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Thread: Cannes '07

  1. #16
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    Originally posted by Johann
    Wow, Hou's latest was passed on?
    That's staggering to me.
    I've only seen one Hou film and I think about it a lot. Sublime art .

    Hou is perhaps my favorite director. Right up there with Alain Resnais, maybe WKW, de Oliveira and Egoyan. There are other, younger ones, who will have to prove themselves over the long haul. But back to Hou, yet another director crossing borders as his new film is thoroughly French and premiering in Paris during the Cannes festival. Which Hou film have you seen? You've got to watch the rest.

    And what's with Woody Allen balking at closing the festival. Weirdness man...
    Perhaps he wanted the film to show in competition...just a guess.

    You haven't commented on Grindhouse Oscar- I'm curious what you think :)
    I'm honored by your curiosity but I'm the wrong guy to ask. Coming of age cinematically and otherwise in the 70s, I steered clear of the "grindhouse" and all forms of disposable entertainment. My tastes have broaden enough to enjoy certain features of these type of films but I have no passion for and insight into them. I know as a film buff I must watch the car chase in Tarantino's film for its complex mise-en-scene and the ways the directors have "art-designed" Grindhouse to make it look like a lost 70s exploitation flick. I also like to look at beautiful women and I hear there's plenty of babes in the film. I guess I have to watch it and report back.

    Why on earth are those 2 French Gods of cinema absent? Do you know a reason oscar?
    One possible reason is that the films are simply not ready. I get the impression the films were not among the thousands submitted for consideration. Chabrol's film is listed as being in post-production and scheduled to premiere in August. Rohmer film is further behind, listed as being "in production" with no premiere date announced. To be honest, I'm not all that perturbed by their absence, I found Rohmer's last feature, Triple Agent quite mediocre. I'm much more interested in the latest film from their compadre Jacques Rivette, which premiered at Berlin 2007 and opened in France to wide acclaim.

  2. #17
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    Oscar--Probably true about Chabrol and Rohmer, and maybe both are about ready to be put out to pasture. They've both had quite a run. You're probably right about Woody Allen too. He has a French cult following and might want to capitalize on it. I think his recent movies have done better critically in Paris than New York.

    Oscar--Hou, Resnais, de Oliverra, Egoyan--whows how completely our tastes differ, and none of these would be favorites of mine, but out of the bunch, I'd definitely pick Hou, though not all I've seen, he's uneven, and I would challenge Johann to see all of them anyway; they're not available here. I've seen the ones I could readily find. I prefer the films of Wong Kar Wai and find the reverent attitude toward Hou a bit excessive. I'm not sure what the appeal of Resnais or Oliveira is. Of course Resnais made a couple of very important films, or ones that made a big impact right at the beginning, and I was there to see them when they were new and I was young--Hiroshima mon amour and L'ann√©e derni√®re √Ę Marienbad, both memorable and much talked about at the time and maybe still. I think Godard has been more important. And I prefer Malle. Egoyan has never seemed that interesting to me. I simply don't see why someone whose knowledge of movies is as extensive as yours would single him out so pointedly.
    Coming of age cinematically and otherwise in the 70s, I steered clear of the "grindhouse" and all forms of disposable entertainment. My tastes have broaden enough to enjoy certain features of these type of films but I have no passion for and insight into them.
    I guess I can relate in that to the extent that I fail to see the charm of the crap melodrama directors of the Fifties celebrated by Todd Haynes and others. However when I was little I loved the crap films of the Forties -- if the crime movies would fit that category -- of course some of them are celebrated today -- and I still like to see anything neo-noir, even though such efforts are uneven. I didn't particularly "steer clear" of grindhouse presentations in the Seventies. They just didn't come my way; I was elsewhere. I can appreciate Rodriguez's and Tarantino's celebration of the genre and the setting regardless of whether I went out to see the movies they are referring to. What a shame to have to force yourself to go to see Grindhouse as a film buff because you need to know about the technique!
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 04-23-2007 at 04:01 PM.

  3. #18
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    CHRIS:

    I agree that Woo's films prior to his"americanization" are stellar.
    Classics in every sense. Especially The Killer and Hard Boiled. Absolute must-sees.

    Jude Law is fine, but he's in an awful lot of movies and he doesn't seem to "stretch" much.
    A.I. is his best work.
    Hey Jude! (what a name for a guy, huh?)
    Play more Mecha-type roles!

    I haven't seen Last Days.
    You nailed van Sant's work there.
    I really liked his Psycho, but yes it is a pointless remake.
    To Die For is amazing. I remember watching in the theatre when it came out and wondering where this Goddess came from. (Turned out she was from down under).

    RE: Bowling for Columbine.

    Sad that something like what happened at Virginia Tech validates and amplifies Michael Moore's point. This massacre makes Columbine look like a test-run.
    I hate to say it but it needs to be said:
    The USA should not be surprised that these tragedies occur. You have a very very strong gun culture and like you said Chris it's way too easy to get a gun the States. When I was in L.A. in 2002 I was even asked to buy one, on the street, downtown L.A.- near the McDonald's next to the Greyhound depot. No shit. Some guy had a handgun and bullets in his bag and wanted to sell it, no questions asked. I politely said no. Crazy shit man.
    You want a gun in the states, you got it. Just produce the scratch.

    OSCAR:

    The only Hou I've seen is Three Times, which is a much-cherished moviegoing memory. I know I've got to see all of his work.
    So many films, so little time...
    His new one is in French? Interesting..

    Grindhouse is indeed babe-a-licious.
    If Rose McGowan doesn't spark lustful thoughts then you can't be helped...
    Maybe I'm fixating on the butt shots in the movie (there aren't that many actually) but I wanna thank Quentin for those. I'm a fan of the female posterior, especially ones you can bounce a quarter off of, like QT has in his movie. Hopefully those extra minutes have some more "rear-axel" :)
    Last edited by Johann; 04-23-2007 at 04:53 PM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  4. #19
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    Sorry Oscar I failed to note you rate Wong high, because you called him "WKW" and that phrase slipped right past my impatient eyes. There of course I do firmly agree with you so I can't say our tastes completely differ after all.

  5. #20
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    You are funny Johann as usual, and I can assure you I liked Rose McGowan and also the ladies in the second part of Death Proof, the stunt driver ladies.

    I was also going to say Jude Law just takes on too many projects and doesn't stretch. He is seemingly happy with being a matinee idol, and I don't see why they think he's so wonderful looking and that is something I can usually see in male actors. I would say he was good in Minghella's Ripley movie, he did have the golden boy qualitity there and I liked him in a smaller role in Gattaca. Law's role in A.I. is not just a schtick, it's quite brilliantly done; that's another underappreciated film I think. 65 on the Metacritic scale just isn't fair for something so firely crafted and touching.

    So are you implying you have seen Gerry, which Van Sant suggested was partly a Bela Tarr homage? I urge you to see Last Days, a pity you can't see it on a big screen because it is visually gorgeous. I like My Own Private Idaho for its gay and River contents, I think many gay people do. To Die For seems very straight, but I probably should see it again, I just didn't quite get it the first time. I gather it is much more mordantly witty than I realized then.

    The Fifties segment of Three Times is absolutely wonderful, but the earlier one is a bit boring and the modern one just doesn't come off. I don't think Hou does contemporary very well. I have seen it twice; the segment I like is magical. When he hits it, he flies to the moon.

    As for Bowling for Columbine some of the contrast from what I've heard may have been somewhat inaccurate but it is a big point made by Moore that Canada is a much safer place and it is not because you don't have most of the same social problems but that you have different policies and media that don't pump up the paranoia the way US media does.

  6. #21
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    A.I. is a special work. I'm so happy that film exists- thank you with all my heart Mr. Spielberg. It's the greatest tribute to Kubrick.
    Why isn't there a filmmaker out there willing to drive down the highway that Stanley paved?
    You don't have to be obsessed with "changing the form" as he was, just create the mise-en-scenes. Do as he did: get the most interesting stuff going and then shoot it. There's enough ace DP's out there who know how to film. Use A.I. as the inspiration if you have to.
    Talk to Mr. Spielberg. Grill him on how he did it.
    Films in the style of Kubrick would be a Godsend. He was the GRAND MASTER.

    I've seen Gerry and I really liked it.
    Not as much as van Sant's other stuff, but it's still great. My Own Private Idaho is in aclass by itself. I wholly embrace most things Gay. I have gay friends. A lot of my favorite artists were homosexual: Rimbaud, Cocteau, Clive Barker, Bacon, Pasolini, Ian McKellen, Freddy Mercury, Andy Warhol, Knipp, and on and on :)
    Don't forget Alexander the Great!
    Last edited by Johann; 04-24-2007 at 09:21 AM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  7. #22
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    I can relate. Some of my best friends are straight.

  8. #23
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    Absolutely love Three Times, My Own Private Idaho, and A.I. (I've seen them several times) and like To Die For very much.

    Originally posted by Chris Knipp
    Oscar--Hou, Resnais, de Oliveira, Egoyan--whows how completely our tastes differ, and none of these would be favorites of mine
    ,
    I'm not sure what the appeal of Resnais or Oliveira is.
    Egoyan has never seemed that interesting to me. I simply don't see why someone whose knowledge of movies is as extensive as yours would single him out so pointedly.

    Of course our tastes do overlap sometimes: Wong, A.I., Brokeback Mountain, etc.
    But I think it's good for the site that our tastes differ quite often. Let's celebrate and appreciate our differences rather than imply that someone who knows about movies can't possibly think Atom Egoyan is great. That's not quite having a disagreement about a film but calling into question another's aesthetic judgement about a director's career based on a personal viewpoint.

  9. #24
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    I did add that seeing Wong Kar Wai in your personal pantheon made me think we have more in common that I thought. But it's also true that it's fine for our tastes to differ and it would be boring for the site if they were the same.

    You are quite right that it was wrong and out of line for me to imply your liking for Egoyan made no sense for a person who loves and so well knows film. You have every right to like anybody you choose. Knowledge is not wisdom. But I have neither.

    Moreover there is more to Egoyan than I am familiar with. I've just looked Egoyan up on IMDb and am surprised and interested to find he was born in Cairo, Egypt. I was born in Cairo too. Just kidding, but in a sense I was born there because the two years I lived there had a decisive effect on me. I'm also interested that he has done Bach cello films and a film of Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, which I did not know.

    I have not personally liked some of his most publicized films that much, though of course his chronicling of the Armenian people is something it is good to have. I watched a number of his films in the EIghties. I like The Sweet Hereafter and Felicia's Journey. Some of his other ones such as Speaking Parts, The Adjuster, and Exotica, I had to strain to see the point of. I'm sorry to say Ararat seemed a bit of a long slog. Others it has not come my way to see. I'm not even saying he's anything other than interesting. I just don't know why you pick him to be among your very favorite directors when you have hundreds to choose from.
    That's not quite having a disagreement about a film but calling into question another's aesthetic judgement about a director's career based on a personal viewpoint.
    Why shouldn't one do that?

  10. #25
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    I've seen quite a few of Egoyan's films.

  11. #26
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    re: Beckett on Film
    The Ottawa U media centre has the box set.
    When I get a chance I'll post on them as I see them.
    It's the 2nd best "video store" in the city- problem is, you have to watch them in the media lab if you're not a student and you must return them by the end of the day- they cannot leave the campus
    :(

    Herzog posts are coming eventually...
    Time management is a b*&^ch
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  12. #27
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    just a few days left

    Cannes wraps up very soon, and "Sicko" seems to be the talk of the Riviera.

    We'll see who wins the big prize.

    My money's on Death Proof. Ha ha ha...
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  13. #28
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    Cannes' great divide
    Critics impressed but split over fest's best

    By TODD MCCARTHY
    Posted: Thurs., May 24, 2007, 7:15pm

    CANNES -- Everyone seems to agree that there have been quite a few fine films at the Cannes Film Festival this year. What they entirely can't agree upon is which films they are.

    Entering the 60th anniversary edition's second and final weekend, the leading contenders for the Palme d'Or would still seem to be two movies from very early in the fest, the Coen brothers' pungent bloody thriller "No Country for Old Men" and Romanian helmer Cristian Mungiu's bracing abortion drama set in the late communist days, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days."

    But as heavyweight art fare bellied up to the bar in the days thereafter, critical opinions, as they are prone to do, started flying in all possible directions. Is Carlos Reygadas, whose "Silent Light" focuses on a Mennonite community in Mexico, the second coming of Carl Dreyer, as a number of American critics suggested, or an "imposter," as the French paper Les Inrockuptibles insisted? Is Christian Honore, with his French "musical" "Love Songs," really the new Jacques Demy or a tone-deaf wannabe? On the basis of "My Blueberry Nights" and "Death Proof," respectively, have Wong Kar Wai and Quentin Tarantino furthered their reputations as ultra-cool stylists or driven off the road?

    More clear than ever is the dramatic divide between the views of the French critics and their international (mostly Anglo-American) counterparts. The French not only readily embraced "Love Songs" but also slammed a film generally regarded by English speakers as one of the better competition entries, Julian Schnabel's "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." Was the French rejection due to prejudices formed against his earlier work, unspoken bias against an American with the audacity to make a French-language art film based on a French book, or strictly aesthetic matters? No one professed to know.

    Going strictly by the critics' polls here, the top-rated pictures on the Croisette in 2007 are "No Country for Old Men," "4 Months" and "Zodiac"; reaction to "Zodiac" confirms the view of some industryites that Paramount should have waited to premiere the film in Cannes and waited until September to release it.

    The high-art side -- that is, films restricted in interest to film buffs and critics and not destined to be seen by ordinary human eyes -- was repped by several pics: Ulrich Seidl's "Import Export," which belongs to the genre dedicated to the proposition that life is undiluted merde; Andrei Zvyagintsev's "The Banishment," a simple story (from William Saroyan) elaborated and inflated to death by grandiose proportions; "Silent Light," which to my eyes possessed the most extraordinary visuals in a festival full of exceptional camerawork and seemed sincere in its portrayal of religious devotion in the bargain; and Bella Tarr's "The Man From London," which epitomized what is known as a "festival film," i.e., one made for no known audience apart from the already converted disciples of a cult director. One version of hell for me would consist of being trapped inside the insular world of this film for eternity.

    But the inclusion of such films is de rigeur for a festival such as Cannes and helps keep people talking and disputing. On the other side of the equation, the projection of "Death Proof" upon the giant screen of the Palais du Festival seemed audacious. In the old days, a picture devoted to kick-butt fighting chicks and car crashes, complete with scratches on the film, would have been seen only in the back streets of the market.

    Somewhere in between all this are Fatih Akin's "The Edge of Heaven," the highly anticipated follow-up to "Head-On" that some observers liked but was exceptionally schematic and laborious in its structure; Gus Van Sant's "Paranoid Park," a look at a young skateboarder's denial of moral responsibility for a man's death that just seems too insistently limited in its view of the subject; "Secret Sunshine," South Korean helmer Lee Chang-dong's absorbing, well-acted account of a woman undone by a domestic tragedy; the trifling but attractive "My Blueberry Nights"; and "Persepolis," Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's animated version of Satrapi's graphic novel about her life in Iran and Europe whose promising premise doesn't build satisfyingly either dramatically or visually.

    There were the usual examples of films festgoers felt should have been in the competition rather than Un Certain Regard and vice versa and so on. But in a year fest organizers took particularly seriously, given the big anniversary, 2007 proved to be quite lively, and mostly in a good way.

  14. #29
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    Nice article. Thanks for posting.

    I saw a picture of Bela Tarr on the red carpet.
    He was smiling and seemed very humble.

    The "festival film" evokes mixed feelings for me.
    You have these incredible films showing that your average person never sees.

    Films like James Benning's 13 Lakes or Ten Skies, Tarr's films, Hou's films, hell even Godard, the Quays, Resnais and Trier fall into that bracket.
    Films that the Shrek crowd would yawn over.
    They have cagey distribution, almost always polarize the audience, and I often wonder how people like Greenaway can keep cranking out such esoteric, ergonomic art when they don't do anywhere near the business of Spiderman or Pirates. George Lucas is right:
    popcorn movies have always ruled.
    They have ruled over tastes, wallets and insulated minds for far too long

    At least Film Comment has their "Distributer Wanted" feature in their magazine.
    Every little bit helps in getting the word out over alternative/foreign/offbeat no-hope-in-hell-of-proper-release movies that so many people never get a chance to see.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  15. #30
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    Goog comment, johann. I liked the McCarthy piece (Variety, source omitted above: link) for its neutrality--at this stage I prefer that to the roundups with gratuitous gushes and pans. Let us make up our minds later. I don't get the reaction to Death Proof's being shown, given that Tarantino has chaired the Cannes jury recently. He's an insider, non?

    Readers can get other Variety Cannes pieces from the sidebar of this page.

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