Thursday, May 12, 2016

Cannes 2016 Day 1

Cannes Festival Director Thierry Frémaux, left,and President Pierre Lescure

Red carpet shots from The Hollywood Reporter:

Red carpet photos from Shopstyle 

Red carpet photos from PopSugar: 

more from PopSugar here:  

still more here: 

Photo Gallery from E-Online:   

Cannes photos from Glamour: 

Best dressed from Vanity Fair:    

Red carpet fashion from The Guardian: 

Cannes photos from The Telegraph:    

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

Photo gallery from The Daily Mail:  

Celebrities arrive for the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, from The NY Daily News: 

Vogue guide to Cannes: 

Elle fashion photos:    

Los Angeles Times gallery photos:  

Fashionista blog:  

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

Harper’s Bazaar at Cannes:  

Hollywood Life photo gallery:   

People magazine hits the Cannes red carpet:  

American actress Blake Lively

Anna Kendrick

Kristen Stewart

Jessica Chastain

British actress Naomi Watts

Julianne Moore

Chinese actress Gong Li

American fashion model Bella Hadid

American actress Eva Longoria

Dutch fashion model Doutzen Kroes

American fashion model Kendall Jenner

What to Expect at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival  Craig Hubert from Blouin Art Info, May 9, 2016

The Cannes Film Festival hasn’t even officially started — it opens on May 11 with Woody Allen’s “Café Society,” screening out of competition — and it’s already dominating the perpetually clogged entertainment news cycle. Before a single film has screened, the festival has become the site of a streaming-service battle between Amazon and Netflix, a rush of fear about an increase in security, and a gimmick-film you won’t be able to see again for another 100 years.

This is nothing new. If there is one thing that has remained consistent about Cannes throughout its 69-year history, it’s that it provokes arguments like clockwork. From the announcement of the main competition lineup through the awarding of the Palme d’or, there is always heated debate: about what was included, what was left out, and who did and didn’t deserve to win, along with questions about which countries are best represented at the festival and which have been neglected. Now more than ever, there is a debate about the seriousness of the festival. There are also tangential problems: Is Cannes just an excuse for the rich and famous to party and shop? (It sure seems that way.) Should you bring expensive jewelry? (No, you will most likely be robbed.)

Despite these problems, Cannes remains a focal point for world cinema. Just as often as it caters to celebrity, it introduces some of the best work of the year from the best filmmakers. There is no way around it. Some years are better than others, and the festival demands more questions than it can answer.

Is this the strongest main competition lineup in years?
Yes, it certainty seems so. There seems to be a decent balance of main competition regulars — Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne (“The Unknown Girl”), Olivier Assayas (“Personal Shopper”), Jim Jarmusch (“Paterson”), Pedro Almodóvar (“Julieta”), Ken Loach (“I, Daniel Blake”) — and filmmakers who made the deserving leap from sidebars such as Un Certain Regard — Alain Guiraudie (“Staying Vertical”), Cristi Puiu (“Sieranevada”). Others, such as Maren Ade (“Toni Erdmann”) and Kleber Mendonça Filho (“Aquarius”), whose previous films premiered at Berlin and Rotterdam, respectively, are excitingly making their first appearances this year at Cannes.

But at the same time there are questionable choices, a more common occurrence in the last decade of the festival. Most notably is Sean Penn, who is in the main competition with his latest directorial effort, “The Last Face.” Penn is a regular at the festival, winning Best Actor for “She’s So Lovely” (1997), appearing in Terence Malick’s Palme d’Or-winning “Tree of Life” (2011), and serving as the president of the main competition jury in 2008. His relationship with the festival, it appears, has more to do with his inclusion than anything else.

Who was left out?
Rebecca Zlotowski — whose last film, “Grand Central,” was in Un Certain Regard in 2013, and who premiered “Belle Epine” (2010) in the International Critics’ Week section of Cannes before that — was rumored to be making an appearance with her latest film, “Planetarium,” starring Natalie Portman. When the film did not make it to the main competition, many figured it was destined for Un Certain Regard. But it’s not there either. There is talk that the film will be headed to the Venice Film Festival in September.

Even more surprising is the omission of Bertrand Bonello. The filmmaker has had six films premiere at Cannes over the years — one in the International Critics’ Week, one if Director’s Fortnight, a short film that premiered out of competition, and three in the main competition — but his latest, “Nocturama,” appears nowhere. Part of this might have to do with the film’s subject, described by Bonello as “young people planting bombs in Paris in the present day.” After the Cannes lineup was released and Bonello was missing, it was announced that “Nocturama” would be screening in the competition of the 64th San Sebastián Film Festival, and I imagine that it will make other festival appearances along the way.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who won best director in Un Certain Regard in 2015 with “Journey to the Shore” and the Jury Prize in the same section for “Tokyo Sonata” (2008), is also notably absent. Nothing has been announced for his latest, “The Woman in the Silver Plate.” The same goes for João Pedro Rodrigues’s upcoming film, “O Ornitologo.” The filmmaker competed in Un Certain Regard in 2009 with “To Die Like a Man.” Although his latest is nowhere to be found at Cannes, it will definitely appear elsewhere further down the line, most likely at Locarno.

Filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese (“Silence”), James Grey (“The Lost City of Z”), and Lucrecia Martel (“Zama”), who were all initially rumored to be included in this year’s festival, are reportedly not far enough along in their post-production to make the festival this year.

Are the best films featured in the main competition?
Not necessarily. Many people think of Un Certain Regard and Directors’ Fortnight as second tier sidebars, without realizing that many of choices that go into putting together the programs are political (such as the inclusion of Sean Penn in the main competition). Cannes is not a meritocracy — no film festival is. The sidebars and parallel sections of Cannes are often places they put films that, in other years, would have been included in the main competition but could not this year because of space or other reasons. Director’s Fortnight is especially promising this year, with films by Marco Bellocchio (“Sweet Drams”), Paul Schrader (“Dog Eat Dog”), Pablo Larraín (“Neruda”), and Laura Poitras (“Risk”).

Looking even deeper, Jim Jarmuch has a second film, a documentary about Iggy Pop and the Stooges called “Gimmie Danger,” included in the Midnight Screenings section, and adventuress filmmakers such as Rithy Panh (“Exile”) and Albert Serra (“Last Days of Louis XIV”) will show new work as special screenings. Other exciting films outside the main competition include Oliver Laxe’s “Mimosas,” screening in the International Critics’ Week, and Nadiv Lapid’s “From the Diary of a Wedding Photographer,” as a special screening in the same section.

Is Cannes still important?
It depends on what you mean by important. In the scheme of things, no single festival is that important, and a win at Cannes doesn’t mean the same thing it used to. Despite a few recent Palme d’Or winners — Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue is the Warmest Color,” Michael Haneke’s “Amour” — that have used their wins to propel them into the dreaded Awards Season, and thus made an impression beyond the festival, the last decade has been plagued by a series of underwhelming wins: Jacques Audiard’s “Dheepan” in 2015, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Winter Sleep” in 2014, Laurent Cantet’s “The Class” in 2008, and Ken Loach’s “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” in 2006 all easily fit that description. But at the same time, the last decade has provided us with Palme d’Or wins for Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” maybe the most surprising and deserving win ever, and Cristian Mungiu’s “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days,” which helped place the New Romanian Cinema on the festival map.

Some have complained that in recent years, the winners haven’t made as big on an impact; gone are the days when Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, and Jane Campion launched careers out of the festival. But, of course, there is a bit of selective memory in that criticism. The 1990s also include Palme d’Or wins for Bille August’s “The Best Intentions” in 1992 (which competed against the more deserving Arnaud Desplechin’s “La sentinelle,” Terence Davies’ “The Long Day Closes,” David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me,” among others) and Emir Kusturica’s “Underground” in 1995. (Coincidently, Kusturica was said to be making an appearance this year, and then his absence was rumored to be due to his relationship with Vladimir Putin.)

The impact, or lack of an impact, of a Cannes-winning film has more to do with the way distribution has changed over the last decade. Something like “Uncle Boonmee” should have had a bigger audience. But the films are out there. If it’s not controversial, as was “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” it won’t get the same attention of the popular press. You might just have to try a little harder to see them.

Who’s going to win this year?
This is always an impossible task. It depends on the makeup of the jury, which this year is headed by “Mad Max” director George Miller and includes the filmmakers Arnaud Desplechin and László Nemes, and the actors Donald Sutherland, Mads Mikkelsen, and Kirsten Dunst, among others. It’s difficult to say what this all means. I would be thrilled if somebody new like Maren Ade or Alain Guiraudie wins the Palme d’Or, and wouldn’t be disappointed if Jarmusch, a Cannes regular who has never won the award, comes away with a statue. But I have a sneaking suspicion that Xavier Dolan will be awarded in some big way. A wunderkind who Cannes has openly embraced, the trajectory of his appearances at Cannes has been leading to a big win. This might be his year. 

actress and Jury member Kristen Dunst

French actress and Jury member Vanessa Paradis

Cannes Jury, left to right, French director Arnaud Desplechin, American actress Kirsten Dunst, Hungarian director László Nemes, French actress Vanessa Paradis, Canadian actor Donald Sutherland, Jury President Australian director George Miller, Iranian producer Katayoon Shahabi, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen and Italian actress and director Valeria Golino

In a France darkened by fear, Cannes hopes to supply light  Jake Coyle from The Chcago Tribune, May 9, 2016 
The first time Jodie Foster came to the Cannes Film Festival, she did so as a co-star in Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver," and as a wide-eyed 13-year-old, soaking in the spectacle. "Taxi Driver" would go on to win the festival's prestigious Palme d'Or.

"It was kind of like Mr. Toad's wild ride. It was very surreal," says Foster, who returns this year with her hostage thriller "Money Monster." ''I remember the red-carpeted steps. I remember all the naked ladies on the beach with their breasts out. I remember an amazing dinner up in the mountains there with (Bernardo) Bertolucci and Gerard Depardieu. It's a great place for this very exotic, spontaneous slumber party."

The Cote d'Azur extravaganza of cinema and celebrity, which kicks off Wednesday, can be an eye-opening "slumber party" for newcomers and veterans alike. As the world's pre-eminent film festival, it's a seaside treasure trove of cinematic splendor — a chic French Riviera oasis that for a week and a half gathers a significant portion of the movies' most revered filmmakers, biggest stars and striving dealmakers.

But for all its elevated regard, Cannes — first begun as a kind of United Nations for film in the wake of World War II — is also tethered to world events. This year's festival, the 69th edition, comes six months after the November terror attacks in central Paris that killed 130. France remains in a state of emergency.

Last month, police staged a security exercise in which gunmen stormed the festival's Palais, the hallowed heart of Cannes. The images from the drill sent shivers through cinephiles accustomed to seeing stars regally ascend the palace steps, not masked men. Festival president Pierre Lescure has said that this year "the maximum" has been done to balance security and ensure "that the festival remains a place of freedom."

Though this year's program is, as always, full of socially minded films, it opens on a light note with Woody Allen's latest, "Cafe Society," a comedy about 1930s Hollywood. Also providing welcome escapism will be the upcoming Ryan Gosling-Russell Crowe comedy "The Nice Guys" and Steven Spielberg's Roald Dahl adaptation "The BFG," starring Mark Rylance as the tale's friendly giant.

The famed, 56-year-old stage actor will make his first trip to Cannes at a much different station in life than Foster did.

"I've always noted it on some of my favorite films, like 'Rashomon,' on the little DVD box," says Rylance, referring to the festival's golden palm logo. "The things that interest me out of the festival are not so much these big films that go there now. But they've often been the first sighting of someone like a Kurosawa or many, many others who have emerged from the obscurity into the light, so to speak."

This year, new voices will have to be loud enough to rise above a battery of international heavyweights. Cannes' main slate of "in competition" films vying for the Palme includes Asghar Farhadi ("The Salesman"), Ken Loach ("I, Daniel Blake"), Olivier Assayas ("Personal Shopper"), Pedro Almodovar ("Julieta"), Park Chan-Wook ("The Handmaiden") and Jim Jarmusch ("Patterson"), who'll also debut his documentary on Iggy Pop and the Stooges, "Gimme Danger."

George Miller, whose "Mad Max: Fury Road" played at the festival last year, will lead the jury that chooses the Palme winner.

But there's younger blood, too, including Quebec filmmaker Xavier Dolan and Jeff Nichols, both of whom have had films in competition before. Possible Oscar contenders often announce themselves at Cannes, where films from "Pulp Fiction" to "The Artist" have debuted. This year, Nichols' "Loving," slated for release in November, may be the most likely future awards season contender.

Nichols, the 37-year-old Arkansas native whose films include "Mud" and "Midnight Special," says his film is his most mature yet. It's about Mildred and Richard Loving, who were sentenced to prison for their interracial marriage in 1950s Virginia.

"It's an important film and I don't say that lightly. I don't think movies are very important a lot of the time," says Nichols. "I felt in control of the process so much. We just had this control. It feels like the steadiest hand of a movie."

Just how much Cannes, rigid in its formal traditions and red-carpet protocol, will bend to the times is one of this year's biggest questions. It has drawn annual criticism for failing to celebrate female filmmakers more fully. This year, the 21 films in competition include three directed by women. That's a very slight increase from two last year. (The festival overall has a better percentage of female filmmakers, including "Citizenfour" director Laura Poitras. She will premiere "Risk," her Julian Assange documentary.)

Change is elsewhere, too. Amazon Studios, in just its second year of original movie releases, has five films at the festival, including those by Allen, Jarmusch and Nicholas Winding Refn. Refn returns to Cannes with "Neon Demon," starring Elle Fanning as an aspiring Los Angeles model, three years after his "Only God Forgives" was met harshly with boos.

He, like many others, will be seeking rebirth at this year's Cannes.

CANNES, France – The morning of the day before the 69th Cannes Film Festival dawned dark and overcast, as if the skies were prepared to cry over the selection of films on tap. Whether they will be predominantly tears of joy or of sorrow remains, as always, to be seen.

A similar ambivalence can be read into Cannes’ 2016 poster, just installed above the Palais des Festivals where the red carpet screening for Woody Allen’s “Café Society” starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Steve Carell opens the event on Wednesday night.

Designed using stills from Jean-Luc Godard’s classic “Contempt,” the image is of a man going up an enormous staircase on the outside of a pyramidal building. Is he ascending to artistic heights, or headed for sacrificial doom? Or both?

Darker thoughts seem everywhere at the festival this year. Instead of its usual story featuring smiling stars arriving at the airport, the local daily newspaper Nice-Matin ran the words “High Security” on its front page followed by a two-page spread headlined “The 69th edition faces a terrorist menace.”

With France remaining under the state of emergency that began after the November Paris attacks, the city of Cannes has hired a top Israeli consultant to beef up security, but people are still worried. “I’d be happy,” Sony Pictures Classics co-president Tom Bernard told the Hollywood Reporter, “to see dogs roaming the lobby of the Carlton.”

Even the billboards for forthcoming films posted around town have something of an apocalyptic air. Yes, a revolving sculpture created from enormous playing cards that advertised “Now You See Me 2” is charming, but then there was the poster for something called “Tsunami L.A.,” complete with an illustration of the world’s biggest wave smashing into Pacific Coast Highway and the head-shaking tagline “Traffic’s Gonna Be A Bitch Today.”

Still, the hope for the more than 200,000 cinephile visitors (including a mind-boggling 5,000 journalists) who annually flood this resort town is that the films, starting with Allen’s record-breaking third opening night (after “Hollywood Ending” in 2002 and “Midnight In Paris” in 2011) will lighten the mood.

“Café Society” costar Stewart, who last year became the first American actress to win a César, the French Oscar, for her work in Olivier Assayas’ “Clouds of Sils Maria,” is back with another Assayas film, “Personal Shopper.”

Other American pictures are also here to help, starting with a trio playing, as Allen’s is, out of competition. These include Steven Spielberg’s “The BFG,” from the beloved Roald Dahl book, Shane Black’s neo-noir “The Nice Guys” starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, and the Jodie Foster-directed “Money Monster,” with George Clooney.

American films in actual competition include Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson,” Sean Penn’s “The Last Face,” a love story set in the world of African NGO’s starring Javier Bardem and Charlize Theron, and, perhaps most intriguing, Jeff Nichols’ “Loving,” starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in the based-on-fact story of the Virginia couple whose case led the Supreme Court to legalize interracial marriage.

Nichols, on a roll after “Midnight Special,” is a Cannes favorite: His “Mud” was also in competition and an image from his “Take Shelter” is the poster for this year’s Critics’ Week, one of the festival’s parallel events.

One of this year’s most anticipated American films ended up in Cannes’ other parallel event, Directors’ Fortnight. That would be Laura Poitras’ documentary “Risk,” the follow-up to her Oscar winning “Citizenfour.” While the earlier film focused on whistle blower Edward Snowden, the new one is a look at another disturber of the peace, Wikileaks’ Julian Assange.

There are, of course, a lot more than American films at Cannes; in fact, the festival counts works from 28 countries in the main event. These include new competition efforts from venerable auteurs like Spain’s Pedro Almodovar (“Julieta”), Belgium’s the Dardennes brothers (“The Unknown Girl”), Britain’s Ken Loach (“I, Daniel Blake”) and a late addition, Iran’s Asghar Farhadi (“The Salesman”). The latest from Japanese master Kore-eda Hirokazu (“After The Storm”) ended up in the sidebar Un Certain Regard section.

Gaining in stature and interest every year is Cannes Classics, devoted to films on film and new restorations of, well, classics. This year’s more than 40 programs range from a restoration of the Merchant/Ivory “Howards End” to Bertrand Tavernier’s three-hour-plus tribute to his country’s films, “Voyage Through French Cinema.”

One of Cannes’ most fascinating elements are the irrepressible things that happen off screen, the sheer energy of so many people from so many parts of the world coming here for so many reasons, a situation reflected in the variety of unexpected emails the event produces.

The Thai film industry, for instance, wanted me to know that a Thai royal princess would be here for a promotional event it describes as “Thaiconic.” Luxury brands like Tiffany, Kering and Jaeger-LeCoultre, the maker of “haute horlogerie” watches, all have events here. And the filmmakers behind “Direct Descendant,” the story of William Patrick Hitler, the Führer’s putative English-born nephew, were happy to announce it was ready for financing.

“Your future is chaos,” insists a Carlton Hotel billboard for a film called “Future World.” For the next 10 days at Cannes, that says it all.


When do you decide that allegations of sexual abuse by a celebrity someone — actor, director, musician, politician, football coach, whoever — are so damning that you want nothing to do with anything that person is putting out in the world?

I’ve been thinking about that the past few days after seeing a quote from Kristen Stewart addressing the Woody Allen situation. The actress co-stars opposite Jesse Eisenberg in Allen’s new film “Cafe Society,” which has a high profile premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this week.

In a recent interview with Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh, Stewart “admits that initially she had concerns about working with Allen. She was aware of the sexual abuse allegations of his daughter, Dylan Farrow, who wrote an open letter to the New York Times in 2014, condemning actresses like Emma Stone and Scarlett Johansson for supporting his work.”

After she was cast in the film, Setoodeh writes, “Stewart had a conversation with Eisenberg about the situation. ‘I was like, “What do you think? We don’t know any of these people involved. I can personalize situations, which would be very wrong.” At the end of the day, Jesse and I talked about this.’”

Wow. That’s good. I’m not sure I’ve heard any actor who has appeared in an Allen film since Farrow’s New York Times piece actually admit to grappling with this. The rest of what she says, however, starts to tip over into self-serving celebrity defensiveness, of wrapping oneself in the cloak of if-it’s-not-fawning-it’s-false.

“If we were persecuted for the amount of s--- that’s been said about us that’s not true, our lives would be over,” she says. “The experience of making the movie was so outside of that, it was fruitful for the two of us to go on with it.”

OK, fine. Stewart has compartmentalized this in her mind.

Some context: In 2012, she was photographed in public kissing her “Snow White and the Huntsman” director Rupert Sanders, who was married at the time; Stewart herself was in a longtime relationship with actor Robert Pattinson. Not long after, she issued an apology to Pattinson for what she (or let’s be real, her publicist) called a “momentary indiscretion,” saying that she was “deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected.”

You have to think Stewart hated the fact that this played out in the media — to chew over and pass judgment — and worse, that she had to stoop to issuing that public apology. Whatever her actions off-set, it had nothing to do with who she is as an actor (even if, to many of her fans, it had a lot to do with her image).

Perhaps that was on her mind when she had that conversation with Eisenberg.

She — and any other actor, producer or crew member — is, after all, free to work with whomever she wants. (And honestly, would it make any difference if she had been bold enough to say, “I have read the allegations and they concern me deeply, but my career and artistic desires were more important”?)

Certainly Allen himself is free to continue making films. (It’s worth noting that in Variety, Setoodeh writes that “Eisenberg says he doesn’t recall the conversation” with Stewart. OK.)

Just two days after the Variety story appeared online, the Hollywood Reporter published a counterpoint of sorts in the form of a guest column from Ronan Farrow:

“Being in the media as my sister’s story made headlines, and Woody Allen’s PR engine revved into action, gave me a window into just how potent the pressure can be to take the easy way out.”

Allen was never prosecuted, Farrow points out, but not because there was no evidence to pursue a case. Here’s what he writes: “In a rare step, the prosecutor announced publicly that he had ‘probable cause’ to prosecute Allen, and attributed the decision to not do so to ‘the fragility of the child victim.’”

Ronan Farrow is right about the easy out. We journalists are terrible when it comes to covering a person accused of sexually abusing a child who also happens to have a new movie premiering at Cannes with a whole bunch of movie stars.

Reporting from Cannes, LA Times film critic Kenneth Turan noted the unusually dire atmosphere at the fest, with “France remaining under the state of emergency that began after the November Paris attacks.”

It’s clearly an overpowering atmosphere, and Turan is right to report on it: “Darker thoughts seem everywhere at the festival this year. Instead of its usual story featuring smiling stars arriving at the airport, the local daily newspaper Nice-Matin ran … a two-page spread headlined ‘The 69th edition faces a terrorist menace.’”

Why is Woody Allen being painted as the guy who can potentially “lighten the mood”?

Turan goes there: “The hope for the more than 200,000 cinephile visitors (including a mind-boggling 5,000 journalists) who annually flood this resort town is that the films, starting with Allen’s record-breaking third opening night (after ‘Hollywood Ending’ in 2002 and ‘Midnight in Paris’ in 2011) will lighten the mood.”

Maybe that really is what people are saying to one another at Cannes. And it is a journalist’s job to capture that. Turan is there to report on the films, not long-past accusations about Allen sexually abusing his daughter.

But what about our choices as audience members?

I didn’t see Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” when it came out in 2013. Dylan Farrow’s letter in The New York Times ran online Feb. 1, 2014. The Oscars were broadcast on March 2 that year. So for about a month, I debated with myself: Do I have the stomach to watch this man’s film?

Ultimately I did, and it really is one of Allen’s more insightful works, the way it dissects the grasping, often bleakly comedic desperation of a wealthy New York society wife (played by Cate Blanchett, who ended up winning an Oscar for her performance) brought to her knees when her husband is convicted of high-finance shenanigans.

But that will be the last Woody Allen film I watch. Your decisions might be different. But I have no desire to watch his movies, past or future. Nor am I curious about his forthcoming series for Amazon. That’s a dicey position to be in when you cover TV and film.

Collectively we have shunned the work of Bill Cosby, and I wonder, is it because so far 60 women have come forward with stories of rape at his hands? Does Allen get different treatment from us because just a single person — his child — came forward?

Allen spoke at Cannes’ opening news conference Wednesday, and Variety’s Setoodeh was there and transcribed a quote from the filmmaker that says it all:

“I’m just going to continue to make films as long as people are foolish enough to put up the money to support me.”

*          *          *          *

Cannes critics ratings, a composite of 7 different critic scores: 

The Cannes Criterion Forum is up and running:  

Screendaily Jury Grid (Page 96 from Digital edition from Day 2)

Ioncinema Critics Panel:

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

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

4-1 Farhadi / The Salesman
6-1 Almodóvar / Julieta
13-2 Arnold / American Honey
7-1 Loach / I, Daniel Blake
10-1 Puiu / Sieranevada
11-1 Ade / Toni Erdmann
14-1 Mendonça Filho / Aquarius
16-1 Verhoeven / Elle
18-1 Jarmusch / Paterson
20-1 Guiraudie / Staying Vertical
22-1 Dardenne & Dardenne / The Unknown Girl
22-1 Mungiu / Graduation
22-1 Mendoza / Ma’Rosa
25-1 Dumont / Slack Bay
25-1 Park / The Handmaiden
28-1 Nichols / Loving
33-1 Dolan / It’s Only the End of the World
40-1 Penn / The Last Face
40-1 Assayas / Personal Shopper
40-1 Garcia / From the Land of the Moon (aka Mal de pierres)
50-1 Refn / The Neon Demon

7-2 Aquarius (Sônia Braga)
4-1 The Unknown Girl (Adèle Haenel)
8-1 The Handmaiden (KIM Min-Hee)
9-1 Elle (Isabelle Huppert)
9-1 From the Land of the Moon (Marion Cotillard)
9-1 Julieta (A.Ugarte, E.Suarez, Palma)
10-1 Kristen Stewart (Personal Shopper)
12-1 Toni Erdmann (Sandra Hüller)
14-1 American Honey (S.Lane, A.Holmes, etc)
16-1 The Salesman (Taraneh Alidootsi)
16-1 Loving (Ruth Negga)
16-1 Ma’Rosa (Jaclyn Jose)
16-1 It’s Only the End of the World (N.Baye, M.Cotillard, L.Seydoux)
25-1 The Last Face (Charlize Theron)
25-1 Slack Bay (J.Binoche, V.Bruni Tedeschi)
25-1 I, Daniel Blake (Hayley Squires)
28-1 Paterson (Golshifteh Farahani)
28-1 Sieranevada
33-1 The Neon Demon (Elle Fanning)
33-1 Graduation (Lia Bugnar)
150-1 Staying Vertical (India Hair)

7-2 Toni Erdmann (Peter Simonischek)
7-2 I, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns)
8-1 Graduation (A.Titieni, V.Ivanov)
14-1 Staying Vertical (Damien Bonnard)
14-1 The Salesman (Shaheib Hosseini)
20-1 Slack Bay (Fabrice Luchini)
20-1 It’s Only the End of the World (G.Ulliel, V.Cassel)
22-1 Loving (Joel Edgerton)
22-1 Paterson (Adam Driver)
22-1 Sieranevada
25-1 The Handmaiden (HA Jung-Woo)
28-1 Ma’Rosa (Julio Diaz)
28-1 The Unknown Girl (Jérémie Renier)
40-1 From the Land of the Moon (Louis Garrel)
50-1 American Honey (Shia Labeouf)
50-1 The Last Face (Javier Bardem)
66-1 The Neon Demon (Keanu Reeves)
80-1 Elle (Laurent Lafitte)
80-1 Personal Shopper (Lars Eidinger)
100-1 Aquarius
200-1 Julieta

The round-up of various links covering Cannes:

Screendaily still has paywalls, but if you click on the reviews, they are at least temporarily open to the public: 

The Hollywood Reporter at Cannes: 

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

The Film Center’s Barbara Scharres, 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 Cannes news and reviews from indieWIRE: 

The Guardian collection of reviews:

Mike D’Angelo back at The Onion A.V. Club:

Sophie Monks Kaufman and David Jenkins from Little White Lies: 

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

Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa: 

Sukhdev Sandhu and Robbie Collins from The Daily Telegraph: 

Slant magazine at Cannes: 

Cannes Diary from Film Comment: 

Eric Lavallee and Nicholas Bell from Ioncinema: 

Drew McSweeny and Guy Lodge & others from HitFix: 

Glenn Heath Jr. from The L-magazine:

Various writers at Twitch: 

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

Unlike years past this year’s program did not specify a film’s genre, which had allowed me to quickly skim those identified as horror or animation just to see if they had a bicycle element. That slowed my process of wading through all the blurbs on the better than thousand films being screened over the next twelve days that I have yet to complete it.  I did read up on all 110 films shown today to make sure nothing important slipped past me.  Many films only play once.  I would have been very disappointed to have missed “S Is for Stanley,” a documentary on Kubrick, though it does have a second screening and was worthwhile enough that it could turn up at Telluride in the theatre it devotes to films on cinema.   

It was an Italian production focused on Emilio D’Alessandro, an Italian who worked with Kubrick for thirty years up until Kubrick’s death in 1999, initially as his driver, then as an all round factotum and confidante. He wrote a book in 2012 about their time together “Stanley Kubrick and Me.”  Much of the movie is an interview with him sitting in his garage surrounded by boxes of Kubrick memorabilia.  It was a perfect setting for this still very simple and unpretentious guy who moved to London as a young man and married an English woman.  

He was an aspiring race car driver who worked part-time as a cab driver. He won Kubrick’s favor when he delivered a large prop for “Clockwork Orange” in a snowstorm--the large penis that barely fit into his cab.  He called upon him for more work and then hired him full time.  Even though D’Allessandro was around for the filming of his movies and worked with all the cast, he never watched a completed movie until he briefly retired from working for Kubrick and moved back to Italy in 1991 at the age of fifty.  When he did watch them, he recognized that Kubrick was a genius.  Kubrick asked him which was his favorite.  He told him “Spartacus,” which made Kubrick groan, as it was his least favorite.

Kubrick came to rely on him so much that he put aside his work on “Eyes Wide Shut” when he left him.  Only only resumed it when D’Allassandro missed Kubrick so much that he retired from his retirement.  Kubrick named a cafe for him in the movie and gave him a role as a magazine stand seller and gave his equally unpretentious and down-to-earth wife a role as an extra in the movie as well.  The rest of the cast thought she must have been someone important when Kubrick treated her so well on the set.  

D’Allesandro had no idea what the white powder was that Jack Nicholson sniffed when he drove him around during “The Shining.”  He was equally mystified that such a rich man would roll his own cigarettes.  He’d never breathed such fumes before and they stunk up his cab and made his head explode.  He was most distraught that Nicholson would make him slow down when he spotted a pretty girl and invite her into his cab.  He told Kubrick he didn’t like him and didn’t want to have anything to do with him.  Kubrick obliged him. 

There are at least three other documentaries on filmmakers playing in the market.  The others are on Ken Loach, who has a film in Competition, which he says is his last film, and Richard Linklater and Johnny To. No subject seems too trivial for a documentary.   There is one from Denmark called “Bugs” on insects as food and another on the six back-up dancers in Madonna’s “Truth or Dare” from twenty-five years ago.  The oddest on today’s schedule was “The Founders,” about the thirteen amateur women golfers who founded the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) in 1950.  Only four are still alive.  Babe Didrickson, the most prominent of them, died long ago of cancer at the age of 42, but she featured prominently in the ample archival footage. The LPGA fully acknowledges the Founders with an annual tournament in their honor. It was a fascinating history lesson following the LPGA to the present.  Althea Gibson, a two-time Wimbledon winner, joined the LPGA, breaking the color barrier at many tournaments.  There wasn’t much interest in this, as there is in the sport in general.  There was only one other person in the audience and he left before it was even half over.

Brie Larson, recent Oscar winner for “Room” and Donald Sutherland, on this year’s jury, star in “Basmati Blues,” an American version of a Bollywood film with song and dance.  It largely takes place in India after opening in Manhattan. Larson is a brilliant scientist who has designed a strain of rice (Rice 9 in a seeming homage to Vonnuegut’s Ice 9) that produces 22 per cent more per acre.  She is sent to India by the evil CEO of her company, Sutherland, to promote it, not knowing that when farmers sign up to use it they will be indentured to buying it for five years, as it will not serve as a seed for the following year’s crop.  Staying true to its Bollywood nature, it is also a love story, as two Indians vie for Larson’s heart, one who is a corporate cohort and the other an idealistic son of a farmer who had to drop out of college due to lack of funds.  There are occasional board room scenes back in Manhattan. In one Sutherland sings a song about the “greater good” with the lyrics “got to loosen up the child labor laws and get the kiddies off the street” and “the lion takes the lion’s share.”

This was my first movie of the day and I might not have gotten to see it if the staff hadn't bungled its starting time, moving it up to 9:30 rather than the posted 9:45 in the schedule in the 63-seat Leirins One screening room as it could well have filled with buyers and people with priority badges.  People streamed in after it started and filled the aisles. 

The Dutch film “Hope” taking place in Manhattan also indicted the corporate world.  An idealistic forty-year old Dutch woman banker decides to move to New York to try to reform the greedy banking system.  She is fired from her job and then tries to change the ways of a high profile banker who heads one of the largest banks in the world and also happens to be Dutch.  She seduces him and is given a special project at his bank to make it more socially responsible and profitable.  Her proposals, including pay cuts for the executives, are not well accepted.  Her affair spirals out of control.  When she gives the story to a reporter the object of her desire has her arrested for stalking him.

“Good Luck Sam” is also a commentary on our economic times.  A small French factory that makes skis is on the brink of bankruptcy when the Swedish skier it was sponsoring for the Olympics is forced by his federation to use skis from another company.  The company tries to save itself by sponsoring the first ever Algerian to ski in the Winter Olympics and that skier is one of the company’s owners, well played by Sami Bouajila, who shared a best actor award at Cannes in 2006 for “Days of Glory.”  He is of Algerian heritage but he has never lived there and doesn't speak Arabic and has never been a competitive skier.  Qualification from smaller countries isn’t as strict as from larger countries so he has a chance to do it.  He can also earn a $20,000 stipend from the international Olympic committee for his efforts, which his company desperately needs.  When he goes to Algeria to collect it, the national committee only gives him $2,000 of it.  When he begins training he doesn’t tell his wife what he is doing.  She is appalled when she learns.  There are many other obstacles to overcome.  The winter scenery is spectacular and the skiing cinematic.

The only film I saw with Ralph, who once again is letting me put my sleeping bag down in his accommodation, was the last screening of the night, a Japanese thriller, “Himitsu, The Top Secret.”  Its plot was a secret as well, as the program had nothing to say about it.  There was only one other film in the final time slot of the day other than Woody Allen’s Opening Night film that required formal attire,  a horror film that neither of us had any desire to see.  

Ralph lived in Tokyo for over ten years and I spent a couple months bicycling it, so we are always drawn to Japanese films. We weren’t sure if we would stick with it as it was 149 minutes long and we didn’t care to fall into sleep deprivation too soon into the festival, but this police thriller held us and most of the audience until the very end even though its multiple story lines weren’t fully resolved.  It was a sci-if police thriller with a special unit solving crimes by searching the memories of corpses.  The science hasn’t been perfected, so the evidence it produces can’t be used in court, but it greatly assists the police in solving crimes.  This was stylishly directed and acted and a somewhat satisfying final dose of cinema for the day before the meatier fare begins on Day Two.

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