Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Day 7 at Cannes 2014

Today is an "UP" day in the roller-coaster as we have films by European and Asian master filmmakers, the Best of the Best from those regions. Fantastic day.

The Competition

Deux Jours, Une Nuit (Two Days and One Night) by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

What can I say about the two-time Palme d'Or winners director-duo plus one of the most important actresses in contemporary world cinema working together? Not much. Just that it is must be seen for me and hopefully will be ASAP. But will try to add something more.

Another Dardenne social drama this time about the economic crisis that surely will be intense with extraordinary performances by Dardenne regular, Fabrizio Rongione and Marion Cotillard. Have to share that I am so grateful that Marion Cotillard always returns to Europe to do GREAT movies as her goings into Hollywood cinema have not been that good, but know that she must be making lots of money (lol!). The last time was in great Jacques Audiard's Rust and Bone and now for the first time ever in a Dardenne brothers film that has to be like another great step in her career, as she said: "tourner avec eux revenait à accéder à l’inaccessible".

This is a film I do not wish to know much about anything/everything related to the movie as do not want to spoil the experience when watching film, so will not see videos with interview or press conference nor will read beyond headlines; but will share some reactions with you all. No need to say that film is must be seen for me no matter what critics/viewers say.

As someone asks: Les frères Dardenne peuvent-ils recevoir une troisième Palme d'Or avec ce film? Verdict: Oui.

My crystal ball is silent as my favorite film in festival is another BUT I wouldn't mind at all if the Dardenne Brothers get their third Palme d'Or as they are extraordinary and IF they do they will be #1 (and the only ones) in the top echelon of Cannes Palme d'Or winners.  What my crystal ball says is that Marion should win and maybe will win as this was the exact vehicle to showcase how good her performances are.

Reactions to film
Two Days, One Night,' Starring Marion Cotillard, Shows the Dardenne Brothers' Best Qualities (Eric Kohn-Indiewire)
Specialists in unvarnished intimacy, the Dardenne brothers add another clear-eyed contemplation of stark social reality to their impressive output. (David Rooney-THR)
Deux jours, une nuit : une fable digne et épurée. (Laure Croiset-Toutlecine)
Deux jours, Une nuit, porté par l’interprétation retenue de Marion Cotillard, est une promesse de renouvellement. (Christophe Naronne-Premiere)
Les frères Dardenne à leur meilleur dans une oeuvre imparable et sacrificielle sur la dignité humaine, portée par une Marion Cotillard au sommet de son art. Une troisième Palme d'or en vue? (Thierry Cheze-L'Express)
Overwhelmingly positive reviews for #Cannes2014 Dardenne bros' TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (indiwire summary)

Futatsume No Mado (Still the Water) by Naomi Kawase

If something is truth is that Kawase "explores its mystique for mankind" and she does it with such delicate beauty that hurts. The Mourning Forest is still for me her awesome masterpiece but I am looking forward to see her latest as know will have breathtaking visuals with a human story that know will evolve in simple, very simple ways.

Then you have her saying everywhere that this film is her masterpiece, like a milestone in her cinematic filmography; which obviously critics and cinephiles do not appreciate and yes, they reject that type of statements from directors. Obviously Kawase's comment will not help her to get "good" reviews, so I will take reactions with a grain of salt.

Not a surprise to notice that reactions are mixed, with positive reactions relating more to awesome visuals and the less positive to the story. If I can recall well, these are the same reactions to her extraordinary The Mourning Forest that someone even dare to say that there was no story in the second half of film; scenes that are the most beautiful poetic narrative that I have seen in many films by master-directors. I do not know if here she uses visual elements to conduct her narrative but if she does it makes sense why many do not approve the "story" in this film.

Regardless what critics/viewers say about film, this is must be seen for me and hope that she will delight me again with magnificent visual poetry that could -or not- conduct the narrative.

Could she win the Palme d'Or? I hope she does BUT not because her gender, the jury gender composition or all the fuzz that nowadays is given to female directors, she should win because her film is superior to films by -let's say- Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Dardenne Brothers and one more director that has not shown his film yet.

Reactions to film
Naomi Kawase’s 'Still The Water' Is A Spectacle For The Senses (Nikola Grozdanovic-The Playlist-Indiwire)
La palme d'or pour Still the Water! (Le Crapuleux)
Naomi Kawase's Still the Water is a stagnant pond of ideas. (Guy Lodge-Hitfix)
Japanese director Naomi Kawase's competition entry is an impressively poised – and implacably self-conscious – domestic drama with Zen water features (Peter Bradshaw-The Guardian)
The Japanese helmer's trademark visual splendor is weighed down by a chunky, underdeveloped script. (Clarence Tsui-THR)
STILL THE WATER (Kawase): Idk, a Kawase film: self-serious, melancholy, beautiful, fleeting, and often numbing. (Jordan Cronk)
Despite her high estimate of herself, I would be surprised if Naomi Kawase's overcooked STILL THE WATER won the Palme d'or (Nick James)
"Still the water" de Naomi Kawase: émouvant mais barbant (Christophe Carriere-L'Express)

Out of Competition

Gui Lai (Coming Home) by Zhang Yimou

There has been eight long years since Zhang Yimou did a film with awesome Gong Li and some of you will recall fabulous Curse of the Golden Flower. Their trajectory together is one the most extraordinary collaboration in world cinema as they did together eleven incredibly good movies like Red Shorghum, Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern, To Live, The Story of Qiu Ju, Shanghai Triad and Code Name: Cugar. You have no idea how much I'm dying to see this movie as have not seen Gong Li in a great role since she went to Hollywood to do mediocre movies and came back to China to do silly films; so, now in the twelfth collaboration between a great director and a great actress the result has to be worth-watching.

Movie does not seem the majestic, colorful typical Zhang Yimou production as from film stills and trailer, film seems will be visually somber as will probably complement the storytelling about the psychological toll of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. But his awesome cinematic style can be seen all over the promotional material.

This is film that I will watch no matter what critics and viewers say but for your reading will include some of their reactions. Seems reactions are mixed but wonder if fantastic Under the Hawthorn Tree, another romantic Zhang Yimou film, could have generated similar reactions. Sigh.

Reactions to film
Powerful, profound and emotional (Steven Spielberg)
Sweet but suspect cultural revolution romance (Xan Brooks-The Guardian)
COMING HOME: Zhang Yimou's 50 FIRST DATES, movingly done. And now I want dumplings. (Justin Chang-Variety)
A meandering and frequently tepid love story that also wants to be an important commentary but is too weightless to be effective as either. (Elizabeth Kerr-THR)
Great to see Zhang Yimou and Gong Li working together again. Loved Coming Home. Sweet, beautifully told story of enduring love. (Ann Lee)
If you have a heart like me you'll be moved to tears by Zhang Yimou's Coming Home. But I noticed a few critics with no heart who walked out. (Alex Billington-Firstshowing)
GUI LAI: intimate but disappointing period drama from Zhang Yimou. Gong Li shines through at least (FilmLand Empire)
Zhang Yimou retorna ao drama intimidara no tocante Coming Home. Se estivesse em competição, brigaria pelos prêmios principais. (AdoroCinema)

Special Screenings

Les Gens du Monde by Yves Jeuland
In 2012, Yves Jeuland trained his camera on the political section of the French newspaper Le Monde. For three months, the documentary filmmaker set out to capture the breathless work of the journalists covering the presidential election campaign. Les Gens du Monde tells the story of his extraordinary journey into the heart of this legendary French news machine. I read Le Monde daily but watching a doc about the newspaper, hmm, not sure.

Geronimo by Tony Gatlif

Great Céline Sallette in a contemporary sort of Romeo and Juliet set against the backdrop of a war between two gangs from different cultures. I am sold but know will not be easy-to-watch for the raw realism and violence.

As it is said in a tweet, "film is like Flamenco meets West Side Story in high-energy face-off between Spanish and Turkish communities in a French housing project" which I think describes better what this film must be about.

Reactions to film
Geronimo, de Tony Gatlif: ça fait quoi, pour des acteurs, de se découvrir à l'écran? (Charlotte Pudlowski-Slate France)
Sharply drawn characters full of intensity, passion and energy burn out in a story without an ending. (Deborah Young-THR)

Un Certain Regard

Titli by Kanu Behl

I do enjoy films from India that are not musicals and The Lunchbox is the best and latest example of great Indian cinema. Will this film be engaging and go beyond the usual street violence of the business of armed robbery? Do not know and hope reactions to film will tell us something.

Reactions to film
#Titli is brutal, complex, layered, gripping. Terrific performances. Congratulations Kanu. (Anupama Chopra)
Un nouveau représentant de la jeune génération du cinéma indien indépendant. Le réalisateur livre un film sombre et personnel sur la famille (Trois Couleurs)
Titli: India's Cannes selection is another story about a very violent family. Intense, real and a bit heartbreaking, but not without hope. (Vera Wessel)

Lost River by Ryan Gosling

I am as curious as many with Gosling transition to behind the camera. My imagination tells me that his work has to have the visual influence of Nicolas Winding Refn with whom he has done similar characters in films full of violence but with a particular filmmaking style. The few stills and the recent released teaser tell me that maybe I am right, especially when it comes to the use of light and color. But until I see film will not know how Gosling chose to start his directorial career and a particular style -if there is one.

Reactions to film are mixed, but tell me about something I couldn't imagine from the promotional material: David Lynch! The film has become a lot more interesting for me. Somehow reactions in other language than English tend to be more favorable, which is great thermometer for me.

Reactions to film
Ryan Gosling's new film is a Lynchian fever-dream. Bizarre and gorgeous. An incredible debut film! (AmericanCinemaEditor)
Cannes so far lacks a film-maudit crapocalypse. LOST RIVER just supplied it. All Gosling's pet Lynch films, filtered through Refnvision. (Tim Robey)
Gosling's LOST RIVER a first-rate folie de grandeur. Echoes of Argento, Korine, Lynch, Malick in a tedious allegory of Detroit as ghost town. (Scott Foundas)
Ryan Gosling's directorial debut LOST RIVER is like the residue of a collision between GUMMO & TWIN PEAKS. No, really. (Eric Kohn)
Lost River Ryan Gosling, très perturbant, reprend les codes de Drive. Du sang, du néon, de la veste qu'on voudra porter à l'automne. (Elodie Petit)
Livre d'images goth, film-carrousel, cabaret-rock, morale Disney, mix Korine-Gaspar Noé style : le film de Ryan Gosling est cool (Romain Blondeau)
'Lost River'. Ryan Gosling va a dividir mucho. La 'Holy Motors' de #Cannes2014. Pesadilla bestial. Un debut impresionante. Plas, plas. (Emilio Doménech)

The Salt of the Earth by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, the son of the great Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, presents The Salt of the Earth, a portrait of his father, in collaboration with Wim Wenders and compiled as a result of his travels. Very nice photography in this documentary.

Cannes Classics
Matrimonio All'Italiana (Marriage Italian Style) by Vittorio de Sica
Today is the day that Sophia Loren arrives in Cannes as tomorrow is her masterclass, but the screening of one of the Italian classic romcom with two of the most iconic Italian actors, Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren in a film considered as a parody of the neorealist ideals of Italian cinema is a tremendous opportunity for the young of age to learn and the young of heart to revisit. Before the screening the short film, Voce Umana by Edoardo Ponti starring Sophia Loren and directed by her son.

Cinéma de la Plage
The Warriors by Walter Hill
Have not seen film and not that familiar with director, could be a chance to learn more about him but the few films I have seen by him are have too much gratuitous violence, so not interested. Sigh.

Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

Queen and Country by John Boorman

From promotional material film looks and feels like classic period drama from British film industry, perhaps a bit more with TV style than with cinema style. Check the synopsis.
1952. Bill Rohan is 18 and wanders, dreamy and happy, along the riverside where his family have a house. His daydreaming is rudely interrupted by the Korean war, the draft, and the harsh reality of the military camp where he trains. There, he meets Percy, who becomes his firm friend. After their induction, numerous conscripts are sent to Korea. Bill and Percy are lucky enough to find themselves as instructors in a training camp. They plot against an unbearable sergeant. They also make some excursions into the outside world. During one of them, Bill falls in love with a girl who is unattainable.

Reactions to film
John Boorman's sequel to his masterful 'Hope and Glory' doesn't equal its predecessor, but still offers a vivid snapshot of Army and family life in post-War England. (Scott Foundas-Variety)
John Boorman's semi-autobiographical follow-up to his wartime drama Hope and Glory is an entertaining, if lightweight, reminiscence of the ups and downs of National Service (Peter Bradshaw-The Guardian)

Whiplash by Damien Chazelle

Film was screened at Sundance were won the US Grand Jury Prize and American critics have reviews more from Sundance than from Cannes. This is the kind of movie that I know eventually will see in premium cable TV, so there is no rush to watch it. Check the synopsis.
Andrew, a promising 19-year-old drummer at a cutthroat Manhattan music conservatory, has little interest in being just a musician. Haunted by his father’s failed writing career and plagued with the fear that mediocrity just might be genetic, Andrew dreams of greatness. Determined not to follow in his father’s footsteps, he practices daily until his hands literally bleed. The pressure of success ratchets into high gear when he is picked to join the school band led by the infamous Terence Fletcher, a brutally savage music instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential. Under Fletcher’s ruthless direction, Andrew begins to pursue perfection at any cost—even his humanity.

Reactions to film
Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons go toe-to-toe in a potent drama about an ambitious young drummer and his abusive teacher. (Todd McCarthy-THR)
Loved Whiplash. Riveting from start to drumtastic end. JK Simmons best non-homicidal psycho since R Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket. (Matt Mueller)

Tu dors Nicole by Stéphane Lafleur

Film seems could be interesting as has an intriguing story. Check the synopsis.
Making the most of the family home while her parents are away, Nicole, 22 years old, is enjoying a peaceful summer with her best friend Véronique. When Nicole’s older brother shows up with his band to record an album, the girls’ friendship is put to the test. Their vacation takes an unexpected turn, punctuated by a heatwave, Nicole’s growing insomnia and the persistent courtship of a 10-year-old boy. Tu dors Nicole takes a humorous look at the beginning of adulthood and all its possibilities.

Thanks to recollecting reactions to film, got very interested in film; here is a key element that I picked-up: "Petite sœur québécoise de la Frances Ha"; alright now I know what film is about plus the white&black look absolutely calls my attention.

Reactions to film
Entre Wes Anderson, Frances Ha et Ghost World, jolie vignette-comédie québéquoise en N&B, inventive et down-tempo (Eric Vernay)
Bel accueil chaleureux pour Tu Dors Nicole de Stéphane Lafleur à la Quinzaine des réalisateurs. Un beau film fin, drôle, nostalgique. (Marc Cassivi)
An affecting, funny, eccentric and gorgeously shot coming-of-age film about a rudderless 22-year-old. (Boyd van Hoeij-THR)

La Semaine de la Critique

Hope by Boris Lojkine

Another film about the trip from Africa to Europe that surely will not be easy to watch and even if this time is in land, movie sees to me as Moussa Touré's La Pirogue that is set in a brave sea, here is the brave Sahara desert. Check the synopsis.
Deep in the Sahara desert, as they try to get to Europe, Léonard, a young man from Cameroon, rescues Hope, a Nigerian woman. In a fiercely hostile world where safety requires staying with one's own people, these two try to find their way together, and to love each other.

Reactions to film
Tragedy of Boris Lojkine's fabulously-lensed migration drama #HOPE is not how Africans are treated but how they treat each other. (Filmuforia)
Cinéma vérité pour Boris Lojkine et émouvant récit du voyage impitoyable en Afrique du Nord d'une Nigériane et d'un Camerounais rêvant d'Europe (Fabien Lemercier-Cineurope)

La fille et le fleuve by Aurélia Georges

Film has no distribution and info is hard to find but here is the synopsis.
Nouk and Samuel are in love, young, over-possessive and clumsy. One day Nouk abruptly loses Samuel. He ends up in limbo. Will Nouk’s crazy hope tear him away from the afterlife?

Reactions to film
La Fille et le fleuve fait le choix de la sensibilité et de la poésie. Rendant compte de sentiments dont il n’interroge jamais l’origine, ce deuxième long-métrage échappe à la pesanteur guindée et démonstrative qui le guette parfois par l’audace de son incarnation fantastique. (Mariane Fernandez-Critikat)


-Ken Loach is in Cannes as saw him in the Two Days, One Night red carpet!

Not-so-serious News
-Seems Aish went back to be like before she had her baby; now we need to see her in movies!
-Dardenne brothers film red carpet was full of European celebrities, which is truly refreshing after seeing too many American celebrities in Cannes (lol!).
-Tonight De Grisogono dinner party, in collaboration with Gyunel at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc

Photos of the Day

Ryan Gosling and Christina Hendricks

Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima - Last night at Chopard party

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