Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 8 at 2012 Cannes

Today is one of those days that know will be happy watching not movies but one actress that I know has become a celebrity, unfortunately; but well I know she can act long-before her iconic role and one -along other actors- that I closely follow her career. Nevertheless today there are several movies that are Must Be Seen for me.

Main Competition

On the Road by Walter Selles

I'm excited that today is the screening of this movie, but ALL my reasons are of the wrong kind as unless something happens after watching videos, my expectations about this film are low. If you wish to read about my spontaneous expectations please go here.

Photocall is noisy, as expected; but realize something I forgot, Kirsten Dust won the Best Actress last year -meaning she's popular in fest- so I have no idea if photographers are saying Kristen or Kirsten! Every time I see great Sam Riley his character in Control comes to my mind. Nice to see Viggo Mortensen. Impossible not to notice the big difference between Kirsten and Kristen, obviously one behaves more with experience and elegance, while the other is "herself" or what I call "the character she is willing to play, that she created" to face the multiple photographers and fans that follow her trying to capture a moment in her life. Yes I admit it, I like Kristen character as makes her more human to my eyes.

So finally I came back to this movie as wanted to settle-down a bit and get immersed into the fascinating day full of Cannes great movies, before coming back to my personal weakness. So with this said, let's check the TVFestival de Cannes interview. Salles starts by talking about book/movie relation in generic terms and continues the same way with Coppola answer... both talk more about images and actors' performances. Obviously my eyes are glued into one (famously) awkward-behaving actress. Viggo joins the group to tell a story quite similar to mine, one that travels many writers I love plus "silly" things you do when you're young, like hitchhiking. Subjectivity surrounds me but being objective LOVE Stewart precise concrete answer, delivered quite well and with her famous awkwardness that ends with "cool". Oh, that voice, love it and again makes me think of Control when Sam answers well a complex question. Kirsten closes the interview delightfully. Watch video is worth watching beyond the obvious emotional comments from me but don't expect to learn much about the movie.

Press conference has lots of people. I keep forgetting Garrett Hedlund, probably because he hasn't give me a durable impression from the performances I have seen. The fascinating story behind the filming of the movie was briefly told by Roman Coppola, but story starts before he tells. Salles talks about the camp where real life book-people helped actors to understand their characters. So there was a systematic approach process, let's hope it worked. Come on, Stewart is a professional actress that shines with her answers, quite equal to what Viggo shows in his intervention. The value of improvisation, yes could go great but could go terribly wrong. Meeting the actor that plays Ginsberg, interesting, his name is Tom Sturridge. Talking about movie-book differences that not motivate me much to increase interest in movie but also don't diminish it.

Red carpet starts with Kristen arriving and an impressive view of the huge amount of fans, greater than for Brad Pitt but surely smaller than the one Pattinson will get later in the week (he walked the red carpet for this premiere but thankfully is not shown in video). Watch only for entertainment purposes.

I'm reading reviews as I'm curious about the opinions from those that have seen film and in general my impression is that probably film will be similar to his Motorcycle Diaries, which had a very important for me story that was converted into a tedious road movie with no clear direction. We will learn soon enough opinions from normal viewers as film was released today in France.

Today I came with an open mind to learn something new about the movie but unfortunately I learned not much except for how actors constructed their characters. What follows for me is to watch movie with an open mind, without preconceived judgment notions -based on my own life experiences, without expectations, after I forget about whatever I read, learned while doing my Cannes exercise, with a blank page in my mind. I know I can do that.

Holy Motors by Leos Carax

I haven't start writing about this film but just from yesterday twits plus today's headlines -that are impossible to avoid reading- make me feel joyful, very joyful! The best: "Leos Carax procure une bonne dose de LSD cinématographique".

If one film was info elusive in this year Cannes Official Selection was this one. There was nothing to learn, only one film still that didn't say much about film. Opening ceremony gave us a glimpse of an "electric" dancing man, like the ones I have seen competing in one American TV reality show that didn't say either much about film.

Was yesterday after first press screening that twits started to pour with huge approval, still remember one that say something like: "a film crazy enough to win the Palme d'Or". This morning the net exploded with very positive comments. I'm not surprised as Leos Carax is a great director with very and I mean very strange films. Sometimes too strange for me but it's impossible not to recognize his mastery.

Is not until today that the film trailer is released (watch here), and from all the great craziness in trailer there is one shot that absolutely captured my attention as shows a character I already know from the amazing but hard-to-watch short Merde seen in Tokyo! trilogy; so easily my imagination starts to fly into that crazy short and expectations start to form. I expect a wild, crazy, visually stimulating, immersion into the really crazy world of Leos Carax mind that he usually impressively translates into the screen. Yes, something similar to a LSD trip. A trip where everything seems real until you realize is not and where you see reality around you transformed into whatever you can imagine is the farthest from the actual objects. Briefly, stunning visuals in apparently not-related sequence with a narrative that could question everything you see.

Is only after finally watching trailer that synopsis became alive for me . This is the synopsis.

From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man... He seems to be playing roles, plunging headlong into each part - but where are the cameras? Monsieur Oscar is alone, accompanied only by Céline, the slender blonde woman behind the wheel of the vast engine that transports him through and around Paris. He’s like a conscientious assassin moving from hit to hit. In pursuit of the beautiful gesture, the mysterious driving force, the women and the ghosts of past lives. But where is his true home, his family, his rest?

After what I have seen today all over the net, I think I'm going to get it. Don't know if I should be happy or scared but one thing I'm absolutely sure, I HAVE to watch this film.

Photocall show us Leos Carax, Kylie Minogue, Denis Lavant in his normal self and not as the infamous Merde, and Edith Scob. No Eva Mendez but watching beautiful Kylie is more than enough for me. TVFestival de Cannes shows that Leos Carax is not there. But actors tell something about movie and how was working with Carax.

Leos Carax is in the press conference. Here we go, Minogue plays two characters and lead is Denis that now I realize has to play many characters. Love Carax reaction, saying no and not answering... yes Michel Piccoli is also in movie but not here. Think we will not learn much with video which is understandable as film has to be watched, not explained. Oh gee, there is no bridge in film, Carax says, so ironically funny. His answers are really surrealistic and even when press insist on analyze film he does not answer them. Fantastic, but might sound arrogant, still I get it. If you feel like skip video is okay, but I suggest you watch to see a director that clearly lives in a different world, one that is very far away from the Cannes world.

Some quotes from press conference.
Leos Carax on references to cinema:
"I hate the term 'reference'. Cinema is like an island, a beautiful island, with a large cemetery. When you make a film, you are creating cinema."

On his relationship with the audience:
Leos Carax: "I am determined to be seen. Liked? If one person likes me, then I'm happy." (...) "I do not like public films, I make private films."
Denis Lavant (to clarify): "The director's relationship with the audience is private: a relationship between one individual with another individual, not with the anonymous masses."

Leox Carax history with Cannes is long as starts in 1984 with his debut film Boy Meets Girl at a parallel section and continues up to 2008 when Tokyo! was screened at Un Certain Regard. Only in 1999 with Pola X he is in competition.

Does he has chances this year, definitively yes not only is about time Leo Carax is honored in Cannes but also film got such critical acceptance from all over the world that maybe will also generate similar reaction within the jury. Will not be surprised if Denis Lavant is considered for the actor top award.

Un Certain Regard

7 Dias en la Habana (7 Days in Havana) by 7 Directors

VERY curious about this film with 7 shorts, especially one particular segment, but also because here we will be able to see the work of great directors, Pablo Trapero, Laurent Cantet, Gaspard Noé, Elia Suleiman, and Julio Medem; plus two that I'm not that familiar, one is well-known actor Benicio del Toro and the other is the only Cuban director Juan Carlos Tabío... wait I just came from learning that he's the director of great Fresa y Chocolate, so I know him.

Seven directors take turns to give us a snapshot of Havana in 2012; a contemporary portrait of this eclectic city, vital and forward-looking. As I know directors' style is quite different its impossible to talk about this anthology like if would be one film, so here is what I learned about each of the segments, one for each day of the week.

Monday - El Yuma by Benicio del Toro

Synopsis: Teddy Atkins is a young American tourist who travels to Havana for the first time. His driver, a middle-aged Cuban cab driver who has a university degree in engineering will offer him a touristic tour of the city that is anything but traditional.

Interesting interview with Benicio, good Josh Hutcherson video and yes story seems also interesting.

Tuesday - Jam Session by Pablo Trapero

I don't have to learn something about this short that I'm sure will highly enjoy as is by none other than Pablo Trapero. Still for you here is the synopsis.

A well-known director traveling to Cuba to receive an award and going at the same time through a personal emotional crisis will find advice and help from an unexpected friend: his driver, a Cuban family man, humble, kind, who happens to be an incredible trumpet player.

Starring amazing Emir Kusturica just adds to my expectation that short has to be a great cinematic experience. Irreverent Trapero interview but great to look at. Amazing music in interesting Kusturica video. Watch them they're brief and fun-to-watch.

Wednesday - La tentación de Cecilia by Julio Medem

Ah! Julio Medem and his amazing women stories, this is the short synopsis.

Cecilia, a Cuban singer, is torn between accepting the offer of a Spanish impresario and following him in Spain to make a career, or staying in Havana with her boyfriend Jose.

Starring none other than great Daniel Bruhl. Another irreverent director interview but has great images. Daniel video takes us into Havana talking with a heavy Spanish accent. My only expectation is that Medem gives us a great woman-centered story.

Thursday - Diary of a Beginner by Elia Suleiman

Can't wait to see another Elia Suleiman mesmerizing deadpan performance as he directs but also is the star of the short, which is just fantastic, as always. The synopsis.

ES, a Palestinian, is assigned to conduct an interview with a prominent Cuban figure in Havana. He wanders the city of Havana as he waits for his appointment. Gradually, what he thought to be killing time while waiting for his appointment becomes his test for his true identification.

Synopsis blows my mind. Great, a good interview with director and nice common-life images.

Friday - Ritual by Gaspard Noé

Gaspard Noé has a very particular style that spontaneously is not easy for me to imagine translated into a "tropical" city; BUT this is the short that I really can't wait to see and the one that I don't understand why is NOT competing for the Queer Palm. The synopsis.

Yamilslaidi, an attractive African-Cuban schoolgirl is forced by her parents to go into a cleaning ritual. They are determined to get their daughter rid of the "curse" she has been put on: loving girls.

I will let Noé to surprise me, so no expectations beyond the lesbian interest story. Oh! after watching so many of his amazing movies in French -and other languages-, I forgot that he is Argentinean, so at first his interview shocked me with his excellent Spanish! Unfortunately is another irreverent interview, but there are some images from short. Also great film stills.

Saturday - Dulce Amargo by Juan Carlos Tabío

This short has to be interesting as in my mind is the only one that has a local vision plus starts one actor that I highly enjoy, Jorge Perugorria. The synopsis.

An immersion into one "normal" day in Mirta's life: despite her two jobs, Mirta also devotes herself making candies in order to fulfill her home and family's needs.

Director's interview starts interesting but unfortunately moves fast into the irreverent questions.

Sunday - La Fuente by Laurent Cantet

Another director that even when he has gone to the tropics with his films, is not easy for me to imagine him in Havana. The synopsis.

How Martha and her neighbors will go out of their way in order to set up a ceremony on time for the virgin Oshun, who appeared in Martha's dreams asking for a public celebration to her name... that same evening!

Synopsis is perfect, the perfect tale for a Cuban story with the magic that Santeria can bring to the screen. Another irreverent questions to director's interview but Cantet manages to answer speaking about his film.
The best source to learn more about film is the official site where you can see interviews, clips, etc about each of the shorts. Go here and browse site to discover many videos that I skipped today but know will return to watch.

Don't have to tell that is not until today that I go in-depth with the compilation and the exercise made me more excited so expectations have been risen. But also made me feel like dancing to great Cuban music, so will dance for a while. Obviously Must Be Seen for me and can't wait.

La Playa D. C. by Juan Andres Arango

The film has a story not-often seen in Latin American cinema from Spanish-speaking countries with relatively small black communities, as racism has been vastly explored between whites and indigenous inhabitants, but between black and white has not been much portrayed and I know that racism is as bad if not worst. So story attracts me, here is the synopsis.

Tomas, an Afro-Colombian teenager who fled the country’s Pacific coast pushed out by the war, faces the difficulties of growing up in a city of exclusion and racism. When Jairo, his younger brother and closer friend disappear, Tomas is forced to leave his home to look for him. With the help from his older brother Chaco, Tomas plunges in the streets of the city. His search becomes an initiatory journey that compels him to face his past and to leave aside the influence of his brothers in order to find his own identity. Through this journey, Tomas reveals a unique perspective of a vibrant and unstable city that, like Tomas, stands on the threshold between what once was and what might be.

Trailer gives me the impression that Arango's film could be also visually interesting. Will watch film as soon as it comes near me.

Out of Competition

Io e Te (Me and You) by Bernardo Bertolucci

Bertolucci is back. What better news that he has a new movie? His last movie was crazy good The Dreamers released in 2003 so the wait was long, almost 10 years. Of course I have expectations for his latest work and all can be say with few words: I expect to see Bertolucci particular style, glorious and provocative filmmaking and storytelling style.

Two movie aspects I'm particularly grateful, first is the director going-back to Italy -after a longer while- thus film is in Italian; second I'm SO glad he decided NOT to do it in 3D. Great!

Story travels a known to Bertolucci theme, the quest for identify; this is the synopsis.

Lorenzo is a quirky 14-year-old loner. He plans to fulfill his teenage dream of happiness by hiding out in his apartment building’s abandoned cellar. To escape his overwrought parents, Lorenzo will tell them that he is going away on a ski trip with school friends. For an entire week, he will finally be able to avoid all conflicts and pressures to be a "normal" teenager. He plans to live in perfect isolation with his horror and fantasy books. But an unexpected visit from his worldly older half-sister Olivia changes everything. Their emotional time together will inspire Lorenzo to come to terms with the challenge of casting aside his disguise of troubled youth and prepare to soon be thrown into the chaotic game of adult life.

Synopsis and clips make me believe that my expectations will be met and hopefully surpassed. Photocall video allows us to see Bertolucci plus introduces me to the two young very attractive actors. Beautiful Tea Falco behaves very much like the typical Italian diva which to me is refreshing as this year haven't been able to see (great) Italian actresses in Cannes.

TVFestival de Cannes starts with interviewer directly asking Bertolucci about being in a wheelchair and filming, his answer is great and with lots of positive humor. For a change questions and answers are good. Hate translations when I understand the languages spoken, grrr (lol!). If in photocall called my attention after listening to Tea in Italian the interest grows. Agree, très belle blonde. But video is great for what master Bertolucci shares with us without giving major spoilers.

Press conference video is not working for me, maybe will watch later, but honestly I don't need to see more about film or director to be highly interested in watching film. Still one press conference quote called my absolute attention and stimulated my imagination even further than before.

The parallel between Jeanne from Last Tango in Paris and Olivia from Me and You, explained by Bernardo Bertolucci
These two characters are both extremely dramatic. Maybe there is something that links all women that I film. In the future, I would like to film women who are not so desperate. It was a few years ago now that I shot Last Tango in Paris but now I find myself face to face with an extremely complex woman.

Red carpet starts with the young actors interview and Bertolucci talking about his beautiful characters and actors. Again this young actress really behaves like a true Italian diva, very enjoyable to see Watch only for entertaining purposes.

Of course is Must Be Seen for me and the wait will be hard to endure.


Today section opens with the Short Films Program 1 that screens the following films: The Ballad of Finn + Yeti by Mery O'Coonnor, Matteus by Leni Huyhe, Tabăra Din Răzoare (The Camp In Razoare) by Cristi Iftime, and Riyoushi (The Barber) by Schoichi Akino.

If you wish to learn more -plus watch clips- about each of the above films and all the short films in the section please go here.

Cannes Classics

Viaggio in Italia (Journey to Italy) by Roberto Rossellini

Another film that is really a classic in my book, one that probably is Roberto Rossellinni most famous film. A film that is considered as precursor of the Nouvelle Vague and THE film that portrays a love story between the master of Italian Neorealism and Ingrid Bergman. I wish I could say that I want to see again the restored masterpiece but I can't as has been my experience that what I saw with my young mind and lives in my memory archive is always better than what I see now. Sigh. Still if you have never seen movie, I strongly recommend you to see it. If you wish to learn more about movie go here.

Cleo de 5 a 7 (Cleo from 5 to 7) by Agnès Varda

50 years ago Agnes Varda released her second feature film that now is considered as an iconic film of the Nouvelle Vague. Clea de 5 a 7 is also famous for a sequence with a mini-film within the film, which features many of Varda's friends, including Jean-Luc Godard and Anna Karina. A film that I strongly recommend watching and even if we won't be able to see the restored version, you can see film in youtube, just use the link at Cannes site where you also will be able to read about this fascinating movie that starts full color before transforming into stunning black and white. Enjoy!

Jaws by Steven Spielberg

There is not much I can say about Steven Spielberg second film as I imagine that everyone has seen it by now. But if you're one of the few that haven't, this is one film that you have to see before you die; one suggestion, you have to transport yourself to the 1982 world of cinema when special effects were not what they are today, if you are able to do it then you will highly enjoy the famous long shoot that gave us then-viewers the chill of our life. If you wish to read about film go here.

Cinéma de la Plage

On Her Majesty's Secret Service by Peter Hunt

James Bond celebration closes with Peter Hunt film that to be honest I didn't particularly like because -as many- I missed Sean Connery. George Lazenby just wasn't the Bond Connery made us fall in love. I wonder why they include this film in the five-film celebration, if they had asked me my suggestion will be to have any Roger Moore film, he was not Connery but Moore's Bond was better accepted by audiences. If you wish to read more about movie go here.


Sueño y Silencio (The Dream and The Silence) by Jaime Rosales

Very suggestive movie title that makes me hope film is all about that, let's explore. Maybe not, check synopsis.

Oriol and Yolanda live in Paris with their two daughters. Oriol is an architect and Yolanda is a teacher. During a holiday at the Ebro River Delta they have an accident that changes their lives.

Can't find clips or more info, but if I believe twits then seems that movie was not well-accepted as most comments talk about a movie that gives exactly what the title says but implying that was boring. IF is true and movie delivers the title then what I was hoping could be true, which is absolutely great IF silence prevails about dream; more interesting when you add that film is in black and white. Will give film a try, but will check info after fest to confirm that I should give it a try.

Ernest and Celestine by Benjamin Renner, Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar

After watching clips I'm not that sure if I will enjoy this particular animation style but storytelling style does attract me so maybe I'll give film a try. This is the synopsis.

This is the story of the friendship between Ernest, a big bear who wants to become an artist and Celestine, a little mouse who doesn’t want to become a dentist.

Yes story could be interesting and makes me think that maybe, maybe animation style works with what seems a fun-to-watch story.

Sightseers by Ben Wheatley

The second and last special screening in the parallel section screens a movie that visually attracts me but clip and story tell me that maybe narrative will interfere with visuals.

Tina has always lived a sheltered life with a possessive, meddling mother. For their first romantic holiday, Chris decides to show her England in his caravan. It's quite a change of scenery for Tina. But the dream quickly turns to ashes when litterbug tourists, noisy youths and pre-booked caravan sites destroy Chris's dream and all those who get in his way.

But then clip suggests that film is a comedy, a sort of gross comedy delivered with great darkish humor, the kind I like, so think will see movie hoping to not be disappointed.

Short Films program 1

The first short films program screens the following films, Avec Jeff, à moto by Marie-Eve Juste, Rodri by Franco Lolli, Königsberg by Philipp Mayrhofer, Porcos raivosos (Enraged Pigs) by Leonardo Sette and Isabel Penoni, and Os vivos tambem choram by Basil da Cunha.

To read, see photos and some clips about those and all the shorts in the Quinzaine please go here.

Semaine de la Critique

Poslednata Lineika na Sofia (Sofia's Last Ambulance) by Ilian Metev

From all films in the selection this is the one that spontaneously called my attention and interest grew exponentially when I started to learn about film. This is a documentary that shows a regular working day of a doctor, a nurse and a driver, which at first seems quite ordinary but perceptions change when you learn that they are using one of ONLY 13 ambulances that service Bulgaria's capital with 2-3 million (depends on source) population. This is the synopsis and suggest you watch clip here.

In a city where 13 ambulances struggle to serve 2 million people, Krassi, Mila and Plamen are our unlikely heroes: chain-smoking, filled with humor and relentlessly saving lives against all odds. Yet, the strain of a broken system is taking its toll. How long can they keep on fixing society's injured until they lose their empathy?

Somehow story and visuals make think that this doc can be similar to a great Romanian movie with similar story essence, the failing of the medical system; even if I don't expect the same narrative style as this is a documentary, my imagination tells me that I'm going to get into a deep-disturbing realistic voyage very similar to the one I got while watching The Death of Mr. Lazarescu.

Can't wait to see documentary that I know will be hard to find near me.

Note: Trying to find a reliable sources for Sofia's population learned about yesterday's earthquake near Sofia. Terrible news, especially after recent Northern Italy's earthquake.

Also today the section will screen the programs Invitation to Festival de Morelia and La Collection Canal+ Donne la voi(e)!; the first has four shorts and the second eight, but unfortunately there is not much information about both programs.


Today La Tête la première (Head First) by Amélie van Elmbt that has the following synopsis.

Zoé decides to hit the road to approach a writer she admires and embarks on a road trip that may give sense to her life. On the way, she meets Adrien who, intrigued by her elusive personality, decides to follow her.

The first movie in this section with a movie clip that I suggest you watch here.  Having been able to watch moving images facilitates me the idea that I could enjoy this road movie, but if some films NEVER came near me are those in this not-well-known parallel section. BIG SHAME. Still, hope is what dies last and this Belgian production maybe becomes the exception.

Cannes News

Rupert Everett will play Oscar Wilde in his directorial debut The Happy Prince, top British actors will co star, Colin Firth, Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, Edward Fox.

Not many news so let's follow here the Screen magazine poll, as of yesterday no movie has beaten Haneke and Mungiu's top scores, but Rust & Bone second place shows a tie with Killing Them Softly. Let see what happens tomorrow as some British critics (not in Screen poll) have given Holy Motors five star reviews. By the way lower scores are shared by Paradise: Love and After the Battle closely followed by Lawless.

Not-so-serious Comments

My Kristen Stewart day started yesterday thanks to the impossible-to-avoid twitter news immediacy done mainly by fans. Saw her leaving LAX and saw her arriving at her hotel, with her mother that's in Cannes to promote her directorial debut , K-11 with a film about the secure unit of LA County jail for homosexuals, transexuals and transgenders inmates. If I ever wonder why Kristen got into this business (which I didn't), I do no more as when telling the mother background we discover that her family and the business are related since Cecil B Demille. So, now I know that Kristen coming into the business was more natural than whatever I expected.

Photos circulate as well as funny Thierry Fremaux twit about the Jury playing in the tournoi de pétanque des personnalités. Fremaux says that Nanni, Ewan and Emmanuelle are the best players. Good that they have time outside in sunny Cannes.

So I was unsuccessfully looking for yearly Chanel video by Karl Lagerfeld; but the couturier turned filmmaker is in the news today with a project that can be interesting, a short film with him directing and Harvey Weinstein producing. The stars? The highest bidder in the Cinema Against AIDS gala. Since so many celebrities as well as known-actors and actresses will attend the benefit gala let's Sam get the part.

Lucky the French as if they want to see some Cannes films they just have to go to a movie theater near them. Not only On the Road but also Rust & Bones that already set box office records.

In Cannes today, Mila Jojovich, Alexandra Maria Lara (Sam Riley's Control co star and real-life wife), Elsa Zylberstein, Elodie Bouchez and Robert Pattinson.

Photo of the Day

Not a common photo to be seen here, but somehow predictable.

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