starts some illicit side operations of her own.  This wasn't an in your face portrayal of the harsh economic times, but more powerful than some of those that are.  This was a wonderful, insightful discovery.

The day was also highlighted with a documentary on Orson Welles, "This is Orson Welles," followed by a screening of "Citizen Kane."  Watching this masterpiece with French subtitles was an ultimate experience.  As with the Ingrid Bergman documentary, this one featured the commentary of a daughter. And like Bergman's children's, she had nothing but nice things to say about her dad.  Scorcese and Bogdonavich and Henry Jaglom were among the talking heads.  Though it didn't cover anything new, it was still well worth seeing. 

With the festival winding down, there were just a handful of Market screenings.  I was happy to be able to fit "Dream Driven" into my schedule, a Finnish documentary about three young men who drove a van from Finland to Nepal to help build a school and to bring attention to the evils of the caste system. It would have been much more noteworthy if they had made a bike trip of it, and they were a bit naive in their idealism, but the opening of a school and two more that they raised funds for brought the young men to tears. 

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