Friday, May 13, 2016

Cannes 2016 Day 2

Lily-Rose Depp

Mélanie Thierry


Juliette Binoche

Jodie Foster

Jessica Chastain

Julia Roberts

Lily Donaldson

Jury member Kristen Dunst


Doutzen Kroes

Eva Longoria

Kendall Jenner

A collection of pieces from The Hollywood Reporter:   

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:  

with a historical glimpse into the past: 

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:  

Red carpet photos from Shopstyle: 

Red carpet fashion from The Guardian: 

Hollywood Life photo gallery:   

People magazine hits the Cannes red carpet:  

Jury members Kristen Dunst, Valeria Golino, and Vanessa Paradis

Cannes 2016: The 15 Most Buzzed-About Films -- Vulture  Kyle Buchanan and Jada Yuan from Vulture, May 11, 2016

What’s the one place on earth you can go for cannibal supermodels, high-end art films, and Shia LaBeouf? The Cannes Film Festival, of course. Even if you can’t make it to the Croisette yourself, rest assured that Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan and Jada Yuan will be there giving you the lowdown on all of Cannes’s cinematic highlights. Which 15 films are going into this year's festival with the most buzz? Below, Kyle and Jada talk through these highly anticipated entries for you, but stay tuned to Vulture during the next week-and-a-half for surprises, interviews, and a smart soupçon of Oscar talk.

Any Roald Dahl addict has a special place for this sweet and sometimes terrifying story of a girl who's taken from her orphanage by a big friendly giant — the titular BFG — who distributes dreams to children and battles the other, evil giants that would rather just eat the kiddos. It's fitting, then, that the 25-year labor of love to bring this book to the big screen has found a steward in director Steven Spielberg and can boast brand-new Oscar winner Mark Rylance as the CGI-animated BFG. The glorious trailer gives us nightmares, but we'll still be first in line. — JY

Cafe Society
Woody Allen’s 1930s-set film opens the festival on Wednesday night, and sees Jesse Eisenberg as a young striver who mingles with the upper crust on both coasts: first shadowing Hollywood types Steve Carell and Kristen Stewart, and then falling for socialite Blake Lively in New York. The most recent period piece Allen took to Cannes, Midnight in Paris, was his biggest hit, so expectations are high for this one. — KB

The Nice Guys
Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe play two endearingly scuzzy private-eye types in Shane Black’s ’70s-set buddy comedy, where a porn star’s outrageous death, a politician’s missing daughter, and a one-percenter conspiracy all prove interlinked. Along the way, Matt Bomer’s giant anime eyes are put to unsettling use as a hit man trying to snuff out our duo’s biggest informant. — KB

The Neon Demon
Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive debuted at the very end of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and earned him a surprise Best Director award. Stranger things may be afoot for this beautifully shot psychological-horror film about an aspiring model in Los Angeles (Elle Fanning, who’s worth watching in anything). Soon enough, she becomes the object of cannibalistic obsession for other women who covet her youth and beauty, and it’s all scored to an insanely cool soundtrack from Drive composer Cliff Martinez. — JY

American Honey
The last time Shia LaBeouf went to Cannes, he debuted the plagiarized short film that kicked off his fall from A-list grace and unlikely career as a performance artist. This time, he’ll just be there as an actor, though the project he toplines is an intriguing slice of Middle-American youth in revolt from director Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank). — KB

Director Jeff Nichols is on a roll. He not only pulled off Spielbergian miracles in this year's Midnight Special, but he's done particularly well at Cannes with previous films Mud and Take Shelter, the latter of which won the festival's prestigious Critics' Week prize in 2011. Oscar buzz is already in full force for Loving, his first film based on a true story. Starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as real-life couple Richard and Mildred Loving, the film follows them as they are jailed by a Virginia court in 1958 for their interracial marriage, sparking a civil-rights battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court. — JY

Money Monster
Some Cannes premieres don’t make it into Stateside theaters until a year later, but this weekend’s Money Monster will bow on the Croisette just before it comes out in the United States. Directed by Jodie Foster, it casts George Clooney as a cocksure financial pundit whose cable show is crashed by a gun-wielding mystery man with a grudge (Unbroken’s Jack O’Connell). Julia Roberts co-stars as the producer trying to keep Clooney alive. — KB

It's Only the End of the World
Twentysomething wunderkind Xavier Dolan had a breakout moment at Cannes two years ago with his stellar Mommy, and now he’s returning to the fest with frequent Cannes leading lady Marion Cotillard. She costars with Gaspard Ulliel in this story of a writer who reunited with the family he hasn’t seen in ages, only to tell them that he’s dying. Not long after the Cannes premiere, Dolan will start shooting his first English-language film starring Kit Harington, Jessica Chastain, and a rumored Adele. — KB

Personal Shopper
Kristen Stewart already became the first American actress to win a Cesar Award for her work in Olivier Assayas's Clouds of Sils Maria, and advance word is that she's astounding in her second collaboration with the auteur director. In the new film, she plays a personal assistant to a celebrity who also has the ability to communicate with spirits in the Paris fashion underworld. Come for the ghosts and the clothes, stay to watch Stewart's continued transformation into her generation's most interesting actress. — JY

Pedro Almodóvar's 20th film is a return to his tradition of "cinema of women,” which has produced all-time classics like All About My Mother and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Intriguingly, this one is based on Alice Munro's 2004 book of short stories, Runaways, and tracks mother Julieta as she searches for a daughter who disappeared without explanation the moment she turned 18. — JY

The Last Face Charlize Theron and Sean Penn split several months ago, but they’ll both be at Cannes to promote this Penn-directed film, where Theron and Javier Bardem play humanitarian doctors struggling to make it right in a war-torn region of Africa. After formidable turns in Mad Max: Fury Road and The Huntsman: Winter’s War (and before she plays the villain in the upcoming Fast and Furious 8), this is Theron’s chance to play down-to-earth. — KB

The Unknown Girl
What would Cannes be without a film from the prolific Belgian brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne? The directing duo has taken home two Palme d’Or prizes and their last movie, 2014's Two Days, One Night, scored a surprise Oscar nomination for Marion Cotillard. The moral quandary at the center of their new film is a haunting one: What does a young doctor do when she ignores a random doorbell ring, only to find out the next day that her casual act may have cost a woman’s life? — KB

The Salesman
Director Asghar Farhadi has made a career out of delicate dramas where cultural misunderstandings breed discontent, and his new film concerns two Iraqis whose move into a Tehran apartment comes with some significant baggage left from the previous tenant. Will it measure up to his last two acclaimed films, The Past and A Separation? — KB

For her follow-up to the Oscar-winning Citizenfour, director Laura Poitras takes on WikiLeaks, using footage of Julian Assange she shot concurrently with her documentary about Edward Snowden. Though Poitras and Assange are said to no longer get along, she had unprecedented access to him beginning in 2010 and followed him into asylum as he landed in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. — JY

In case you needed another reason to love Adam Driver, his first post–Kylo Ren movie appearance will be as a Paterson, New Jersey, bus driver (who’s also named Paterson) in Jim Jarmusch's new film. Jarmusch at Cannes is always a treat — he won the Best Director trophy for 1984's Stranger Than Paradise, the Grand Prix for 2005's Broken Flowers, and is also debuting his Iggy Pop documentary Gimme Danger this year — and this languid trip through a week of blue-collar life has the added intrigue of being the second film produced by Amazon Studios. Oh, and did we mention that Driver’s Paterson driver Paterson (c’mon, we had to) also has a secret gift for poetry? — JY

Recalling the First Cannes Film Festival, as a Cold War Brewed in 1946   Mary Jo Murphy from The New York Times, May 12, 2016  

The international film festival at Cannes meant to make its debut in September 1939. The French were sick of the Mussolini-tainted Venice festival and decided to invite the world to their own cinephile party. A short article in The New York Times that July said there would be a prize for best director, named for the French film pioneer Louis Lumière.
It was not to be. Hitler invaded Poland on opening night. The festival was called off.

Fast-forward to September 1946. The festival opened at last. But if World War II was over, the Cold War had just begun. In an article headlined “Russians Balk Film Showings,” The Times reported the assertion that “the Russians were operating a campaign against American movies.” A representative of the American film industry, Harold Smith, “said that when the production ‘Gaslight’ was scheduled, the Russians invited everyone to a last-minute party to keep away representatives of twenty-three nations at the festival and the showing had to be rescheduled.” Furthermore, “Mr. Smith complained that the Soviet delegates usually walk out of the hall when American films are shown.”

It’s probably just as well that no Palme d’Or or its equivalent was awarded that first year. “For ‘diplomatic reasons,’” The Times reported, “it was decided that no prize should be given for the single best film, but by common accord a grand international prize was awarded to the French production ‘The Battle of the Rails,’ an account of the part played by French railroad workers in the resistance to German occupation.”

Another winner? The soon-to-be-classic dipso tale “The Lost Weekend.” It was named “the best American motion picture of the last year and its star, Ray Milland, received an individual honor,” The Times reported.

One of the Russians who attended the festival, Serge A. Gerasimov, a leading Soviet film producer, said in an interview with The Times in his Moscow apartment the next month that “The Lost Weekend,” alone among the various American films at Cannes, “shone like a diamond.” As for the rest, he said, they represented a Hollywood with its priorities askew. Mr. Gerasimov “cites the dictum of Marx — Karl, not Groucho — that work is more interesting than entertainment,” The Times said.

But another critic of the United States showing at Cannes — and indeed throughout Europe, where American films were packing theaters — was homegrown. “We are giving Europe an eyeful, to be sure, but an eyeful of what?” the American documentary filmmaker Richard de Rochemont wrote in The Times. “Europeans know that the world has undergone some terrific changes since 1939. Their own values have been shaken or destroyed, and maybe new cataclysms are just around the corner. Yet, the American films which they are seeing in 1946 seem blissfully oblivious of everything and anything which was not in the film vocabulary of 1938.”

“I wish to report,” Mr. de Rochemont added, “that the provincial French, for instance, think that we Americans are somewhat off our rocker.”

Why, he wondered, “give them films in which the principal characters act like black-market millionaires on a spree? Why emphasize ad nauseam our wastefulness, our greed, our psychological instability?” (Sounds familiar.)

“At first the gaudy inconsequentialities of Hollywood films simply received a good-natured bird” (a popular expression for a sound of derision), Mr. de Rochemont wrote. “But as time went on, it all began to rankle, and the feeling developed that, while Europe had grown more mature by suffering, Americans remained the genial and acquisitive half-wits our detractors are anxious to prove we are.”

For the record, in addition to “The Lost Weekend” and “Gaslight,” the American films entered at Cannes that first year were “Rhapsody in Blue,” “Anna and the King of Siam,” “Gilda,” “Notorious,” “Make Mine Music” and “Wonder Man.”

Bruno Dumont

Ma Loute director Bruno Dumont: 'You can't make a "European film"'  Henry Barnes from The Guardian, May 13, 2016

There is, according to one its most heralded practitioners, no such thing as a good “European film”.

Speaking at the Cannes film festival, Bruno Dumont, the French director of L’Humanité, Flandres and Hors Satan, refuted the idea that one could or should set out to make films that could be termed “European”.

“‘European films’ are really bad,” he told the press after the first screening of his new comedy Ma Loute (Slack Bay). “You make a local film, and that might become universal. You can’t make a ‘European film’”.

Ma Loute, which is set in the early 20th, century near Calais, close to Dumont’s birthplace, is a black comedy about the meeting of two families: the Van Peteghems, a bevvy of braying aristocrats, and the Bruforts, a working-class clan of mussel gatherers – with a sideline in murder and cannibalism.

The film stars Juliette Binoche as the eccentric Aude van Peteghem, whose transgender child, Billie (played by the French actor Raph), initiates a romance with the title character (Brandon Lavieville), drawing the two tribes together. The film features a number of outrageous set-pieces, including the Bruforts hunkering down to dine on a bucket of body parts and Binoche – cut, bruised and bandaged after a close call with the cannibals – burbling incomprehensibly about the writings of Victor Hugo.

Dumont has twice won Cannes’ “second prize”, the Grand Prix. His films typically portray the darkest aspects of humanity, with little room for levity. But he said the experience of working on Ma Loute and his previous film, a knockabout comedy called P’tit Quinquin, had helped him come to appreciate the “noble” arts of comedy and caricature.

“I made these characters larger than life so you could really see them well,” he said. “I used to work with a telescope, now I work with a microscope”.

“We’re horrible people, but saints at the same time. We’re idiots and geniuses. This combination, these diametric qualities, enthral me”.

Fabrice Luchini plays André van Peteghem, the ineffectual, hunch-backed patriarch of the aristocrat family. In one scene the father makes a great show of offering the family aperitifs. Luchini, in referring to the scene, hijacked the press conference to complain about France’s newfound obsession: cocktails.

“I hate the way people in France are fascinated by cocktails,” he said. “I hate waiting for dinner. French people are obsessed with this idea of drinking before they eat. I hate it.”

After Luchini’s rant the moderator remarked that Luchini was an actor in every situation. “Oh my darling,” said Luchini. “What did you expect?”

Is there a more extraordinary auteur career than that of Bruno Dumont? Having started as one of Europe’s foremost purveyors of extreme cinema and extreme seriousness, he made a startling move to wacky broad comedy, and is handling it as if to the manner born. Now he gives us Ma Loute, or Slack Bay, a macabre pastoral entertainment by the seaside from the belle époque: it’s an old-fashioned provincial comedy with something of Clochemerle, a world in which everyone seems to have drunk their bodyweight in absinthe. There’s also the surreal meta-strangeness of Ken Russell’s version of The Boyfriend.

The film features a gallery of nightmare faces and outrageous performances from French cinema A-listers: hilarious or unforgivable, according to taste. They include Fabrice Luchini, Valerie Bruni-Tedeschi and even Juliette Binoche who all go over the top; actually, Bruni-Tedeschi is relatively restrained compared to the operatic whooping and mugging from Binoche. It is as mesmeric and bizarre as the slo-mo “beach-yacht” crash that brings one of the characters close to death.

The nearest comparison I can think of for Dumont’s tonal shift is David Gordon Green, who started his career as an obvious inheritor of Malick; then bafflingly switched tracks to fratboy laughs, and periodically switched back. But those seem like arbitrary leaps. Dumont’s comedy really has grown organically from his earlier, serious work. (Woody Allen is another point of comparison, but moving in the other tonal direction.) Seventeen years ago in Cannes, Dumont caused shock-waves with his brutally realist, yet enigmatic drama L’Humanité, about a killer at large in a northern French town, and a cop who seems so placid, so clueless as to be bordering on having learning disabilities. L’Humanité contained ideas that had been present in his debut, The Life of Jesus and in subsequent movies which had mysterious epiphanies and anti-realist inconsistencies. Then came Dumont’s comedy, made originally for French television, P’tit Quinquin which restated his themes from L’Humanité in terms of comedy. He has now returned to these ideas again in Slack Bay. Maybe murders in northern France and bafflingly incompetent cops are to Dumont what water lilies were to Monet.

The scene is a lovely stretch of the French coast in the summer of 1910, where a local family scratches a living harvesting mussels from the beach: they are the Bruforts, who have a glowering teen son who they call Ma Loute (Brandon Lavieville). A couple of bizarre cops arrive on the scene, one fat and one thin, dressed in black suits and bowlers like Laurel and Hardy, and they are subject to absurd indignities: the fat one keeps falling over and rolling down the dunes. These unlikely officers are investigating a string of mysterious disappearances: people have been vanishing from the beach: holidaymakers, not locals. And it is not easy to decide which category applies to the haughty and eccentric upper-class family which comes to stay in the area every summer, in a colossal Egyptian-style villa called Typhonium: they are André Van Peteghem (Fabrice Luchini), who wears Mr Toad goggles for motoring, his wife Isabelle (Valerie Bruni-Tedeschi), and his imperious, neurotic sister Aude (Juliette Binoche) who is convulsed with shame at a family secret to which she is liable to attribute all the woes that subsequently occur.

Along with two badly-behaved daughters, André has a niece, or possibly nephew called Billie (played by the French actor Raph) who is gender-fluid, and Billie forms an emotional connection to Ma Loute which is to bring the two families into an uneasy contact, and also triggers a series of miraculous events. There is a hilariously insubordinate maid called Nadège (Laura Dupré) who knows the truth about the disappearances.

Everything about everything and everyone is bizarre. The Van Peteghems themselves are insufferably haughty, patronising the lower orders and swooning over the “picturesque” landscape and locals, feeling as much about their treasured vacation spot as Proust felt about Combray. And yet they are more dysfunctional and more physically ungainly as the working class to whom they offer their condescending good wishes: all of the Van Peteghems seem to be getting into physical scrapes or falling over. The Pythonesque drawing-room absurdity of their leisured existence is in contrast to the brutal toughness of the Bruforts’ life and the placid, yet faintly sinister scenes of the bay and the dunes themselves: curving and undulating and hiding horrible secrets.

Ma Loute is a fascinatingly made film, theatrically extravagant and precise, although perhaps a little over-extended. Dumont’s earlier and similar comedy P’tit Quinquin paradoxically worked better at the extended length of a mini-series, in which all the surreal episodes and byways and culs-de-sac could be thoroughly explored. And the comedy itself might be a little de trop for some, just as the violence and mystery of L’Humanité was too much for some back in 1999. Ma Loute is still very strange and very funny.

CANNES, France — The 69th Cannes Film Festival has barely even started and Woody Allen has already generated a ton of controversy.

I'm not talking about how his son, Ronan Farrow, penned a blistering essay in the Hollywood Reporter timed to the world premiere of Allen’s new film, Café Society, at the festival. That’s an issue the press seems to have little interest in bringing up in this context. Instead, we’re discussing how Allen, who has never allowed one of his films to be in competition at Cannes, said on the festival's first day that doing so would be against his "common sense."

"It’s very subjective. Is a Rembrandt better than an El Greco, or a Matisse better than a Picasso? You can say what your favorite is, that’s fine. You'll get 10 different opinions," Allen says. "For any group to judge other people is something one should never do, with the judgment that 'this is the best' in some platonic way, the objective best. I don’t believe in it, and I don't want to participate."

For a festival that prides itself on awarding the prestigious Palme d’Or every year, that declaration might have been construed as somewhat rude — even if it came from one of the world’s most well-known living filmmakers. Nevertheless, it was the first topic this year's jury president, director George Miller, found himself tackling at the official jury press conference only a few hours later. It was also a topic he likely wasn’t expecting when he agreed to chair the jury, featuring Donald Sutherland, Kirsten Dunst, Mads Mikkelsen, and Son of Saul Oscar winner László Nemes, among others.

"Well, for me [the fact a movie is in competition] is balanced by the opportunity to see films anew … and to watch them and watch them with consideration and then to have a conversation with a group of people like this that I already know are very, very intensely passionate about film," Miller said. "For me it's a kind of film school, it's a film camp. Yes, you can argue how do we measure these things, but we do."

And they will — except, of course, for the Hollywood films intentionally screening outside of competition, such as Allen’s Society, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, Jodie Foster’s Money Monster, and Shane Black’s The Nice Guys.

Allen’s latest endeavor opened the festival on a rainy Wednesday evening that sharply contrasted the gorgeous golden glow of the 1930s period piece. Collaborating with Allen for the first time, famed cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, Dick Tracy) has turned Society into the director’s most cinematic work in decades. Some of the film's images are simply breathtaking, and that’s not something you hear very often about a Woody Allen film. It’s also probably the nicest thing you can say about a picture that revisits some very familiar themes for the four-time Oscar winner.

Café Society is set in 1930s Hollywood, where floundering 20-something Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg) is looking to start a career with the help of his Uncle Phil (Steve Carell), a powerful agent in the movie world. He quickly falls for Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), one of Phil’s assistants — and unbeknownst to pretty much everyone, his mistress. A love triangle soon ensues, with Vonnie making an unexpected choice and Bobby quickly trading Los Angeles for Allen’s romanticized version of New York.

Our hero ends up running one of the city’s most popular nightclubs with his crooked brother (Corey Stoll) and settling down with the idyllic Veronica (a surprising Blake Lively). When Vonnie starts visiting Manhattan, Bobby begins to realize he never quite got over her.

The picture features many of Allen’s thematic staples, including an over-the-top dislike of Hollywood, the comedic opportunities of a bickering Jewish couple (in this case, Bobby’s parents), the magic of jazz clubs (one of the few times any person of color appears onscreen), and the melancholy pain of somewhat unrequited love. The script is less bumpy than some of Allen’s more recent efforts, but collectively the film feels strangely familiar. Even Eisenberg’s portrayal of Bobby proves that a Woody Allen–type character is now officially its own movie archetype.

"If this was years ago I would have played this part in the movie that Jesse was playing, because he is perfect for this kind of character," Allen said at the aforementioned press conference. "I would have played it much more narrowly myself, because I'm a comedian, not an actor. I would have given it one dimension. Jesse is a fine actor and gave it much more complexity and much more interest. The fact that people think he is like me or the character is like me, all I can say is that it's much deeper played by Jesse than anything I would have done with it."

Also trying to get ahead of the curve, Eisenberg attempted to discredit the fact that both critics and audiences will think he’s just playing Allen by noting, "There was no emphasis from him or from me to enact some kind of impression."

Speaking about the film's period setting and subject matter, Allen correctly noted that the major film studios dominated Hollywood in the '30s and that it was a very "dog-eat-dog, cutthroat world." He added, "I'm sure you've read about all the film moguls and studio heads and all the backbiting, and if you've read the Pat Hobby stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald you see what Hollywood was is in those years. I'm sure it was true of many businesses — big business, Wall Street, politics — but it was very illuminated in Hollywood."

Lively was the first to contextualize the difference between Hollywood then and now. She observed, "I think back in the 30s the studios were a bit more dominating than they are now. They owned actors. Now it's more the media that is more dog eat dog, and the access people have to knowledge, and they wanna know it, and if they don't have access to that knowledge they will just make it up."

Regarding his own experience with the media, Eisenberg, who arguably just enjoyed the most worldwide exposure of his career as Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, has changed his tune on being a celebrity. When I interviewed the Social Network star at the beginning of his career, he repeatedly disparaged having to be a public figure to have a career in the film business. Now, at the ripe old age of 32, he has a much more pragmatic approach.

"It can be very useful, especially for a career in the freelance arts," Eisenberg says. "Fame is probably the most valuable currency, for better or for worse, so it's helpful in a lot of ways. It's also uncomfortable in a lot of ways because you lose a sense of privacy."

Outside of the 80-year-old Allen, however, no one involved with Café Society has had to deal with the constant attention of the worldwide paparazzi to the degree that Stewart has. The Twilight star has successfully transitioned to acclaimed award-winning roles, but clearly still feels the pressure of being a global celebrity whose legion of fans isn't diminishing anytime soon.

"There is definitely an undeniably opportunistic, hungry, insane fervor that occurs, and it is really apparent when people really don't care about that kind of stuff," Stewart said. "What drives you is sort of the things that get you up in the morning. If you are actually an artist that wants to tell a story, it's a compulsion; it's not something you want to do because you want to entertain people and make a bunch of money."

"But," she continued, "most people want to entertain people and make a bunch of money. It's not a bad thing, but if it doesn't actually hold hands with genuine desire of just knowing and looking? Yeah, well, that sucks and that's pretty rampant. Human beings are always clawing at each other to try to get on top. Hollywood can have a surface nature that makes it more obvious."

And Stewart is clearly doing her best to stay away from it. The only "studio" film on her upcoming slate is Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, and she’s reuniting with her Clouds of Sils Maria director, Olivier Assayas, for Personal Shopper, which premieres at Cannes next week. Oh, and in competition too.

Under-the-radar films to look out for post-Cannes

Romanian director Cristi Puiu created a stir with his new family drama Sieranevada. Unnecessarily almost three hours long (and boy does it feel like it), the picture is a snapshot of a multigenerational family trying to find some peace as it says goodbye to its patriarch. There are some natural laughs, strong performances, discussions about global politics (Madeleine Albright gets an unexpected shout-out), and some intense panning shots that become tiresome at times.

Much more intriguing is Alain Guiraudie’s Staying Vertical. This surreal and audacious drama follows a man (Damien Bonnard) searching for something as he travels the French countryside trying to avoid finishing a screenplay that will help keep him financially stable. But that’s just the simple logline. Thematically, the film is an artistic statement on fatherhood, sexual fluidity, loneliness, and finding personal fulfillment in a modern society.

Oh, and the footage of a live birth (perhaps the most graphic in film history), gay sex between the lead and an elderly man, and numerous close-ups of a woman’s private area make Guiraudie’s previous film, Stranger by the Lake, seem tame in comparison. Love it or hate it, Staying Vertical will generate a lot of debate on the cinephile circuit in the months to come.

*          *          *          *

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

The Cannes Criterion Forum is up and running:   

Screendaily Jury Grid (Page 112 from Digital edition from Day 3) 

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:                

9-2 Farhadi / The Salesman
5-1 Loach / I, Daniel Blake
6-1 Almodóvar / Julieta
13-2 Arnold / American Honey
– – – – –
10-1 Ade / Toni Erdmann
– – – – –
16-1 Mendonça Filho / Aquarius
16-1 Verhoeven / Elle
16-1 Puiu / Sieranevada
18-1 Jarmusch / Paterson
20-1 Dardenne & Dardenne / The Unknown Girl
20-1 Mungiu / Graduation
22-1 Guiraudie / Staying Vertical
25-1 Dolan / It’s Only the End of the World
25-1 Dumont / Slack Bay
25-1 Park / The Handmaiden
28-1 Mendoza / Ma’Rosa
28-1 Nichols / Loving
28-1 Penn / The Last Face
33-1 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)
22-1 The Last Face (Charlize Theron)
22-1 I, Daniel Blake (Hayley Squires)
28-1 Paterson (Golshifteh Farahani)
33-1 Slack Bay (J.Binoche, V.Bruni Tedeschi, etc)
33-1 Sieranevada
33-1 The Neon Demon (Elle Fanning)
33-1 Graduation (Lia Bugnar)
150-1 Staying Vertical (India Hair)

5-2 Toni Erdmann (Peter Simonischek)
4-1 I, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns)
7-1 Graduation (A.Titieni, V.Ivanov)
10-1 The Salesman (Shoheib Hosseini)
12-1 It’s Only the End of the World (G.Ulliel, V.Cassel)
20-1 Staying Vertical (Damien Bonnard)
20-1 Slack Bay (Fabrice Luchini, etc)
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:  

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:  

Cannes Diary from Film Comment:  

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

The lone bicycling film had one of its two screenings today—“Blood Road,” a documentary about ultra-endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch bicycling the Ho Chi Minh trail in search of the crash site of her father while serving in the Air Force during the Vietnam War in 1972 when she was three years old.  I had recently read her autobiography, “Queen of Pain,” written before she undertook this ride.  

The screening was by invitation only, but that didn’t scare me off, as I knew from past experience that if there were empty seats I could well be let in.  And so it was today.  Only four of the invitees showed up for the film, which was just a 36-minute rough cut.  It gave a good taste of her ride on paved and dirt roads and single track through mountainous terrain.  I could fully appreciate the early part of her ride on paved roads with all manner of traffic, having ridden Vietnam’s Highway One myself from Hanoi to Saigon, the opposite direction which she was riding.  

She was joined by the premier Vietnam female cyclist, whose father also served in the war and was still alive.  They rode mountain bikes and only carried small packs on their backs as they had a support crew, which included Rusch’s fire-fighter husband.  Their budget also was adequate to provide for aerial shots of their ride.  The producer who introduced the film said it ought to be completed by November.  

This was the fourth of a string of documentaries I packed my schedule with today, sandwiched between the first Competition film on the schedule and two Un Certain Regard films at the end of the day.  My first two docs were about legendary soccer players--Bobby Moore of England and the Ukrainian Valerie Vasilievich Lobanovskyi.

Bobby Moore was the captain of England’s lone World Cup champion in 1966.  The film, simply entitled “Bobby,” could well have simply focused on the fiftieth anniversary of that momentous event for England.  The Cup was held in England and included footage of a young Queen Elizabeth opening the tournament and also attending the championship game in Wembley Stadium against Germany with the team marching up to her after the win.  It was just twenty years after the war, adding to the intensity of the game and magnitude of the victory.

Moore was a most dignified and elegant leader as well as a great talent on the field, respected by all.  Pele called him the best defender he played against.  Not only did he score and assist on goals, he made extraordinary steals from opponents.  He was an iconic figure at the time, ranking with rock and movie stars.  His post playing career though was an extreme let-down.  He was not enlisted to coach higher profile or the national team, despite his high standing.  He divorced his wife and died from cancer at the age of 51 in 1993.  His second wife campaigned for a statue of him in front of Wembley.  Both wives speak glowingly of him in the film as do ex-teammates as well as football officials, some of whom regret how he was neglected in his post-playing career, especially that he was never knighted.

Lobanovskyi, in contrast, was both an extraordinary player as well as coach, reflected in the title of the documentary—“Lobanovskyi Forever.”  It too portrayed the game as transcending the world of sport.  He was the star of the Ukraine team Dynamo Kiev that was considered the best team in the world in 1975.  Football was the lone area where it was permissible to manifest nationalism during the Soviet era.  After his playing career he became a highly driven coach who was rarely known to smile but brought out the best of his players.

Every year there seems to be at least one documentary by someone traveling around France showing the beauty of its countryside and talking to locals.  This year’s version by Raymond Depardon was simply entitled “Les Habitants,” though translated to "France" for the English version.  The French title was more appropriate, as the film is conversations between two locals that the filmmaker happens upon sitting at a table in the caravan that he is pulling around with him with a window in the background looking out upon a town square.  The conversations are all about everyday matters--boy friends and girl friends and personal relationships and the anticipation of having a baby and where to vacation.  There are about twenty of them in sixteen different towns.  It included road footage traveling between towns through the magnificent scenery I know so well.  This didn’t have a transcendent quality I was hoping for.

The three feature films of the day, all selected by the festival organizers for the two top competitive categories, transcended the mediocrity of the market, exemplifying cinema as an art form. “Staying Vertical” by Alain Guiraudie of France was arty from the start, with the top of the head of the lead character, a screen writer, cut off as he talks to a young man standing along a country road asking him if he’d like to be an actor.  It is the first of a series of strange encounters with outsiders that have a sexual, mostly homoerotic, bent.  The encounters grow stranger and more implausible as if the film is intent on being original and outrageous, culminating with an act of sodomy.  

The opening film for Un Certain Regard was likewise very artfully filmed, but it had a genuine sense of reality and purpose and importance.  “Clash” takes place virtually inside a police truck full of demonstrators arrested in Cairo in 2013 protesting the military coup of the Islamic president.  This Egyptian film fully captures the chaos and claustrophobia of the experience.  The twenty or so people crammed into the truck range in age from children to the elderly, men and women. They don’t all get along initially, but then they have to band together as they are shot at and stoned and need water and need to urinate.  It’s only ninety minutes long, but seemed to go on interminably, both for those in the truck and those in the audience.

The day concluded with the Israeli/Palestinian film “Personal Affairs.”  This took the time to develop personal relationships, mostly the bickering of an older couple and also their children with their spouses and girl friend.  The older couple have three grown children.  One lives in Sweden and has been trying to get his parents to visit.  His father would very much like to but the mother adamantly refuses.  The two other children try to convince her to go.  But that plot line is almost incidental to the discord in all the relationships, including a writer son and his girl friend of three months.  The writer’s sister is encouraging them to marry, claiming she’s happily married, though it certainly seems otherwise.  The director and writer of the film was a woman.  It left one wondering about her regard for male/female relations.

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