Friday, May 23, 2014

Day 10 at Cannes 2014

This morning the last movie of the festival was screened to the press, so by now film critics that still are in Cannes will have seen all the movies in the competition as major film critics tend to see all the in competition films and a few of the other films in the sidebars. Consequently the first thing I did today was to check the tallies to see which/who were their favorites to win awards. Seems that the critics "fight" is between Winter Sleep and Adieu Au Langage. But the last time I checked the jury composition, there is NO film critic as a member, so the filmmakers and actors jury members probably will have some differences with the critics.

Today is the last day of the festival and of the daily coverage here as tomorrow we will be talking about the award ceremony; then is adieu Cannes, until next year. As you will see today there are not many movies as yesterday La Semaine de la Critique closed and today we have the award ceremonies of Un Certain Regard and la Quinzaine des Réalisateurs.

So I say goodbye to the daily coverage reminding you all that I "force" myself to do this type of coverage to have a in-depth plunge into all films in festival as whether we like it or not, these are some -if not most- of the films we will be talking during the next year.

Just announced: The Palm Dog goes to Body and Luke(tie) in Fehér Isten (White God) by Kornél Mundruczó. Great!

The Competition

Sils Maria (Clouds of Sils Maria) by Olivier Assayas

As you could tell in the Cannes Check for French directors, I have no big expectations about this movie as I am not a big Assayas fan, but it is a French movie that obviously I will see because is by Assayas. Then you have Juliette Binoche and I see everything with her (including her American silly movies) but I really enjoy her in all the European productions where she performs. Last a young actress that I follow because called my attention since she was in Panic Room. Put those three elements together and well, you have a must be seen movie for me. Then yesterday I saw the trailer and gee, expectations went to the highest level imaginable. But today a lot less emotional and more rational I say: Trailers can be deceiving, after all they are promotional tools. My final statement: yes, seems there is some lesbian interest in film, but how much is the BIG question.

Since yesterday I have been following Juliette Binoche and what she is doing in Cannes. For starters she was in Le Grand Journal and to my surprise along with Asia Argento! That is an odd coupling. But interview was really funny as Juliette is so joyful, she laughs so fluently, looks so young, fresh and happy plus there was a clip when she was VERY young! Suggest you see Canal + video that's available only in French, is in the Sils Maria Pinterest board.

To my surprise, Kristen Stewart did not attended the photocall, but sort of new it as found Juliette in the regular serious photo sites but there was no Kristen as of late yesterday. Some say that she will be later at the premiere and perhaps is true as she's announced in attendance at the official festival site. Later we will see.

So what about the movie? After checking twitter my spontaneous perception is that reactions are mixed about movie but seems that many more coincide in saying that there is a great pas de deux between Binoche and Stewart. Seems was so good that odds went up and right now Kristen Stewart (solo or with Juliette Binoche) is third after Marion Cotillard and Anne Dorval (Mommy). The odds are a surprise especially when there are NO odds for Juliette Binoche (solo or not), what???!!! Data just lost credibility for me (lol).

Juliette Binoche in yesterday's interview said that she proposed the project to Assayas, to help him overcome his fear of working with women! (OH!) Let see what happens today during the press conference and interview, hope she expands on that subject.

The Interview

Very fun to watch. In French. To watch with English translation go here.

Press conference
Very interesting press conference quotes, by Juliette Binoche.
There were no rehearsals for Clouds of Sils Maria. We threw ourselves into the scenes with no safety net. We worked through every take and tweaked what we were doing accordingly. I wanted to give myself entirely to the story, take away the safety net. When the camera isn’t trying to control things but leaves you the space to give your best, it’s fabulous. Olivier and I have known each other for 30 years. Ever since Summer Hours (L'heure d'été) I’ve seen how his style of filming encourages you to abandon yourself. You're eager to let yourself go.
We had a great time portraying our world. I know how it works so I didn’t need to do three months of research! And Kirsten had a lot of fun playing the assistant. Kirsten is even more familiar with all that because she lives in that world of the paparazzi.

While watching the press conference remembered who Assayas is, so here are some highlights. His father was Raymond Assayas better known as Jacques Rémy. He was first a film critic working at famous Cahiers du cinéma magazine. The reason I thought about this is because Assayas and Binoche met when he was a film critic!

Press conference video in French. To watch with English translation go here.

Told you, I see everything with Juliette Binoche even the fest videos! (lol).
Now I am getting a bit upset as I am learning more than I want to know about film; but well, will share. There is a connection between this film and Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1972 The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, a film based on a play called Maloja Snake. If you (and me) still remember this fact when you see movie you will understand key elements in Sils Maria.

The Red Carpet
Watching live. Nice to see the Uma Thurman -in beautiful yellow dress- with John Travolta, plus Tarantino and Weinstein et all from Pulp Fiction. Glad Kristen arrived and the best was when Juliette greeted Kristen;  nice photo opportunity that hope someone did capture. Love how Juliette Binoche behaves, like a very young mother to two younger colleagues. There will be very beautiful photos if photographers are in the right place. Was checking Getty and yes, there are some outstanding photos, lets hope some appear around and are rights-free.

Reactions to film
Contrasting styles between stars of two different generations make Cannes competition title a rich study of actorly insecurity. (Peter Debruge-Variety)
'Bewitching'. Kristen Stewart shines in her best role to date, in fearlessly intelligent drama Clouds of Sils Maria. (Robbie Collin-The Telegraph)
If Assayas's film finally falls just shy of being great art itself, it is at least handsomely staged and played with conviction; like a lush A-list revival of skimpy B-list material. (Xan Brooks-The Guardian)
Kristen Stewart joue une partition impeccable dans Sils Maria, vertigineux exercice de métafiction par Olivier Assayas (Trois Couleurs)
Confused lives at high altitudes. A variation on the All About Eve theme that hinges primarily on the emotional and psychological effect aging has on a vital, successful actress, Clouds of Sils Maria is an engaging, if rarefied inside look at the private world of a star. (Todd McCarthy-THR)
Man, I wish this film had a line of dialogue (or 300) that explained exactly what it wants to be about?” (Jessica Kiang-Playlist-Indiewire)
Sils Maria is a sly interrogation of art&life paradoxes channeling Bergman, Fassbinder and Assayas own Irma Vep. KStew is shockingly good. (Larryagross)
Clouds of Sils Maria:Kristen Stewart takes the "whatevs" school of acting to new heights alongside an overcooked Juliet Binoche. (Kate Muir)
SILS MARIA: Interests right up my alley; I can't decide if treatment is too silly or not silly enough. Kristen Stewart easily best in show. (Guy Lodge)
Excellent reviews from Cannes for Sils Maria & a certain actress who has long gotten undeserved stick for her abilities. AHEM, TOLD YOU SO. (Simon Underwood)
The Clouds of Sils Maria is a modest meta-drama with a relaxed Binoche and accomplished Kirsten Stewart (John Bleasdale)
Clouds of Sils Maria: Cerebral and elegant dissection of art, celebrity and ageing. Great chemistry between Binoche & Stewart. (Ann Lee)

Leviathan by Andrey Zvyagintsev

Already praised Zvagintsev work in the Cannes Check so will try to not repeat myself and concentrate on what has happened after film screened to the press. In general reactions tend to be positive as I imagined or expected, as this is the last film that really deserved to be in competition in the festival as absolutely has the credentials and now I can say, fulfills what used to be high standards in the mother of all festivals, Cannes.

Against by better judgement, I have expectations about this film; I expect a masterpiece! A full, complete, out-of-the-ordinary cinematic experience, one that will blew my mind and my senses. That's it. I know I will get it as reactions have been extremely positive as I imagined, expected.

Reactions to film
Leviathan - a new Russian masterpiece. Andrei Zvyagintsev's latest is a very strong contender for the Palme d'Or – a mix of Hobbes, Chekhov and the Bible, and full of extraordinary images and magnificent symmetry. (Peter Bradshaw-The Guardian)
'Leviathan' Is a Transfixing Epic That Grows On You (Eric Kohn)
Leviathan à #Cannes2014: la gueule de bois de la Russie post-soviétique. Critique fine des petits puissants, enivrée d humour noir. (Trois Couleurs)
Huge monsters of the deep move under the surface of this powerful, craftily allusive and elusive film, the director’s best and most courageous so far. (Leslie Felperin-THR)
Cannes saved one of the best for (almost) last: Zyagintsev's LEVIATHAN is an astonishing, vodka- and irony-drenched symphony of destruction. (Scott Foundas)
"Léviathan", courber l'échine ou vivre libre face à l'Etat tout-puissant (Le Point)
Government and God: Leviathan is a BIG film and a strong contender for the Palme d'Or. Magnifique. (Total Film)
LEVIATHAN every bit as monumental as title suggests. Would make a strong (cinematic and political) Palme contender. (Jonathan Romney)
Struggling to write Palme d'Or predictions, but suspect Leviathan may have just rolled in like an invincible Russian tank. (Kate Muir)

and perhaps the best reaction is by Reuters news-service:
Russia's 'Leviathan' pleases Cannes, angers Russian minister (Michael Roddy)

Short Films Competition
Today the screening of all the shorts.

Cannes Classics

Masterclass by Jacques Audiard

If something really makes me upset for not being in Cannes this year is missing a masterclass by one of my favorite contemporary French directors. Just for fun -but there is an insight-, here are some quotes from the masterclass.
"I make a lot of close-up, and as said my ex-woman, I make a cinema of nearsighted"
"If I saw only my first two films, I would be devastated"
"My first film, I didn't have much pleasure to make it, but for my second, I had a lot of it"
"The actors are animals with a sensitive skin, it's necessary to speak their own language"
"If I move to film making, it is because I had a certain idea of the cinema"

Fear (Non credo più all'amore - La Paura) by Roberto Rosellini
Any day is a great day to see for the first time or revisit a film by Rosellini, especially when his wife is the lead actress in what is called their "last dance" as was the last film they did together. Of course I'm talking about Ingrid Bergman. The film will screen in the original version language: English, but there is an Italian version that producers decided to do without the consent of Rosellini so they shorten the film, add a voice over and changed the outcome!. So you see producers and distributors have been doing whatever they please since a long time ago. Sigh.

Tokyo Orinpikku (Tokyo Olimpiad) by Kon Ichikawa
No, I haven't seen this documentary but yes very interested in seeing it after learning about being a "visual masterpiece of Asian cinema".

Cinéma de la Plage

Today: Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino

20 years ago film won the Palme d'Or. To mark the occasion Cinéma de la Plage will host an anniversary evening with the presence of Quetin Tarantino and Uma Thurman (according to official Cannes site) but from other news John Travolta will also attend (he is in Cannes). Also in attendance film producers Lawrence Bender and Harvey Weinstein.

Tomorrow: Purple Rain by Albert Magnoli
The classic Prince vehicle that for the music is must be seen and then perhaps give a try to the unofficial follow-up directed by Prince, Under the Cherry Moon, just to see one actress that absolutely captured my attention, stole the movie and since then, been following her very close: Kristin Scott-Thomas in her feature film debut performance.

Quinzaine des Réalisateurs
19:30 Closing Ceremony followed by screening of the closing film

Pride by Matthew Warchus

Just because the cast film is must be watch for me as I highly enjoy Bill Nighy plus well, also in film Imelda Stauton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott and more.  But if you add story then is more understandable that I have to see movie. Check synopsis.
It’s the summer of 1984 – Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is on strike. At the Gay Pride March in London, a group of gay and lesbian activists decides to raise money to support the families of the striking miners, and later sets off in a mini bus headed for a mining village in deepest Wales to make their donation in person. And so begins the extraordinary story of two seemingly alien communities who form a surprising and ultimately triumphant partnership.

Reactions to film
Pride - Billy Elliot continued with rousing gay rights romance set during miners' strike. Theatre director Matthew Warchus makes a successful transfer to screen with a funny, no-punches-pulled tale set against the backdrop of the mid-80s 'Pits and Perverts' concerts. (Peter Bradshaw-The Guardian)
Resistance is futile. A bitterly divisive strike in Margaret Thatcher's Britain fosters an unlikely union of solidarity between embattled mineworkers and militant gays in this rousing true story. (David Rooney-THR)


New Territories de Fabianny Deschamps

Imagine story has to be interesting and film will be visually remarkable.  To learn more about film go to the website here.  Check info about film.
New Territories is a journey of initiation through faith and beliefs on the border between life and death. Two women poles apart, two paths: one is a living French businesswoman; the other is a Chinese textile worker. While Li Yu is preparing herself to reach Hong Kong clandestinely in search for a better life, Eve is conquering the Asian market with a new funeral rite. The two women end up meeting. Their paths cross in the New Territories, a no man’s land on the edge of the super-capitalist city of Hong Kong and communist China. New Territories is a fairytale that unfolds in a contemporary world of rationality and market economy.

-The Queer Palm ceremony will be tonight at 22:00.
-"Everyone" was walking the Sils Maria red carpet, including Pierre Lescure (from June 1st the new fest boss), Catherine Denueve, Joseph Jackson (?!) and more.

Photos of the Day

Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart (in focus)

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