Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Day 8 - Cannes 2015

Today is the day of Jia Zhangke, one of my most admired contemporary Chinese directors so will be no surprise when I share that I'm extremely pleased with yesterday's positive reactions via social media. That's the good news as the bad news are about the festival winding down as after today there are only four more films in the competition and three more days to start learning about the first awards.

Talking about the films that still have to be screen, it is until today that I notice that the last film to be screen in competition is none other than Macbeth! Perhaps some of you know about the "curse" of a festival last day (s) ... so, wonder if this time fest programmers wanted press to stay until the very last day as this film is a high profile film. We'll soon see if press stayed until Friday when film is screened to the press.

Also mention that L'ACID has screened all the films at least once and from today until Saturday, May 23 critics, producers and audiences will be able to see some films once again.

The Competition

山河故人Shan He Gu Ren (Mountains May Depart) by Jia Zhang-ke

Seems there will be something new for me in this movie, emotions! Not that his previous films didn't generated lots of emotions in me, is more that there were no clear emotions shown in the screen - was more about how you react to what is shown.

BUT (OMG!) he plays with the aspect ratio! Gosh that's too much for me, can't wait to see this film, I'm "dying" to watch film and as of this moment will STOP reading reviews, reactions, whatever, -including videos- as do not want to spoil my spontaneity when watching movie. Bravo!!!

I'm "dying" to watch Carol BUT as of this moment, this movie has become my #1 "dying" to see film.

Press Reactions

Since late yesterday positive reactions started to pour in social media, today we can deduce that film generated reactions that go to the top of the positive scale. Many assure that film will win prizes and I certainly hope so, more after reading the so great spontaneous reactions from yesterday.

Although Jia Zhangke could well depart with an award at Cannes, Mountains May Departis possibly one of the most calculated and least affecting films he has presented here ... Jia’s plot itself can look like a series of arbitrary choices whose only purpose is to convey the director’s allegorical intentions. Screendaily (UK)
Jia Zhang-ke scales new heights with futurist drama ... This giddily ambitious new movie from the Chinese film-maker begins relatively conventionally, before spinning out into a commentary on globalisation and a glimpse of a bravura new world. Peter Bradshaw-The Guardian (UK)
This time, Jia Zhangke has spoken for himself, for his people, and for all of us, more clearly than ever before. Marie-Pierre Duhamel-MUBI -Serious, well-documented, well written review, must-be-read go here.
Jia Zhangke hops decades and continents in the uneven but tremendously moving MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART. Scott Foundas-Variety (US)
Jia Zhang-ke réussit son tournant mélo avec une fresque monumentale sur le poids des décisions. Trois Couleurs (France)
Depuis 3-4 ans j'avais la volonté intense de faire un film sur les sentiments" dit Zhang-ke Jia. Allocine.
MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART's Zhao Tao for the Best Actress win. Best performance I've seen at #Cannes2015. Sorry, Cate. Nigel M. Smith-indiewire (US)
MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART (Jia): Often deeply moving family triptych derails in final third, but Zhao Tao saves it. Stealth actress contender? Justin Chang-Variety (US)

Youth by Paolo Sorrentino

Seems film divides press audiences and becomes the most divisive film up-to-this moment. My first reaction to this issue is to think that Sorrentino should do what he does best: outstanding films in Italian!!! Sigh.

Can't say that the negatives reactions are due to him using English, but then we can deduce that visuals are outstanding, Sorrentino's style is there,  actors performances are celebrated ... so I wonder, what happened? What are the reasons for the boos, as easily understand the reasons for the bravos.  I have no clear idea but tend to think that perhaps he traveled a bit too-much away from an auteur film into the deepness of mainstream/commercial/pure-entertainment cinema ... who knows if I'm right and will not know but until after me watching film, which of course will do as I have to see everything by great contemporary Italian directors.

Still many are" happy" because film is both hugely entertaining and awards worthy... which means that is more commercial cinema than auteur cinema; still believe that visuals will be breathtaking and really hope that director didn't rush the pace, so we have time to absorb and enjoy the surely awesome visuals.  By-the-way when they say awards-worthy, they don't mean Cannes; they mean the American award-season. Sigh.

Press Reactions

It’s the relentless pursuit of the achingly aesthetic money-shot that holds Youth back from greatness in the end. Lee Marshall-Screedaily (UK)
Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel bring lifetimes of depth to Paolo Sorrentino’s most tender film yet. Jay Weissberg-Variety (US)
Age cannot wither Michael Caine, but Sorrentino could try harder. Peter Bradshaw-The Guardian (UK)
Paolo Sorrentino's Youth is a minor indulgence, tweaked with funny ideas and images, beset with a heavy sentimentality. Peter Bradshaw-The Guardian (UK)
Paola (sic) Sorrentino's YOUTH greeted with a mix of bravos and boos. Not sure it deserves either, though it's (predictably) gorgeous. Justin Chang-Variety (US)
Based on vocal mix of applause & boos, Paolo Sorrentino's YOUTH looks to be the most divisive (& most worthy?) film in #Cannes competition. Peter Debruge-Variety (US)
Paulo Sorrentino's YOUTH is the most conceited, inane, egocentric piece of... Cinema I have seen in years. Agnes Poirer-The Guardian (UK)
Loved Sorrentino's Youth with Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel. My favourite at #Cannes2015 so far. Kate Muir-The Times (UK
Sorrentino's YOUTH - capolavoro! Jonathan Romney-Sight & Sound (UK)
"Youth" : Sorrentino prouve que la jeunesse n'a pas d'âge. Belle comédie humaine, entre gravité et futilité, teintée de grâce. Mehdi Omais-Trois Couleurs (France)
#Youth ou le bal du troisième âge, une comédie humaine tendre et cruelle, beaucoup moins vulgaire qu'on ne pouvait le craindre. Trois Couleurs (France)
#Youth : le Malick de la vulgarité orchestre une meditation geriatrique un tps rigolote qui finit par se trainer lamentablement. Très bof. Renan Cros-Trois Coleurs (France)
Encore et toujours la même pièce-montée grotesque, Sorrentino se regarde filmer et moi, qu’est-ce que je fais là ? David Honnorat-Vodkaster (France)
Étrange, ce mélange entre la vulgarité assumée de Paolo Sorrentino et la classe sans nom de Michael Caine. Laure Croisette (France)

Special Screenings
Une histoire de fou (Don't Tell me the Boy was Mad) by Robert Guédiguian

Midnight Screenings

Love by Gaspar Noé

What to say about this movie that you haven't read about yet? Hmm. Definitively has to be what many are thinking but perhaps not saying... this could be the first ever serious porn in 3D (LOL!). Well, after all that's the only difference I find from what press is saying about this film and what said about Nymphomaniac last year.

You may need a magnifying glass to read it but in photo is the director's note from the press brochure; I reproduce the last paragraph here:

Of all my films, this one is the closest to what I have been able to know of existence, and also the most melancholic. And it gives me a lot of pleasure to be able to share this short tunnel of joys and ecstasies, accidents and mistakes.

I always end up watching all Gaspar Julio Noé films; so, know will eventually watch film but have to find the right mood to see it and to be honest, I'm still trying to find the right mood to see Lars movie and surprise, it hasn't come yet. LOL! So now there are two in my same mood queue.

But let me close with a very serious remark, Gaspar Noé is a very good filmmaker that tackles very hard-to-watch issues in his films. But some, no matter the story, are extremely good to watch and true roller-coaster of non-positive emotions -the ones you better feel while watching a film and not in reality. For me Irréversible (Irreversible) is still the best Noé film I have seen and there is always a possibility that this becomes a close second place.

Un Certain Regard

마돈나 Madonna, Shin Suwon

Been trying to see moving images (trailer or clip) from this movie but haven't find them (will look again later today) as film has puzzled me since the official selection was announced last month. Find the storyline interesting and uncommon, take a look.

Hye-rim, a 35-year-old woman, finds a job at a hospital as a caregiver assigned to a quadriplegic VIP patient who practically owns the hospital. For the past 10 years, the VIP patient’s son Sang-woo has been desperately keeping him alive for money, ordering the doctors to perform several heart transplants despite recurrent heart failures. In need of another one, Sang-woo takes a brain dead unidentified woman as a donor and asks Hye-rim to look into her background. She discovers that the woman was once a prostitute known as ‘Madonna’ who has experienced a lifetime of abuse, and that she is pregnant. In an attempt to save Madonna’s unborn child, Hye-rim goes against Sang-woo’s orders and searches for the baby’s father.

Then today learned that film is inspired by Edvard Munch's work of the same name and immediately became must be seen for me. Period.

Je Suis Un Soldat (I Am A Soldier) by Laurent Larivière

Very curious about this film with Louise Bourgoin especially because of the story that according to director is about the search of identity and the role we can play in the world. Yes, is a story that has been told before, but perhaps the context is what could make the story fresh.

Sandrine, 30 years old, is forced to return home in Roubaix to live with her mother. She is unemployed and accepts to work with her uncle in a kennel, which turns out to be a hub for dog trafficking from Eastern Europe. She rapidly acquires authority and respect in this world dominated by men, and earns the money that could provide her with her freedom. But sometimes even good soldiers stop taking orders.

Press reactions tend to be on the not positive side mainly because of the story; still know will watch film.

Lamb by Yared Zeleke

The first feature film of the first ever Ethiopian filmmaker in Cannes. More interested in watching film as one of the few expressions of African cinema that for any other reason. Then have to think about Timbuktu and conclude that should give movie a try, maybe will blow my imagination with what we could see and the story that tells.

When Ephraïm, an Ethiopian boy, is sent from his homeland to live with distant relatives, he takes his beloved sheep with him. One day, his uncle announces that he will have to sacrifice his sheep for the upcoming religious feast, but Ephraïm is ready to do anything to save his only friend and return home.

One thing seems will be a sure thing in this film, beautiful images of the Ethiopian hot lowlands and the chilly highlands.


Today is the Short Films Program 1 with The screenings of Anfibio (Amphibian) by Héctor Silva Núñez, Ainahan ne Palaa (To Return Until) by Salla Sorri, Manoman by Simon Cartwright, Share by Pippa Bianco and The Return of Erkin by Maria Guskova.

Cannes Classics
Citizen Kane by Orson Welles, USA, 1941
Who hasn't seen perhaps one of the most classic world films? If you admit you haven't then only one thing will say:  what are you waiting for?  Now in a restored version.
This Is Orson Welles by Clara and Julia Kuperberg
A documentary made to celebrate the centenary of his birth that talks more about the character than the filmmaker.  There are no cinema historians or critics in this documentary, with the sole exception of Scorses, as all interviewees were people who knew him, who were close to him, like his daughter or people with whom he worked.  Could be interesting.
Les Yeux brûlés by Laurent Roth, France, 1986
A film commissioned in 1986 that mixes archive documents and film footage from the life and work of war reporters  ... halfway between fiction and documentary.  Haven't seen it and yes, I'm interested in watching.

Cinéma de la Plage
The Terminator by James Cameron, USA and UK, 1984
No comments (lol).

Quinzaine des Réalisateurs
As mil e uma noites - Volume 3, O Encantado (Arabian Nights-Volume 3, The Enchanted One)by Miguel Gomes
Today is the third and last installment of Gomes Portugal's trilogy.

Fatima by Philippe Faucon

Press reactions tend to be on the positive side calling film a moving piece, a skillfully written description of a female microcosm. Check synopsis

Fatima lives alone with her two daughters : Souad, 15, a rebellious teenager, and Nesrine, 18, who is starting medical school. Fatima doesn’t speak French well, a great frustration to her in her daily relations with her daughters. At the same time, her girls are her motivation and her pride as well as a source of worry to her. In order to give them the best possible future, Fatima works irregular hours as a house cleaner. One day, she falls down a flight of stairs. While she is off work, Fatima starts writing to her daughters in Arabic, telling them everything she hasn’t been able to express in French.

Think could give film a try.

Peace to us in our dreams by Sharunas Bartas

Film stills suggest beautiful images and breathtaking compositions plus awesome use of light. Reviews sound like music to my ears as start with "slow-moving" continue with "contemplation of life", seems like what film stills promise is present along the moving images.

Believe I have become interested in this director and will try to see his previous films while waiting to be able to watch this one. Check the synopsis.

One summer day, a man, his current companion and his daughter arrive to their countryside house to spend a weekend. After the death of her mother, the sixteen year old daughter lives with her father, whose attention she lacks. He is tired of his daily routine at work and does not know how to find strength to carry on living. His wife, a violinist, does not feel any joy of life, as she is confused in her priorities – music, love and career. Despite the fact they love each other, their relationship is tensed and is on the brink of collapse.

Semaine de la Critique

Krisha by Trey Edward Shults

I have a love/hate relationship with American Independent cinema therefore always wonder if film will be a love or hate experience. When film makes it to Cannes gives me hope that the experience could be positive but unfortunately, this film is in the festival section that always has crazy/non-pleasant-to-watch films. Sigh.

As a matter of fact this is the Grand Jury Award winner at SXSW film festival that also tends to show the most strangest indie films. Anyway, director claims his film is a "home movie" in every sense: a personal work and an exploration of one space or maybe two, one house and Krisha's mind. The synopsis.

After years of absence, Krisha reunites with her family for a holiday gathering. She sees it as an opportunity to fix her past mistakes, cook the family turkey, and prove to her loved ones that she has changed for the better. Only, Krisha’s delirium takes her family on a dizzying holiday that no one will forget.

Market News
-Not really a surprise but Maryland by Alice Winocour has an US distributor.  Also Mia Madre has an US distributor, Alchemy. Seems US audiences will be able to enjoy Cannes films sooner than later.

Not so-serious News

-Will comment on yesterday's BIG news about festival requesting women to wear high heels.  So they say that women were not allowed into theater because they were wearing flats -which is so ridiculous untrue, as IF truth, they were not allowed to walk the red carpet but that does not mean they cannot go and see your movie. Fest organizers obviously are not social media savvy as placed as comments all over their different platforms that the high heels requisition was untrue.  That's my reason why news exploded, because organizers are not prepared to control the fast spreading of negative news. Shame.  So, what's my pov?  Have the same answer as what Natalie Portman said:  Women should wear what they want. Period.

Photos of the Day

Marion Cotillard at the Chopard/Unifrance party.

Rachel Weisz at Youth Premiere

Cara Delevingne and her rumored musician girlfriend St Vincent (aka Anne Clark) and at last night De Grisogono Divine party

Louise Bourgoin

Aishwarya Rai

Only in Cannes Day 8

Gala Croisette

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