Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Cannes 2016 Day 6

Marion Cotillard

Kate Moss

little sister Lottie Moss

Riley Keough

Sasha Lane

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Kristen Stewart


Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga with director Jeff Nichols from his film Loving

Blake Lively

Salma Hayek

Frieda Pinto

Bérénice Bejo

Chloë Sevigny

Mélanie Thierry

A collection of pieces from The Hollywood Reporter:   

Red carpet photos from PopSugar: 

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

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

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

People magazine hits the Cannes red carpet:

Jury member Kristen Dunst

Jury member Vanessa Paradis

As the 2016 Cannes Film Festival continues along, we’ll be providing this updated look at the most likely candidates for the top prizes.

While it's one of the top prizes of the film world, the Palme d'Or is also among the hardest to predict. A jury comprised largely of filmmakers and actors watches two films a day over the course of the 10-day gathering, then spends a matter of hours discussing their favorites before landing on a decision. The jurors are under strict orders not to speak publicly about their preferences, so in truth, anything can happen. However, one can easily get a sense for likely frontrunners by simply combing through reactions to the competition films as they screen for members of the press and industry each day. This is one of the trickiest years for Palme d'Or predictions in ages; every day brings another film that could, under the right circumstances, win big. And the jury isn't the same as the press who are watching and reacting to movies throughout the festival, so there's no exact science here. As director Laszlo Nemes said at the jury press conference, "every jury is different and random."

We'll keep this ongoing breakdown of the odds updated over the course of the next week. The awards ceremony, where jury president George Miller will announce the final prize, takes place on Sunday, May 22.

In order of likelihood:

1. "Toni Erdmann": German director Maren Ade follows up her acclaimed 2009 debut "Everyone Else" with this touching, nuanced look at a young workaholic (Sandra Hüller) whose goofy father (Peter Simonischek) attempts to mend their broken relationship by going under cover to invade her personal life. The film's mixture of comedy and drama has drawn raves for its subtle emotions and is a definite Palme contender; it could also nab a screenplay prize as well as acting prizes for Hüller, Simonischek, or both. Here's our review.

2. "Loving": Jeff Nichols' romantic portrait of Richard and Mildred Loving—the interracial couple whose 1967 Supreme Court case overturned oppressive state laws—sports fine performances from Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton. Its timely hook, rich atmosphere and accessible story could make it an easy consensus choice. Both actors could also win for their performances, while Nichols is in contention for his screenplay. Here's our review

3. "American Honey": Andrea Arnold's epic look at an 18-year-old outcast who joins a gang of misfits traveling the midwest is her most ambitious film to date, a gorgeous and expressionistic look at young rebels searching for their place in the world. Arnold is a favorite at Cannes, which also screened her second feature "Fish Tank" in competition (where it won the runner-up prize) and where she served on the jury two years ago. The film is also a strong contender for a directing award as well as an acting prize for newcomer Sasha Lane. Here's our review.

4. "I, Daniel Blake": The 79-year-old British director Ken Loach returns with another sympathetic tale of working class woes, this time featuring a middle-aged carpenter (Dave Johns) who's recovering from a heart attack and seeking financial aid from the state. In the process, he befriends a young single mother (Hayley Squires) facing a similar situation. Loach is a Cannes favorite and won the Palme d'Or 10 years ago for "The Wind That Shakes the Barley"; this film, which was an early competition favorite that led many audiences to tears, could be a quick consensus choice. It's also a serious contender for acting and screenplay prizes. Here's our review

5. "Paterson": Jim Jarmusch's low key tale of a New Jersey bus driver (Adam Driver) with aspirations of being a poet has the director with some of the best reviews of his careers—which means he's a natural fit for the directing prize. But the movie's touching portrait of creative struggles could wind up with the Palme if enough of the jury is on Jarmusch's wavelength. Here's our review

6. "Staying Vertical": Alain Giraudie's oddball portrait of a man coming to grips with his sexuality and family life divided audiences, but its imaginative approach to depicting its character's subjectivity could be an asset if the jury decides to reward originality above all else. Here's our review

7. "The Handmaiden": Park Chan-wook's salacious tale of lesbian lovers and con men in 1930's-era Korea is a typically stylized and graphic good time from the "Oldboy" filmmaker. It's wackiness is not to everyone's taste, so it's hard to imagine this one taking home the Palme, unless the jury is entirely comprised of diehard Park fans. Here's our review

8. "Sieranevada": Romania's Cristi Puiu has been a festival favorite since "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu," and this epic black comedy portrait of a family dealing with the aftermath of a loved one is his first time in Cannes competition. Anyone hip to the long takes and dreary, introspective style of the Romanian New Wave will appreciate its application here, but the film's nearly three-hour running time has alienated many people. It's less likely to land the Palme than a prize for its talky screenplay. Here's our review

9. "In the Land of the Moon": Nicole Garcia's slick period drama starring Louis Garrell and Marion Cotillard has been described as the most conventional film in this year's competition, and not in a good way. 

Not screened yet: "Personal Shopper," "Aquarius," "Ma'Rosa," "The Unknown Woman," "It's Only the End of the World," "Graduation," "The Neon Demon," "The Last Face," "Elle."

director Jeff Nichols

Mildred and Richard Loving

Loving (2016), the most recent film by American filmmaker Jeff Nichols, was purchased by Focus Features for an estimated $9 million dollars earlier this year in mid-February after scenes from the film were shown at the Berlin Film Festival.  This is the first acquisition under Peter Kujawski, Abhijay Prakash and Robert Walak’s leadership at the new Focus, acquiring distribution rights in North American and most major international territories, including UK, Germany and Latin America.  The film tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and black woman who fell in love and married in 1958.  Their home state of Virginia sought to end their love story by first jailing and then banishing them, and it became a landmark Supreme Court case and important victory in the Civil Rights battle.

Ruth Negga is place-your-Oscar-bets tremendous in Loving - review  Robbie Collin from The Telegraph, May 16, 2016

A couple sit on the porch of their house at night. “I’m pregnant,” she says. There’s a pause. “Good,” he replies after a bit, with a tentative smile. The pause is understandable. The news is good, but it’s also big – even bigger than usual. Mildred Jeter (Ruth Negga) is black, and Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) is white. And since it’s the 1950s, and they live in the US state of Virginia, what they’ve done is illegal.

Jeff Nichols’s sensational new film Loving, which screened earlier today at Cannes, retells Mildred and Richard’s story with clear eyes, a cool head, and a heart as hot as molten silver. It follows the Lovings from their marriage in 1958 in a courthouse across the state line in Washington D.C., where no law preventing interracial marriage had ever been enacted, to the Virginia court hearing that saw them banished from their home state under threat of imprisonment, and through the years of legal and social tumult that followed. The couple's relationship finally prompted the overturning of those laws nationwide.

Technically, that makes the film a historical biopic – except Nichols, who pulled off a similar trick earlier this year in his science-fiction adventure Midnight Special, calmly dodges every expectation you have for the genre. Loving is short on grandstanding and hindsight, long on tenderness and honour, and sticks carefully to the historical record.

It also features two central performances of serious delicacy and depth – and Negga, an Ethiopian-Irish actress best known for a handful of TV roles, is place-your-Oscar-bets-now tremendous in the role of a black woman quietly fighting her way to the centre of her own life story.

The assumption throughout Loving – both among the supporting characters, because of the period in which it’s set, and among the audience, because we know how these films usually work – is that the husband will be the stoic warrior for justice, while the wife mops his brow in the evenings and gives him a reason to fight. But as played by Edgerton, Richard is fundamentally ill at ease with his relationship’s gathering significance – his small eyes bright with tension, his considerable physical bulk turned in on itself.

Instead, it’s Mildred who gradually takes control, both in court and in front of the cameras – a transition that’s reflected in Nichols’ meticulous craft, as Negga finds herself more and more often at the centre of the frame. When Mildred takes a telephone call from a civil rights lawyer (Nick Kroll) offering legal aid, her first instinct is to say she’ll have to check with her husband.

But minutes later, she makes the decision herself. It’s only four simple words – “yes, we’ll see you” – but the shift feels quietly seismic.

Vitally, Nichols doesn’t begin by putting the Lovings’ story in its broader context. There are no title cards or historical prologue to soften or add distance to the flat absurdity of the situation. When the Lovings are told by a Virginia courthouse official that their relationship is “against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth,” after they’ve been dragged out of bed by cops in the middle of the night, Mildred and Richard don’t reply because they don’t have to. The film lets the outrage remain implicit, and ours.

But while the Lovings encounter plenty of racism, particularly from Martin Csokas’s sheriff – “your blood don’t know what it wants,” he snarls – the locals of Caroline County aren’t a herd of slavering bigots. Nichols shows us black and white locals getting along famously at the local drag strip: race relations, as it were, seem generally stable at a community level.

The film’s determination not to overcook any single scene means the tears it eventually draws feel honestly come by – and the wind-rustled beauty of Adam Stone’s cinematography make us realise this world shouldn’t be simply written off as a bad job.

Look out for the two fields bisected by the road the Lovings take on their exodus from Virginia. At first they’re starkly split into differently coloured crops – but later, the flowers are ravishingly intermingled and swaying in the sun. It’s a beautiful, near-subliminal, and perfectly Nichols-esque reminder that nature abhors separation.

director Rithy Panh

https://mubi.com/notebook/posts/cannes-2016-rithy-panh-s-exile  Daniel Kasman from Mubi Notebook, May 14, 2016

Cannes 2016. Rithy Panh's "Exile"

The Cambodian director follows up his documentary “The Missing Picture” with a more intimate personal essay film about his home country.

Cambodian director Rithy Panh has lived in Paris since he fled his country’s brutal Khmer Rouge regime in 1979, and from that distance he has movingly taken on the mission to tell and re-tell for the cinema the tales of this usually ignored if not forgotten period in 20th century history. His last feature, The Missing Picture, directly addressed the tragic lack of images of the regime during its reign from 1975 - 1979, a gap in historical vision that Panh cleverly and endearingly tried to alleviate by using dioramas and clay figures to “picture” what was experienced by millions but has subsequently gone unseen.

His new film, Exile, is more of a personal essay than that documentary and covers the next stage in Cambodia's history, the subsequent communist rule of the Democratic Kampuchea. Despite Panh being abroad during this time, the film has a particularly intimate and lyrical touch, and it, too, bravely steps into the void of historical memory outside of Cambodia and helps us see what we cannot. The lone set is a thatch hut, obviously built on a sound stage, which we see in various states of affluence and disrepair; the one protagonist is a Cambodian man who we watch make and eat threadbare meals of leather, rats and insects, repair his ragged clothing, as well as dream, the room filled with stage prop clouds and planets. All are but glimpses of memories and experiences re-told in this theatrical artifice, re-creations with powerful shadows of reality—a photo of Panh’s mother, the terrible meals  eaten on camera—done in the sad isolation of a fake set: a potato field remade on stage, a destroyed village built in miniature in the hut, all the planets of the solar system revolving above this anonymous prisoner of history.

Equally important is the soundtrack, a text read, as in The Missing Picture or in essay films by Chris Marker, by someone other than the director, so as to help keep the narration from sounding overwhelmingly personal. This text begins praising the simplicity of communist slogans, which have a clarity and directness that approaches poetry, yet the praise for the revolution espoused on the soundtrack clashes radically with the poverty of the Cambodian on screen. The end credits make clear that this narration is in fact a partially original and partially a collage of writings ranging from Mao Tse-tung and Ho Chi Minh to René Clair and other writers. The words advocate and condemn certain kinds of living, touch upon revolution, repression and terror, daily living and the struggle to survive. They sometimes disagree with and at other times amplify the plight of the Cambodian’s bare existence. Panh’s modest combination of this amalgamated man’s living and a collage of ideas that justify, praise, override and deride this life results in a moving and quietly provocative history film—a history that while lived by so many, is still impossible to completely grasp.

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

The Cannes Criterion Forum is up and running:  

Screendaily Jury Grid (Page 32 from Digital edition from Day 7), where Toni Erdmann, one of the few films that appeals to both French and American critics, has been bought by Sony pictures, setting records for high scores, Cannes: 'Toni Erdmann' sets Screen Jury Grid record:

Ioncinema Critics Panel:

Les Etoiles de la critiques is up and running as well (click on image to obtain a full screen):

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

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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: 
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: 

Various writers at Twitch: 

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

At the half-way point of this twelve-day extravaganza my body has finally adapted to my regime of six hours of sleep a night augmented by little naps when a film lags.  I can now rest my head back on the highlife seats of all the theaters and not feel too concerned about disappearing into slumberland. Only once today did I nod off during a film--the macabre, all too inert, comedy “Train Driver’s Diary,” a Serb/Croatian oddity about a train engineer on the verge of retirement who proudly recounts his career of killing people with the deaths of those who have placed themselves on his tracks. Shortly after the film begins he is in session with a pair of psychologists who want to make sure he isn’t traumatized after running into a van of gypsies, killing three of them.  When he delightfully recounts the grisly details of the carnage, it is the psychologists who are traumatized. The engineer’s adopted son is six months into his career as an engineer and has yet to have a suicide, so his father decides to place himself on the tracks so he can get his first notch into his belt.

Putting to death others is also the subject of “The Apprentice” from Singapore.  An ex-soldier goes to work as a prison guard in the prison where his father was executed.  He is soon recruited by the long-time guard in charge of the hangings, the man who hung his father, to be his assistant, as no one else wants the position.  His past is a secret.  When and how it will be revealed was almost as effectively portrayed as the secret of the ex-con in the superb Japanese film “Harmonium” that played two days ago, also in Un Certain Regard.

This was my first day without a documentary, but I saw two films that were based on true stories of significance that could have been made into documentaries.  The first was the Competition film “Loving” by Jeff Nichols. In 1958 in Virginia an interracial couple goes to Washington D.C. to get married, as such unions are forbidden in much of the South.  When they return to their small rural town to live they are arrested in the middle of he night.  They have the option of prison time or exile from the state for twenty-five years.  They go to live in DC, where the husband works as a bricklayer. They dare to return so the wife can give birth to their first child in the comfort of her rural black home.  They are arrested again.  Only by the benevolence of the judge are they not thrown in jail, but will be if they return again.  Several years later a young lawyer working for the ACLU convinces them to let him pursue their case.  It eventually ends up at the Supreme Court.  Nichols doesn’t stray from the straight forward, unlike his previous films.  He lets the magnitude of the story carry the movie, similar to “Spotlight,” with only minimal appeal to the emotions. It is a solid film almost immune from criticism. 

“The African Doctor” delves into racism in rural 1970s France.  A physician from the Congo, recently graduated from a French medical school, becomes the local doctor in a small town in northern France that has had great difficulty in recruiting a doctor.  It took quite a while for this to turn into a feel-good movie as the town refuses to accept him and his wife and two small children. The doctor is actually reduced to working on a farm when no one will take advantage of his services. This film needed a much surer hand at its helm to more effectively tell the story.  The family’s travails are told with comic overtones, undermining the authenticity of this true story.

France racism was also the theme of “French Tour,” one of five films here featuring Gerald Depardieu. All are in the Market except for this Director’s Fortnight entry.  A Muslim rapper takes on the assignment of driving Depardieu around France to various ports where he can recreate the paintings of an 18th century painter.  The rapper is doing it as a favor to Depardieu’s son who is his agent and also because he needs to go underground for a spell after a fellow rapper threatens to kill him.  Depardieu has no use for Muslims or rappers.  He feels as if he’s become a minority in his own country.  But they of course grow to like each other and even go to jail together when Depardieu interferes when he is detained by gendarmes for being an Arab.  It may be formulaic, but Depardieu is always a pleasure.

The day ended as it began in the Debussy with an American film on the periphery of Hollywood fare. “Hell or High Water” stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as brothers who rob banks in rural Texas to pay the mortgage on their family ranch.  Jeff Bridges is the cop trying to track them down.  The undertones of their plight and all the cinematic flair somewhat compensate for the wayward storyline. This popcorn escapism left Ralph and I plenty to shrug our shoulders at as we made our mile-long post-midnight trek back to the apartment we’re staying at.  We’d be retracing our trek in just a few hours for another full day of cinema beginning at 8:30 in the thousand seat theater we’d just left, barely in time to process all we’d ingested the past day.  And we felt lucky to have the experience.

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