Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cannes 2013 Day 10

Catherine Deneuve

Model Jessica Hart poses on the red carpet 

Model Barbara Palvin poses on the red carpet

Director and actress Valeria Bruni Tedeschi

Eva Longoria

Georgia May Jagger

The Immigrant on the red carpet, from The Guardian:

more from The Immigrant from The Guardian:

White outfits on the red carpet from The Hollywood Reporter:

Cannes Charity event from The Hollywood Reporter:

red carpet photos from the International Business Times:

Worst movie posters for films not seen at Cannes, from The Guardian:

A French site that lists daily galleries of red carpet photos, by date, offering regular or giant sized photos: 

People magazine hits the Cannes red carpet:

20 Marie Claire Cannes photos:

red carpet fashion from The Telegraph:

more red carpet photos from The Telegraph:

Julie Miller interview with actress Julie Delpy on the making of Before Midnight, from Vanity Fair:

Director's Fortnight winners:

Guillaume Galliennes’s autobiographical comedy about his relationship with his mother scoops unofficial top prize at Cannes.

French filmmaker Guillaume Gallienne’s Me, Myself and Mum (Les garçons et Guillaume, à table), which premiered in Directors’ Fortnight, has won the parallel section’s non-official top prize, the Art Cinema Award.

Directors’ Fortnight does not mete out official prizes but a number of the section’s sponsors and partners do.

The Art Cinema Award is handed out by the International Confederation of Art-house Cinemas (CICAE). This year’s jury consisted of independent programmers Uga Sniegowska, Anne-Juliette Jolivet and Thorsten Kleinschmidt.

Me, Myself and Mum also won the SACD prize granted by France’s writers and composers guild and aimed at a French language film in the selection. Serge Bozon’s Tip Top also got a special mention.

Earlier, it was announced that the Europa Cinemas Label prize, aimed at supporting the distribution of the winner across the Europa Cinemas network, went to Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant.

The jury consisted of exhibitors Alice Black, Rafael Maestro, Petar Mitric and Koyo Yamashita.

The Illy short film prize was awarded to Joao Nicolau’s A Wild Goose Chase and special mention went to André Novais Oliveira’s About a Month.

Me, Myself and Mum

The Director's Fortnight winner is a LGBT friendly film, which seems to be setting a new standard for public exposure at Cannes this year, where in this regard they are setting a standard that is recognized around the world.  That may actually be one of the major underlining stories of the fest so far. Me, Myself and Mum film review by Stephen Dalton from The Hollywood Reporter:

French stage star Guillaume Gallienne turns sexual anguish and family friction into charming confessional comedy.

Adapting his 2008 one-man stage show for the big screen, the award-winning French theater actor Guillaume Gallienne revisits his sexually confused youth in this flamboyant farce, which premiered to rapturous applause in Cannes. There are shades of Pedro Almodovar as Gallienne unpicks his complicated love-hate relationship with his domineering mother, who raised him more like a daughter than a son, defining him as gay before he was even sure of his own sexuality. Years of therapy, insecurity and self-loathing followed. Perfect training for a career in acting.

Pointedly theatrical in style, and full of strong comic set-pieces, Me, Myself and Mum is a warm-hearted crowd-pleaser with readymade appeal to LGBT-themed film festivals. With the right marketing and sympathetic distribution, overseas word-of-mouth success is certainly an option.

The 41-year-old Gallienne plays himself from school-age child to awkward adolescent to young man. He also doubles up in drag to play his own mother, looking uncannily like Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, often acting opposite himself in smoothly blended split-screen scenes. An unshakable presence in his psyche, Mommy Dearest materializes to advise the timid hero at key moments, whether he is receiving a life-changing enema from Diane Kruger’s stern German health-spa nurse or unwittingly signing up for a group-sex orgy at a bacchanalian gay nightclub.

Raised in wealth and privilege by quasi-aristocratic parents, Gallienne’s relentlessly self-pitying tone grates at first. Similarly off-putting is the film’s episodic jumble of fast-moving comic vignettes, which initially seem to rely too heavily on broad stereotypes and sitcom-level cheap laughs. But as the story evolves, the theatrical flourishes becomes more artful and witty. The author’s sense of humor also proves disarming, cheerfully branding himself a narcissistic drama queen.

Virtually unknown outside France, Gallienne’s localized celebrity status will doubtless limit the film’s prospects in overseas markets. But it could also prove a bonus in one respect, as the final twist will be more surprising to non-French viewers. Sweet and sunny and shamelessly sentimental in places, Me, Myself and Mum is an attention-seeking diva of a film, albeit rich in charm.

While the Cinefondation Awards were also announced, with a Chicago Art Institute film taking the first prize, article by Beth Hanna from indieWIRE:

A number of awards are being announced out of Cannes. "Salvo," a Mafia romance co-directed by Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza, has nabbed the Critics Week Grand Prize, while Ritesh Batra's "The Lunch Box" has nabbed the Viewers Choice award, the Rail d'Or (acquisition news here); UK director Clio Barnard's "The Selfish Giant,"  an update of the Oscar Wilde short story focusing on the friendship between two boys, has taken the Europa Cinemas Label prize as Best European Film in the Directors Fortnight section; and the Cinefondation and Short Films Jury, headed by Jane Campion, has awarded the 2013 Cinefondation prizes. Full list below.

The Cinefondation Selection consisted of 18 student films, chosen out of nearly 1 550 entries coming from 277 film schools around the world. The awarded films will receive €15,000 for the first prize, €11,250 for the second and €7,500 for the third. The first prize winner is also guaranteed that her first feature film will be presented at the Festival de Cannes.

First Prize:
directed by Anahita Ghazvinizadeh
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA

Second Prize:
directed by Sarah Hirtt
INSAS, Belgium

Joint Third Prize:
ÎN ACVARIU (In the Fishbowl)
directed by Tudor Cristian JURGIU
UNATC, Romania

Joint Third Prize:
PANDY (Pandas)
directed by Matúš VIZÁR
FAMU, Czech Republic


Ritesh Batra's The Lunchbox 

A review of the Audience Choice film, Ritesh Batra's The Lunchbox, by Fionnuala Halligan from Screendaily: 

A wistful, elegant love story played out across the streets of Mumbai, The Lunchbox is an unexpectedly aromatic charmer from first-time film-maker Ritesh Batra. Eschewing the pitfalls of what appears, on face value, to be a highly schematic set-up, Batra infuses his film with warmth and humanity, while cameraman Michael Simmonds steps up to deliver delicate visuals of modern Mumbai.

It’s the subtle flavours that mark The Lunchbox out as such a treat. Although it has to battle through a difficult final act – characters required to change their minds and dash about town at the last minute in a slightly-downbeat tonal fog - this is certain to woo international arthouse crowds who have been waiting for an authentic crossover Indian title. Its foodie nature will also prove a highly marketable tool when it comes to market access.

Helped across several festival labs and development programmes (Sundance, Torino, etc) – to its benefit – The Lunchbox benefits from a highly saleable premise, focusing on the “dabawallahs” who deliver tiffin lunchboxes from housewives across Mumbai to their office worker husbands every day. Numbering 5,000, the dabawallah’s system has been studied by mathematicians and found to be practically failproof.

The Lunchbox follows that rare failure – from sad and neglected housewife Ila (Nimrat Kaur), who has cooked a special meal for her husband to spice up their marriage. But the product of her “magic hands” ends up on the plate of grouchy misanthrope Saajan Fernandez (Irrfan Khan) instead. He’s an accountant with 35 years service to the Indian Government who is on the point of retiring. When she adds a note to the next day’s lunchbox – a la 84, Charing Cross Road – the scene is set for an unlikely relationship connecting two sad strangers in two very different parts of Mumbai.

For his debut, Batra has composed a more elegant, soulful film than the premise might suggest. Poetic in parts with the odd, tiny pinch of magical realism, it’s a quietly confident production. The Lunchbox is a little more sad-eyed and soulful than you might expect at times, ruminating on matters of age and progress. The cooking theme also moves to the back seat, leading to some tonal jitters. But Batra has worked hard to earn viewers’ goodwill, and he manages to hold onto it until the final frame.

Helping him, of course, is Irrfan Khan, a major ingredient in this recipe with a warm and sympathetic performance. Also excellent is Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Shaikh, an orphan trainee who will take over Saajan’s job on his retirement.

Playing out on crowded commuter trains, rickshaws and old-fashioned taxis, The Lunchbox has a strong visual sense, mercifully avoiding the colour-pop pitfalls. Musically, too, it opts for more authentic, atmospheric sounds of the city. In fact, all technical aspects are a credit for such a small-scale production.

A review on James Gray's new film The Immigrants, by Richard Portman from The Daily Beast:

James Gray’s searing portrait of disillusionment, ‘The Immigrant,’ starring Marion Cotillard, has emerged as one of the strongest films in this year’s festival Competition.

Like Jerry Lewis, Gray, a director known for—among other films—The Yards, We Own the Night, and Two Lovers, has long received a much more sympathetic reception from critics in France than in the United States. (On Thursday, Lewis was feted on stage in Cannes at a screening of Daniel Noah’s Max Rose, a new film in which he has the starring role.) Although Gray’s films often star well-known actors such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Wahlberg, and especially Joaquin Phoenix (The Immigrant is Phoenix’s fourth collaboration with Gray), he barely registers as a Hollywood contender on most American filmgoers’ radar. Even Conversations With James Gray, edited by The Hollywood Reporter’s Jordan Mintzer and the only major book on the director in English, was published in France.

Although The Immigrant, which premiered at Cannes on Friday, may not make Gray a household name in the U.S., this bleak saga of a Polish immigrant’s disillusionment with the American dream, is certainly one of the strongest films to be featured in this year’s Competition. The narrative has a straightforward, classical resonance and it’s for good reason that some critics have already compared it to films like Elia Kazan’s America, America and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in America.

Upon arrival at Ellis Island in 1921, Ewa Cybulska (Marion Cotillard) and her sister Magda are targeted for possible expulsion by the immigration authorities: Magda’s tuberculosis and rumors that Ewa is a “woman of loose morals” make them suspect. While Magda remains quarantined, Ewa benefits from the calculating beneficence of Bruno Weiss (Joaquin Phoenix), a charming operator who pays off a naturalization officer to escort her to shore. He soon employs his new houseguest as a dancer in his burlesque theater and eventually pimps her out to select clients. Possible redemption comes in the form of Orlando (Jeremy Renner), a magician determined to save Ewa from a live of privation.

The Immigrant is far from a conventionally naturalistic historical film. Gray has remarked that he was inspired by classical melodrama and opera and is clearly trying to achieve the emotional intensity of a fable while still evoking the grittiness of Manhattan in the early twentieth century. The performances, moreover, are remarkable. Phoenix conveys the ambiguities of his character with great finesse. It’s easy to believe that he’s simultaneously a facile charmer and a sleazy exploiter. And Cotillard should certainly be in the running for the festival’s Best Actress Award. Her face—a vehicle for conveying the shock that sets in once she learns that American idealism is largely a sham—possesses a plasticity reminiscent of the best silent actresses.

Barbara Scharres take on the Iranian film Manuscripts Don't Burn by Mohammad Rasoulof, from the Ebert blog:

Every now and then something really important happens at Cannes that goes way beyond the artistic tempest-in-a-teapot of director rivalries and symbolic awards. Something like that happened today with the world premiere of the Iranian film "Manuscripts Don't Burn" by Mohammad Rasoulof ("White Meadows," "Iron Island") in Un Certain Regard. No press notes were made available for this film, and the description in the festival catalogue consisted of two vague lines that made it sound like a thriller about two hit men. Not even the actors were named.

I was blown away by what I saw. It's about hit men alright — a fiction about torturer/killers who work for the secret service arm of the Iranian government. I can't even guess how "Manuscripts Don't Burn" got made under the radar of Iran's government oversight and censorship of the film industry.

I talked briefly with a friend in the film market who had some years ago represented one of Rasoulof's earlier films. She speculates that it was made entirely clandestinely, and that Rasoulof is unlikely to be able to return to Iran after the festival.

Cannes artistic director Thierry Frémaux brought Mohammad Rasoulof to the stage along with a few of his cast and crew prior to the screening. Speaking Persian, which was translated into French by an interpreter, and subsequently into English by Frémaux, the director apologized that many others who worked on "Manuscripts Don't Burn" couldn't attend the festival due to "the Iranian situation." He concluded his remarks with, "Forget the background of all that I'm saying; now it's just the film."

This is the first Iranian film that I know of in which the persecution and execution of artists and intellectuals from the time of the 1979 revolution to the present is acknowledged and portrayed. There have been books on this subject published outside of Iran, most notably, Houshang Asadi's harrowing award-winning memoir "Letters to My Torturer," which, in part, details sharing a prison cell with the man who went on to persecute journalists and writers himself, and is now Iran's supreme leader.

In "Manuscripts Don't Burn," the mission for two hit men, Morteza and Khosrow is to retrieve the three existing copies of a draft of a book by an elderly writer who has written a damning account of an attempt by the government to kill a busload of writers in transit to a conference by means of a rigged accident. The two thugs are directed by a secret service agent who had once been the cellmate of the poet who has hidden one of the manuscripts.

Changing regimes, shifting government agendas, and changing sides are all masterfully underlined with a story so low-key in its narration that the increasingly horrendous incidents and escalating violence against the writers being pursued is portrayed even-handedly as just another humdrum day's work by the hired killers.

There are religious implications as well. On the phone with his worried wife, Khosrow, who is portrayed as a working-class family man with a mortally ill child, retorts: "Everything I do I do to please God." Later, when he expresses some misgivings to his cohort about the pending job, Morteza answers, "We've been given the order and it complies with Sharia [law]."

In one of Rasoulof's scenes of darkest absurdity, Khosrow hauls the hog-tied poet, blindfolded by the jacket tied around his head, out of the trunk of his car for the kill in a lonely ravine. The victim has wet himself, and the thug scolds him angrily for soiling the floor mats of his trunk, yelling "You couldn't wait ten minutes?"

In a scene loaded with similar irony, Khosrow, in workmanlike fashion, has just flopped a wheelchair-bound writer across a table, pulled down his adult diaper and pushed a lethal suppository into his anus. While he calmly waits for the man to die, he wanders out to the kitchen, checks out the fridge, and makes himself a snack, putting a piece of fruit in his pocket for later.

Most films that screen here in Cannes don't have life-or-death implications for the people who make them. "Manuscripts Don't Burn" is something else altogether — a work that may impact the life and career of its maker for the rest of his life.

Ruminations from Manohla Dargis from The New York Times: 

CANNES, France — By Thursday afternoon at the film festival here, over glasses of Côtes de Provence, the battle lines had been firmly drawn and the Palme d’Or hypothetically awarded. The winner, amateur prognosticators huddling in the festival headquarters confidently or cautiously predicted, surely would be “Inside Llewyn Davis” or “The Great Beauty” or “Blue Is the Warmest Color” or “Nebraska.” Never mind that it was only Day 9 and that the actual awards don’t take place until Sunday evening. For many, the 66th Cannes Film Festival was leveling off toward another grand finale.

The latest from Alexander Payne, the warmly if not ardently received “Nebraska,” had its first press screening on Thursday morning. Will Forte stars as David Grant, a Montana salesman whose seemingly fading father, Woody (Bruce Dern), believes he has won $1 million from a marketing company in Nebraska. After Woody keeps going dangerously AWOL — no longer able to drive, he tries to walk to Nebraska in the cold to claim his prize — David decides to drive him. David wants to placate his father, and perhaps spend some time with a man whose alcoholism has made him a less than ideal parent. The setup also puts Mr. Payne back on the road, a physical and existential space that has served him well in films like “Sideways” and “About Schmidt.”

Written by Bob Nelson, “Nebraska” opens modestly with two men in a car and grows progressively larger to encompass a family, a small town of the kind rarely seen in American cinema and a specific moment in time. Mr. Payne takes a bit too long to get the movie into gear, but eventually David and Woody end up in a Nebraska town where they endure a sometimes funny, sometimes painful reunion with relatives and old (and elderly) friends. Shooting in black and white that is as simple, unfussy and unbeautiful as the modest homes in the movie, Mr. Payne draws an emotionally vivid, insistently unsentimentalized portrait of America and forgotten men, like a farmer who was destroyed by working his farm and a war veteran who returned with wounds he never discussed.

As is his way, Mr. Payne maintains an amused, ironic distance from his characters that may feel as if he’s condescending to them but is more truly an acknowledgment of life’s absurdity. The characters in “Nebraska” are at times ridiculous. They’re also warm, cruel, generous, selfish — in other words, recognizably human.

And while the movie largely hinges on David and Woody, its most vivid performances are from two character actresses: Angela McEwan delivers a flawlessly calibrated wistful performance as a newspaper editor who knows more about Woody than his son does, while June Squibb turns Woody’s hectoring, quietly complicated wife, Kate, into a minor miracle. Mr. Payne makes her a saving grace.

If the end of the festival feels muted this year, it’s partly because no single title has yet overwhelmed festivalgoers the way Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” which won the Palme last year, did. That’s the case even if there have been favorites like “Inside Llewyn Davis,” the latest from Joel and Ethan Coen. One index of the love it’s received can be found in the critical rankings that appear daily in the industry magazines Screen and Le Film Français, which festivalgoers pore over while waiting for the 8:30 a.m. competition screenings to begin. (Wifi service is expensive and unreliable.) In Screen, “Llewyn Davis” earned 3.3 out of 4 stars from the mostly British critics, the top rating so far; at Le Film Français, the French critics were especially high on “Le Passé” (“The Past”).

Directed by the Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, “Le Passé” — much like his last film, “A Separation” — turns on several knotted relationships. This one involves Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa), who, when the movie opens, has just arrived in Paris from Iran. Years after separating, his estranged French wife, Marie (Bérénice Bejo, from “The Artist”), has asked him to return to his former home so that they can finalize their divorce. Waiting in the wings is her lover, Samir (Tahar Rahim, from “A Prophet”), who has a young son and a comatose wife. Although the story edges toward soap-opera banality, the acting and a visual style, which is at once complex and restrained — Mr. Farhadi moves his camera and people through space beautifully, making rooms come alive — elevates the material.

However provisional and ostensibly vulgar, the rankings allow critics to check in on one another and give distributors another chance, along with Twitter feeds and blogs, to take a temperature reading. Cannes isn’t just an important critical jamboree, it’s also one of the most important, best publicized markets in the festival world. Held in conjunction with the official festival, Le Marché du Film runs parallel with the festival, though it starts to close down midway through.

The market’s numbers suggest the scale and stakes: last year, 4,912 companies from 102 countries participated, attracting 11,481 registered attendees who were able to sample 903 films. Most of the figures for this year aren’t in, but United States participation is apparently up 7 percent, Screen reported, and American sales have been brisk.

This is good news for American moviegoers, especially those who venture beyond the multiplex. Sony Classics Pictures picked up “Le Passé” at Cannes, for instance, one of a number of acquisitions that will give hope to those weary of the usual parade of big-studio sequels and cartoons. American distribution also seems inevitable for Lucía Puenzo’s “Wakolda” (playing in the festival section called Un Certain Regard), a creepy, commercial thriller from Argentina about Nazis hiding in Patagonia in 1960, which will play as well in regional film festivals as in theaters. Working from her own novel, also titled “Wakolda,” Ms. Puenzo — who was last at Cannes with the coming-of-age story “XXY” — creates an eerie world of family secrets and state lies that grows increasingly scary when it emerges that a friendly stranger may be Josef Mengele.

“The Great Beauty” (“La Grande Bellezza”), an outlandishly entertaining hallucination from the Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, will also have a sustained life on the festival circuit and should eventually make it to American theaters. A contemporary riff on “La Dolce Vita,” among other cinematic and literary touchstones, it stars a fantastic Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, a Rome journalist. After enjoying early success as a novelist, Jep has settled into — or perhaps for — an existence of rotating pleasures and unending parties, ravishingly beautiful women and lavishly prepared meals. A sensualist of rarefied taste and sensibility, he leads a life that is at once empty and overflowing and that, much like Mr. Sorrentino’s fluid moving cameras and people, moves to the insistent beat of life.

The camera and its misuses in the well-regarded French entry “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (“La Vie d’Adèle Chapitres 1 et 2”) could fill pages. Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and based on Julie Maroh’s graphic novel “Blue Angel,” the movie was one of the more hotly anticipated competition titles in more than one sense. Before the screening, word swirled that it featured a 20-minute lesbian sex scene and one male critic overshared, if in more colorful language, that he had been told it was an onanistic fete. More pragmatically, this wildly undisciplined, overlong 2-hour, 59-minute drama tracks the sentimental education of its heroine, Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), from 15 through her 20s and her life-changing love for another woman, Emma (Léa Seydoux).

The two meet by chance, first passing each other in the street — the effect Emma has on Adèle, then a high-school junior, is electric — and then in a bar. Although Emma has a lover, who conveniently disappears, she and Adèle become lovers. An hour and a half after the start, the two are tumbling in bed and while I didn’t clock their initial encounter, it goes on so long that a male friend jokingly complained about glancing at his watch.

In this scene, as throughout, Mr. Kechiche and his hand-held camera keep close tabs on Adèle. This intimacy is clearly meant to draw you into her consciousness. Yet, as the camera hovers over her open mouth and splayed body, even while she sleeps with her derrière prettily framed, the movie feels far more about Mr. Kechiche’s desires than anything else.

It’s disappointing that Mr. Kechiche, whose movies include “The Secret of the Grain” and “Black Venus” (another voyeuristic exercise), seems so unaware or maybe just uninterested in the tough questions about the representation of the female body that feminists have engaged for decades. However sympathetic are the characters and Ms. Exarchopoulos, who produces prodigious amounts of tears and phlegm along with some poignant moments, Mr. Kechiche registers as oblivious to real women. He’s as bad as the male character who prattles on about “mystical” female orgasms and art without evident awareness of the barriers female artists faced or why those barriers might help explain the kind of art, including centuries of writhing female nudes, that was produced.

“Men look at women,” the art critic John Berger observed in 1972. “Women watch themselves being looked at.” Plus ça change....

Owen Gleiberman's predictions from Entertainment Weekly: 

Here’s a trivia question: What are the only two movies in history to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes and Best Picture at the Academy Awards? Drum roll, please….the two films are The Lost Weekend (1945) and Marty (1955). It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? And I don’t expect that this year is going to break that pattern. What strikes me, though, looking over my roster of what I would call the year’s likeliest Palme d’Or contenders, is that there’s a fascinating overlap right now in Cannes/Hollywood awards potential. My personal favorite film of the festival — and it shocks me a little to say this — is Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh’s wickedly fun and dark and moving Liberace-in-love biopic. It’s not just me, either: The film has provoked such a tremendous response here that though it’s not even going to play in American movie theaters (it premieres on HBO this Sunday, May 26, at 9:00 p.m.), I think it has an honest shot at winning the Palme d’Or. That said, the fact that it is a made-for-television movie will not help its chances. What I’m now absolutely convinced of is that if a major movie studio had backed Behind the Candelabra, and had released it as an outré prestige film during awards season, it could have gotten a slew of Oscar nominations, with Michael Douglas and Matt Damon each having a good chance to win. As it stands, I predict that the film will be recognized, in some fashion, by the Cannes jury. (It will also clean up at the Emmys and the Golden Globes.)

That leaves, in my view, two other key contenders for the Palme d’Or. They are The Past, the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s masterful follow-up to A Separation, and Inside Llewyn Davis, the Coen brothers’ playfully cynical early-’60s New York folk-music fable, a movie that a lot of people here loved more than I did. Which is not to say that I dismiss it: It’s supremely well-crafted, with tasty touches throughout, and so amazingly shot that its spare, burnished images of Greenwich Village in 1961 imprint themselves on your imagination. The Coen brothers haven’t won the Palme d’Or since Barton Fink — that’s right, Barton Fink — won in 1991. I could easily see them winning this year. And, once again, if they do, there will be major Cannes/Hollywood synergy, since I think that Inside Llewyn Davis is going to be a multiple-category Oscar contender.

The movie could win…but I don’t think it will. With as powerful a figure as Steven Spielberg heading the Cannes jury this year, attempting to predict what the jury is going to do by trying to guess what Spielberg would do seems, to me, to be all to the point. (That’s not always the case. But the head of the jury does have notorious sway here. It’s a France/hierarchical/ political thing.) My hunch is that Spielberg will go for The Past — that he will not only want to salute what a brilliant and humane filmmaker Asghar Farhadi is, but that there’s something about the way Farhadi’s films work that will strike a special chord in Spielberg. Farhadi makes neorealist domestic dramas that are also, in their intimate way, thrillers. He draws on, and extends, traditions of cinema, from Kiarostami to Renoir to Hitchcock, that reach back nearly a century. World cinema, if you travel to enough film festivals, is on some level thriving, but it is not necessarily thriving in a populist way. As relatively young as his career may be, it would feel right this year for Asghar Farhadi to be indoctrinated into the pantheon of Cannes auteurs. And that’s why, with admittedly two more days of the festival to go (who knows what will be shown?), I predict that The Past will take the Palme d’Or.

More predictions from Duncan Houst from Film Misery:

Day 9 closed at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and whilst things are certainly settling down, we’ve still got a handful of exciting titles still to witness. Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur, James Gray’s The Immigrant and Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive will be the last to leave an impression on critics and the jury. Already, though, we have enough to look at to make some serious judgments on what the decisions of Steven Spielberg’s jury might be.

Behind the Candelabra – Steven Soderbergh

Soderbergh is one of two (or rather three) directors vying for their second Palme d’Or, having secured his first over two decades ago for his directorial debut, Sex, Lies, and Videotape. His Liberace biopic has a lot going for it, between an overwhelmingly positive response and the added enthusiasm over it being his so-called last film before retirement. That said, it also has the disadvantage of having its U.S. television premiere on Sunday, even if it is releasing in theaters overseas.

Hopefully the Cannes jury will know the difference.

Palme d’Or Probability: 8.5/10

Blue is the Warmest Color – Abdellatif Kechiche

It only just hit the festival, but  girl, has it made a huge impression in that short time! The films that win the Palme d’Or, often regardless of jury members, are often ones that penetrate deep emotional crevices. From Amour to Elephant to Dancer in the Dark, it’s often the tears that work better than the smiles, and the twitter response to the film has been so extreme. It definitely sounds like the kind of film Lynne Ramsay would go for! With luck, so will the rest of the jury.

Palme d’Or Probability: 9.6/10

The Great Beauty – Paolo Sorrentino

When the vague-but-beautiful trailer for Paolo Sorrentino’s latest landed over a month ago, its visual aesthetic was the most appealing thing about it. The film that aesthetic is built around has also been received pretty well, though I worry the response isn’t as ecstatic as it should be. Sorrentino’s work has a habit of dividing viewers, and while many have said The Great Beauty is very amusing, that may not play universally with the jury. Still a strong possibility.

Palme d’Or Probability: 8.2/10

Grigris – Mahamat Saleh Haroun

As said in the review round-up, this was one that had a strong chance at impressing the Spielberg led jury, the story of a one-legged dancer forced to traffic petrol in Chad sounding so powerful on paper. However, the reaction simply hasn’t been ecstatic enough to bolster the film as a Palme powerhouse. Word surrounding the film is positive, which could give it some life as a Foreign Language Film Oscar candidate, but the big Cannes prize just doesn’t feel like it’s in the cards for Haroun this year.

Palme d’Or Probability: 7.9/10

Inside Llewyn Davis – Joel & Ethan Coen

The last time the Coen brothers came to Cannes their film lost, only for No Country for Old Men to go on to Oscar fame. The Palme is rarely a sign of American Academy appeal, and I feel as though this film will do better in the year-end awards fray than on the Croisette. That said, it has possibly the most unanimously positive response of the festival, with few having anything truly negative to say about. Amour was in that same spot last year, and it had its day with both the Palme and the Oscars. Inside Llewyn Davis could manage a similar feat and give the Coens their second Palme, having won their first for Barton Fink.

Palme d’Or Probability: 9.3/10

Like Father, Like Son – Hirokazu Kore-eda

Something tells me I should be hinging my bets on this film a lot more than I am. Perhaps it’s because it’s the consensus sweet movie, with Kore-eda continuing his study of children’s relationships to their families. That instantly makes it very appealing as a crowdpleaser, which many expect Spielberg to choose. It’s very tempting to go along with it, but there is a jury process to this thing, and it usually irons out films of much deeper emotional beats than this has been playing. Still, remember that The Kid with a Bike won the Grand Prix in its year. I suspect a similar runner-up outcome for this.

Palme d’Or Probability: 9.2/10

Nebraska – Alexander Payne

I’ve already touched on the fact that I don’t think Payne’s American sensibilities play well to the foreign crowd, though there’s certainly some artistic appeal in his road movie. Black and white is a very distinctive style that’s been making a comeback recently, but I don’t know that it resonates as significantly as The Artist or (outside Cannes) Frances Ha. So close to the end, a film really needs to sweep viewers off their feet to have a chance at awards and this just hasn’t done that. Like Inside Llewyn Davis, though, Oscar nods very surely await.

Palme d’Or Probability: 7.7/10

The Past – Asghar Farhadi

The biggest thing that Asghar Farhadi may have going against him is that he won the top prize at the major film festival that his last film, A Separation, opened at. It would probably be some sort of record broken for him to the Palme d’Or for the film he made directly after his Golden Bear winner, but even at a different festival, is it too soon to award Farhadi another major prize. The jury may not think so, as they could very well see it as a deeply affecting movie worthy of the award on its own merit. Forget the director’s recent awards fame. Award it to the film that struck deepest. It’s certainly a close race for that Palme d’Or, and this is a very likely possibility.

Palme d’Or Probability: 9.4/10

There are your (or rather my) odds on eight films that stand a significant enough chance at scratching the Palme d’Or, but if you want specific predictions, I’ve got you covered for all the competition awards below.

Palme d’Or: Blue is the Warmest Color
Grand Prix: Like Father, Like Son
Prix de la mise en scene (Best Director): Steven Soderbergh, Behind the Candelabra
Prix d’interprétation masculine (Best Actor): Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Prix d’interprétation feminine (Best Actress): Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color
Prix du scenario (Best Screenplay): Hirokazu Kore-eda, Like Father, Like Son
Prix du Jury (Jury Prize): The Past

The Cannes Criterion Forum is up and running:   

While Les Etoiles de la critiques is up and running as well, where Blue Is the Warmest Color has surpassed The Past (Le Passé) as the highest rated film, followed by the Coens, followed by A Touch of Sin. In Un Certain Regard, it's a tie between Stranger By the Lake and Grand Central.  Without a numerical rating, my quick criteria is counting how many films get 3 or more stars: 

also Ioncinema's Critics' Panel 2013, Blue Is the Warmest Color has risen above all others with a 4.3 rating, followed by a tie between The Past and the Coens averaging 3.7, followed by A Touch of Sin at 3.3, and three films tied at 3.1: 

 Screendaily also has their Jury Grid, actual page 16 (Digital page 18) of the Screen Edition for Day 9 dated May 23, 2013, not updatedin two days now, but check back later in the day. Start on the link provided, click on the bottom right of the image, and there are two sets of multiple photos displayed on the bottom, where what you want is the first group, almost all the way to the right, where page 18 does the trick, click on that page until you display the largest viewable image. However, a new leader alters the standings, where Blue Is the Warmest Color now has the highest rating at 3.6.  Currently only one other film rates above a 3 rating, as the Coen brothers averages 3.3, The Past and Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty are at 2.8, while Like Father, Like Son and Behind the Candelabria are at 2.5: 

Screendaily announces a new leader on the Jury Grid:

While Neil Young from Jigsaw Lounge maintains the odds for winners: 
to win the 2013 Palme d’Or
films which have been shown to press in Cannes are in bold

PREDICTIONS (Sat 25 May, 1.45pm)
Palme : Mr Farhadi
Grand Prix : Mr Kechiche
Jury : Mr Haroun and Mr Sorrentino (ex aequo)
Director : Mr Gray
Screenplay : Mr Kore-eda
Actress : Ms Exarchopoulos
Actor : Mr Isaac
- – - – - – - – - -
to win the Palme d’Or
films which have been shown to press in Cannes are in bold
- – - – -
5/2  Farhadi, Asghar – The Past
11/4  Kechiche, Abdellatif -- Blue is the Warmest Colour
- -
6/1 Gray, James – The Immigrant
7/1  Kore-eda, Hirokazu – Like Father, Like Son
8/1  Coen & Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis
10/1  Sorrentino, Paolo — The Great Beauty
10/1  Haroun, Mahamat-Saleh -- Grigris

- – - – - -
16/1  Jia, Zhangke – A Touch of Sin
18/1  Soderbergh, Steven – Behind the Candelabra
25/1  Desplechin, Arnaud – Jimmy P.: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian
25/1  Payne, Alexander – Nebraska

- – -
40/1  des Pallières, Arnaud – Michael Kohlhaas
40/1  Ozon, Francois – Young and Beautiful
50/1  Jarmusch, Jim – Only Lovers Left Alive
50/1  Van Warmerdam, Alex – Borgman

50/1  Escalante, Amat – Heli
50/1  Winding Refn, Nicolas – Only God Forgives
100/1  Polanski, Roman — Venus In Fur 
100/1  Bruni-Tedeschi, Valeria – A Castle in Italy 
175/1  Miike, Takashi – Shield of Straw

Best Actor
7-2 Inside Llewyn Davis: Oscar Isaac
9-2 The Great Beauty: Toni Servillo
5-1 Behind the Candelabra: Michael Douglas
….. (solo, or with Matt Damon)
6-1 Grigris: Souleymane Deme
8-1 Like Father, Like Son: Masaharu Fukuyama
- – -
10-1 Nebraska: Bruce Dern
….. (solo, or with Will Forte)

10-1 The Immigrant: Joaquin Phoenix
14-1 Borgman: Jan Bijvoet
14-1 The Past: Ali Mosaffa and/or Tahar Rahim
16-1 Mathieu Amalric and/or Benicio Del Toro
- – -
35-1 A Touch of Sin: male ensemble 
40-1 Only Lovers Left Alive: Tom Hiddleston 
40-1 Michael Kohlhaas: Mads Mikkelsen 
40-1 Only God Forgives: Ryan Gosling and/or Vithaya Pansringarm 
50-1 Heli: Armando Espitia 
50-1 Shield of Straw: Takao Osawa and/or Tatsuya Fujiwara
* any combination of Amalric and/or Del Toro in Jimmy P. and/or Amalric in Venus In Fur

Best Actress
5-4 Blue is the Warmest Colour: Adèle Exarchopoulos
5-2 The Past: Bérénice Bejo

11-2 The Immigrant: Marion Cotillard
16-1 Only Lovers Left Alive: Tilda Swinton
20-1 Only God Forgives: Kristin Scott Thomas
25-1 Young and Beautiful: Marina Vacth 
25-1 Borgman: Hadewych Minis
25-1 Venus In Fur: Emmanuelle Seigner
40-1 A Touch of Sin: female ensemble
50-1 Heli: Andrea Vergara

66-1 A Castle in Italy:  Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi
80-1 Grigris: Anaïs Monory
80-1 Nebraska: June Squibb

The round-up of various links covering Cannes:

Screendaily still has paywalls, but if you click on the reviews, they are open to the public:
The Hollywood Reporter at Cannes: 
David Hudson does all the links for each review at Fandor: 
The Film Center's Barbara Scharres and Michał Oleszczyk from the Roger Ebert blog: 
Cannes Diary from Film Comment: 
Kevin Jagernauth and Jessica Kiang the indieWIRE Playlist: 
Drew McSweeny and Guy Lodge & others from HitFix: 
a round-up of indieWIRE reviews: 

Andrew O'Hehir from Salon:

Richard Porton and others from The Daily Beast:

Daniel Kasman, Adam Cook, and likely others at Mubi: 
The House Next Door at Cannes: 
Mike D'Angelo at The Onion AV Club: 
Keith Uhlich offering rival reviews from Time Out New York (Mike D'Angelo's former employer): 
Cannes Fest at Time Out London: 
The Guardian collection of reviews:

The Guardian Cannes commentary:  

David Jenkins from Little White Lies: 
Eric Lavallee and Nicholas Bell from Ion Cinema: 
Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa: 
Richard Corliss from Time Magazine: 
Various writers at Twitch: 

Sukhdev Sandhu and Robbie Collins from The Daily Telegraph: 

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

It was a day of concentrating on Competition films I had missed. I saw three, all at the Olympia complex of eight screens separate from the Palais complex. It had the antiseptic feel of a multiplex back home, and so did the flavor of two of the films I saw, semi-commercial American entries that only marginally seemed like festival fare--Steven Soderbergh's Liberace bio pic "Behind the Candelabra" starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon and Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" starring Bruce Dern.

Both films were solid efforts, but nothing transcendent deserving of awards, at least among this field of films. Maybe come Oscar or Golden Globe time, as "Candelabra" is an HBO film soon to be released, if either of these films strikes a chord with main stream America any of the actors might be acknowledged with a nomination. Douglas, in particular, nails Liberace, though his baby-talk manner of speech took a while to get used to after being initially rather tiresome.

Dern, too, delivers a career-reviving performance as a crotchety, illl-tempered, delusional old man who thinks he has won a million dollars from a magazine company and sets out on foot from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect it. He is almost as nasty a character as Llewyn Davis. His wife continual harangues him and makes desperation phone calls to her two sons to come to her aid. Dern can't be talked out of thinking that he has truly won the million bucks, so one of the sons calls in sick to the electronics store where he works to drive him to Nebraska. There is some frivolity to this movie, unlike the Coen brothers', but it is still mostly concentrates on the darker side of human nature.

Dern and his son stop off in the town where Dern grew up and where his older brother still lives, who he hasn't seen in years. He's even more out of it than Dern, sitting comatosely in front of a tv all day. The word spreads that Dern is back in town and that he has won a million dollars. The local paper wants to do a story on him and many of his friends demand money that they say he owes them from decades ago. They end up stranded in the town for several days, so his wife and other son, a television reporter in Billings, join him. They have much more backbone than Dern and his other son and take on the townspeople, verbally and physically. If nothing else, this movie makes a strong case for a punch in the face as the only proper response at a certain point.

Matt Damon plays one of Liberace's lovers in the final ten years of his life before he died of AIDS. They meet backstage in Las Vegas in 1977 when Liberace is 58 and Damon's character Scott Thorson is 18. There are a few touching scenes, but much of it is creepy, especially when Liberace starts getting plastic surgery and has Thorson undergo the knife as well to make him look like Liberace and be the son he never had. Liberace eventually tires of Thorson and has him evicted from the house he gave him. Thorson sues him for millions and goes to the tabloids with his story.

Paulo Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty" was genuinely worthy of being in the Competition field and will be hard for the jury not to award. Juror Lynn Ramsey most notably will argue strongly for this film full of dazzlingly compositions in this mesmerizing meander about Rome by a suave, articulate, always nattily-attired 65-year old journalist played by Toni Servillo, who gave a similarly commanding performance in Sorrentino's "Consequences of Love" ten years ago that Tarantino's jury somehow managed to overlook. As Servillo wanders from one party or social gathering or encounter with a friend to another he dispenses philosophical observations on all and sundry as did Sean Penn in Sorrentino's last film "This is the Place," often giving truths that people don't wish to hear. It may have been unnecessarily long at 140 minutes, but Sorrentino remains a film-maker with much on his mind.

The remainder of my day was a hodge-lodge of three films that I could have done without. Two were documentaries and the third a sci-fi thriller that took place on Mars. Mars and its space station were quite well-represented in "The Last Days of Mars," but it was an all too typical pseudo-horror story of the astronauts being under attack by a unknown force.

I've avoided the many retrospectives of classics and revived lost or overlooked films until today when I had no other choice than to see Frank Simon's “Weekend of a Champion,” a documentary from 1972 of Roman Polanski following Jackie Stewart around at the 1971 Monaco Grand Prix with an added fifteen minutes of the two of them revisiting the film. The best part of the movie was Stewart's detailed description of the race course as he drove it in 1971 and then again in 2012 as it was the same route of the 2009 Tour de France prologue that I knew well myself.

Ten years of home movies by a Frenchwoman comprised "O Happy Days." This was absolute drivel with not a single interesting character or incident.

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