Watched Hanke’s new film the White Ribbon at the Lumiere today and Christian Berger’s stunning black and white cinematography just looked amazing on that huge screen. I still need to let it sink in and probably give it another viewing once it’s released, it’s certainly a impressive film – but at two and a half hours it requires being in the right frame of mind to watch it. Not going to write up a review of it now but I’m giving it a full 5 marks.
Also caught Alain Resnais new film Wild Grass which Screen and Time Out absolutely loved, admittedly it was amazingly acted and brilliant shot but I just didn’t see what the fuss was about, in fact I’d be inclined to give it a (1 out of 5). I was nodding off a bit thoughout (my fault more than the films to be be fair) so may have missed the underlying subtleties. Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian writes “It has a sense of humour to which you must be finely attuned” I suspect if that’s the case I was ever going to tune into it.
On a film roll now, seen two unremarkable (Ang Lee and Johnny To) and two good (Loach and Almodovár) and a few in between, but still looking for a film to really blow me away or fall in love with, maybe it just won’t happen this year. Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds is screening later and you can already feel the anticipation on the Crosisitte. I haven’t been holding out huge hopes for it based on the trailer, but the dailies have been hyping it up and at the press call Quentin announced “This might be my masterpiece“.
I try to ignore any online reviews (I want to see it with untainted eyes) and spend the rest of the afternoon having lunch on a yacht anchored in the waters just off the Hotel Du Cap seeing if we can spot Quentin, Brad or Angelina having their lunch – seriously the number of paps hanging off the side of the rocks trying to get a photo is crazy, from the boat they look like little insects.
So nice to be away from the hustle bustle of the Crositte and floating in the sea for a few hours, can sort of understand why billionaires buy these things now.
Get back and hear a rumour that an extra screening of Inglorious Basterds has just been added and will be shown 30 minutes after the main premiere starts in the Lumiere at the Bazin next door and sure enough when we get their a reasonable short queue is forming, no one knows for certain if the rumour is true, least the attendants on the door, but as the rumour spreads the queue starts to grow exponentially and then it starts moving, we get in and grab out seats and almost immediately the film starts, huge whoops as “A BAND APART” and the Weinstien’s logo appears on the screen, yes the rumour is true and even bigger cheer when Quentin’s name appears.
Unfortunately the cheering was more subdued at the end, with pockets of clapping from the audience, but on the whole a sense of disappointment seemed to have filled the air, not that it had been a painful 2 hours and 40 minutes, more that once again Tarrintino hadn’t lived up to the possibly overly high expectations. Will write up my thoughts on this in full over the weekend when I have a bit more time.
Will be interesting to see how much the version screened at Cannes will differ from the final theatrical released version.
In short I enjoyed it, but also had some serious problems with it, it’s certainly a long way from being Tarintino’s “Masterpiece” – for now I’m giving in a fence sitting (3 out of 5)
Watched Cristian Mungiu’s (4 months, 3 weeks) portmanteau Tales From The Golden Age, a very enjoyable set of 5 shorts parodying life in the Ceausescu’s Romainia – my favourites were the The Legend Of The Official Visit and the The Legend Of The Greedy Policeman (3 out of 5)
Caught the 3pm screening of Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces in the Lumiere (4 out of 5) nothing really new in terms of Almodóvar but a great mix of noir and melodrama, intertwining plots and a film within a film.
In the evening headed down the beach for an enjoyable evening at the EIFF / Scotish film party
Grabbed some dinner in the old town and finished the evening off with some great cocktails over at the Wild Bunch villa.
Caught Johhny To’s new film Vengence (2 out of 5) in the morning, lots of stilted acting and a major plot device that appears out of nowhere which which have most directors laughed out of the cinema. While not really excusable, somehow I managed to suspend my disbelief and just enjoy the action scenes which as always in a To film are stunning.
Watched Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric in the Lumiere (4 out of 5) enjoyable, funny, heartfelt, the ending seems a bit silly and at odds with the rest of the film, but not so much that it ruins it. In short an excellent Ken Loach film which I expect will do particularly well theatrically in the the UK at least. Decide that I’m not going to make the 4pm market screening of Bright Star and instead catch a panel titled “It’s a mad, new media world” at AmPav.
Saw Hierro in the evening – billed as a Spanish psychological horror from the producers of Pan’s Labyrinth and the Orphanage. That “from the producers of..” tag line should have set alarm bells ringing earlier. It’s the story of a lost boy and his mothers attempt to find him. Well shot but it felt more like the work of a competent commercials or music vid director than someone used to working in narrative film. Still trying to decide if it was the lack of plot of just the bad development of it, but it just didn’t work for me. I think the sweeping music every time someone opened a door was the final straw. At it’s best it left me disinterested in the mother and her plight and at others just simply irritated. I’m giving it (1 out of 5). I’m probably being extra harsh on Heirro as the late start to the film and a packed Croisette afterwards meant I missed a third screening of Un Prophet.
Missed ‘A Prophet’ for a second time, decided that waking up at 7am to get in line for the 9am screening after three hours sleep was probably asking too much of even a hardened cinephile.
Instead checked out the midday screening of Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock (2 out of 5) – well enough made and perfectly watchable but felt more like a feel good / coming of age TV movie than something from Ang Lee – in short a easily forgettable film.
Headed off to BFI / LFF drinks on the roof of the Palace Stephanie (still can’t get used to not calling it the Noga / Hilton nor it seems can anyone else)
Left BFI drinks and headed over to Morrison’s Irish pub for the Anvil Party (RAWK DOODZ)
Completely out of the context of normal Cannes (but then what is normal in Cannes apart from overpriced food, drinks and permatans) we got a live set from Anvil, complete with encores enthusiastically cheered on by the crowd.
Just arrived in Cannes, picked up the car and dropped bags off at villa and now off to pick up badge and tickets, hopefully in time to catch the 3pm screening of Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet which Screen have just given a great review.
[update: missed ‘A Prophet’ – by the time we’d got up our badges, dashing down the Croisette to pickup invitations and then back to the Lumiere for 3pm didn’t seem feasible – in fact I missed all three screenings of it that I attempted to make this week, obviously I wasn’t meant to see this film here, which is extra annoying as going back over the week I think it probably was the one film I would have enjoyed the most and I suspect a strongcontender for the Palm D’Or. Still at least I have it to look forward to when back in London – Optimum are realising it in the UK later this year]
Popped in to the UK film pavilion and caught the end of interesting panel hosted by Power to the Pixel on digital financing and distribution. Left the UK film pavilion and headed next door to AmPav to get some sun and read the dailies.
Grabbed dinner at La Pizza and then went off to meet friends at the Petit Majestic (as the de-facto and cheap, by Cannes standards, late night drinking hole de choix, the recession seems to have worked in their favour, certainly no sign of a slowdown here) finally finishing the night off in a more civilised fashion at the Grand (although after paying €12 for a small glass of Rose you feel like you’ve just been mugged, kicked in the gutter and then propped up in a plastic seat on the lawn, no wonder the Petit Majestic is rammed)
Yesterday Gilles Jacob and Thierry Frémaux announced the line up for this years festival and a pretty fantastic line up it seems to be too. New films from Almodóvar, Michael Haneke and Tarantino, for starters.
Haven’t had time yet to go over all the competition and sidebar titles properly yet. Michael Haneke new film The White Ribbon looks interesting and almost certainly slightly harrowing. The press notes describes it as follows “Some inexplicable events disturb the quiet life of a German village, just before World War I. A cable has been put up to trip the doctor riding his horse, a barn is set on fire, two children are abducted and tortured…” in other word classic Haneke material. Will Tarantino be back on form? Judging by the trailer it seems unlikely, but on the off chance he is it’s too good to pass over, so it’s firmly on my Cannes ‘to see’ list.
According to Screen, Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro will now open Directors’ Fortnight despite him previously turning down an out of competition slot. After Youth Without Youth you have to wonder if Tetro is yet another dud and has been given the opening slot for Directors’ Fortnight simply because it’s Coppola.
Anyway, my accreditation has been confirmed so will have to wait to May to see which ones turn out to be worthy of the hype and which previously unheard of gem will set the Croisette buzzing this year.