Thursday, May 21, 2015

Day 9 - Cannes 2015

After today there are only three more films to go in the main competition; but more shocking, the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs and La Semaine de la Critique have their closing ceremony tomorrow, so believe it or not, tomorrow we will start to learn awards winners.

Oops! just realized that La Semaine de la Critique closing ceremony is TODAY!!! Oh gosh. Ceremony will be at 7pm local time.

The Competition

Dheepan by Jacques Audiard

Finally was able to watch some clips and was not helpful to get an idea about this movie. Then today started to read press reactions and they are divisive in unexpected ways as English-language reactions tend to go to the positive zone while French/Italian/Spanish language reactions go to the not-positive zone. This not only was unexpected but also confusing.

If you read my Cannes Check #3 you already know that Audiard is one of my most admired contemporary French directors so my reaction to the little info I have about movie plus what I read makes me have a big question mark in my head. I'm not sure if this film will satisfy the mostly high expectations I have for any Audiard film. This does not make me happy.

Still from reviews I gather that film is violent and perhaps the best reaction I read was one that said that like film because the concept that war follows the individual, no matter where they go. Perhaps that's one of the reasons English-language press has good reactions, as they somehow relate movie to war and war consequences.

Of course will watch movie but know that will have to lower my expectations to see if I could enjoy film as much as I have enjoyed his previous films. Sigh. Still is kind of funny to find reactions from the few French positive reviewers and the complain that their joy lasted too-short (less than an hour) as Twitter was charged with negative force.

Press Reactions
Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Is An Excellent, Searing & Compassionate Drama. Oliver Lyttelton-The Playlist-indiewire (US)
Tamil Tiger loose in the urban jungle makes powerful thriller ... has a former fighter in the Sri Lankan civil war trying to make a new life in France with a fake family. Andrew Pulver-The Guardian (UK)
The drift towards a violent, cathartic showdown, with echoes of Death Wish and Taxi Driver, sits uneasily with what has gone before ... The story of a former Tamil Tiger making a fresh start in a French housing project proceeds without flashy tricks or showy technique, offering the pleasures of captivating storytelling with an irresistible human pulse. Allan Hunter-Screendaily (UK)
Qu’est-il arrivé à Jacques Audiard ? Dheepan est une œuvre moins complexe et moins ample que les films qu’il a réalisé depuis Sur mes lèvres. Librement inspiré des Lettres persanes, Montesquieu doit se retourner dans sa tombe. Vincy-Ecran Noir
Audiard prosegue il suo racconto delle marginalità, sociali o emotive, realizzando un film minore, svolto con la consueta abilità, anche se l’urgenza di raccontare questa storia sembra più che altro tematica. Mauro Donzelli-ComingSoon (Italy)
Audiard no convence en Cannes con "Dheepan", sobre la inmigración ceilandesa. EFE Noticias (Spain)
La maîtrise de Jacques Audiard en terme de mise en scène est incontestable, implacable. Avec ce prix au palmarès? Christopher Ramoné (France)
Tenu de bout en bout, profond émouvant #dheepan #JacquesAudiard devrait être très haut au palmarès. Danielle Attali-Dimanche Paris (France)
Not quite DHEEPAN crisp and even, but Audiard's Tamils in France drama digs into its gritty-realist material with insight and empathy... Jonathan Rommey (UK)
DHEEPAN is a minor Jacques Audiard drama about a Tamil Tiger ersatz family surviving in France. Its mayhem ending is unearned. Nick James-Sight&Sound (UK)
DHEEPAN: Immigrant drama becomes TAXI DRIVER. Not as forceful as Audiard's best, but loved the notion that war follows people. B. Tim Grierson (US)
Audriard's DHEEPAN: Well acted immigrant tale that finds new things to say, but is somewhat unbalanced by dramatic tonal shift. Donald Clarke-IrishTimes (Ireland)

聂隐娘 Nie Yin niang (The Assassin) by Hou Hsiao Hsien

Gambling sites have this film as the Palm d'Or winner frontrunner, which somehow speaks more about what mass audiences like than anything else (FYI today odds went down to 2-1, making film the favorite by far). But then with the eclectic jury, you never know which way will they lean, if they will endorse more auteur or more mainstream films.

Nevertheless press reactions tend to be positive on what has been said to other auteur directors when they incursion the martial arts cinema, visually awesome. Then no-matter the language, many question what was movie all about (LOL).

As mentioned in my Cannes Check #7 I was expecting a "generic" film. By generic I mean what other Chinese auteurs have done in the martial arts genre, like the beautiful, full of color Hero by Won Kar Wai or the magnificent The Grandmaster by Wong Kar Wai. If I believe the reactions seems that I could be right as most reactions refer to the beauty of the visuals than to anything else.

Know that will watch film and surely will have a very pleasurable visual experience which is just fantastic for me as lately there have not been many films that gives us the visual pleasure-full cinematic voyage.

Press Reactions
Enigmatically refined martial arts tale baffles beautifully... The first film in eight years by Taiwanese master Hou Hsaio-hsien is a wonderfully-shot story of a killer facing a critical choice – but its meaning remains elusive. Peter Bradshaw-The Guardian (UK)
Hou Hsiao-Hsien brings a pure, idiosyncratic vision to the martial arts genre. Deborah Young-THR (US)
Shu Qi plays the eponymous killer in this ravishingly beautiful foray into historical martial-arts territory from Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-hsien. Justin Chang-Variety (US)
Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem. Jessica Kiang-The Playlist-indiewire (US)
The marriage of the wuxia genre and Taiwanese ultra-auteur Hou Hsiao Hsien seemed such an odd match on paper; on film, The Assassin was exactly that – unusual, beautiful, strange, opaque. Fionnuala Halligan-Screendaily (UK)
The Assassin : le nouveau choc esthétique de Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Orange Cinema (France)
Pour faire simple, Hou Hsiao Hsien n'est pas Wong Kar Wai et peine en dehors sa zone de confort. Nicolas Gilli-filmosphere (France)
Comme Les cendres du temps, il faudra revoir The Assassin pour l'aimer pleeinement. Mais déjà... Quelle splendeur! Hendy Bicaise-Premiere (France)
Esthetique et soporifique. Le combo cannois de l'enfer de fin de festival. Renan Cros-Trois Couleurs (France)

Special Screenings
Oka by Souleymane Cissé
I should watch more African cinema but reality tells me that I haven't done it and will be hard to do it in the future because the very limited film distribution. Sigh.

Un Certain Regard

Comoara (The Treasure), Corneliu Porumboiu

Romanian cinema with a fantastic story by a great new wave Romanian cinema director, who can resist watching? Not me. As a matter of fact film started with the idea of a documentary as in real life there is a village with a legend about people buried their fortunes before the arrival of the communists. Director and crew went to the village with a metal detector. They didn't find the treasure; so, director decided to make a fiction film. Simply put, LOVE the story and imagine that in Porumboiu hands film has to have the peculiar Romanian sense of humor and they usual style when dealing about anything related to communism in their country.  Check the synopsis.

Costi (33) leads a peaceful life. At night he likes to read his 6-year-old son stories, to help him sleep. Their favorite is Robin Hood. Costi sees himself as the hero - righter of wrongs and defender of the oppressed. One evening, his neighbor pays him an unexpected visit and shares a secret: there's treasure buried in his grandparents' garden, he's sure of it. If Costi will hire a metal detector to help locate it, he'll give him half of whatever they get. Skeptical at first, in the end Costi can't resist. He's on board. The two accomplices have one weekend to locate the loot. Despite every obstacle in their path, Costi refuses to be discouraged. For his wife and son, he's a real hero - nothing and no one are going to stop him.

Louisiana - The Other Side, Roberto Minervini

Half documentary half fiction the director gives a true observation of this American backwater, a hidden underbelly of America. My spontaneous impression is that film will not be easy to watch, but I'm curious and probably will give film a try. Check the synopsis.

In an invisible territory at the margins of society, at the border between anarchy and illegality, lives a wounded community that is trying to respond to a threat: of being forgotten by political institutions and having their rights as citizens trampled. Disarmed veterans, taciturn adolescents, drug addicts trying to escape addiction through love, ex-special forces soldiers still at war with the world, floundering young women and future mothers, and old people who have not lost their desire to live. Through this hidden pocket of humanity, the door opens to the abyss of today's America.

Short Films Program 2: Ri Guang Zhi Xia (Under the Sun) by Qiu Yang, Asara Rehovot Mea Etsim (Ten Buildings Away) by Miki Polonski, Leonardo by Félix Hazeaux, Thomas Nitsche, Edward Noonan, Franck Pina and Raphaëlle Plantier, Abwesend (Absent) by Eliza Petkova, and Locas Perdidas (Lost Queens) by Ignacio Juricic Merillán.

Cannes Classics
Depardieu grandeur nature, Richard Melloul
Nervous laughs. A documentary about Gérard Depardieu? Gosh, that has to be something special. I suppose could watch it but prefer to have no expectations, not about the director but because the character.
Visita ou Memórias e Confissões (Memories and Confessions), Manoel de Oliveira, 1982
The inedit film by Manoel de Oliveira with his specific instructions to be screened only after his death. Intriguing.
Marius, Alexander Korda, France, 1931
Restored version of a classic from when film started to have sound by a director that wasn't recognized as a great filmmaker until the 1950s.

Cinéma de la Plage
Apollo 13 by Ron Howard
Today notice that Jurrasic Park has been taken out of the section selection and replaced by another American movie.

Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

Efterskalv (The Here After) by Magnus von Horn

Knew very little from film but today learned a few things that make this feature film by Warsaw-based Swedish director a must be seen for me. Film credentials are impeccable, first is backed by Lars von Trier's Zentropa and second, cinematography is by Łukasz Żal (remember Ida?).

Film has been described as somber and stern but wonder if is not due to the story it tells as surely will not be a simple nor easy-to-watch story. Check the synopsis.

When John returns home to his father after serving time in prison, he is looking forward to start his life afresh. However in the local community, his crime is neither forgotten nor forgiven. John’s presence brings out the worst in everyone around him and a lynch-mob atmosphere slowly takes shape. Feeling abandoned by his former friends and the people he loves, John loses hope and the same aggressions that previously sent him to prison start building up again. Unable to leave the past behind, he decides to confront it.

極道大戦争 Gokudô daisensô (Yakuza Apocalypse) by Takashi Miike

Not really a fan of this kind of films, not even when is made by great Takashi Miike.

Yakuza boss Kamiura is a legend. Rumored to be unkillable, the truth is he is a vampire – a vampire yakuza boss! Among Kamiura’s gang is the loyal Kageyama. However, the young Kageyama is looked down on by the other yakuzas due to the sensitive skin that prevents him from being tattooed.One day, men arrive from abroad and deliver Kamiura an ultimatum : return to the syndicate he left years ago or die. Kamiura refuses and, during a fierce battle, is torn limb from limb. With his dying breath, Kamiura passes on his powers to Kageyama. As his newfound abilities awaken, Kageyama’s desire to avenge his boss sets him on a violent confrontation with the seemingly unstoppable foreign syndicate.

Most interesting, Takashi Miike is NOT in Cannes, photo is the message he send... lol!

Short Films Program 1: Quelques secondes by Nora El Hourch, Quintal by André Novais Oliveira, El pasado roto by Martín Morgenfeld and Sebastián Schjaer, and Pitchoune by Reda Kateb.

Semaine de la Critique

La Vie en Grand (Learn by Heart) by Mathieu Vadepied

Not much info available about Vadepied's first feature film -has done documentaries and short film- and synopsis does not necessary call my attention.  This is the closing film of La Semaine.

Adama is a 14-year-old boy who lives with his mother in a small two-room flat in Bondy, in the suburbs of Paris. He fails in school, although he is a bright pupil. Because of an unexpected event, he will reverse the situation with Mamadou, who is younger than him.

Short Films Program 2Ramona by Andrei Crețulescu, Alles Wird Gut by Patrick Vollrath, Command Action by João Paulo Miranda Maria, Love Comes Later by Sonejuhi Sinha and Jeunesse des loups garous by Yann Delattre.

Market News
-The Lobster has been sold to US. Also Quinzaine Mustang will be seen in US via Cohen Media Group.
-Gaspar Noe's Love sold to more than 36 territories.
-Just read that the Stockholm Film Festival group has seen 154 movies so far and the festival is not over yet. They will bring great films to SFF15! Yes, that's what follows: most of Cannes films is what we will see in most of the 2015 film festivals and now we have to add that American press expects more than a few films to also be in the American awards season. So we should prepare as I believe there will be a Cannes invasion in the rest of the year press -especially American media.

-Been a while since I talked about the odds, but as I mentioned above The Assassin is by far the favorite to win the Palm d'Or while Cate Blanchett and/or Rooney Mara still are the top Best Actress favorites and Vincent Lindon the top Best Actor fav.

As a matter of fact one odds site has the following predictions:
Palme d'Or The Assasin
Grand Prix: Son of Saul
Prix du Jury: Mountains May Depart
Best Director: Maïwenn
Best Actress: Carol

-Nothing has changed among the French Press as Mia Madres is still their Palme d'Or frontrunner and Screendaily didn't publish their scores, but assume that Carol, due to the high score, still is their #1.

Not so-serious News

-Tonight is the amFAR party and yes there are a lot of celebrities and people related to movies, including BIG names that will not walk the photocall line.  Nevertheless been looking for photos that I like and to me they all look bad.  White background is terrible for photos!  So been trying to find good photos taken elsewhere.

Photos of the Day

Jacques Audiard

Xavier Dolan new hairdo for amfAR event

Marion Cotillard amfAR event

Aishwarya Rai amfAR event

Sienna Miller amfAR event

Only in Cannes Day 9

Gala Croisette

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