Sunday, May 04, 2014

2014 Cannes Check #6: Made in France

The number six is a group of four directors that were made (born) in France and I group them, to be honest, because none of the French directors in competition excites me as much as other French directors that are NOT in Cannes this year. From the group perhaps the one that I do really like is Jean-Luc Godard but a much younger Godard (like his photo), the one from the 1960's as in my opinion he has changed during the last four decades in a direction that I do not necessarily appreciate. Sigh.

So let's review each briefly.

#6.1 Jean-Luc Godard

It is his seventh time in competition but his nineteenth visit to Cannes; his history started with Cleo de 5 a 7 by Agnès Varda where he was in competition as an Actor. Was in 1970 when he started visiting the Croisette with Vent d'Est in a parallel section and in 1980 when he had his first film, Sauve qui peut (la vie), in competition for the Palme d'Or.

The Godard I highly enjoy is the one that directed extraordinary films like Pierrot Le Fou (1965), Vivre sa Vie (1962), À bout de souffle (1960) and almost all Godard films with Anna Karina in the lead that were black and white. I know he evolved to great honors at the Berlinale and Cannes, but those were the kind of films I enjoyed from him.

This year Godard has two films in Cannes, one a short in the Bridges of Sarajevo omnibus and Adieu au langage 3D (is his 39th feature film) that is in competition. Will he win his FIRST award in Cannes this year? I do not know, he is getting old (was born in 1930) and well maybe he should get a prize, but I do not think should be the Palme d'Or. Then if he wins something then will be one of the few times (or a first?) a 3D film wins something in Cannes.

Basic Info about Adieu au langage 3D (Goodbye to Language)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Scriptwriter: Jean-Luc Godard
Language: French
Runtime:70 min
Production countries: Switzerland and France
Production companies: Wild Bunch

Plot Summary
A married woman and a single man meet. They love, they argue, fists fly. A dog strays between town and country. The seasons pass. A second film begins…

The trailer

#6.2 Olivier Assayas

Not a fan of monsieur Assayas as his first film that called my attention was a one made for TV as a miniseries and after watching the original version had to admit that I appreciated more the first installment as the other two were not that much interesting. Yes I'm talking about Carlos that was in Cannes Out of Competition in 2010.

Still it is the sixth time one of his films is in competition and the fourteenth time he is in Cannes since 1983 when his film was screened in a parallel section. So he does not have a short history with Cannes but is one that I have not noticed that much. Sigh.

My high and true interest in Assayas latest movie is related to who are the stars of the film Sils Maria. First and foremost we have Juliette Binoche an actress that I adore, have seen almost everything with her -the latest being A Thousand Times Good Night- and will not miss a movie with her not matter the director or any other tech spec. But if you add that one of my favorite young actresses (if you regularly read the blog you know it) is playing along Binoche, then film becomes absolutely must be seen for me. Of course I'm "dying" to see Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart playing together and just hope that is as good as when Stewart played besides Jodie Foster.

If this film could (should) win an award, definitively has to be Best Actress; but every time Binoche is in Cannes I always hope she will win the actress top award (she has been 6 times before this year). Was in 2010 when she got the Palme for Best Actress for Copie Conforme by Abbas Kiarostami.

Basic Info about Sils Maria (Clouds of Sils Maria)
Director: Olivier Assayas
Scriptwriter: Olivier Assayas
Language: English
Runtime: 124 min
Production countries: France, Switzerland and Germany
Production companies: GC Cinéma, CAB Productions, Ezekiel Film Production, Pallas Film Vortex Sutra, arte France Cinéma, Orange Studio, Radio Télévision Suisse
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloë Grace Moretz

Plot Summary
Maria Enders (Binoche) has a successful acting career and a loyal assistant Valentine (Stewart) but when a young actress (Moretz) interpreted a role in a new movie – the same role which had made Enders famous – her world starts to crumble. Haunted by her past life, she withdraws herself along with her assistant in Swiss town of Sils Maria.

Film still

#6.3 Bertrand Bonello

I "met" Bonello in 2011 when his film L'Apollonide (Souvenirs de la maison close) was in competition at Cannes; the film impressed me for the its beauty, the unconventional story and great performances by known young actresses. Somehow -and still today- I'm not interested in learning about his previous films but definitively I'm interested in his feature films after 2011.

Has a short history with Cannes that starts in 2003 with Tiresia in Competition, so Saint Laurent is his third film to be in competition but is his fourth time in Cannes as in 2005 he was out of competition with a short film Cindy: The Doll Is Mine.

Saint Laurent is the second film about Yves Saint Laurent that is released within a year and comes without the approval of Pierre Bergé, which does not mean much as the other film that has his approval, the one by Jalil Lespert is more a biopic of Bergé than of Saint Laurent. I do have expectations for Saint Laurent by Bonello, first hope that film is about Saint Laurent and no other character near him; second, expect scenes that look/feel like paintings, like haute-couture paintings or period situations, and third, an entertaining unconventional story. All elements related to L'Apollonide, but in general I expect great visuals.

Still most of all I'm ALSO looking forward to see Léa Seydoux, Louis Garrel, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Jérémie Renier, Dominique Sanda, Jasmine Trinca and more well-known actors performances.

Will Saint Laurent give an award to Bonello? Last week odds are very low as shares the last place along with The Captive by Atom Egoyan. Maybe the odds will improve once the fest begins but I believe that this is not the right time for Bonello winning, soon we will know if I'm right or wrong. The perhaps could win the Queer Palm, but think is too unconventional for that award.

Basic Info about Saint Laurent
Director: Bertrand Bonello
Scriptwriter: Bertrand Bonello and Thomas Bidegain
Language: French
Runtime: 135 min
Production countries: France
Production companies: EuropaCorp, Mandarin Cinéma, arte France Cinéma,

Plot Summary
Centered on the life of Yves Saint Laurent from 1965 to 1976, at the top of his creativity genius and the bottom of his personal life.

Film Still

#6.4 Michel Hazanavicius

Not a fan of Michel Hazanavicius as I did NOT appreciate much his much honored film, The Artist, and have not seen anything else by him (not interested). As a matter of fact not even The Search that is in competition this year calls my attention as is a remake of 1948 The Search by Fred Zinnemann and starring none other than Montgomery Clift.

Seems that Hazanavicius version will change the story to make the lead a woman instead of a man and switches the story from post-war Berlin to Chechnya, but wonder if that will be enough to NOT make comparisons as yes, I have seen the other movie. Still having Annette Bening playing "Raissa" makes the film more interesting and yes, watchable for me.

Basic Info about The Search
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Scriptwriter: Michel Hazanavicius
Language: French, English, Russian and Georgian
Production countries: France
Production companies: La Petite Reine, Worldview Entertainment, La Classe Américaine, Georgian Filme Investment Group, Sarke Studio, France 3 Cinéma

Plot Summary
The Second Chechen War. 1999. THE SEARCH recounts, on a human scale, a powerful story of conflict told through four lives that will be brought together by a shocking twist of fate. After his parents are killed in their village, a small boy flees, joining the flood of refugees. He meets Carole, a European Union delegation head and little by little, with her help, he will return to life. At the same time, his elder sister Raïssa searches tirelessly for him amongst the civilian exodus.
Then there's 20-year-old Kolia... A recent Russian Army recruit, he will gradually be overwhelmed by the daily life of wartime.

Film Still

No comments yet