Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day 9 at Cannes 2014

If yesterday was a bad day for movies, today is a great day for movies and the roller-coaster goes up once again. If my roller-coaster theory is correct -has been up to today- then I am really concern for what is going to happen tomorrow as one of my most awaited films is screened on the last day of the festival (no, it is not the Assayas film). So let's be positive and hope that the roller coaster goes up and up for a great festival finale.

Yesterday I was talking about leaving to end of the festival the American films that attract media world coverage to the festival. Still tomorrow we will find the power of an American actress in a non-American film. My expectation is that the photocall and red carpet will be full of paparazzi but since I know there will also be European photographers -as there is also a very famous French actress- I'm looking forward to see how those two events go and IF one of them wins. LOL! I don't mind who wins as Julilette Binoche and Kristen Stewart are two of my very favorite actresses and have seen/will see everything with each, the climax is having them together in one movie, LOL!!!

Believe it or not today we have the first two award ceremonies! Just one more day to go in festival, afterwards the award ceremony on Saturday.

The Competition

Jimmy's Hall by Ken Loach

I have seen all Loach films, even his earlier films -thanks to free Internet streaming screenings promoted by the director- which I am very grateful. Was sad that he has retiring BUT he is NOT! He is annoyed by media spilling his retirement news when he wants to do more feature films. Great!

His fourteenth participation in the Selection brings us another social relevant story about a communist activist and local legend, whose community initiatives raised the ire of the authorities and the clergy in the conservative society of Ireland in the thirties. Another real person story in films this year in Cannes BUT first and foremost, this is a Loach film and definitively places film far away from the other real-person films.

Ken Loach films are powerful and not easy for me to describe why a film by him wins a Palme d'Or -he has one-or the Jury Prize -he has three-. So have no idea if this movie will bring him the second Palme d'Or or any other award, but if he wins any award I will be extremely pleased as Cannes will have honored the magnificent work of Ken Loach once again.

As you can tell by now, film is must be seen for me no matter the reactions to film by critics and viewers but yes, will share some of them for your reading pleasure. Not all are positive but makes me recall the negative reactions to his The Angels' Share.

Reactions to film
Ken Loach's thoughtful take on Irish communist Jimmy Gralton's battle to save a community hall from an uptight priest is powerful, if a little pedagogic (Peter Bradshaw-The Guardian)
El director Ken Loach no decepciona en Cannes con su sólido cine de denuncia social (20 minutos España)
Loach possesses an almost unique voice in British cinema that has never waivered, offering humane values, working class ethics and impassioned pleas against injustice wherever it lurks. (Richard Mowe-Eye for Film)
Loach's JIMMY HALL a more political riff on FOOTLOOSE set against backdrop of 1930s Ireland. Sure to be a crowd pleaser. (Jesse Wente)
Ken Loach's facile Irish political drama is a disappointing swansong to a great career. (Robbie Collin-The Telegraph)
The latest activist drama from the elder statesman of British political cinema is a heartfelt portrait of ideological warfare in 1930s Ireland.(Scott Foundas-Variety)
#cannes would celebrate a new Ken Loach film if it was home movie footage of his birthday, but JIMMY'S HALL is easily his best in a decade. (Eric Kohn-Indiewire)

Mommy by Xavier Dolan

You have no idea how much pleases me the reaction to the film after yesterday's press screening as literally twitter exploded with so many positive comments that was overwhelming -at least for me. Yes, I wish Dolan success because he deserves it and since his very first feature film he has delighted me with unusual, disturbing, visually stunning and highly entertaining films. Thank you.

As a matter of fact, twitter initial reactions came from French Canadian press, which is another accomplishment as we can NOT say that he has been loved by local press in the past; then was followed by American press -nope they also hasn't liked him- and then came the rest, including the "famous" film critics. All were positive. That's a big accomplishment for whom has been called the latest cinema "enfant-terrible". And then, many were surprised. I was not.

Most, including me, were surprised by the film ratio which is not only unusual but new. Yes it is new as immediately I thought about Pablo Larraín's NO, but this film aspect ratio was not a perfect square with 1.40:1. Dolan's is the perfect square 1:1. Two of the reasons for this aspect radio may be in the following statements by Dolan.

"The square it creates perfectly frames the faces and represents the ideal in terms of painting a portrait. One's gaze is drawn towards it."
"Distractions are removed. The spectator's vision is captured by the character's gaze. Of course, there are great possibilities that allow you to play with language. Goodbye to language!"

As hard as will be with so many positive reviews, I do no t wish to learn more than what I already learn about the film as do not want to spoil the experience when watching film and I have already learned too much, much more than what I usually learn for a French film and for a Dolan film. Sigh. Still, will share some reactions to film for your reference as I do not need them, Dolan's films are must be seen for me.

Reactions to film
From queer to maternity. This explosively emotional portrait of a troubled mother-son relationship is 25-year-old director Xavier Dolan's most substantial work to date. (Stephen Dalton-THR)
The latest from the Canadian 25-year-old is a splashy, transgressive treat, from trailer-trash chat to unexpected sex and surprising emotional depth (Peter Bradshaw-The Guardian)
I think I just saw the Palme d'Or. Xavier Dolan's Mommy. (Stéphanie Belpêche)
Xavier Dolan"s Mommy has just shot to the top of my Palme D'Or favourites: sophisticated and confident, familiar yet fresh. (Damon Wise)
Xavier Dolan's MOMMY Delights. Beautifully realized piece that speaks to both mainstream audiences and the festival crowd.
My @HitFix review of Xavier Dolan's MOMMY, which I found kind of thrilling, kind of moving, and kind of maddening (Guy Lodge-Hitfix)
Cannes : la Palme pour « Mommy », de Xavier Dolan? (Le Monde)

Special Screenings

Les Ponts de Sarajevo (Bridges of Sarajevo) by thirteen directors

With Bridges of Sarajevo (Les Ponts de Sarajevo), thirteen renowned European filmmakers approach the history of the Bosnian capital, a prism that reflects the European political situation since 1914.

One hundred years after the start of the "Great War", thirteen leading contemporary filmmakers -Aida Begic, Leonardo Di Costanzo, Jean-Luc Godard, Kamen Kalev, Isild le Besco, Sergei Loznitsa, Vincenzo Marra, Ursula Meier, Vladimir Perisic, Cristi Puiu, Marc Recha, Angela Schanelec, Teresa Villaverde - capture this city in their cameras under the artistic direction of film historian Jean-Michel Frodon.

Yes, some of the short films are must be seen for me just because the director and do not mind at all to watch the complete anthology.

Midnight Screening
Pyo Jeok (The Target) by Chang
Korea revisits the French thriller. With Pyo Jeok (The Target), Chang has created a remake of A bout portant (Point Blank), Fred Cavayé's thriller released in 2010. Suspense and fast-paced action are guaranteed in this Festival's last midnight screening. Got the impression that this film will have the typical Korean style and perhaps I'm right as the director wanted a fast-paced rhythm, so he did film in the style of music videos BUT then comes a new piece of info: "A thirty-six-hour-long chase is told in 101 minutes. The pace is fast, creating a certain musicality: Chang is not simply revisiting a French thriller, he is reinventing the Korean action film." Hmm, think is too much for me, but the last statement got me curious.

Un Certain Regard

Charlie's Country by Rolf de Heer

The latest aboriginal tale by Australian Rolf de Heer and his third collaboration with the aboriginal actor David Gulpilil. In 2006 de Heer picked up the Un Certain Regard Special Prize for his film Ten Canoes, which explored the consequences of colonization on aboriginal communities. Not familiar with director or his movies, but check synopsis.
Blackfella Charlie is out of sorts. The intervention is making life more difficult on his remote community, what with the proper policing of whitefella laws now. So Charlie takes off, to live the old way, but in so doing sets off a chain of events in his life that has him return to his community chastened, and somewhat the wiser.

Let's hope that reactions to film gives us better idea about film than what I'm able to do before watching film.

Reactions to film
A delicate but powerful film that functions as both a stinging depiction of marginalization and as a salute to the career of the remarkable actor who inhabits almost every frame. (David Rooney-THR)
Devastating but beguiling Charlie's Country raises seriously damning social issues #Cannes2014 (Screen Comment)
Rolf de Heer’s compassionate, clear-eyed drama about the contemporary Aboriginal condition is a showcase for veteran actor, co-scenarist and friend David Gulpilil. (Eddie Cockrell-Variety)

Incompresa by Asia Argento

Perhaps one the most controversial actresses that I know plus an unconventional icon in Europe/Italy and if you don't agree let me share that Cannes official article about film starts with the expression "eccentric filmmaker".

Yes Asia Argento is eccentric to put it softly and will not be surprised if her fourth feature film is eccentric and strange, not only for her reputation but also because Charlotte Gainsbourg stars in film. Because is a Gainsbourg film is must be seen for me as I see everything with her, but let see reactions to film to find what else I will see in Argento's film. Sigh.

Well seems that twitter first reactions are related more to what Asia did during the photocall than to her film; still the few film critics that have already seen film express postive reactions using words often related to her and her movies. Seems it will be Asia as usual which means I wont suffer that much when I see film!

Reactions to film
Charlotte Gainsbourg et Asia Argento vénéneuses. (Premiere)
Argento es... de oro. Me gustó mucho INCOMPRESA, brutal tragicomedia sobre la vida de una nena de 9 años ¡Queremos tanto a Asia! (Diego Batle-Otroscines)
Asia Argento n'est pas tendre avec ses darons dans L'Incomprise, qui cite Comencini, et que domine la performance de la jeune Giulia Salerno (Aurélien Ferenczi)
INCOMPRESA is vulgar, sad, and infuriating. Great young lead. A hell of a film from @AsiaArgento. (Drew McWeeny)
Giulia Salerno is extraordinary in @AsiaArgento's MISUNDERSTOOD. Total marvel. (Nigel M. Smith)
Rage + tendresse + humour + childhood drama + chats + new wave + cris = Incompresa d'Asia Argento. Pretty cool. (Pauline Le Gall)

Cannes Classics

Sayat Nova (The Color of Pomegranates) by Sergei Parajanov
No shame in telling you that have tried to see film with no success as I really do dislike this kind of visual style. The same happens to me with other Eastern Europe/Asian directors that use similar style in the same era, so it is not only him. But if you haven't seen film and/or are not familiar with style maybe should give a try to find if you like it or not. Sigh.

Jamaica Inn by Alfred Hitchcock
Any day is a good day to watch a restored 1939 Alfred Hitchcock film, specially this one based on Daphne du Maurier crime novel published in 1936, starring none other than Maureen O'Hara.

Cinéma de la Plage
Polyester by John Waters - with Odorama
What could be more refreshing than watching a John Waters film at the beach but not just any beach but Cannes beach? Not much else. Refreshing I mean. Especially when film will screen with odoramat!!! Yes viewers can smell the same smells as the characters throughout the film and we know that Polyester recounts the odorous adventures of a less than perfect family. Admit to have never seen movie with odormat and imagine is a very unusual (disgusting?) experience but the fact is that tonight screening is an historic projection in the Croisette. Good they are outside and not inside a theater. LOL!!! Still movie is an enjoyable Waters style film experience even without the odors.

Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

At Li Layla (Next to Her) by Asaf Korman

The first film by Korman surely is a not easy to watch drama as check the synopsis.

Chelli is raising her mentally disabled sister Gabby all by herself. When the social worker discovers she leaves her sister alone in the house while at work, Chelli is forced to place her in a day-care center and the void left by her sister's absence makes room for a man in her life. That man, Zohar, tears another crack in the symbiotic relationship of the two sisters and the three are slowly drawn into a strange threesome, where boundaries between love, sacrifice, nurturing and torturing are broken.

Alleluia by Fabrice Du Welz

Not really familiar with director but his films seems like a complex drama, take a look at the synopsis.
Manipulated by an oppressive and jealous husband, Gloria runs away with her daughter and restarts her life far from men and the world. Encouraged by her friend Madeleine, Gloria agrees to meet Michel via a dating website. Something happens between them at first sight. Michel, a small time, bottom of the range crook is disturbed and Gloria falls hopelessly in love. Michel leaves out of fear but Gloria tracks him down and makes him promise never to leave her again. Desperate to save this love, she abandoned her daughter and decided to pose as Michel's sister so he could continue his little scams. But jealousy gradually blighted Gloria's life..

La Semaine de la Critique

Hippocrate by Thomas Lilti

The closing film in this parallel section and according to the multiple clips plus promotional material seems -to me- too strange for my taste but check the synopsis.

Benjamin is meant to be a great doctor, he’s certain of it. But his first experience as a junior doctor in the hospital ward where his father works doesn’t turn out the way he hoped it would. Responsibility is overwhelming, his father is all but present, and his co-junior partner, a foreign doctor, is far more experimented than he is. This internship will force Benjamin to confront his limits… and start his way to adulthood.


Les règles du jeu by Claudine Bories and Patrice Chagnard

Documentary has distribution but there is no info in English. The following describes what doc is about: Charting the progress of young job-seekers at a mentoring program in a human resources agency over eight months, Rules of the Game is again a thoughtful exploration about how the disfranchised are made to conform to norms they find difficult to comprehend. Check the synopsis in French.
Lolita n’aime pas sourire. Kévin ne sait pas se vendre. Hamid n’aime pas les chefs.
Ils ont vingt ans. Ils sont sans diplôme. Ils cherchent du travail. Pendant six mois, les coachs d’un cabinet de placement vont leur enseigner le comportement et le langage qu’il faut avoir aujourd’hui pour décrocher un emploi. À travers cet apprentissage, le film révèle l’absurdité de ces nouvelles règles du jeu.

Reactions to film
Engaging piece about youthful concessions and confrontations with the dominant social system. (Clarence Tsui-THR)


-La Semaine de la Critique created a new program called Next Step, in collaboration with the TorinoFilmLab and supported by the CNC, the CCAS and the Moulin d’Andé-CÉCI. The program is aimed at the 10 directors of the shorts selected for this edition in order to support them in their transition to feature films. A 5-day workshop will be held in Paris in the Autumn of 2014.

-Sils Maria trailer just came out a while ago while I was writing today's introduction and I watched trailer, once, two times, three... and more as I couldn't believe what I was watching!!! I thought was my wild imagination, but NO: film has some lesbian interest! That is a HUGE unexpected surprise that absolutely baffled me. But now I'm dying to see film, more than before. Sigh.

Not-so-serious News
-amfAR event has already started and phots are starting to appear but you will NOT see here photos of Justin Bieber (dressed), Paris Hilton. lol  As a matter of fact I'm watching LIVE the event arrivals and as expected all look FABULOUS, like Jessica Chastain, Jane Fonda, Kelly Preston, Milla Jojovich, Carla Bruni, Dita von Teese, Heidi Klun, and even John Travolta, Adrian Brody, etc.

Photos of the Day

Marion Cotillard last night red carpet

Isid Le Besco

Jessica Chastain

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