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Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 10 at 2012 Cannes


Yesterday was not an easy day for me as was really hard to learn everything I learned about Reygadas film. I suppose you can say that I'm a director passionate fan and reading the negative press reactions was not pleasant at all. The great news is that after the Grand Theatre Lumiere premiere the film got a long standing ovation, suggesting that critics and audiences are on different sides of the like scale. I'm really glad and congratulate the director.

I do this intense daily fest coverage for very personal reasons as is a way to force me to learn something about every single film in the fest. I want to learn about films because these films is what I'll be watching during the next calendar year, the ones that make me very happy when I finally watch them and the ones in the top of my watching queue. It's an exercise that I have been doing for a long time, before I started this blog, when was relatively easy to read print materials and the few available net articles; then everything exponentially exploded when the fest opened their web site and every year they have been adding more and more great information.

But this year things got really crazy thanks to Twitter as critics' and almost anyone that is in Cannes or not had something to say about the fest. People have become really comfortable using Twitter and is great to be able to read critics' spontaneous reactions that later are rationalized (and many times changed) when they write the article. I simply love it as makes me feel that I'm following a process, a "creative" process, an experience that in my wildest dreams never imagined I will be able to have. Of course you need to establish a criteria -very fast- as not everything you see in Twitter is reliable.

I'm exhausted but very happy with my learning experience that, yes had a few drawbacks. This year it was impossible for me to learn about the many short films in the fest, but as soon as I recuperate my strength after next Sunday, I'll go back to learn something and maybe will share with you all.

I thank all my loyal readers from always as well as the new ones, including those that come just to grab a photo, and let's start today daily coverage. Cheers!

Main Competition

Cosmopolis by David Cronenberg

I do enjoy films by David Cronenberg, a director I follow no matter what movie he does as I have several films that I didn't liked and somehow disappointed me but didn't made stop watching his films. His last film before Cosmopolis, A Dangerous Method was a movie that I did not enjoyed much plus did not liked actors' performances. An introduction that I think was missing from what I said in my spontaneous expectations regarding this film that you can read here.

I delayed as much as possible watching movie videos as imagined that great Juliette Binoche was not going to be in them. I was right. Sigh. Photocall is noisy as expected so lower the volume and watch only to see the known actors and meet new -to me- actors. Oh! just realize that the two women are Sarah Gandon and Emily Hampshire the winners of the first Birks Canadian Diamond award.

TVFestival de Cannes has the group which also includes Cronenberg, Pattinson and Giamatti. Cronenberg dark prediction: film became a documentary. Expectation is confirmed, Pattinson is in every scene of the film. Oh gosh, Pattinson rambling answers are as bad as when he is performing (and I'm being very objective), Cronenberg comes to his help with clear precise answer. Gandon shines, can't remember her from A Dangerous Method. Giamatti is good as always, Cronenberg asked him not to read the book. Watch for entertainment purposes as you will learn very little from the movie.

Press conference has more people, two producers, novelist Don DeLillo and the screenplay writer. DeLillo has nothing to do with the script, so I ask, why is he in Cannes? Then Cronenberg says the book and the film are two different things. Oh gosh, gossip say that Stewart is awkward -awkwardness that I like, but Pattinson is worst and not in a positive way. Pattinson answers improve, become more interesting, with more info, good... but then his mind wanders, his mouth rambles and the awkwardness prevails. True, Gandon was also in Brandon Cronenberg film, she talks about similarities and differences. Like DeLillo comments about the white limousines in Manhattan. Suddenly got the impression that Pattinson hasn't grown from his Harry Potter times, odd. You will learn a few things about movie and I believe no matter what you hear or read, nothing will give you an accurate idea -or spoiler- to what you'll see in film. Suggest to watch video, mainly to "meet" Mr. DeLillo.

Got curious about novel and read a bit; learned that was received with mix reviews, most are negative. Hmm, maybe I'll read the novel, as yes story is interesting for me.

Red carpet HAS Juliette!!! OH!!! Great!! Stop showing Pattinson, go to Juliette please! Oh! Thank you!!! Every time I see her she looks younger, marvelous. Can't wait to see the photos and you know who has to be at the bottom of this post. He, he very emotional but sincere comments. Sigh. Watch to see the cast/crew plus very elegant Juliette Binoche; also young actresses look remarkably good.

We know that Cronenberg has a long history with Cannes, but lately his films have been more honored by being in the official selection than winning awards; so I don't know if this film will follow the trend or will win him another award and don't feel like speculating before watching the film.

If I believe Twitter pulse then probably will have to eat all my words regarding Pattinson as reliable critics' are saying he is good in here.  Nevertheless film seems to be on the lower side of acceptance, but then maybe critics' are just tired, as their reactions are different to premiere audiences reactions.

V Tumane (In the Fog) by Sergei Loznitsa

I have a love/hate relationship with this director as I would simply LOVE to see his films and I truly HATE the fact that I haven't seen any. His films are impossible to find near me and I'm still "dying" to be able to see 2010 My Joy with those breathtaking images that I know are also in his newest film.

I expect not to be able to watch film for years and to miss what seems like extraordinary storytelling style telling interesting stories that to my eyes and imagination seem to belong to Russia and other countries of the old USSR. This is the synopsis.

Western frontiers of the USSR, 1942. The region is under German occupation, and local partisans are fighting a brutal resistance campaign. A train is derailed not far from the village, where Sushenya, a rail worker, lives with his family. Innocent Sushenya is arrested with a group of saboteurs, but the German officer makes a decision not to hang him with the others and sets him free. Rumours of Sushenya’s treason spread quickly, and partisans Burov and Voitik arrive from the forest to get revenge.
As the partisans lead their victim through the forest, they are ambushed, and Sushenya finds himself one-to-one with his wounded enemy. Deep in an ancient forest, where there are neither friends nor enemies, and where the line between treason and heroism disappears, Sushenya is forced to make a moral choice under immoral circumstances.

Suggest to watch clips here and use the link to the director's site to explore his magnificent body of work.

Photocall introduces me to the cast, but not to the director that I knew from his 2010 visit to Cannes with My Joy. TVFestival de Cannes is interesting for answers from Loznitsa like, (paraphrasing) I've seen the film with eyes of a director... today will see film for the first time with regular spectator eyes... hope I understand it; which is perhaps the best answer I heard from all directors in fest and ever. Actors praise director. Suggest you watch it even when there is a question about the first scene that I tried not to listen.

Press conference also has the producer. Director continues to give great answers, this is not a war movie is a people movie. Oh! book writer story, interesting. Loznitsa does not want to comment about the political situation, which is highly appropriate in this venue and/or relating to the movie. I'm starting to understand the language... and directors great answers continue. German producer also gives sharp answers. Gosh, what a great answer to a journalist that wants to know what film is about. Grrr film has everything I like in films, very frustrating to know that won't see it fast. Suggest you watch this video and also the red carpet to meet more cast/crew.

Needless to say that film is Must Be Seen. Loznitsa history with Cannes is short but covers all his 2 feature films as he used to do only documentaries. If one director I wish will win the Palme is Loznitsa that really can use the Cannes exposure to promote his films.

Un Certain Regard

Gimme The Loot by Adam Leon

Film seems to me like good representative of American indie cinema, a cinema with many films that I don't like and a few that positively surprise me when I dare to watch them. Don't know if this film will surprise me or if I'll dare to watch, but somehow the graffiti element in the story calls my attention. The synopsis.

Malcolm and Sofia, two determined teens from the Bronx, are the ultimate graffiti-writers. When a rival gang buffs their latest masterpiece, they must hatch a plan to get revenge by tagging an iconic NYC landmark, but they need to raise $500 to pull off their spectacular scheme. Over the course of two whirlwind, sun-soaked summer days, Malcolm and Sofia travel on an epic urban adventure involving black market spray cans, illicit bodegas, stolen sneakers, a high wire heist, and a beautiful, rich girl’s necklace that is literally their key to becoming the biggest writers in the City.

Unfortunately film stills plus clips make me think that film will be one of the last in my watching queue.

11・25自決の日 三島由紀夫と若者たち 11.25 Jiketsu no Hi: Mishima Yukio to Wakamonotachi (11.25 The Day He Chose His Own Fate) by Kōji Wakamatsu

Clips and film stills allow me to know that visually I'll enjoy this film, but story absolutely calls my attention. The synopsis.

"If we value so highly the dignity of life, how can we not also value the dignity of death No death may be called futile." - Yukio Mishima

On November 25th 1970, a man committed ritual suicide inside the Tokyo headquarters of the Japanese Ministry of Defence, leaving behind a legacy of masterpieces and a controversy that echoes to this day. The man was Yukio Mishima, one of Japan’s greatest and most celebrated novelists. With four members of his own private army - the Tatenokai - Mishima had taken the commandant hostage and called upon the assembled military outside the Ministry to overthrow their society and restore the powers of the Emperor. When the soldiers mocked and jeered Mishima, he cut short his speech and withdrew to the commandant’s office where he committed seppuku - the samurai warrior's death - tearing open his belly with a ceremonial knife before being beheaded by one of his colleagues.
What was Mishima truly trying to express through his actions? And what did he witness during his final moments?

Will watch film the moment it comes near me.

Closing film: Renoir by Gilles Bourdos

I'm always concern with movies about painters as most of them have not pleased me with directors' vision on how to blend the bio part with the painter magnificent oeuvre. Can't deny that I'm concerned with this film but as always I'll be watching especially when is a biopic from one of my most admired painters. Not really familiar with director but film stills stimulate my visual imagination and just hope that when stills move the magic will still be there. The synopsis.

The Côte d’Azur. 1915. In his twilight years, Pierre-Auguste Renoir is tormented by the loss of his wife, the pains of arthritic old age and the terrible news that his son Jean has been wounded in action. But when a young girl miraculously enters his world, the old painter is filled with a new, wholly unexpected energy. Blazing with life, radiantly beautiful, Andrée will become his last model, and the wellspring of a remarkable rejuvenation.
Back at the family home to convalesce, Jean too falls under the spell of the new, redheaded star in the Renoir firmament. In their Mediterranean Eden - and in the face of his father's fierce opposition - he falls in love with this wild, untameable spirit... and as he does so, within weak-willed, battle-shaken Jean, a filmmaker begins to grow.

Film closes the section but winners will be known on Sunday, unless Twitter allows to learn them before.

Out of Competition

Hemingway & Gellhorn by Philip Kaufman

Great news that the director of films that I highly have enjoyed has a new movie, as his last one -that I didn't particularly liked- was released in 2004; but who can forget The Unbearable Lightness of Being or Henry & June? Not me as both are in my collection to visit and revisit.

Hemingway & Gellhorn is a TV movie, an HBO production which only makes me really happy as know will be watching very soon as film will premiere May 28th at 9:00pm EST on HBO. Great!

I'm curious about this movie because not only want to know why movie is in Cannes -believe is the second TV movie in recent times (or ever?) after Carlos- but also because Nicole Kidman stars in a role that she agreed yesterday at press conference, is the opposite to the one she played in The Paperboy. Then story seems interesting as stated in the synopsis.

Hemingway & Gellhorn recounts one of the great romances of the last century - the passionate love affair and tumultuous marriage of literary master Ernest Hemingway and the trailblazing war correspondent Martha Gellhorn - as it follows the adventurous writers through the Spanish Civil War and beyond. The combined magnetism of Hemingway and Gellhorn ushered them into social circles that included the elite of Hollywood, the aristocracy of the literary world and the First Family of the United States. As witnesses to history, they covered all the great conflicts of their time, but the war they couldn't survive was the war between themselves.

Film suggest to be more a Gellhorn than Heminway tale, which if true, could be a fascinating biopic about a remarkable and brilliant woman, a journalist/war correspondent that covered many important history events; like for example, the civil wars of Central America or the US invasion of Panama when she was 81-years-old.

I have not liked all Nicole Kidman movies but I'll watch everything with her in it, let's hope that this is one performance I like, the Cannes credentials make me think that film has to have something special. Then also hope that is not in the Official Selection only to honor Philip Kaufman work. I'll find what this movie is all about in a few days which will make it my first Cannes movie of the year. Great.

Suggest to watch Red Carpet video if just to watch Nicole Kidman, Clive Owen and Rodrigo Santoro. Nicole looks a bit tired but then she has worked hard for two days in a row.

Special Screening

Le Serment de Tobruok (The Oath of Tobruk) by Bernard-Henri Lévy and Marc Roussel

I'll be perhaps too honest about this movie that to me seems is included in the official selection more as a well-intended political statement than because of the quality of the movie. I say this because IF Cannes is willing to every year include a well-intended political statement -which I do approve-, THEN I might be wrong about what I feel and already said about Cannes absence of women directors.

IF Official Selection is partial to real awful political situations around the world, THEN the selection could be partial to women directors' and create a space to screen movies not because movie-quality but to improve women directors' exposure. Even if is only ONE movie, the void, the vacuum will be filled and the much needed women directors' exposure will start to be present in the fest.

With all this out of my system, let's talk about movie that has impressive credentials behind the making. What absolutely captures my attention is the possibility of watching "something" that has French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy vision, but know that film -or better said: intellectual/historic document- will be visually hard-to-watch and that will not come near me easily.

Cinéfondation

Short Films Program 4 with the last three shorts, Derrière-moi les oliviers (Behind Me Olive Trees) by Pascale Abou Jamra, Los Anfitriones (The Hosts) by Miguel Angel Moulet, and Tambylles by Michal Hogenauer

Winners will be announced today. If you wish to 'meet' this year directors' suggest to watch video here. Winners have been announced by Jean-Pierre Dardene, jury president, see post to learn them.

Cannes Classics

A Great Day in Harlem by Jean Bach

An interesting documentary dedicated to Art Kane's legendary photography with all the greatest names in jazz in the 1960s. Suggest to read fascinating story of that 1958 day and the background behind Bach's 1994 documentary. A brief summary is here.  This is the synopsis.

In August 1958, the young photographer Art Kane made his first photo report and cover for Esquire. He managed to mobilize the big names of jazz artists in Harlem for a photo shoot. 57 jazzmen and jazzwomen are for ever in this historical picture. The film A Great Day in Harlem is about this event.

As a huge jazz lover and photography fanatic this documentary joins two of my most intense passions, thus is a Must Be Seen for me. Documentary screening is preceded by two short films, All Colored Vaudeville Show by Roy Mack and Jammin' The Blues by Gjon Mili.

Cinéma de la Plage

Red Tails by Anthony Hemingway

Film was released last January but I'm not really interested in watching another version of the famous Tuskegee Airmen. But if you are interested, suggest to read article here.

Around the Selection

Masterclass with Philip Kaufman

Usually Cannes has only one Masterclass and is only this year that there were three. The usual lesson is about directing and this year is American director Philip Kaufman turn. If you wish to read more about Kaufman go here.  As we know his latest film, Heminway & Gellhorn is screened today out of competition.

Quinzaine

Closing Film: Camile Redouble (Camille Rewinds) by Noemi Lvovsky

The fifth film by 2003 prestigious Prix Louis-Delluc winner, 1999 Prix Jean-Vigo winner and her 1994 debut film was screened at the Berlinale; impressive directorial credentials for this also well-known actress that I last saw in Bonello's L'Apollonide - souvenirs de la maison close and I'm looking forward to watch in 17 Filles, plus much awaited by me Les Adieux Les Adieux à la reine.

With the above introduction you have no doubt that this film is Must Be Seen for me so even when is not necessary will tell you that I'm also attracted to film story and don't really mind if film is a comedy. The synopsis.

Camille was sixteen years old when she met Eric. They fell madly in love and had a daughter… 25 years later: Eric is leaving Camille for a younger woman. That’s New Year’s Eve, and Camille suddenly finds herself back in her past.
She is sixteen again and has returned to her parents, her girlfriends, her childhood… and Eric. Will she flee and try to change the course of their lives? Will she fall in love with him again, even though she knows how their story will end?

I know that synopsis will probably make you think about an American movie, Peggy Sue Got Married; but I can assure you -before watching- that if stories are similar, in the hands and head of a French director will be told very differently.

Awards ceremony

As we know the parallel section does not have awards to films in the selection; but besides some films competing for the Camera d'Or, section sponsors present awards. So tonight during the closing ceremony and before the screening of the closing film, we will learn the Art Cinema (CICAE) award, the SACD prize, the Europa Cinemas Label and the Illy Prize winners. If you wish to learn more about these awards go here.Winners are in the Quinzaine main post.

Semaine de la Critique

Today section screens all award winner films.

L'ACID

The last film in the section, Stalingrad Lovers by Fleur Albert with a synopsis that describes a style I like but doubt will watch because story essence. The synopsis.

A neorealist film noir that makes us discover the real life of crack dealers and users. From dealers chasing customers to addicts waiting for product, everyday life on the street is about surviving, or dying.

If you wish to learn more about film suggest you watch clip here.   Again films in this section never come near me as most does not get distribution. There are no awards in this section as surely the "award" for any film here is finding buyers; nevertheless tonight there is a closing event with a concert by Jean-François Pauvros, the musician that composed Stalingrad Lovers score.

There are some films that I skipped but will come back after Sunday to check them, but if you wish to learn about all films go here.

Cannes News

Today the Institut national de l'audiovisuel (INA) honored Nanni Moretti with a "Distinction Numérique", an award that gives him the totality of his broadcast and radio appearances in France and has more than 20 hours from almost 90 sources. INA's archive is one of my favorite reference sites that I suggest you to check, link is the first column.

The most fun Cannes award has been announced! This year Palme Dog goes to Banjo and Poppy, two Terriers in Ben Wheatley's Sightseers, screened at the Quinzaine.

Not-so-serious comments

Very wealthy people attended the amfAR's Cinema contre le sida gala as the foundation registered an historic record when 9 millions of Euros were pledged. The foundation was created by Elizabeth Taylor and yes there are two guests that pledged 850,000 Euros each to star in Karl Lagerfeld short but also an hour of tennis with Novak Djokovic got a significant pledge.

French press plays and takes their crystal ball to predict winners; le Figaro predicts Audiard will get the top award and Mungiu the grand prix; Nicole Kidman and Mads Mikkelesen with actors' awards. Actually predictions sound good to me.

Very FUN to read today's post by Steve Butterworth with the up-to-date results of his "Cannes Twitter Awards", the result of tracking Twitter news about Cannes for the last couple of weeks. Suggest you check post here.  Here are some highlights.

Which Films got the most BUZZ: In first place with 10,243 mentions, On The Road.
Which Film got the most LOVE: In first place with 94% positive sentiment, On The Road; but interesting is to find that overall positivity rating for Cannes has been very high averaging 84% positive sentiment.
People that got the most BUZZ: Not surprising for me (lol), with 14,894 mentions is Kristen Stewart. If you wonder, Pattinson is the fifth in the list.

Then the social media craze for celebrities is confirmed when out of 320K tweets, 67% are celebrity mentions versus 33% film mentions.

Photo of the Day

Impossible to find a free Julitte Binoche photo where she is alone, so here are some couples from tonight Cosmopolis premiere.

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