Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 2 at 2012 Cannes

In my mind is today when the fest really starts as is when sections have their opening films and fest goes into full force; so I go into my serious self to write my comments.

Main Competition

De Rouille et d’Os (Rust & Bone) by Jacques Audiard

One of the most awaited films in the fest and one that buzz predicts as a frontrunner for the Palme d'Or; first reviews headlines tell me that film has high possibilities to continue being THE frontrunner. If you wish to read in-depth about what I think about this film please go here.  Some of the reviews say film has a love story, a violent love story... which if right, is what I expect from Audiard's film.

Photocall video shows us a very beautiful and serene Marion Cotillard; obviously I recommend watching just to see how she moves so-well with the photographers requests. Probably I'm very subjective when I say watch the TV Festival de Cannes interview just to see and hear Cotillard but she's really lovely to watch; if you understand French suggest to turn fest site to that language to avoid the awful voice over English translation.

Press conference has the director, the scriptwriter, the two main stars and is no surprise that the room is full with many standing. One of the things I like about press conferences is the opportunity to "meet" the directors, as many times I realize that director's personality and their filmmaking style are very similar, which has many interesting implications. There are little spoilers but just turn off sound if you wish to avoid them. Already familiar with Audiard's personality thanks to Un Prophet and this video confirms it; impressed with Belgian Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion is simply unbelievably lovely in "real-life" (I know she's working) moments. I found the press conference interesting with some good questions that provoked great answers, suggest you watch it.

Quotes from the press conference

Marion Cotillard's quest to interpret the role of Stéphanie
When I read the script by Jacques and Thomas, I was blown away by the story. Generally, when I read a story, there is always great understanding about the character. I know who the person is. Yet with Stéphanie, I arrived at the end of the character and I did not know who she was. I spoke about it with Jacques and he told me that he didn't know either and the prospect of us discovering this character together was very exciting.

Physical strength in the film, by Jacques Audiard
Matthias does not fit my criteria at all in men. I prefer short men and I surprised myself with this choice, this big boy with lots of muscles. This is what the film discusses, warped characters, at a time of crisis, when society turns to barbarism, where people eat from rubbish bins. It is in this sense that he has physical power. He doesn't have the words but he has that. And in the end, he will probably be able to use words better.

If I believe the little I'm willing to read/learn about this film then I have to agree with some reliable critics that are willing to bet (really gamble) that Marion Cotillard will get the Best Actress award. Besides hoping she wins, to me is one more sign that this film will be great and confirms, once more, that is Must Be Seen.

Baad el Mawkeaa (After the Battle) by Yousry Nasrallah

This is a movie I know very little so today will learn enough to hopefully let you know my impressions and expectations.

Photocall introduces me to a quite attractive cast that stimulates my imagination and if you're not familiar with film suggest to watch even when definitively is not the usual elegant/ceremonial photocall. TV Festival de Cannes interview gives some spoilers that I appreciate to continue learning about film that is set in recent Egypt historic events. Watch if you're interested in learning about the many difficulties they had while filming.

Press conference has major spoilers as seems the film story is what concerns press the most, still continued watching as I know that will be able to watch film rather later than sooner as Egyptian productions are not easy to find near me. Didn't finish watching the video, but suggest you watch only if you really want to learn more about story and filming hardship.

I have the impression that film could not be easy-to-watch due to the real-life events that inspired film but definitively what I watched today stimulates my curiosity and makes me wish to watch film. I expect a film with a style that I'm not too familiar but from few Egyptian films I have seen, can tell that I have not enjoyed style much; still due to the immediacy (2011) of the historic events plus film being in Cannes In Competition curiosity prevails and know that will watch.

As a reference this is the film synopsis.

Mahmoud was one of the horsemen coerced by lowly henchmen for Mubarak's regime into carrying out attacks on protesters in Tahrir Square on February 2, 2011. He has since lost his job. Humiliated and ostracized, he lives near the Pyramids with his wife and sons. His family is on the brink of despair when he meets Reem, a secular Egyptian divorcee who works in advertising. She is a fervent revolutionary who lives in a wealthy Cairo neighborhood. Theirs is the encounter of two people, but also of two different worlds.

If you wish to learn more about film as well as watch trailer plus film clips go to the official site news article here and/or movie info page here.

Un Certain Regard

Opening film: Mystery, Lou Ye

Extremely curious about this film especially after watching impressive film clip that you can see here. As we know film is competing for the Queer Palm, has gay interest, but definitively I expect film to transcend the genre and have spectacular visuals with a story that could be interesting. I'm not familiar with Lou Ye's work but think that will explore his previous works as soon as possible.

Student by Darezhan Omirbayev

Not really familiar with director and his film, inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment but set in today's Kazakhstan, not necessarily calls my attention. Still one word used to describe his work intrigues me, his poetry; think I need to see films with poetic visuals and narrative plus know that filmmakers from that region usually deliver poetry superbly. Maybe I should give director a try.

Special Screenings

Today Laurent Bouzereau presents his film Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir a documentary on the life of the Franco-Polish director. Not sure I wish to watch another doc about Polanski especially when synopsis includes what I think we already know too much. Perhaps what could be interesting is that film is based on Polanski and Bouzereau "recent" (2009) conversations while he was under house arrest in Gstaad, so maybe this doc will include more Polanski's opinions than someone else perceptions.

Cannes Classics

Section opens with Woody Allen: A Documentary by Robert Weide that hopefully will be an interesting biopic on one of the most prolific filmmakers in contemporary cinema, especially when you think than in a career spanning fifty-years and over forty films, Allen has given very little away. I was a huge Woody Allen fan and still LOVE many of his earlier films; but he distanced from me and is it not until Vicky Cristina Barcelona and great Midnight in Paris that he came closer again. Am I interested in watching a biopic? Yes sure, especially if talks about his earlier work and explains me why he changed his so-successful style. It is as I wrote it, very personal.

Also today films restored by the World Cinema Foundation one from India, 1948 Kalpana by Uday Shankar and from Indonesia, 1954 Lewat Djam Malam (After the Curfew) by Usmar Ismail. To read more about foundation and/or films go here.

Cinéma de la Plage

Section opens with the celebration of the James Bond 50th anniversary, a cycle that will screen five films. Celebration starts with the first in a long line of Bond films, Terence Young's Dr. No starring what I consider the most impressive 007, Sean Connery and Ursula Andress in perhaps her most iconic role. Over the course of the 50 years, seven actors have played Bond, the latest is Daniel Craig whose film Casino Royale by Martin Campbell will be also screened today.


Today at the opening ceremony of the 44th Directors' Fortnight master filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan will receive this year Carrose d'Or. Earlier his film Mayis sikintisi (Clouds of May) was screened followed by a masterclass with the filmmaker.

Opening film: The We and The I by Michel Gondry

After reading synopsis and watching several film clips I can't say that I'm looking forward to watch Gondry latest film as from what I have seen storytelling style gave the impression of a film that I will not enjoy. But I know that many will like it as seems like is a good representative of Indie American movies.

Semaine de la Critique

Opening film: Broken by Rufus Norris

Got excited after watching great clips here. Also, got the impression that film will have the realistic style that has predominated lately in British productions but believe that this film could be easier to watch than some that I'm still thinking if I should watch or not. Nevertheless I know will have to find the right mood to fully enjoy this film that has a great cast with the likes of Cillian Murphy and Tim Roth in what seems a departure from his regular roles. Story seems compelling as the following synopsis tells.

Shortly after witnessing a brutal beating, Skunk’s home, neighborhood, and school become treacherous environments, where the happy certainties of childhood give way to danger; her innocence is rapidly worn away and a harsh world fills her future, over which she has no control. When Skunk finally seeks solace in an unspoken friendship with sweet, damaged Rick, she’s faced with the greatest choice of all.

Los Salvajes (The Wild Ones) by Alejandro Fadel

A film that I know very little about it as even when film was at BAFICI there is no trailer available yet. Synopsis doesn't stimulate my imagination in the right direction, so not able to comment about this film that browsing BAFICI reviews found that was not well received at the most famous Argentinean fest; so everyone must be quite surprised when film made the Semaine selection.

First news about Cannes screening are mainly in Spanish with a headline that reads "Argentinean filmmaker Alejandro Fadel shakes Cannes with Los Salvajes", surely must be a shocking movie. Think will skip for now.


Opening film: Sharqiya by Ami Livne

This Israel, France and Germany production calls my attention for the story about an unauthorized desert village with a demolition order and one of its inhabitants deciding to take action, this is the synopsis.

Nobody really respects Camel Najer, the young Bedouin who works as a security guard at the central bus station. Neither his family, nor his colleagues. When the Israeli government threatens to tear down his settlement, he decides to act. Camel comes up with the plan to stage a bomb attack, which he will then prevent from happening, making him the hero of the day, hopefully saving his settlement and earning him the respect he's so desperately yearning for.

Other Important News

Announcements started to pour following the fest kick-off, these are some of the most interesting.

First a very interesting unnamed project that will reunite Asghar Farhadi with Marion Cotillard that absolutely stimulates my imagination as Cotillard in Farhadi filmmaking and storytelling style has to be superb.

Next, came the confirmation that Nicole Kidman will star in Olivier Dahan (remember La Môme?) Grace de Monaco; somehow I like the idea that the project is in the hands of a French director.

Then the fantastic news that the winning team of amazing Il y a longtemps que je t'aime (I've Loved You So Long) has a new project Avant L'Hiver, so we will be able to see Kristin Scott-Thomas again directed by Philippe Claudel. Cast includes great Daniel Auteuil and intriguing Leïla Bekhti.

Also worth mentioning, a French/British thriller directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner (remember Elle s'appelait Sarah?), Dark Places, starring Amy Adams; film is in English.

Today were released details about the film Devil's Knot that will dramatize the case of Jessie Miskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols convicted as teens of murdering three eight-year-old boy scouts in 1993; but after 18 years in prison, the three men were released in August 2011. Colin Firth and Reese Whitherspoon will co-star and The Weinstein Co will distribute.

Other Activities

Today was Madagascar 3 photocall with larger than life movie characters and the opportunity to see the likes of Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Jessica Chastain and Jada Pinkett-Smith, all of whom donate their voices to the now well-known characters.

Also today, Audi Talent Awards ceremony. Awards are handled to a short film and another to music. To read more go here.

The Not-So-Serious News

Tilda Swinton looked truly spectacular at last night Gala Dinner at Electrolux Agora Pavillion, so did Jessica Chastain.

Seen in Cannes today at Rust & Bone premiere red carpet, Jane Fonda, Tim Roth, beautiful Leila Bekhti, Virginie Ledoyen, Beth Ditto and partner Kristin Oqata, plus L'Oreal stars Freida Pinto, Evan Longoria, Fan BingBing.

Seen at Nice Airport today Tilda Swinton leaving; Jennifer Connelly and husband Paul Bettany plus Maria de Medeiros arriving.

Photo of the Day

After Rust & Bone press conference American media fell in love with Matthias Schoenaerts "perfect" English and foresee a long career in Hollywood for him. Headlines talk about the first Cannes crush. Here are the three stars at the red carpet.

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