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Film Critics: Today, December 13, winners from Dallas ForthWorthFCA, ChicagoFCA and Film Comment Magazine. Nominations from HoustonFCS, PhoenixCC. PhoenixFCS.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 6 at 2012 Cannes


Continues to rain in Cannes and is a busy day with great movies in competition and the sections. First day with three films screened in the main competition, all Must Be Seen for me for very different reasons.

Today we are Half-Way the festival, news that only makes me sad... sigh.

Main Competition

Like Someone in Love by Abbas Kiarostami

Today decided to go backwards of what I usually do as I start with films in main competition and go down the post; but today Kiarostami film is the last film I'll comment before posting. In a way, I'm very pleased with my decision as by now I now press reactions which allows me to start writing about this movie with a different perspective. Still if you wish to learn my spontaneous expectations please go here.

I don't have to tell my loyal readers how much I admire Kiarostami films and how much I know his films are not for all audiences but for those that love the word ART in their films plus don't mind being challenged by what you see. If most of what I seen around leans to the not positive, surely is because they are not familiar with director style, they are sleep-deprived at Cannes or simply are blue thanks to terrible weather; as if you know Kiarostami style you have to expect Kiarostami style in this film, and seems only a few were expecting it and got it. Are you going to be one of the later? I do not know, but I know that I am.

Most not-positively impressed with Cannes news headline from press conference news reads "My film has no beginning and no ending" which makes me wonder about the question he got from the press that will hear in a while when I see the press conference video; but then for me his answer is a given, something that I expect from this and many other directors that tell a moment in the lives of the characters, where you have to imagine -if you wish- what happened before and what could happen after. Yes I know this is too challenging for many, especially those that tend to enjoy mainly mainstream movies.

Will stop to speculate about the non-positive headlines, twits and comments and let's get into the videos that hopefully will explain reactions.

Photocall has the four protagonists, including master Kiarostami; quite sad day in Cannes with a grey light that will mean photographers not easily will get good photos; but somehow light fits this group, with the exception of Rin Takanashi that shines with her splendid smile. Hmm, organizers should bring warm artificial light to the photocalls if weather continues the same.

TVFestival de Cannes interview starts asking Kiarostami "why Japan?" and his fast answer "why not?". There are minor spoilers that I don't mind as is fascinating to watch Japanese quite smart interventions, then Kiarostami films are also about the voyage more than about the destination. Oh! my expectations are rising as they talk about main character emotions, exactly what I expect from his films. Suggest to watch video in French to avoid a little, awful voice over translation.

Press conference starts again with the same question about the Japan setting... and translation problems as there will be many languages here, Farsi, Japanese, French and English. I don't really understand why so many wish to know why he filmed in Japan, for me is irrelevant, the stories in his mind can travel the world if he wishes to do so. His answer complements what I think. Gosh again Japan, why press has to be so literal? I don't recall so many country set question when he did Copie Conforme that was set in Italy. Kiarostami's answer seems to not please much him. Yes it's a "strange" press conference and the many languages plus tech difficulties doesn't help much to make it "normal". Shame. Grr, even I am getting upset with the silly questions. Terrible video, suggest to skip it if you wish not to get really upset by the terrible tech quality -I'm watching in French, maybe in English is less annoying. I'm trying to continue watching but requires a lot of my patience. Somehow I enjoy Kiarostami answers that I find full of irony. Hmm got to the quote moment, came from Kiarostami extensive answer to a dull question.

After watching "strange" press conference (around half gets better) can't help but to think that film could have some of what I saw here and I can call a "clash of different cultures" which if true, could make film more challenging than usual Kiarostami's films. This only excites more my imagination as not very often I'm able to watch good films that really challenge me. But also explains reactions that I've been seen in the net.

Finally one red carpet with NO rain! Yay! Can't believe it, video starts with the same Japan question! True Rin Takanashi is very beautiful as it is Ella singing the title song. Ah! we are half-way the festival, so fast time went by... Watch video that brought glamour back to the steps thanks to the absence of rain.

In the end my expectations are risen by what I saw and the wait to this Must Be Seen for me film will be unbearable. Sigh. We can't forget that Kiarostami already is a Palme d'Or winner, but with the diverse reactions I wonder if his film will be honored this year; still from a very human and subjective point-of-view I would simply LOVE if films gets top honors, just to "surprise" many.

Da-Reun Na-Ra-E-Suh (In Another Country) by Hong Sangsoo

The second film in competition with great Isabelle Huppert and film can't be more different than the one screened yesterday. If you wish to lean about my expectations please go here.

Maybe is just me but in photocall I see an Isabelle Huppert looking a lot more "tired" than her fresh yesterday's look; but also Cannes is overcast looking dull and grey. TVFestival de Cannes interview has interviewer asking questions that I already know the answers like for example how they met, why director chose Huppert, the three characters Huppert plays, etc. Yes I've read a lot about this movie as know story/film spoilers will NOT spoil this movie where I expect an intense Huppert performance in a very strange story. But I'm watching video because has Isabelle talking a lot more than in yesterday's interview. Watch only if you enjoy watching Isabelle Huppert.

Press conference start by saying that is Sangsoo seventh film in Cannes Official Selection and finally I'm able to confirm that the older lady is none other than impressive actress Yeo-Jung Yoon that also is in another film in competition, The Taste of Money as well as in outstanding The Housemaid. Questions remain similar to the interview, but now I learn that Sangsoo works with no screenplay, with lots of improvisation even when everything is clearly stated every morning when actors receive what they have to do/say that day and have to learn fast. Interesting and very explanatory of what I imagine we will see. No, don't understand Korean, so video has a lot of necessary translation. I'm guessing that the "old" style has to be when compare it with contemporary Korean cinema as clips don't suggest old style, perhaps more a French style. Interesting to find that Korean female journalist is impressed that foreigners also understand humor, humor that she thought only Koreans will understand. Fascinating Korean actors very polite comments about Huppert, in what I believe are an expression of oriental good manners they highly praise the French actress with great humor. All right, I find press conference the most interesting video from this film and suggest to watch but you will need to be patient with all the translations.

Red carpet is during the day and yes, still raining but we see Isabelle dressed for what I believe fits more the weather, a short dress. She positively talks again about director particular universe. Watch only to see Isabelle.

Isabelle Huppert will always be an actress with high possibilities to win Best Actress in Cannes but this year I have the impression that even if will be considered, she will not win the top award where Marion Cotillard is still the frontrunner and we still have to see reactions to Nicole Kidman performance in Daniels' film. Hong Sangsoo is loved in Cannes and maybe this film will give him honors as he already collected the top award at the Un Certain Regard in 2010, especially when film seems to have a "sophisticated" style that could appeal Westerners'.

Vous N'Avez Encore Rien Vu (You ain't seen nothing yet) by Alain Resnais

Ah! Resnais. What can I say about the 2009 Cannes lifetime achievement award winner for his work and exceptional contribution to the history of cinema, that Cannes or anywhere/anyone else haven't say already? Not much as everything has been said during the life and work of this ninety-years-old director. But IF you love French cinema as much as I do, then this is Must Be Seen for you.

Resnais next film after great Les Herbes Folles (Wild Grass) seems to be an extenuating exercise in acting, directing, acting/directing and being oneself as from the large ensemble cast is only Denis Podalydes who plays a fictional character in this very free adaptation of two plays by Jean Anouilh: Eurydice and Cher Antoine.

No, I don't expect a fluid, organic French film but a heavy performance-intensive movie that will explore film, theater, actors, life, death, and love beyond the grave... as the myth in Eurydice tells. The following is the synopsis.

From beyond the grave, celebrated playwright Antoine d’Anthac gathers together all his friends who have appeared over the years in his play "Eurydice". These actors watch a recording of the work performed by a young acting company, La Compagnie de la Colombe. Do love, life, death and love after death still have any place on a theater stage? It’s up to them to decide. And the surprises have only just begun...

Photocall is without doubt worth watching just to have a look at the large cast ensemble in this film, but Resnais entrance is also impressive for a man his age. Not in photocall Michel Piccoli and Mathieu Amalric. TVFestival de Cannes interview has six great actors that talk about their roles, tell spoilers that will only confuse you as film definitively seems that you'll "understand" only after watching.

Press conference has even more cast/crew -but no Amalric-. No surprise -for me- that film name was created in the editing room or that some actors had no idea what film was about and were looking forward to watch film to "discover" film. Video makes me think that only a great and respected director could do a film with such a large well-known ensemble cast and positively deal with actors' egos. Suggest to watch only if you are familiar with director/actors and wish to learn a lot about movie; then don't worry even if you'll learn a lot I know that whatever you leant will not spoil this movie that now more than before believe will be also a film of style, a particular style.

Quote from press conference. Alain Resnais, on the film's title:
"It just sort of crept in unnoticed to the editing room. It was a joke at first and became a sort of catchphrase between my editor, Hervé de Luze, and me. Then it was written on the cans, and the lab sent us the labels, and so it got adopted. But there was no firm intention behind it."

Can't deny that after watching press conference I became more curious about film that always was Must Be Seen for me even when I knew very little about it. Can't guess if film will be honored in Cannes but if collects honors I will not be surprised.

Red carpet video still shows Cannes in the rain but film cast attracts lots of photographers and fans. Oh! Amalric is here, glad to see him. There are so many actors that are not able to walk horizontally in a straight line. Now we see Bruno Podalydès who also directs some films scenes. Resnais waits at the top of the steps with Fremaux and Jacob. Finally all are atop the stairs and assure you that unless there is a wide lens photo, photographers will not be able to get one visible shot from this incredible ensemble of great French actors.

Twits suggest film approval in non-English language; which confirms me that film has to be mainly for European audiences and probably will have jury interest, but I don't know if will be honored with top awards.

Un Certain Regard

Elefante Blanco by Pablo Trapero

I watch everything that Trapero does, that his wife Martina Gusman does, and Ricardo Darin does; so, this film that reunites the trio again -plus add one interesting French actor, Jeremie Renier- is Must Be Seen for me just because cast/crew.

Not until today that will learn a bit more, not too much as I don't want to spoil the movie, so here is the synopsis.

The "Villa Virgin", a shantytown in the slums of Buenos Aires. Julian and Nicolas, two priests and long-standing friends, work tirelessly to help the local people. Julian uses his political connections to oversee the construction of a hospital. Nicolas joins him following the failure of a project he was leading in the jungle, after paramilitary forces assassinated members of the community. Deeply troubled, he finds a little comfort in Luciana, a young, attractive, atheist social worker. As Nicolas' faith weakens, tension and violence between the slum drug dealing cartels grow. And when work on the hospital is halted by ministerial decree, the fuse is lit...

I know that whatever is told in the synopsis will be the "obvious" story but film will go deeper into other not-so-obvious subjects. Clips show another outstanding performance by Darin and the not-often seen Buenos Aires slums.

Después de Lucía by Michel Franco

Franco made his full-length movie Daniel and Ana in 2009, which was screened at the Directors' Fortnight; but he was already known as a TV ads director and had several shorts that traveled well the fest circuit. His second film, Después de Lucía makes the Cannes Official selection and seems to be a film with a strong story that maybe will not be easy to watch more because of story itself and not from Franco's storytelling style.

Is not until today that I'm able to watch clip and read the following synopsis.

Alejandra and her dad Roberto have just moved to town. She is new at school, he has a new job. Starting over is sometimes complicated when you have left so much behind.

You have to consider that "town" is Mexico D.F. plus this is another family and violence story, then you'll agree that story has to be not-easy-to-watch; expect that director visual and storytelling style will make film easier-to-watch, as somehow happened in Daniel and Ana.

Djeca (Children of Sarajevo) by Aida Begic

Aida Begic first came to Cannes in 2001 with her graduation film which was selected for the Cinefondation; came back with his first full-length film, Snijeg (Snow), only to win the Critics' Week Grand Prix. Now comes back with a film in the Un Certain Regard with a story that will not be easy to watch but I do expect beautiful compositions, framing and cinematography. Expectations that come from her previous work as is not until today that I'm watching clips and reading the following synopsis.

Rahima (23) and Nedim (14) are orphans of the Bosnian war. They live in Sarajevo, a transitional society that has lost its moral compass, including in the way it treats children of the people who were killed fighting for the freedom of their city. After crime-prone adolescent years, Rahima has found comfort in Islam and she hopes her brother will follow in her footsteps. Their life of bare survival becomes even more difficult after Nedim gets into a fistfight with the son of a local strongman and breaks his expensive mobile phone. This incident triggers a chain of events leading Rahima to the discovery that her brother leads a double life.

Looking forward to watch Begic's film and many more that surely will come in what I envision as a very long successful career.

Midnight Screenings

Ai To Makoto (For Love's Sake) by Takashi Miike

A musical by Japanese eclectic director that has gained over the years passionate followers of his usually cult movies and I believe this one will be another Miike cult movie that will fascinate his followers but also those that are not that familiar with Miike that came last year to Cannes for the first time with Ichimei in competition, but perhaps his most-known film is 13 Assassins.

Believe it or not I have seen a few Miike recent and not so recent work, and even when I do not consider myself a passionate fan, can say that I liked his films sometimes more than what I imagined; but know that they are not for all west audiences.

Sure, will watch film when comes near me.

Cannes Classics

Today a film, Tess, that everyone relates to his director Roman Polanski. I don't. In my mind this is a Nastassja Kinski film as here we see one of her best performances. Anyway Polanski is in Cannes to present a restored copy that I don't need to desire watching as movie is in my collection in an format that is between the past and the present, the laser disc, but doesn't need restoration as works just fine. Read about movie here.

Today an intimate portrait of John Boorman by his daughter Katrine Boorman in her debut film (competes for Camera d'Or) Me and me Dad, a documentary that shows a rather complex relationship due to the choices that director made between his personal and professional life. Read more about film here.

Cannes Classics honors this year President of the Caméra d’or Jury, Carlos Diegues, by screening a restored print of his 1976 Xica da Silva. If you wish to read about film go here.

Andreï Konchalovsky returns to Cannes for the 7th time to present a new print of his 1985 Runaway Train, a film with a script written by none other than Akira Kurosawa and suggest you read film history plus watch trailer here.

Cinéma de la Plage

With all the rain I wonder if program was suspended or moved inside a movie theater; still in the program for today is Terrence Young's 1963 From Russia With Love with great Sean Connery and Daniela Bianchi as the "Bond girl". To read more about film go here.

Quinzaine

3 by Pablo Stoll Ward

Haven't seen many Uruguayan films, but the few I've seen have surprised me beyond my expectations and after watching trailer, clips and reading the following synopsis I believe that Stoll's film will surprise me too.

Ana, an enterprising teenager, is living through a decisive moment in her life. Her mother, Graciela, seems at a turning point as well. For Rodolfo, Ana's father and Graciela's ex-husband, domestic life in the home of his second wife, is empty and cold, as if it were no place for him. Discreetly he sets out to reclaim his place with them, after having been away for ten years. 3 is a comedy about three people doomed to the same absurd fate: being a family.

Here is a family story with a theme that hasn't been explored much in "serious" cinema and even if film seems or is a comedy, humor seems to go to the dark side, the only side of humor that I highly enjoy.

I'm curious and interested in this film from the same producers of good Gigante and Acne. Will watch as soon as comes near me.

Rengaine (Hold Back) by Rachid Djaïdani

Still no trailer or clips but synopsis made me very curious about Djaïdani's debut film that not only is competing for the Camera d'Or but also for the Queer Palm. From the few film still I have seen is impossible to guess director style but seems possible that visuals could be on the good side of the cinematography spectrum. This is the synopsis.

Paris, today. Dorcy, a young black Christian, wants to marry Sabrina, a young North African. It what would be a simple matter if it weren't for the fact that Sabrina has 40 brothers and that this easygoing wedding has crystallized a taboo still rooted in the mentalities of the two communities: no marriages between Blacks and Arabs. Slimane, the elder brother, and guardian of traditions, will oppose this union in every way possible.

Can't say that story is new as there are many films with similar stories, especially those that deal with people from different communities falling in love and trying to have a life against all odds; but somehow the Paris plus the Blacks-Arabs setting makes me think that story will have differences and be interesting. Yes will watch.

Room 237 by Rodney Ascher

Extremely interested in this documentary about the infamous room in Kubrick's movie; which title is only the excuse to pinpoint the exploration of numerous theories about the often hidden meanings in Kubrick's 1980 masterpiece of modern horror: The Shining. But if one film was and still is very info elusive is this one that I've been looking for reliable info with not much luck even when was in 2012 Sundance.

Don't know if photo will be on Ascher film but is the best pic that makes me recall the chills that room and Kubrick's movie gave me. It's okay, will be only after I watch film that could give a serious opinion about this documentary that absolutely is Must Be Seen for me.

Semaine de la Critique

Peddlers by Vasan Bala

Vasan Bala debut film does not feel or look like the kind of cinema I enjoy, but definitively does like the kind of cinema screened at this parallel section. Film is not only competing for the Camera d'Or but also for the Queer Palm. This is the synopsis

A ghost town, Mumbai, inhabited by millions. A lady on a mission, a man living a lie, an aimless drifter. They collide. Some collisions are of consequence, some not, either ways the city moves on

Have to accept that I'm a bit curious, but wonder if I dare to watch film.

J'enrage de son absence (Maddened by his Abscence) by Sandrine Bonaire

The special screening of an actress and director that I do enjoy in both roles with a film that stimulates my curiosity, not only because is a French film but also because the cast includes William Hurt in the main role. Story does not seem unique or special, so I imagine this is a film where style could be a surprise as definitively will have something unique as most films screened at la Semaine. This is synopsis.

After ten years, Jacques comes back to France to handle his father’s succession. He had left France to live in the USA to escape a painful past he shared with Mado, his former wife, who in the meantime, built a new life with Stéphane and their 7 year old son, Paul. Upon his return, Jacques and Mado meet again; he asks to meet her son Paul; Mado hesitates, then accepts but hides it from her husband. Soon, Paul and Jacques get close and they start to see each other secretly.

Yes will watch film as soon as comes near me.

Short Films Program 2

Today the second short film program that will screen the following shorts: Fleuve Rouge, Song Hong by Stéphanie Lansaque and François Leroy, Circle Line by Shin Suwon, Horizon by Paul Negoescu, Family Dinner by Stefan Constantinescu, and La Bifle by Jean-Baptiste Saurel.

L'ACID

Today Casa Nostra by Nathan Micholovitch that explores an often seen theme of what makes a family in what seems could have great black and white visuals and a poetic style. This is the synopsis.

Hélène, Mathilde and Ben Scappini are travelling to the parisian suburbs to see their diying father. On the road to the family house, the siblings are learning to rediscover each other.

In this world of full color cinema, black and white movies will always call my attention, especially when they look and feel like not mainstream cinema and Micholovitch film seems very far from mainstream. Yes very curious about this film that I know will not be easy to find near me.

Cannes News

Another day with so many news that is impossible for me to include them here. This is a selection.

Céline Sciamma wins the 5th Prix Jacques Prévert for the Tomboy's original screenplay and the adapted screenplay award goes to Sandrina Jardel and Johan Sfar for Le Chat du Rabbin.

Nanni Moretti gets l'insigne de Commandeur dans l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres from France Culture Minister, Amélie Filiippetti.



Paul Verhoeven has a new picture Tricked that I hope is a Dutch film, if so is I have to watch this movie kind of film.

Paul Thomas Anderson premiered a teaser trailer for his upcoming drama, The Master, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. Interesting clip, cast and director. Film opens October 12, 2012. Can't wait to see Phoenix back on the big screen. Watch clip at Movie On facebook page.

Oh! A Rainer Werner Fassbinder biopic project, that has to be some very wild film; is a Franco-German production directed by unknown by me Marco Kreuzpaintner. The film title: Rainer.

Stellar cast in Bille August English language existential thriller Night Train to Lisbon with Jeremy Irons, Vanessa Redgrave, Bruno Ganz, Lena Olin; finally what seems a glorious adult film to enjoy in the future.

Interesting Mira Nair's upcoming political thriller, The Reluctant Fundamentalist; but cast worries me a little... with Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland...

Been reading about Quentin Tarrantino's latest film Django Unchained, still have no opinion about film starring Leonardo DiCarpio. Today twitter went crazy after the 7 minutes footage was screened... "ridiculously fun" ... "plenty of bood, plenty of laughs" Hmm, sounds like real Tarrantino flick.

Not-so-serious Comments

Screen magazine today ties Mungiu and Haneke films with 3.3 score, second place still Rust & Bone with 2.9; how close to the real jury perceptions, don't know but I don't mind the Palme going to any of those films.

Rain is killing some of the fest glamour I hope weather changes soon, but if I believe predictions seems that bad weather will stay longer than what we wish for. Sigh.

American media started to play with Oscar Buzz and only because I like what they're saying will share with you all. Yes they're speculating about the Oscar power of Michael Haneke's Amour and "saving" a spot for Marion Cotillard's performance in Rust & Bone, a film that many consider HAS to represent France in the Oscar foreign film category. Speculation continues especially for the foreign film category with Romania sending Mungiu's film and Denmark Vintenberg's films - but I say that both films have stories that elderly Academy members will not like at all.

Is Monday and there is no Aish in Cannes. Sigh.

Lots of parties, the best photo comes with great Rosy de Palma at 3.14 Club see photo at facebook Movie On page.

Arriving: Eric Dane, Matthew McConaughey. Leaving: Tom Hardy. Today there are great photos that you will never see here are they are not free... sigh.

Photo of the Day

Nice group photo.

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