Thursday, May 15, 2014

Day 2 at Cannes 2014

The day brings the first 2 films in competition, the opening films in the parallel sections and the screening of films that are competing for the Queer Palm. Last night was the ceremonial Opening Dinner that lead to the after party for Grace of Monaco so we have many things to enjoy today.

Please remember that the full articles listed on each Reactions to film section are linked at the Pinterest section or film board, so if you wish to read the review you can do so.

The Competition

Timbuktu by Abderrahmane Sissako

Today is the photocall, press conference and premiere of film but yesterday was the press screening and immediately after twitter got many tweets from reliable film critics with very positive comments. The rule among those that tweet was that they were surprised or even "shocked" by their own reactions to the movie, which yes suggests movie will be good for story, storytelling style and according to film stills plus clips, also with visual poetry which imagine makes film harder to watch as "everything" (including subtle humor) will be contributing to impact the viewer. Great!!!

As this movie seems to be more and more of the very kind of film I enjoy, will have to excuse myself as will NOT go in-depth before watching the movie. I need to experience the surprise that many are talking about, but will share here and in movie Pinterest board some of the headlines/articles from film critics reviews and also here are some photos from all events for you to enjoy!

Too early to predict if film has top award possibilities BUT due to the nature of the story, what seems like visual poetry and film critics' reactions, we could estimate that this film is a strong contender.

Reactions to film
Many extremely positive tweets after press screening, samples in my twitter feed but here are some.
I've never seen a film that combines, quiet fury, humour, and tragic symbolism so compellingly as TIMBUKTU (Nick James)
Magnifique #Timbuktu de #Sissako: une critique en règle de l'intégrisme religieux au Nord #Mali tout en justesse et poésie (Louise Dupont-Culture France24)
Timbuktu de Sissako, violente charge contre l'intégrisme religieux, portée avec douceur et humour sous la forme d'un beau conte désespéré (Eric Vernay)
Aún estoy procesando TIMBUKTU de ABDERRAHMANE SISSAKO. Creo que es tan dura y desoladora como IMPORTANTE (perdón por el término) (Diego Batle-Otros Cines)
Abderrahmane Sissako's latest is a brilliant portrait of a place ruled by religion and a people traumatised by division (Peter Bradshaw - The Guardian)

Mr. Turner by Mike Leigh

Finally yesterday the film trailer was released and if you take in consideration the film clips in official site plus what we saw in the opening ceremony collage, I can tell that yes this film seems will be a visual feast! Movie seems to have beautiful indoors/outdoors cinematography -photo/painting alike- great compositions, plus seems Leigh and more specifically, Dick Pope, are playing with light, darkness, shadows and chiaroscuros. The acting still puzzles me a bit, but maybe will make sense in the wider context when I see the movie.

The best from the press conference: "There was no script, as usual!" Mike Leigh. Mr. Turner red carpet is live right now with lots of people and a few celebrities that stop for photographers. Yes, Julianne Moore is Cannes and was at Mr. Turner red carpet. Not much to see, sigh.

This is another film about a real person but I suspect that reactions to film will not be as controversial as what happened with fest opening film.

Reactions to the film
Why Mike Leigh's 'Mr. Turner,' Starring Timothy Spall, is a Masterful Biopic (Eric Kohn-Indiewire)
Mike Leigh's 'Mr. Turner' Ranks Among His Very Best Films (Oliver Lyttelton-The Playlist-Indiewire)
It’s an ensemble film par excellence, but Spall makes a magnificent centre to the film, as a deeply eccentric, gruff, proudly individual man, huffing and grunting like a turkey, sometimes expressing deep pain, and cheerfully flaunting his knowledge of the classics – a man all in all suffused with the proverbial lust for life. (Screendaily)
Mr. Turner mis en lumière par la presse ! (allocine)
"Mr Turner", un biopic chic mais classique (metronews)
“Mr Turner”, une splendeur dans la nuit des biopics (Telerama)

Un Certain Regard

Party Girl by Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis

The opening film in the section, the first film to be screened that competes for the Caméra d’Or and the Queer Palm. The trio of screenwriters and directors paint the quasi-autobiographical portrait of Angélique, the real-life mother of Samuel and a truculent sixty-year-old and when interviewed they spoke like one. Yes I am curious about this film, for the story, for the filmmakers and for its LGBT content that still can't imagine where it is. Perhaps not really unexpected, some Latin American critics are relating this film to Sebastián Lelio's Gloria, which I find very positive.

Will admit it, I am taken by the projected personality of Marie Amachoukeli! Very particular and absolutely attention grabber.

Reactions to film
Angélique Litzenburger brings a warm humanity to her role as a bar hostess who gives up the fast life to go steady, but this Un Certain Regard-opening drama loses fizz once the cork's popped (Peter Bradshaw-The Guardian)
This slice of French social realism keeps it all in the family. (Charles Gant-Variety)
Party Girl, le sublime portrait d'une vieille petite fille (Premiere)

Harcheck mi headro (That Lovely Girl) by Keren Yedaya

Film had a previous name "Away From His Abscense" but now is called "That Lovely Girl" but no matter how they want to name the film in English we know this Cannes movie will be the first truly controversial as touches the thorny topic of incest. Yedaya is no stranger to difficult themes as Jaffa -was in 2009 Cannes Official Selection- was about the ill-fated romance between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. So, she is known for her narratives that tackle issues head on. But viewers are the ones that are not used to tackle difficult issues head-on, so her films are not easy to watch at all, starting with her first film in Cannes, Or (My Treasure) about a mother and daughter experience with prostitution -which won the Caméra d’Or.

See film at your own risk (I will as have seen her previous films) but I strongly suggest you visit her previous films before watching this one as probably will help you to see her particular head on style and decide if you wish to see more or not. Otherwise you could have the reaction of an American female film critic: " Unfortunately that female-directed movie I just saw was terrible. Terrible. Terrible." (sorry but LOL!)

Reactions to film
Premier film choc de ce festival (Trois Coleurs)
Lo que sufrí con "Loin de mon père", de la israelí Karen Yedaya incesto y sadismo (todo bien explícito). (Diego Batle-Otros Cines)

Cannes Classics

Przypadek (Blind Chance) by Krzysztof Kieślowski.

Twenty-seven years after its selection for Un Certain Regard film returns to Cannes in a restored version. One of Kieślowski early work that tells about the dark side of communism. A must be seen film IF you have not seen it yet as you will enjoy the storytelling style that evolved to create The Double Life of Veronique and his masterpiece the Three Colours trilogy. Film was Restored in 2K, with calibration supervised by the director of photography.

Seishun Zankoku Monogatari (Cruel Story of Youth) by Nagisa Oshima

Nagisa Oshima is the quintessential pioneer of Japanese New Wave cinema. The Shochiku Film Company in Kyoto where he worked as an assistant-director has restored in 4k the second feature film from his incandescent filmography. This film was created when Japanese cinema starts to change from its classical style of great masters evolving into the cinema that we see today. If you see this movie let's say, after watching an Ozu, Kurosawa or Mizogushi film, then you will have the perfect context to understand how Oshima and other filmmakers of the New Wave drastically and dramatically evolved.

Léolo by Jean-Claude Lauzon
I lived in Montreal. I have been to the city's East Side. The film is a portrait of the East side of Montreal, seen through the eyes of a little boy. Québécois director Jean-Claude Lauzon has filmed the insanity of urban poverty with humanity and realism. Léolo made its mark on the Festival de Cannes when it was first screened in Competition in 1992. Five years later, Jean-Claude Lauzon died in a plane crash. Cannes Classics will showcase this intimate film.

Strongly suggest you see this film IF you haven't seen it yet. Elephant, la mémoire du film québécois has produced the restored version of this film, in 2k, from the original negative. The sound was restored by the Quebec Cinémathèque.

Cinéma de la Plage

8 1/2 by Federico Fellini

What can I say about one of the many masterpieces by master filmmaker Fellini that hasn't been said before? Nothing. But IF you are young, learning about cinema and wish to visit cinema of the glorious kind -and you have no idea who Fellini is- then this film is MUST BE SEEN for you. (LOL) Seriously, I am really glad they 8 1/2 got remastered from the negatives by the Eclair & Gaumont laboratory and maybe The Criterion Collection does the movie celebratory edition SOON.

The fest visual identity this year (poster et all) comes from this movie that opens the section with a big bang as only Fellini can do it.

Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

Bande des Filles by Céline Sciamma

Not much to add from what I wrote in the Cannes Check #12 but to say that critics are moderately positive which I believe is fantastic considering the what film is about, a black girl-gang plus drugs, violence with some lesbian interest that some explain as "confusion des genres". Of course film is must be seen for me as well as for many that read this blog.

Reactions to film
Non judgmentally examines another young woman searching for her identity, this time amid a teenage girl gang (Peter Debruge-Variety)
Ce qu'en pensent les critiques sur Twitter: ce matin- example "Diamond brut", (tweets with film comments-mostly positive) (Trois Coloeurs)
Céline Sciamma capte bien ce mélange d’enfantillage et de violence, la tentation de la délinquance et aussi la montée du désir chez son héroïne qui devient femme. (Olivier Père-arteFrance)
Senza mezzi termini: questo è un film bellissimo. (Simone Emiliani-Sentieriselvaggi)

Nordic Factory
Today the screening of the work of 8 directors that produced 4 short films together in teams of two. They are two Danish, two Finnish and four directors from Argentina, Zambia, France and Kyrgystan. For more info about the Nordic Factory or the films go here.

Opening Ceremony

In January 2014 the SRF decided to give the 2014 Carrose d'Or to Alain Resnais; unfortunatelly Resnais passed away in March. During the opening ceremony there will be a tribute to Resnais with the presence of Sabine Azéma, Jean-Louis Livi et Christophe Jeauffroy and the Carrose d'Or will be presented to him. Also before the opening ceremony the screening of the 1958 short film Le Chant du styrène followed by 1977 Providence.

Semaine de la Critique

FLA by Djinn Carrénard

As every year I say -and 2014 is NO exception- La Semaine is always the section with the most strange films and perhaps FLA will be one of the less strange but can't help but to relate it to strange Donoma. But in a way I imagine that this film will be more experimental than anything else which does not attract my attention at all plus add the film runtime, 168 minutes, and know it is too much for me. Sigh. Still first reviews tend to be positive, some with the clarification that film is not for general audiences but for festival audiences.

Reactions to film
Faire: L'amour is poignant, insightful, and far too long and shouty (Variety)
French self-taught director Djinn Carrenard impressively avoids the sophomore slump with FLA, his long-awaited follow-up to his much-lauded first feature, Donoma. (Boyd van Hoeij-The Hollywood Reporter)

Più buio di mezzanotte (Darker Than Midnight) by Sebastian Riso

A film with a story (the dramatization of the childhood of a future very famous -and real life- drag queen named Fuxia) that suggests could be mainstream but when you check film style you know will not be something close to traditional cinema. Film is competing for the Camera d'Or and the Queer Palm. Yes, will watch film even if I find story told many times before perhaps in other context and in countries where things change faster than in Italy.

Reactions to film
A carefully crafted but emotionally tepid coming-of-ager. (Deborah Young-The Hollywood Reporter)
Grande film, tra Pasolini e Dickens. (Chiara Ugolini-La Republica)
Sicilian trans ingenue saga DARKER THAN MIDNIGHT struck innovative groove that it could not sustain through many clumsy moments (Nick James tweet)


Le Challat de Tunis by Kaouther Ben Hania

In the summer of 2003, a man on a motorcycle, carrying a razor blade wound his way through the streets of Tunis. He was on a mission: to slash the most beautiful buttocks of the women he came across on the city’s streets. They call him Le Challat which is most probably a bastardisation of the word Gillette – the famous razor brand. At that time, with the spectre of Le Challat hanging over them, Tunisian women started to change the way they dressed: no more tight jeans, or mini skirts…From one neighbourhood to the other, crazy rumours about him started to circulate. Some said he was a religious nut, others said he was the member of an inactive cell of Al-Qaida who would punish any woman who openly mocked its ideology. People also say that Le Challat sought revenge on all seductive women simply because his own wife had played away from home. Everyone was talking about him, but no-one had ever seen him. Seven years later in 2010, a young director investigates this veritable living legend. She makes a point of trying to find out exactly what Le Challat holds against young women like her, in a country which, since gaining independence has managed, much earlier and more successfully than its neighbours, to rise to the challenge of modernity and allowed its women to be emancipated.

The good news is that already has distribution by Jour2fête.


-Searching for Sugar Man will have a free screening this Sunday, May 18 at 9:30am in Cinema Star 1 as a tribute to Malik Bendjelloul who died this week. I'm still in the denial stage as he was so young and talented.
-Cate Blanchett gave the Chopard Trophy to this year rising film stars: Adele Exarchopoulos and Logan Lerman (now that I see the photo I realize that I know who he is-lol- The Perks of Being a Wallflower). She is stunning as always, just look at the photo below; for some inexplicable reason I can NOT say the same about Exarchopoulos, she need a stylist or better, need to develop a style.
-Well, this is different: Director Russell Crowe and actors Olga Kurylenko and Cem Yilmaz attend a presentation of The Water Diviner in Cannes this morning. Yes is his fourth film but his first feature film and he is the star.
-Today was the opening of the Richard Schroeder exhibition with fantastic photos of filmmakers, actors and more.
-Also today, the opening of the Gold by Lisa Roze exhibition of the French photographer portraying the new scene of French talents in music and cinema. Exhibition is at L'Observatoire Francesco Smalto.
-Annapurna pictures has adquired the rights to Anand Giridharadas book "True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas". Tom Hardy is attached to star and most important, Kacthryn Bigelow will direct!

Not-so-serious News

-Today I learned that Gong Li is this early in Cannes as she ALSO is a L'Oreal ambassador.
-Ryan Reynolds arrived with a look that looks like a movie character, so he must be taking a break from working.
-Getty Images has some black and white Cannes fest photos that are truly FANTASTIC!!! Of course all are right protected, so no sharing in this site. Sigh.
-Last night there was another party at the VIP Room JW Marriot with performers from the Black Circus team and I assume for celebrities that couldn't get into the Grace of Monaco after party, as photos are from the "rich and famous" from Europe and America.
-Oh my! Venerable Gilles Jacob in today's photos looks tired and old, but soon he will time to rest.
-Tonight is the UniFrance party to celebrate the 65 years of the French promotion institution, lots of celebrities are in the Terrasse et suite L'Oreal at the Martinez.
-There are not many good photos from last night opening dinner and after party as most did not changed their clothes (lol) so photos just have a different background (you know that ugly paper in the background to tell about the event) but same dress. One of the few that changed was Jane Fonda!

Photos of the Day

Majestic Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett with Adele Exarchopoulos and Logan Lerman

Fireworks Cannes Tonight

Joanne Moore - Mr. Turner Red Carpet

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