Thursday, May 18, 2017

Day 2 at #Cannes2017

The first day of the festival is over as well as the beginning of the anniversary celebrations with the formal dinner after the opening ceremony.  By-the-way, in the era of ubiquitous cameras is not surprising to see photos of empty seats! Yes, yesterday was able to see how many rows in the Palais were empty, minutes after the festival was declared open and before the opening film began.

Gee, perhaps a good idea will be to have seat-fillers (like in the Oscars) but in this case with people that actually like the cinema and wish to watch the opening film or maybe there should be some control with the many "celebrities" that walk the red carpet for the photographers and not for the cinema event or in the extreme case, perhaps organizers should avoid hard-proof possibilities and should ban cell phones/cameras! (LOL) (I'm kidding-about cells only)

Nevertheless was fun to see Marion Cotillard walk the red carpet for the fifth time in a row as yes, she has been in Cannes for the last five consecutive years with different films.  Also Charlotte Gainsbourg was a very welcome surprise sighting as she looked beyond gorgeous in the red carpet.  Do believe that European actresses have a lot more elegance and presence than their counterparts from other parts from the world, to make my point take a look at 2017 Met Gala photos with French actresses and place them along to the American celebrities photos, et voilà!

Today is a very active day in Cannes as all the parallel sections have their opening day and the most interesting activity from the independent sections is at the opening of  la Quinzaine with a film by a director I highly enjoy, Claire Denis, starring an actress I simply adore, Juliette Binoche.  As is not an Official Selection, all activities around Un Beau Soleil Interieur are more informal and you can actually see everyone more relaxed, behaving like they do in any other film festival that is not Cannes (lol). Great!

But is in the competition where there is extreme activity as today is the screening of one of the three films I do not mind win la Palme d'Or, Loveless by Andrei Zvyagintsev (the other two are films by Haneke and Loznitsa) plus a film by a great director deciding to go into a genre I believe he hasn't explore before and unsurprisingly, American press already call the first Oscar contender, Wonderstruck by Todd Haynes.


Нелюбовь Nelyubov (Loveless) by Andrey Zvyagintsev
One of my most admired living Russian contemporary directors that loves to play with visual-poetry in the most unexpected non-traditional way (see The Banishment) with compelling stories that -to me- seem to complement what's happening in the visuals, which usually is the opposite in more conventional cinema. Ah! yes, he has arguably been called Tarkovsky's "successor".  Could write endlessly about his very small body of work (this is his 5th film) but let's be practical and get into Loveless.

Have seen just the trailer and from the little I wish to learn about story have the impression that this time he uses color (his visual trademark) different to tell a before and an after moments in story, plus seems there is a glorious use of light! Yes, seems story could be painful or perhaps more political if you go in-depth below the obvious; but, I'm positive visuals will be breathtaking -as always they are-.

Do not need positive press reaction to be dying to watch film, but they're always welcome and yes, tweets started to pour late yesterday after the press screening and were mostly positive.  Check some reactions below.  Most interesting is film already sold to many markets, including North and Latin America (Sony Classics).  Will share some tech info, among the many nationalities of film producers there is one company that absolutely stands-out as in a way assures film quality above standards, Les Films du Fleuve from Belgium owned by the Dardennes brothers.

Photocall was peaceful as there are no "celebrities" just an outstanding director with his actors.  Sigh.

Press Reactions
Most spontaneous reactions tend to be very positive and as most critics that tweeted last night already published their reviews, can say that at least headlines tend to go to the positive scale (refuse to read reviews until after I see film, lol).  So below there is a mix of tweets and headlines that could give an idea of how positive the film has been received by critics.

On the Positive side
-Andrei Zvyagintsiev's Loveless is a stark, mysterious, terrifying story of spiritual catastrophe - surely a Palme frontrunner ... eerie thriller of hypnotic, mysterious intensity ... Zvyagintsev has produced another masterpiece in this apocalyptic study of a failed marriage and the subsequent disappearance of a child. Peter Bradshaw - The Guardian, UK
-LOVELESS: Well, that's certainly an accurate title. Dreary and intelligent, but it's no LEVIATHAN. Eric Kohn - IndieWire, USA
-Can't tweet about Andrey Zvyagintsev's Loveless w/o getting deeply personal. Traumatic-hypnotic-devastating. Slowly destroyed me. Tomris Laffly - TimeOut NY, USA
-The pristine and merciless new film from Andrey Zvyagintsev begins out in the cold, and its temperature just keeps dropping from there. Robbie Collin - The Telegraph, UK
-Avec “Faute d'amour”, Andreï Zviaguintsev se fait médecin légiste de l'âme russe. Pierre Murat. Telerama
-Plus qu’un drame amoureux, le premier film en compétition à Cannes cette année est un véritable drame sociétal. Avec un acuité flagrante, le cinéaste russe Andrey Zvyagintsev zoome sur la faute d’amour, pour reprendre le titre français de Nelyubov, d’une société individualiste et égocentrique. Jean-Luc Gadreau. France
-Sobre et tendu, #Loveless ausculte un égocentrisme d'élite, lent poison violent d'aujourd'hui. TroisCouleurs, France
-Still haunted by Zvyagintsev's LOVELESS from last night. Not quite LEVIATHAN in its scale but more piercingly interior and sad. Dave Calhoun - TimeOut London
-There's a scene with a crying boy in Zvyagintsev's #LOVELESS that will haunt me for a long time. Heartbreaking. Patrick Heidmann, Berlin

Perhaps the most interesting review is by Sophie Monks Kaufman from Little White Lies that you can read here.  There she talks a little about what I like from Zvyagintsev's films, here is an excerpt:

"Primary colours don’t exist in this film world, save for in a handful of visually memorable moments where orange jackets are dotted across a washed-out hillside. For the most part skies are grey, nature is dead, interiors are dim. In case anyone wasn’t already clear, this is not a happy film."

On the NOT Positive side
-Un début de compétition sans audace mais efficace. Le film d'auteur que l'on savait qu'on verrait en venant à Cannes. Julien Doug, France.
-Sans poésie #LOVELESS est l'antithèse de Leviathan: complaisant, cynique, figé, bavard, bassement provoc et dépourvu d'humanité. Antoine Gaude, France
-I didn't like Loveless very much. Damon Wise, London

Gosh, got lost reading and thinking about this film but definitively now, more than before, I'm dying to see film that perhaps could be more similar to The Banishment than to The Return, Elena or Leviathan. Sigh.

From the Red Carpet

As we know film score competes for the Cannes Soundtrack Award and today the following was posted.
On this first day Loveless (Nelyubov), the intimist and political journey of a crisis-riddled couple, directed by Andrey Zsviagintsev, is showed for the festival's competition. Evgueni Galperine composed a powerful score to highlight by music this enthralling film.

Wonderstruck by Todd Haynes
After master opus Carol many of us wondered where Haynes will go and now we know, he went to tell a juvenile story by the creator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret (remember the movie by Martin Scorsese?), which obviously is strange, at least on paper.

It's strange as he seems to have chosen a very conventional story after doing many not-so-conventional ones; let's hope that he tells story with out-of-the-ordinary style ... and perhaps he did as some initial reactions are talking about the many silences in film and a great Carter Burwell score (so unfortunately is not that silent, has music -sigh).  But indeed, seems film is more a tribute to Silent Cinema, which makes it somehow more appealing to me and helps to understand the use of music in film.

What many are talking is the fact that children are the real leads, not adults (Joanne Moore, Michelle Williams, more) and is the the child that plays Rose, Millicent Simmonds, who seems to call everyone's attention for her performance and for the fact that she's deaf in real life.

As in many of Haynes films, one of the producers is Christine Vachon with her Killer Films; film will be distributed by Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions in USA, release date is limited, October 20, 2017 and wider in mid-November.

Interesting enough is that while the Netflix saga continues, no one is making waves about Amazon movies in competition. Amazon Studios primarily produces material for their VOD service and that's why has to associate to distribute in theaters.  I have Amazon Prime and yes, I do stream original material as well as movies; so, I ask: what's different from Netflix?  Nothing, for me, as both are options to watch the films I like and wish to see.  But as long as film is released in theaters, no one in Cannes complains! (lol) Odd.

Photos made me recall that just last week Michelle Williams and Isabelle Huppert were in a Louis Vuitton event in Tokyo (check some really beautiful photos) and now, a few days later, both are in Cannes!  Here are a couple of photos from Wonderstruck photocall.

Press Reactions
Most tend to be on the positive side and unsurprisingly, but it's a pleasant "un-surprise" (lol), American press loved film to the point that most write that is the first Oscar contender. Talking about Oscar don't understand why American press insists of looking for Oscar "contenders" in Cannes, leave Cannes alone as great-good cinema and go elsewhere to find what you need, surely you will find the contenders at Toronto fest so hold your horses this early in the year. Sigh

Still, after going in-depth, discovered that later reactions (in reviews) tend to be more harsh and go to the negative side of the scale; so, can say that film generated mixed reactions.

On the Positive side
-The title is no idle boast. Todd Haynes is back with his past muse Julianne Moore, but it’s her junior co-stars who hold the spotlight in this enthralling adaptation of Brian Selznick’s illustrated novel for young readers. David Rooney -THR, USA
-  ... an immaculately crafted fable about the ways in which people of all ages learn to break out of their bodies and connect with the world. David Ehrlich - IndieWire, USA
- ... a semi-animated sequence which fills in the links between the two stories is an achingly potent climax to this idiosyncratic charmer of a film. Wendy Ide, ScreenDaily, UK
-Double odyssée new-yorkaise raffinée, #Wonderstruck est une oeuvre sublime au travail sonore fantastique ! Premier bijou à Cannes2017. Dom Maury Lsmartres, France
-I've just been struck by wonder. Delicate, bittersweet... sublime! ... Some scenes in WONDERSTRUCK are so achingly beautiful, they gave me goosebumps and brought tears to my eyes. FilmLand Empire, London
-Je viens donc de passer 2h à pleurer quasiment non stop. Emma C Teaser - Cinemateaser, France
-Tout juste sortis de #Wonderstruck. On ne va pas vous mentir: nous avons trouvé notre Palme d'Or! Saddam Husserl, France
-Comme un conte new-yorkais écrit par Dickens. Sauce Méliès. Apparat enfantin, densité magistrale. Ça commence fort. Thomas Gstaldi, Wask, France

On the NOT Positive side (warm to cold)
-Gooey and indulgent YA fantasy fails to inspire awe ... has nice details but suffers from a glib tone and some preposterous plotting. Peter Bradshaw - The Guardian, UK
- Todd Haynes pens a love letter to silent cinema with New York fable Wonderstruck. Uneven but frequently, well, wonderful. TotalFilm, UK
- The film is a mighty thing to behold, offering up a lush visual and aural landscape that is frequently breathtaking. So why did I leave the theater so unmoved? Richard Lawson - Vanity Fair, USA
-Todd Haynes' adaptation of a children's novel by Brian Selznick ('The Invention of Hugo Cabret') is a lovingly crafted adventure of innocence that winds up being less than the sum of its parts. Owen Gleiberman - Variety, USA
-I wasn't completely struck by #wonderstruck but still found it moving, magical & heartwarming + great music na production, Rado Folta, Poland
-Haynes s'hugocabretise dans le joli WONDERSTRUCK à l'ambiance THE ARTIST/THE GET DOWN/LA NUIT AU MUSÉE. Un peu in-conte-séquent. Leo Soesanto, France
-Délicieux petit bijou spielbergien dans sa 1e moitié, interminable exercice de style dans sa 2nde. Jean-Baptiste Morel, France.
-le mélo Spielberg tenté par Todd Haynes, ultrapersonnel mais étonnamment lourd. Le film de lui que j'❤️ le moins. Olivier Joyard - Les Inrocks, France
-Todd Haynes compose un joli conte sur la puissance atemporelle de l'émerveillement propre à l'enfance. TroisCouleurs, France

After reading about the emotional press conference decided not to check video, so close all about Wonderstuck with a group photo at the top of the red carpet. Enjoy!

Also today, the Cannes Soundtrack Award published the follow about this film.
On this first day the film Wonderstruck, by Todd Haynes, is showed for the competition of the Festival. Carter Burwell, historic composer for Joel and Ethan Coen, composed a minimalist score for this sensory modern tragedy.

Cannes Classics

The Dark of Night by Robin Wright

Tonight before the screening of All That Jazz there will be the premiere of a short film by Robin Wright, which is her first short film as a director, but we have to recall that she has directed several House of Cards episodes.

I'm very curious about this b/w film mainly because wish to see what Wright has to show the world in what has been called an homage to cinema noir, but story also tickles my curiosity as tells about a woman and a waitress, a police officer and a homeless person on the restaurant.  Then, consider that the restaurant is the same as the one in the background of Barry Levinson's 1982 first feature, Diner.

Most interesting is to find that Robin Wright is the first Women in Motion Talk and what she discussed there with Variety moderator has made the buzz allover twitter.  If you wish to see the almost 38 minutes video go here. Talk is in English.

Here is the complete video.

Un Certain Regard

Barbara by Mathieu Amalric
After yesterday's actor-hat, Amalric puts his directors-hat AND his lead-actor-hat for the section opening film starring none other than Jeanne Balibar in a story where a director wants to make a biopic about the famous singer, Barbara.  Will not deny that I'm curious about film. mostly because Barbara, the singer, as seems there will be some singing in the story.

Most reactions -in French- tend to be positive praising Balibar performance as the actress that will play Barbara in the movie and some even going to say that Amalric reinvents the biopic.  There are some mild reviews in Spanish and well, couldn't find one in English (lol).

Check photocall photo.

Cinema de la Plage - Opens with Todo Sobre Mi Madre by Pedro Almodovar.

Also today from the Official Selection, Sea Sorrow by Vanessa Redgrave, Blade of the Immortal by Miike Takashi, and Western by Valeska Grisebach.   In Cannes Classics will also screen El Sol del Membrillo by Victor Erice, Narayama Bushiko by Shohei Imamura, and Native Son by Pierre Chenal.

Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

Un beau soleil intérieur (Let the Sunshine In) by Claire Denis
Yes, was a surprise to see this film in a parallel section but now that have been reading spontaneous reactions believe that understand why film is not in the Official Selection as some believe film belongs to the rom-com genre and one even dares to say that is "Claire Deni's idea of a Nancy Meyers movie" (!!!!).

Perhaps I'm biased, but first, can't imagine a good French movie being tagged as a romantic comedy; second, can't imagine a bad Claire Denis film (no matter how old she is); and third, it's almost impossible that Juliette Binoche does a bad film in French.  Of course film is must-be-seen for me as watch everything with Juliette Binoche! (including Godzilla, where for around 10 minutes of work she earn more than what she earns for around two French films).  Sigh.

Press Reactions
Not all reactions are on the positive side as well, we know Cannes is not necessarily a place for what critics call "romantic comedy" no matter who is the director.
-In a stunning twist, the collaboration between Claire Denis and Juliette Binoche turns out to be absolutely lovely. Guy Lodge - Variety, USA
-Luminously headlined by Juliette Binoche, Claire Denis’s delightful foray into romantic kinda-comedy retains all the director’s signature sensual delicacy. Variety
-Un beau soleil intérieur détonne, par sa prise de risque, son style intempestif, profond et pourtant léger Grazia
-Claire Denis (…) met en scène une Juliette Binoche royale dans le rôle d’une femme désespérément en quête du grand amour. Libération
-Claire Denis opens Directors’ Fortnight with this elegant, mercurial comedy starring Juliette Binoche. ScreenDaily
-Soleil féroce et grinçant en ouverture de la Quinzaine cannoise. Le Vif
-Juliette Binoche rayonne chez Claire Denis. Les Inrocks
(…) the film slowly but surely works its charms, painting a rich, emotionally complex portrait of a woman who, like Denis herself, will not let herself be boxed in. The Hollywood Reporter
-With ‘Let the Sunshine In,’ Claire Denis and Juliette Binoche Deliver a New Kind of Romantic-Comedy. indiewire

The Director's Fortnight also had today the Lebanon Factory event, the Conversation with Carrose d'Or winner Werner Herzog and the screening of his film Port of Call New Orleans.

Semaine de la Critique

Today the opening film Sicilian Ghost Story by Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza and Los Perros by Marcela Said.  Definitively attracts me more the Chilean film because of the story but wonder why film ended up in the most "crazy" section of the festival.  Nevertheless take a look at Los Perros synopsis:
Mariana (42) is part of that Chilean upper class that takes privilege for granted. Despised by both her father and her husband, she feels a strange attraction towards her riding teacher, Juan (60), a former colonel suspected of human rights abuses during the dictatorship. But their affair cracks through the invisible walls that protect her family from the past.

Was watching the facebook video with the standing ovation for Los Perros when guess who came in the screen?  Alfredo Castro!  Film has become must-be-seen for me, as yes, I watch everything with this magnificent actor.  Bravo!!!  If you wish to see the celebratory short video go here.


Independent cinema has become integral part of the festival this year as many media outlets have (finally) started to cover about organizers and the films in the selection, which is absolutely GREAT!  Still is a section with unconventional cinema and yes, most films are strange, to say the least.

Today section opened with Before Summer Ends by Maryam Goormaghtigh.

-Today under the L'Oreal #CAnniversary Cinema Talk program had Julianne Moore introducing to a captive audience her movie, Maps to the Stars.
-Today there is a Wonderstruck party going on but there are no quality photos to publish yet.
-Last night was the Opening Night party sponsored by fest authorities, most photos I have seen look like a lot of bored well-dressed people (!).
-Tonight there is a French Cinema dinner party where many that were not invited to red carpets are mingling.

Irreverent News
-Yes, there was a dress malfunction today, in the Red Carpet ... google Petra Memcova if you wish to see it or go to Daily Mail as they have lots of non-conventional pics.
-Will not comment more about the absurd Almodovar vrs Smith that American press is trying to make relevant.  Absolutely absurd news.
-Yes there is a lot of security, so instead of photo after photo showing how secure Cannes is, perhaps should show/talk about how great Cinema is.
-Cara Delevigne is in Cannes working for Magnum ice cream; she's bald because in her next film Life in a Year by Mitja Okorn plays a very ill character.
-Truth: Rihanna is in Cannes for a very private and special Chopard event.  She looks stunning and is dressed very elegant, appropriate for the venue and event, a private dinner. She is set to perform along Bruno Mars tomorrow night.
-Today the most photographed celebrity has to be Michelle Williams as all photo services have hundreds of her photos in all events, photocall, press conference and red carpet.  Some are really out-of-the ordinary and the face-closeup black/white conversions are superb!


Un Certain Regard Jury at red carpet

Adriana Lima walking Loveless Red Carpet

Nice Duo - would they ever work together?

The Jury at the Opening Ceremony


Juliette Binoche and Claire Denis talk about Let The Sunshine In

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