Thursday, May 14, 2015

Day 2 - Cannes 2015

The second day comes like a cinema tsunami as there are films and activities in all the sections of the festival plus the Cannes Market is bursting with high profile projects and selling films from all over the world and for all over the world.

But the most extraordinary news is that finally we are able to see how Carol by Todd Haynes will look and feel as there are two clips that you can watch here. I'm still nervous about this movie as the story is not pretty and I'm tormenting myself trying to guess what writers and director did in the screen: did they make it pretty or not? (LOL)

Not really know what to think about what is in the news and I'm showcasing upfront right now. It's about shooting films in English by directors that do not command the language or is not their mother-tongue. Here is an excerpt of today's article in English; yesterday I read it in French.

France’s attempt to stop English from becoming the standard language of cinema is failing as Europe’s most talented directors abandon their mother tongues to further their careers. Thierry Fremaux, the head of the Cannes Film Festival, has admitted that English is now the international language of film, comparing it to Esperanto, the artificial language designed to unite nations. The French government imposes quotas on its cinemas in an attempt to curb American films to less than 60% of screenings, but the rules do not apply to continental European directors who choose to shoot their movies in English.

Past experiences have shown us that not all great directors are able to crossover to a different language and be as successful as with his own language. There are exceptions, but most cases belong to the rule. Truth is that in this year festival there are (too) many films by European directors done in English with American, British or elsewhere English-speaking actors. As we know this not only applies to directors, also is true for many actors that go to Hollywood and do not achieve the extraordinary success they had in their own language films. But Cannes acknowledging a trend is kind of discouraging for me. Sigh.

No idea what is going to happen with this issue in the future, so we better concentrate in what is happening today in the mother of all festivals.

The Competition

Il racconto dei racconti (Tale of Tales) by Matteo Garrone

I don't enjoy much Salma Hayek as an actress but highly enjoy Alba Rohrwacher performances so was delighted that she came back to Cannes once again as last year she was in her sister, Alice Rohrwacher's The Wonders. Photocall shows us the many cast members that came to Cannes (there are three stories with different actors), but definitively watching Vincent Cassel is always nice. What's new is that available photocall video now has a narrator (???) so we can't hear what photographers are yelling (lol). But the one that has more photocall solo time is Salma Hayek, of course. Love when Cassel takes his sunglasses and smiles, just for that moment photocall video is priceless!

The interview is fine especially because they allow us to listen what Mateo Garrone says in Italian (thank you!) and well, he is saying film stuff that's interesting and are not spoilers. Oh! yes Garrone got some inspiration from Pasolini. Imagine a very visual outstanding film with not so pleasant (fairy) tales. Alba Rohrwacher is in the press conference but not in the main table (buh!) think will skip the press conference for now as do not want to learn more about the film, please recall that I hate to learn much about movie before watching. Nevertheless we are reminded that this is the first film screened in the competition.

Film is must-be-see for me as have enjoyed much Garrone's films, but nothing that I have learned today about the film increases my expectations, perhaps the only consequence is that will be more prepared to watch unpleasant situations presented with awesome visuals.

Reactions from the Press
Since yesterday started to see tweets with spontaneous comments and tend to be not so positive, but when you add those that appeared today plus the movie reviews then you realize that film seems not to be for all audiences as in a generalization believe that is 50/50 positive/negative spontaneous comments and reviews. Some examples follow.

Glorious monstrosity, Tale of Tales, but there remains long stretches where the feeling of being in the presence of a resplendent cinematic UFO remains. David Jenkins - Little White Lies
'Tale of Tales' might lack magic in the immediate, flashy sense, but its strange spell is altogether seductive and special. Dave Calhoun - Time Out London
Brave to the point of madness, Italian auteur Matteo Garrone’s most visually and aurally ravishing film to date gives flesh and blood – and plenty of both – to three Neapolitan fables. Lee Marshall - Screendaily
‘Il Racconto dei Racconti’ Disney, meet Eurotrash. Zornitsa - Sound on Sight
These gory and gorgeously shot stories are not for the faint-hearted. Deborah Young - THR
The Tale of Tales : "De l'outrance, une certaine gueule, mais bof!" Bruno Cas - Europe 1
Matteo Garrone: "Pochi tiepidi applausi della stampa? Per me conta il pubblico". Teresa Marachesi - Huffigton Post Italy

Matteo Garrone's Tale Of Tales is fabulous in every sense and Toby Jones has a shout at Best Actor. Peter Bradshaw (UK)
This utterly barmy fantasy will easily be one of oddest films of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. It’s also shaping up to be an early contender for the fest’s prizes. Total Film (UK)
TALE OF TALES: Grimm's Labyrinth? Fellini's The Cell? Killer design, quite a hoot, but wish it had more there there. Toby Jones, MVP. Aaron Hillis (USA)

海街 diary Umimachi Diary (Our Little Sister) by Kore-eda Hirokazu

The more I learn about this movie the more I think that this movie is Beautiful with the pace and style of earlier Japanese master filmmakers like Naruse and Ozu. Seems I could be right as critics/viewers buzz tend to be a lot more positive than negative.

Not familiar with the actresses but from watching the photocall, interview and press conference videos plus pre and post Cannes buzz, seems to me that the ensemble cast or one of them can be a strong contender for the Best Actress award. But wonder how much Coen bros plus other jury members appreciate "classical" Japanese cinema. IF they do, not only the actresses but also the movie have good chances.

All four actresses are very beautiful and it is a true joy to see them and their so-not-western-like behavior in front of press cameras. If you wish to have a bit of fresh air suggest to watch the photocall, even photographers behave differently. Nice. Interview is inconsequential with too much "lost" in translations, especially the 'entertainment' element, so you can skip it will not miss much. Okay, director establishes film tech specs relation to Ozu, great! As a matter of fact is with another Ozu question that press conference starts and well, Kore-eda seem annoyed and think I understand why as no one likes to have his work compared to another filmmaker. He clearly says that westerners are the only one doing that comparisson.

As happens every year those films that do not have American/International celebrities aka as actors, have very little press interest and you can see in the red carpet video that there are not much photographers or fans. Still when the actresses arrive fans get excited with their cameras clicking as the group of young actresses are true beauty, the kind of beauty that we do not see often in western cinema events. If there is one video you can watch is the red carpet and you will have a "surprise" in the beginning that has nothing to do with this movie.

No matter what happens in Cannes with film, this is a movie that I'm "dying" to watch and will be impatiently waiting until the moment becomes reality. Sigh.

Reactions from the press
Generous spirited, pristinely shot and, quite frankly, somewhat dull. Leslie Felperin - THR
Hirokazu Kore-eda's latest fractured-family drama is a graceful yet somewhat emotionally muffled portrait of four siblings. Maggie Lee - Variety
Koreeda makes melodramatic gold from manga. Nick Roddick - Sight & Sound
Although they may no longer sleep on a tatami at night and put on a kimono for their daily routines, the sisters and all those surrounding them are deep down as Japanese in their conduct and perception of life as Ozu’s characters used to be. Dan Fainaru - Screendaily

Lovely, warm-hearted, typically delicate portrait of family life in Umimachi Diary from Koreeda Hirokazu - Glasgow Film Festival
UMIMACHI DIARY Kore-eda's inversion of Cinderella - orphaned girl finds three lovely stepsisters - is for very sweet tooths. Nick James - Sight & Sound
This place can drive you crazy, but when you see something memorable like Kore-eda's "Our Little Sister," #Cannes2015 feels worthwhile. Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times

Out of Competition

Mad Max: Fury Road by George Miller

As movie opens tomorrow in several countries, will not talk much about film as there are plenty of news and reviews that appeared before the festival. Suffice to say that critics praise the film, with some even "hating" themselves for admitting that they enjoyed the film (lol!). Most are impressed by Charlize Theron performance, confirming that still today strong, violent female characters seem to be a novelty among the male-predominant critics and film industry in general.

As you can imagine there are hundreds of Charlize Theron photos but what surprised me the most from all film photos is how tall is Nicolas Hoult! Surprisingly Zoe Kravitz is not in the photocall, interview or press conference, maybe in the red carpet? Another surprise is to discover that watching Tom Hardy working promoting a film is not pleasant for him as well as for us viewers. Yak! Even photo services seem to have more Nicolas Hoult than Hardy photos.

Charlize Theron red carpet photos are stunning so will try to find some outside the photo services and one where she is alone, without Sean Penn.

Un Certain Regard

あん An (Sweet Red Bean Paste) by Naomi Kawase

Un Certain Regard opened today with a film by celebrated Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase that usually make very beautiful films that are not for all audiences. So it's not a surprise that her tale of a small bakery that makes dorayakis -pastries filled with sweet red bean paste (an) becomes too much for many crtics/viewers ("insipid", "preposterous and overly sentimental").

But I believe that those familiar with Kawase particular style could enjoy this film that has generated comments like "do not see film with an empty stomach". I have seen all Kawase films and know that this is not the exception as I expect an ode to the simple joys in life, much like her fabulous Mogari no mori (The Mourning Forest).

Un etaj mai jos (One Floor Below) by Radu Muntean

If you read the blog you know my love for the "new wave" of Romanian cinema; Radu Muntean is one of the most interesting directors especially with his second feature film The Paper Will Be Blue and his third, Tuesday, After Christamas. One Floor Below is only his fourth film and yes, no matter what, is absolutely must-be-seen for me.

But seems I'm not alone if you consider that most spontaneous reactions to film tend to be on the high positive area, no matter the language critics/viewers write. Still, believe that film is not for all audiences as not everyone likes slow paced sharp dramas that explore society's moral wounds -which by the way Romanian cinema has become an extremely good moral-drama storyteller.

Cannes Classics

The Third Man by Carol Reed. Who hasn't seen this fantastic film?; If you haven't then now is your chance to see a restored version.
Orson Welles, Shadows and Light by Elisabeth Kapnist.  To celebrate Orson Welles 100 years there are many activities in the festival and around the world, one of them is this "groundbreaking exploration" by a director that has done films like Sigmund Freud: l'invention de la psychanalyse. If director was able to deal with Freud, Welles portrait has to be interesting, isn't?
Ascenseur pour l’échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows), Louis Malle, France, 1958.  The restored version of magnificent detective film featuring (very young) Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet with music by none other than Miles Davis.
Panique (Panic), Julien Duvivier, France1946. Unfortunatelly haven't seen this film, so I'm looking forward to watch the restored print that was more an act of patience (or magic) as the original negatives had disappeared.
Szegénylegények (The Round-Up), Miklós Jancsó, Hungary, 1965.  Precise filming and numerous long shots make this film my kind of cinema but story (cruelty of human behavior) makes me stay away.  Still, maybe someday will watch it.

Cinéma de la Plage
Le Grand blond avec une chaussure noire (The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe), Yves Robert, France, 1972.  No, haven't seen film, which is a big surprise for me as have seen many French films from the 70's.  No doubt that will prefer to see film at the beach and in Cannes. Sigh.

Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

L'Ombre des femmes (In the Shadow of Women) by Philippe Garrel

Not a Garrel fan and not really interested in one more French story about infidelity BUT the more I see film stills, the more that I'm captivated by the images that suggest film will be populated by shadows and ghosts. Yes, love the use of light and the absence of light and seems that Garrel played with both in this black and white film.

Besides French press is claiming that this film is "le film le plus féministe de Philippe Garrel" so probably story is told from a female POV.

Also it is not a tragedy and can be seen as "happy". Alright, will watch, but with low expectations; still, hope for an intense visual trip.

Jia Zhangke

Today Jia Zhangke was honored with the Carrose d'Or but before the award ceremony there was a projection of his film 站台 Zhantai (Platform) followed by a Masterclass hosted by Olivier Père.

Another event at the Quinzaine was the screening of the four short films co directed by Chileans under the progam Chile Factory.  Go official site here to learn about the directors in this program.

Semaine de la Critique

Opening Film: Les Anarchistes (The Anarchists) by Elie Wajeman

You have no idea of how much I want to see this movie since a long time ago when the project was announced and to my surprise went into deep silence until the announcement that was in La Semaine de la Critique.  I was hopeless as there was too much silence, which usually suggests that there is something not right with the movie. Sigh.

Unfortunately seems that indeed there is something wrong with film as most reviews tend to be not positive like the following in English: "It’s love in the time of anarchy, but the sparks don’t always fly" Jordan Mintzer - THR

But no matter what happens in Cannes or what English-language critics say, I know that I have to see Tahar Rahim and Adèle Exarchopoulos together in the screen. There is hope as take a look at only one example from French press "intense" and "brûlant".

Sleeping Giant by Andrew Cividino

In my book I'm always affraid of the films that La Semaine screens; of course there are exceptions but each year out of the 7 films in the selection, 7 tend to be very strange and please recall that I like "normal strange" so just imagine how films are (lol). So even when reviews tend to be to the positive side, I'm still dubious that this coming of age teen drama will satisfy me.  Check some reviews.

"The ceaseless stupidity of men is lamented but also dissected in Sleeping Giant, a thoughtful, well-observed but also familiar coming-of-age drama." Tim Grierson - Screendaily

Je suis le peuple (I Am the People), Anna Roussillon, France (documentary)

First feature film by Anna Roussillon is a documentary about those that are far away from the center of the Egyptian revolution.

Synopsis: January 2011 in Egypt was marked by anti-government demonstrations. While tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo, poor villagers in the country’s south followed the tense situation on Tahrir Square on their TV screens and in the daily newspapers. It is from their perspective that this documentary captures the political changes in Egypt, from the toppling of President Mubarak to the election and fall of Mohamed Morsi. The film reveals the villagers’ hopes and disappointments, and shows that despite the wild events, very little has actually changed in their lives.

Cannes Market news
-Sony Pictures Classics acquires Hirokazu Kore-eda Our Little Sister for US.
-Rebecca Zlotowski (remember Belle Epine or Grand Central) third feature film is Planetarium with Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp daughter, Lily Rose Depp.
-New Pablo Escobar biopic, Escobar by Fernando León de Aranoa starring none other than Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz.
-Danish enfant terrible Nicolas Winding Refn new film, The Neon Demon, starring Keanu Reeves, Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks. Project has been sold in major territories.
-Extraordinary Mexican Director, Amat Escalante next film is science-fiction The Untamed. It's a Mexico, Denmark and Norway production.
-Amazing: another Pablo Larrain project produced by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman as Jackie, yes that Jackie. Will tell about the first four days in Jackie Kennedy's life after the assassination of her husband. Will be a Chile and USA project. Larrain is really busy as this project will begin filming after he finishes the film I mentioned yesterday, Neruda.
Fox Searchlight acquires Paolo Sorrentino Youth for US.

-French news today tell that Cannes opening ceremony seen by was more than one million viewers. Think is time to open the festival to the world LIVE.
-On May 17, Cannes and Kering will honor three outstanding female filmakers: Jane Fonda will receive a special Women in Motion honor award; Megan Ellison, founder of Annapurna Pictures, will receive an honorary award' and Olivia de Havilland will have a special tribute that will celebrate her career but also that she was the first woman to serve as president of the Cannes Film Festival. Event will happen at the Presidential Dinner.
-For Théophile Delange, a photographer for the Festival’s press unit, this is the second year at Cannes ... This series is devoted to the Louis Lumière Theatre, and in particular to the new seating. The layout is very graphic – emphasized still further by the tightly composed shots and aided by a striking design that plays on red and black, light and dark, and lines and perspective. See the must-be-seen photos here.

Not-so-serious News
Last night was the Opening Ceremony Dinner that was attended by the likes of Nadine Labaki, Irene Jacob, Sabine Azema, Jane Seymour, Adele Exarchopoulos, and many that walked the red carpet but changed clothes for the dinner party. Will try to find the best photos from the dinner and the fireworks.

Day 2 and NO Cecile de France! Where is she??? I know, I know Shorts program is later in fest. Sigh.

Photos of the Day

Stunning Charlize Theron

Adèle Exarchopoulos at last night Opening Ceremony Dinner

Salma Hayek and Matteo Garrone at Tale of Tales Red Carpet

Natalie Portman and Xavier Dolan conversation during last night Opening Dinner Party, nearby in blue is Emmanuelle Bercot

Reading/Viewing Material - Gala Croisette

Only in Cannes Day 2

No comments yet