Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quick Cannes Report

These are notes and observations manufactured from what has come through media outlets, my own opinion based on the reviews that have come out of Cannes immediately following the screenings, and general buzz amongst the social media realms.

 - Michael Haneke took home the Palme d'Or in 2009 with The White Ribbon, and his new film, Amour, is a drama about an elderly couple, played by Emmanuelle Riva (Anne) and Jean-Louise Trintignant (Georges), whose love is severely tested when Anne has an attack. The reviews have been unanimously positive with many claiming the film to be a 'masterpiece'. It is the current favourite to take the top prize.

 - Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson's latest, which opened the Festival and competes in competition, might be Haneke's closest rival at the present. Reviews have been very positive, with many claiming the charming coming-of-age tale to be amongst Anderson's best works to date. Christy Lemire (Associated Press) claims in her review: "If you love Wes Anderson, you'll love this. The best of what he can do is vibrantly on display."As a big Wes Anderson fan, I am very excited to know that I will be seeing this in a few weeks at the Sydney Film Festival.

 - Only a few reviews are in for Ken Loach's The Angel's Share, but they have also been positive. I have overlooked it on my Sydney Film Festival schedule, which could prove to be a mistake. Loach is a Cannes veteran, having screened films in the Official Competition many times, and winning the Palme d'Or for The Wind That Shakes the Barley in 2006. The Angel's Share tells the tale of Robbie, an ex-offender and new father who embarks on an adventure with his newfound friends - former criminals who also can't find work and also on community service - to a whiskey distillery and discovers that turning to drink might just change his life.

 - Korean director Hong Sang-soo is a regular on the festival circuit. I have only seen one of his films - The Power of Kangwon Province, which was interesting - but In Another Country has received a warm reception. Isabelle Huppert, a winner at Cannes, is always a class act.

 - The Hunt is the first return of Danish director Thomas Vinterberg since his acclaimed film, Festen, competed for the Palme d'Or in 1998. Mads Mikkelsen's performance has been highly praised. Often playing unsavoury and violent characters, he is against-type here. Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph awarded the film 5 Stars - "It is rare that a film can make you laugh, cry and shake with fury at the same time; even rarer when it does so for the right reasons." Could be one to watch out for.

 - Rust and Bone could also be a sleeper, too. The responses have been mixed, but mostly drawing great admiration, especially for the performances. Marion Cotillard, who is always riveting, is perhaps the current favourite for Best Actress. Following A Prophet, there is plenty of anticipation for Jacques Audiard's follow up, and it appears to have delivered accordingly.

 - Killing Them Softly is Australian director Andrew Dominik's first feature since The Assassination of Jesse James in 2007, reuniting with Brad Pitt. The brutal picture, which tells the story of a robbery against the mob which is then investigated by a hitman's boss, has had a high-profile reception with many critics praising Brad Pitt's work, the film's dark humour and Dominik's helming.

 - Holy Motors, Leos Carax's newest feature certainly caused a sensation overnight. I believe it is unforgettably surreal and wacky. Peter Bradshaw gave the film 5 Stars: "It is wayward, kaleidoscopic, black comic and bizarre; there is in it a batsqueak of genius, dishevelment and derangement; it is captivating and compelling." Michel Piccoli, Kylie Minogue and Eva Mendes star. It could be in with a shot.

 - Matteo Garrone's Reality, John Hillcoat's Lawless (disappointing!), Alain Resnais' You Aint Seen Nothin' Yet! and Christian Mugiu's Beyond the Hills have all received lukearm responses. There is nothing to suggest they are bad films, but have not been up to the standard of some of the directors' prior works. This is especially disappointing for Lawless, considering the cast - Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Guy Pierce, Jessica Chastain. Mugiu's film, a Romanian religious piece, has divided critics, while it could be 90 year-old Resnais' swan-song.

 - Abbas Kiarostami's Like Someone In Love has generated a lot of buzz, but for the wrong reasons. It was booed at the end. This does not mean much considering that Malick's The Tree of Life, which won the Palme d'Or last year, was also booed. Certified Copy received plenty of critical acclaim, and Juliette Binoche won Best Actress for her work, but this Tokyo-set film seems set to be a critical flop.

 - Just in today: On the Road finally screened at the Croisette and has not been well-received at all. That is a shame. Walter Salles adaptation of Jack Kerouac's acclaimed novel, which many have claimed to be unfilmable, has not impressed audiences, despite some mention of strong work from the ensemble cast.

 - There have been plenty of tweets coming through tonight about Lee Daniels' The Paperboy. Apparently it is pretty wild. The mentions about what Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron get up to are especially amusing. The responses are largely negative, however this has only made me more intrigued.

Current Palme d'Or favourite: Amour. Still to screen: Cosmopolis, The Taste of Money, Mud, In the Fog and Post Tenebras Lux.


  1. Great round up! Lots of great movies coming this year so it seems. I'm glad Killing them Softly and Rust and Bone got good reviews, both films seems great.

    1. Yeah I was looking forward to Killing Them Softly, but perhaps Lawless even more. I think that has changed now. I enjoy Marion Cotillard in any film, and Rust and Bone looks like it is a great showcase for her talents.

  2. I've been following what's going on and I think it's going to come down between L'Amour and Holy Motors unless a surprise is in store. I've been reading about Post Tenebras Lux that's been getting mixed reviews but I'm still eager to see it. Especially as I watched Silent Light last night. I'll release my review of that film tomorrow.

    1. You really loved Silent Light didn't you? Interesting, because despite negative reviews the director of Post Tenebras Lux (his name escapes me) still picked up Best Director. NOW I am eager to see it.

  3. I literally want to see every single movie you mentioned. The crop of films from Cannes this year is just incredible. Rust & Bone: Marion, goin' for that second Oscar. Really excited to see her work in that one.

    1. I am very glad I have kept a close-ish watch on the proceedings. I had never heard of Leos Carax before the festival and now Holy Motors (which looks batshit crazy) is one of the most interesting to come out of the festival. I am seeing a few of these at next month's SFF, but for most it is a patient wait for a 'possible' cinema release.