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Thread: CANNES Festival 2019

  1. #16
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    Almodovar's Pain and Glory/Dolor y gloria.


    ANTONIO BANDERAS IN PAIN AND GLORY

    Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian says in Dolor y glória Almodóvar "delivers another sensuous and deeply personal gem" in this "wistful extravaganza" in which "life meets art," and gives it 4 out of 5 stars. Ruminative, painful, with a sense of declining powers, the director presents an aging movie director played by Antonio Banderas. Peter Debruge in his Variety review calls it a "remarkably mature metafiction." AlloCiné, whose press rating (based on 23 French reviews) is an exceptional 4.6 (even Cahiers du Cinéma gives it a rave), asks: "Is Almodóvar on the way to the Palme d'Or?" and he indeed looks like a prime contender. This clearly sounds like a very positive consensus, perhaps to remain the most admired 2029 Competition film. Perhaps the best has come first. But could this be a little too familiar a maker and topic to be up for a top prize? Time will tell.

    Hausner's Little Joe.


    JESSIE MAE ALONZO AND BEN WHISHAW IN LITTLE JOE

    Another much anticipated film at Cannes was Jessica Haussner's Little Joe. Haussner is known for her Lourdes (2009). But Peter Bradshaw says he was disappointed, and gives it a measly 2 out of 5 stars. It's a horror film that likens the spread of antidepressants to the invasion of an alien force a la "Bodysnatchers." Erlich of IndieWire finds in this "plenty of potential to offend," though he calls the film "brilliant." Bradshaw finds " plot implausibilities" and a movie "too high on the art-house register" to notice its lack of "out-and-out thrills or suspense."

    Fletcher's Rocketman.

    The comparison with Bohemian Rhapsodyis inevitable: two pictures about gay glam rock stars directed by Dexter Fletcher. Nicolas Barber of BBC Culture says "this year’s Elton John biopic is superior to last year’s Freddie Mercury biopic in almost every way: funnier, more moving, more imaginative, more upfront about its hero’s sexuality." That's nice, isn't it? I wonder if the public will go along. Probably not, and later in the review Nicolas Barber doesn't even seem to like the movie so much, though he still rates it and Fletcher and Egerton high.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2019 at 10:03 PM.

  2. #17
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    Recent Cannes reviews


    PAMELA MONDOZA IN CANCIÓN SIN NOMBRE

    Canción Sin Nombre/Song Without a Name (Melina León). Directors Fortnight.

    "In a dingy clinic, a newborn child is whisked away from her exhausted mother, supposedly for routine health checks, and is never returned; in short order, the clinic vanishes into thin air too, leaving the stolen baby’s bewildered, impoverished parents with no recourse." So Guy Lodge states the film's premise in his admiring but critical Variety review about this child-trafficking tale. The Peruvian writer-director's film is a "visually striking period piece" that's "a Kafka-esque crime thriller inspired by real events" says Stephen Dalton of Hollywood Reporter. It has some similarities to Cuaron's ROMA, being about a poor peasant woman and in black and white. (Today.)


    THE CAST OF SORRY WE MISSED YOU

    Sorry We Missed You (Ken Loach) Competition.

    A "fierce, open and angry" new film about life in the British "service-economy serfdom" says Peter Bradshaw who gives it a full five stars in his Guardian review. In his Variety review, Owen Gleibeman says 82-year-old Loach has grown spryer as he's aged and now is at the top of his game and is making films that "connect, with a nearly karmic sense of timing, to the social drama of our moment." This one is about "how the gig economy screws over the people it promises to save." This is indeed perhaps the dominant, and fastest growing, labor issue in the developed world today and an even more relevant film than Loach's last one, which won the Palme d'Or in 2016. But a feeling is he won't win again. Three Palme d'Ors would be a bit much for one director. (May 16th.)


    IMAGE FROM THE WILD GOOSE LAKE

    The Wild Goose Lake/南方车站的聚会 (Diao Yinan). Competition.

    An understatedly brilliant and poetic noir that winds up being less than the sum of its parts, says David Erlich of IndieWire. It works with traditional ingredients, a gangster on the run, a femme fatale at his side, and cops and bad guys trying to do them in, he writes. But along with that it's also a picture of "contemporary China as a vast land of exploitation and criminality." The central Chinese capital of Wuhan is the setting for a lot of eye-catching and rich seediness. It has some ingenious ultra-violence, some over-congested plot moments, style, and the benefit of Dong Jinsong, one of the dp's of Bi Gan's visually entrancing Long Day's Journey Into Night. Jessica Kiang of Variety says Diao has made a "sumptuously sleazy film" in which he shows "an extraordinarily elastic mastery of form," and has a superbly precise sound design. This may, Kiang says, wind up being "the last word in Chinese crime noir." For fans of Asian neo-noir, this film is a must-see, maybe a cult classic. The images are so ravishing I was sorely tempted to reproduce more than one here. (Today.)
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2019 at 10:08 PM.

  3. #18
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    LOUISE LEBEQUE, WISIAND LOUIMAT IN ZOMBI CHILD

    Zombi Child (Bertrand Bonello). Directors Fortnight.

    (French film, English-language title.) The spelling follows the original Creole, which is the kind of zombies or zombis Bonello is focused on (one that slowly struggles to come back to life), along with a second story about girls in a state school, one of whom may be a zombie too. This is Bonello's first stab at a genre film,and his eighth feature, says Jordan Mintzer in Hollywood Reporter. Only the three last ones are well known, but they are very well known (and I am a fan): House of Tolerance aka L'Apollonide (Souvenirs de la maison close), Saint Laurent, and Nocturama). Zombi Child, says Mintzer, "feels like two incomplete movies in one, neither of them fully satisfying in the end, though there are "some graceful moments scattered throughout", particularly in the Haitian scenes. Not one of Bonello's greatest successes, perhaps, but a fresh take on the subject, apparently, marked by exquisite craft, and with great music, largely by Bonello himself as usual.


    LEYNA BLOOM IN PORT AUTHORITY

    Port Authority ( Danielle Lessovitz). Un Certain Regard.

    From New York, first-time writer-director Lessovitz follows a young guy who barely escapes homelessness when he comes from Pittsburgh to the big city and his half-sister is not at the famous grim bus terminal to greet him, and he falls in with "New York’s Kiki ballroom scene – a carnivalesque LGBT club culture that evolved from voguing," and is troubled to be attracted to a young trans gender woman. "Port Authority is vehement, urgent and sensual – not perfect, and I would have liked to have seen more extended dance sequences. But it is made with storytelling gusto and heart" writes Peter Bradshaw, who gives in 4 our of 5 stars in his Guardian review.


    LISE LEPAT PRUDHOMME IN ROUEN CATHEDRAL IN JOAN OF ARC

    Joan of Arc/Jeanne d'Arc (Bruno Dumont). Un Certain Regard.

    Dumont's biopic is "a stately, deadpan classical-absurdist pageant" of "a child warrior on the march," adapted from Charles Péguy’s writings about her, says Bradshaw, that's "passionless and exasperating." Lise Leplat Prudhomme, who played in Dumont's 2017 Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc, (RV-2018), back again, has "undoubted charisma," and there's a cameo by Fabrice Lucchini as Charles VII (he played Percival in Eric Rohmer's Percival le Valois in 1978, an early role), but the whole thing may be a "longeur," and is often "torpid." It may best be seen as a way-station toward something more evolved by the formerly compelling director, says Bradshaw, who gives it a dismal 2 out of 5 stars. Like its predecessor, the film is full of lip-synched rock numbers, is shot on the beaches of northeastern France (and in Rouen Cathedral), and makes no attempt at historical authenticity. For Dumont completists only, and 137 minutes long. I have a lot of time for this amazing and original filmmaker, but this latest bent has not repaid my patience as well as earlier work or amused as do his recent "Li'l Quinquin" films.



    Too Old to Die Young (Nichlas Winding Refn). TV. Grand Theatre Lumiere.

    Not sure what Cannes category this falls under (Out of Competition, clearly), but two episodes (4 and 5) of this new TV series (Refn calls it a 13-hour film) have just been shown at Cannes on the super-big screen of the Grand Theatre Lumière there, and it has been vividly reviewed. With caveats: that it's tedius and horrifying. It concerns Los Angeles cop, played by the energetic Miles Teller, who moonlights as a contract killer and "who comes under the sway" of former military colleague John Hawkes' "apocalyptic visionary," writes David Rooney in his Hollywood Reporter review, who says it shows the Danish director's "steady slide deeper and deeper into empty genre posturing" has gone as far as it can go. Bradshaw is more taken with it, calling it a "doomy, sepulchral, and very plausible evocation of pure evil" and a "dead-eyed LA nightmare," and giving it 4 out of 5 stars. Gregory Ellwood, on Collider, thinks it's ambitious and "at times brilliant" but "not as deep as it thinks it is." Sounds to me as if cop series binge-watchers will want to take a look, but some may not have the patience for its long silences.



    The Whistlers/La Gomera (Corneliu Porumboiu 2019). Competition.

    This time the noted Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu (Police, Adjective, When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism , The Treasure) takes a turn into genre territory with a neo-noirthriller set in the Canary Islands and Singapore. Leslie Felperin describes it in Hollywood Reporter as an "entertaining but dense" depiction of a cop who doubler-crosses both his department and gangsters he's cooperating with. It "constantly corkscrews around in every sense, deploying flashbacks frequently as it reveals twist after twist" while the protagonist, Lee Marshall writes in Screen Daily, is deliberately cast as a "passive cipher" or "poker-faced Everyman." The shared note from Polombiu's earlier arthouse works, says Felperin, is a preoccupation with language, power, and the legacy of the corrupt and repressive Nicolae Ceaușescu regime. The result, though, "feels a little woolly and unfocused," says Marshall. Peter Bradshaw in is Guardian review, however, likes The Whistlers very much, calls it "thrilling," "knotty, twisty, nifty," and "An elegant and stylishly crafted piece of entertainment," and gives it 4 out of 5 stars.


    Tomorrow:
    The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, of The Witch). Directors Fortnight.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2019 at 10:15 PM.

  4. #19
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    Eggers' new film


    WILLEM DAFOE, ROBERT PATTINSON IN THE LIGHTHOUSE

    THE LIGHTHOUSE (Robert Eggers). Directors Fortnight.

    Peter Bradshaw's Guardian review gives it 5 out of 5 stars and suggests the new movie by Robert Eggers (whose The Witch was so much admired) is likewise a rousing success. It is a tense portrait in striking black and white of two men in 1890's Maine in physical and psychological torment as they man a lighthouse together and come apart under pressure of shared solitude and conflicting roles, with mood swings and tormenting mermaid visions. Eggers lets the tale hover between intense realism and horror, never making genre an issue, says Bradshaw, and Both Willem Dafoe as the man in charge and Robert Pattinson as number two chafing under his lowly role are fine, Pattinson especially, who "just gets better and better." Bradshaw also praises the rich poeticism of the period dialogue and the actors' delivery (the "script is barnacled with resemblances to Coleridge, Shakespeare, Melville"). Variety's Owen Gleiberman calls it "a gripping and turbulent drama," praising its "powerfully antiquated sense of myth and legend," the "weird immersive clarity" of its "shimmeringly austere black-and-white" and striking near-square aspect ratio, a movie "made with extraordinary skill" that you "can't pigeonhole." David Rooney's Hollywood Reporter review hails the "gripping performances thick with flavorful period dialect and jolts of ever-intensifying insanity soaked in rum." Nobody really has reservations, except whether this will be as great a commercial success as The Witch. (A24 produced again, and most of the Witch crew is back.)


    JESSE EISENBERG, IMOGEN POOTS IN VIVARIUM

    VIVARIUM (Lorcan Finnegan). Critics Week, Feature Competition.

    The premise of this second feature for Irish director Lorcan Finnegan is a couple goes to a plasticky suburb, in jest visit a model home, and are trapped and forced to live in it and raise a freakishly precocious baby supplied to them by malevolent outside Big Brother forces. It feels a lot like an extended episode of the Netflix sci-fi series Black Mirror, says Stephen Dalton (Hollywood Reporter), with echoes of "cult dystopian authors" like JG Ballard and John Wyndham and with "eye-pleasing nods to the surrealist art of Rene Magritte and MC Escher." Poots shines and has more emotional depth while Eisenberg seems underused and miscast as a rugged outdoor type tasked with lots of physical work. A "smart and gripping yarn," says Dalton. But Ben Croll of The Wrap thought it tries to say too much about too many topics and "never fully satisfies on any one front." He thinks it could have been good as a "comic allegory" à la Jorge Luis Borges or a more overtly sci-fi piece that would "lean harder into the human menagerie connotations of the title," but unfortunately, it is neither one nor the other, and winds up unfocused, a shame because it "engages from a technical perspective."
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2019 at 10:18 PM.

  5. #20
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    August Diehl in A Hidden Life

    A Hidden Life (Terrence Malick). Competition.

    David Erlich of IndieWire says this is his best movie since Tree of Life but the material is different: the true story of Austrian farmer turned conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter, who refused to take the Hitler oath as a Wehrmacht conscript and in 1943 was duly executed. No battlefields, the war simply between a Christian and his conscience. Bradshaw says in the Guardian that it's "a high-minded hymn to modern saint that never quite comes to life" and gives it 3 our of 5 stars. This still has the Malilckian swirling camera and meditative mood, as Bradshaw describes it, with "An overpowering sense of being ecstatically, epiphanically in the present moment," with the "camera shots swooning, swooping and looming around the characters who appear often to be lost in thought, to an orchestral or organ accompaniment, and a murmured voiceover narration of the characters’ intimate but distinctly abstract feelings and memories." The problem is that the swoony approach has, Bradshaw says, "marooned and islanded Jägerstetter," cutting him off from the all-important historical moment and resultingly making his anguish as generic as that of Bale in Knight of Cups or Afflick in To the Wonder, though the stakes are so much higher here, and the details should be so much more distinctive. Peter Debruge oin Variety acknowledges this film works best for the Malick fan, but affirms that it's his best since Tree of Life and "feels stunningly relevant" about religionists selling out for political advantage.


    Diego Maradona in the film by Asif Kapadia

    Diego Maradona (Asif Kapadia). Out of Competition.

    By the maker of the Amy Winehouse doc, this is, by many reports, a stunningly effective film about the poor boy from Buenos Aires who became the successor to Pele as the god of soccer, and his eventual fall from grace. HIs '86 World Cup "Hand of God" winning goal, photos show, was hand-assisted, which a commentator calls "a little bit of cheating and a lot of genius," and that goes for his career, says Eric Kohn in IndieWire (he gives it an A-). The path to downfall is multiple, including an extra-marital affair and child, involvement with a crime family, and a drug bust. Sometimes details come too fast even in over two hours, says Kohn, but Kapadia still keeps it hypnotically watchable. The account is "gripping," says Bradshaw in his enthusiastic Guardian review (he gives it 4 out of 5 stars) even though hampered by a lack of the kind of new material he had for his Winehouse film. Owen Gleiberman of Variety goes farther, says it all doesn't make sense to him, and Kapadia tries to reach for the stars, but doesn't have the revealing material to do "what he did for the fallen idols of 'Amy' and 'Senna'." A different fan base for an audience, though.


    Fabrice Luchini, Anaïs Demoustier in Alice and the Mayor

    Alice and the Mayor (Nicolas Pariser). Directors Fortnight.

    Alice et le maire (the French title) is the sophomore effort of the French director who debuted with the subtle, understated political thriller The Great Game/Le grand jeu (R-V 2016) in which key players follow Nietsche's advice, "Whatever is profound loves masks." That seems to be a favorite saying of Fabrice Lucchini, the mayor of this new film, mayor of the city of Lyon, who after 30 years of politics is totally out of ideas. Sparks fly and preconceptions are shaken when he's provided with Alice Heinemann (Anaïs Demoustier), a brilliant philosophy scholar, to inspire him. Jay Weissberg of Variety thinks the result is far too talky, and Boyd van Hoeij of Hollywood reporter thinks Pariser can't decide if he wants to focus on ideas or people. He grants that Pariser, who studied with Eric Rohmer, handles the talk well. He thinks the rapport between the middle-aged mayor and the young teacher is fascinating, but has nowhere to go and ultimately stagnates. We'll have to see what French critics, who may appreciate the talk more, think of this movie when it hits French cinemas in October.


    Camille Cottin, Vincent Lacoste, Chiara Mastroianni in Chambre 212

    On a Magical Night/Chambre 212 (Christophe Honoré). Un Certain Regard.

    Stephen Dalton says in Hollywood Reporter that this came just at the right time midway in the Cannes Festival when attendees much needed a "frothy" "bed-hopping" French farce as a "palate-cleanser." "Christophe Honore’s bittersweet comic fantasy stars Chiara Mastroianni as a highly sexed college lecturer weighing up the steep cost of loving," Dalton writes. Suppose, the film fantasizes, you could go back a few decades to your spouse in his youthful prime, would you still like him, knowing how jaded you'll get later on? A great "springboard into screwball comedy and counterfactual fantasy," says Dalton, even if Honoré gets his plot-line a bit muddled. Vincent Lacoste plays the young version of haughty oversexed prof Chiara Mastroianni's mature hubby played by Benjamin Biolay. This is a top cast. Honoré doesn't quite know how to end, says Dalton, but the final sequence, where Chiara and all her former lovers, including both the young and old version of her husband, meet at a bar and dance away the night to Barry Manilow, is a "patently dumb notion" that nonetheless delivers "a perverse kind of pleasure." It all may be too French for outside audiences, but the setup is readymade for a Hollywood remake.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-19-2019 at 11:29 PM.

  6. #21
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    Today, 20 May 2019 at the Cannes Film Festival.


    NOÉMIE MERLANT, ADÈLE HAENEL IN PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Céline Sciamma).

    Céline Sciamma has built a distinguished reputation in the past 12 years for fresh and original femme-centric films, sometimes with a trans or gay bent. Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (the French title) is set in 1770 and concerns a painter, Marianne (Noémie Merlant), who must paint the marriage portrait of Héloïse (Adèle Haenel, of Sciamma's debut Water Lilies), the young daughter of a countess who has just left a convent. Peter Debruge in Variety calls this "a gorgeous, slow-burn lesbian romance." Héloïse is uncooperative. Her mother, the countess, orders Marianne to observe her during the day and work on her portrait at night, so she must devour her with her large eyes. The mutual fascination that develops eventually turns physical. The result is a subtle, nuanced depiction of the female gaze that only a woman could paint, Debruge says. Peter Bradshaw heralds the film in his Guardian review as "superbly elegant, enigmatic drama," that reveals the director's "new mastery of classical style." He gives it his top rating, 5 out of 5 stars.


    VICTORIA BLUCK AND IDIR BEN ADDI IN YOUNG AHMED

    Young Ahmed (Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne). Competition.

    Le jeune Ahmed (the French title) is about a Belgian teenager (the actor, Idir Ben Addi, was 13) of paternal Moroccan Arab descent but with a white non-muslim mother (whose husband is no longer around) who hatches a plot to kill his teacher after being taught a radical interpretation of the Quran. Leslie Felperin of Hollywood Reporter thinks Addi a "blank" actor like those of the Dardennes' earlier films that won them two Golden Palms, but neither she nor the Variety critic thinks this quite up to their strongest work, though better than their blandest: Eric Kohn of IndieWire places it midway on the spectrum. Bradshaw thinks this (like Sciamma's new film) "subtle". He gives it 3 out of 5 stars. Ahmed goes from video games to jihad in the space of a month and begins lecturing his mother and sister on their behavior. Ahmed attacks his teacher for too liberal an approach to teaching the Quran, and is put in youth custody. He may rethink, or more likely not. A work release meeting on a farm with an attractive girl who likes him could make a difference. Bu how he will develop is uncertain. The movie is marred, says Bradshaw, by a silly chase sequence used to jazz things up for an artificial conclusion. Peter Debruge of Variety suggests that as a sympathetic (if ambiguous) portrait of a budding Islamic terrorist, this may be the Dardennes’ "most controversial film yet." It sounds at least like one of their most puzzling.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2019 at 10:23 PM.

  7. #22
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    Also May 20.

    Two portraits of two women



    An Easy Girl (Rebecca Zlotkowsk). Directors Fortnight.

    Une fille facile (the French title), is a watchable film, "Rohmer for the instagram age," says Screen Daily of this fourth film by the director who effectively pared Tahar Rahim and Léa Seydoux for her film Grand Central. This time it is two sisters, who pair off for the summer in Cannes, when the younger one (Mina Farid) is drawn into the luxurious ways of her older sister (actress, model and lingerie designer Dehar), with Benoît Magimel also in the cast.


    ERRADI AND AZABAL IN ADAM

    Adam (Maryam Touzani). Un Certain Regard.

    Moroccan filmmaker Maryam Touzani's debut feature turns "a simple story" into "gold" with its warm depiction of a homeless unwed pregnant woman and the widowed small bakery owner who befriends her, says Deborah Young in her Hollywood Reporter review. Set in Casablanca’s Old Medina, it's a tale that allows the actors time to make delicate transitions, and a main one is the bakery owner's gradual softening toward the pregnant woman.


    ISABELLE HUPPERT IN FRANKIE

    Frankie (Ira Sachs). Competition.

    Peter Bradshaw makes it immediately clear that he hated this film with a Guardian critique headed "Frankie review – Ira Sachs' bickering poshos bore us to tears," and he gave it an almost unprecedented 1 out of 5 stars.David Rooney of Hollywood Reporter says it "offers many gentle pleasures," a main one being the mountainous Portuguese scenery for which Sachs has left left behind his New York settings (it's like a bland Woody Allen location film, Bradshaw comments, but without the humor). And yet the longtime indie director has assembled an A-List cast here. Huppert is supported by the likes of Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, Jérémie Renier and Marisa Tomei. Bradshaw acknowledges Sachs' recent Little Men (2016) and Love Is Strange (2014) have been superb, so he can't fathom how he could have laid an egg "so big that the walls of the Palais des Festivals may have be knocked down so it can be safely removed." The premise: Francoise (Frankie, Huppert), a film and TV star, has brought her family to the Portuguese town of Sintra for a luxurious holiday to tell them something, but this is complicated when one of them takes the opportunity to propose marriage to another member of the party. Rooney acknowledges that this is a "sedate" and "gossamer-thin" effort lacking the "emotional complexity" and "intense personal investment" of Sachs' best work. But he supposes that its "classy old-school art house veneer" will make it sell as a fall Sony Picture Classics release.


    HAFSIA HERZI IN YOU DESERVE A LOVER]

    You Deserve a Lover (Hafsia Herzi). Critics Week.

    Tu mérites un amour (the French title) features Hafsia Herzi in front of and behind the camera in (says Screen Daily) "a brisk, energetic low-budget tale of a Parisienne’s romantic trials and tribulations." "A brisk femme-positive approach and the personal urgency that comes with Hafsia Herzi’s energetic, no-bullshit presence", and it's her directorial debut. She became known playing the lead in Abdellatif Kechiche's Secret of the Grain. The story's all about Lila (the protagonist played by director Hirzi) coming to accept that her boyfriend who dumped her wasn't worth it anyway. "Some of the dialogue is wickedly pungent," says Deborah Young in her Hollywood Reporter review. Naturalness, warmth, humor, a relaxed pace as well as a very modern frankness about sex (and the director-star's beauty and personal charm) make this otherwise conventional Parisian screen entertainment stand out from the crowd.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2019 at 10:25 PM.

  8. #23
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    Cannes May 21, 2019

    MOST ANTICIPATED EVENT today is the showing of Quentin Tarantino's new movie, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, about some down-on-their luck actors at the time of the Sharon Tate murders, with Bruce Lee and Charles Manson as incidental characters and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. Tarantino has posted an open letter to all Cannes writers and attendees about spoilers - asking all not to give away stuff. See the letter H E R E.

    Bradshaw calls Gaspar Noë's Lux Æterna "self-parodic silliness" and gives it 2 out of 5 stars.


    BENNY EMMANUEL, GABRIEL CARBAJAL IN CHICUAROTES

    Chicuarotes (Gael García Bernal). Special Screenings.

    This is the second directorial outing from Gael García Bernal, a long time since the first (2007), and a disappointment, says Screen Daily's Jonathan Romney. That debut was Deficit , a "coolly ironic depiction of Mexico’s spoiled middle-class youth," This one, explains Romney, returns "more or less" to Amores Perros territory (the film that brought him international recognition as an actor), depicting "two young working-class chancers desperate to improve their lot" who wind up "screwing up in every way." It's like a "WhatsApp-era Los Olvidados, with "energy to spare" but a "tonal discontinuity" that "scuppers the film," oscillating between "goofy comedy, hard-nosed violence and wildly overplayed melodrama."
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2019 at 10:27 PM.

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    Screen Daily's jury grid.

    Yesterday's showed Almodóvar's Pain and Glory in the lead of critics' ratings (3.3), then Portrait of a Lady on Fire (3.1), Atlantics (2.8), Wild Goose Lake (2.7), Bacaru (2.6), and Les Misérables (2.4). Malick, Polombiu and Loach all got the same in-between score (2.5). Jim Jarmusch's opener The Dead Don't Die scored lowest (2.2).

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-21-2019 at 01:17 PM.

  10. #25
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    LEO DICAPRIO IN ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD

    Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino). Competition.

    Controversial, but likely to be up there in ratings, Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature, set in 1969, premiered today on the 25th anniversary of Pulp Fiction's triumphant Cannes opening (it won the Palme d'Or and made the director famous), and the new film is felt by some to have structural and other affinities to the earlier one. A "shocking, gripping, dazzlingly shot" movie, Peter Bradshaw writes in a 5-out-of-5-star Guardian review, "in the celluloid-primary colors of sky blue and sunset gold." He will not reveal the shocking finale. The period is "recovered with all Tarantino’s habitual intensity and delirious, hysterical connoisseurship of pop culture detail," says Bradshaw, with a new thing, not just cinephilia but "TVphilia", with lots about the small screen of the time, an aspect Richard Lawson is particularly interested in in his Vanity Fair review. Rick Dalton, the alcoholic actor played by DiCaprio, becomes a has-been when his TV western series is cancelled. Cliff Booth (Brad PItt) is his stunt double, factotum, and only friend. They live in the shadow of the Manson murders, which have not yet occurred. Sharon Tate is Rick's neighhbor. The cast includes Al Pacino and Margot Robbie. Robbie Collin, in his Telegraph review, likewise gives the movie 5 out of 5 stars and calls it "pure movie-world intoxication," giving more details of its relationship to the Sharon Tate murders - which some believe is when the Hollywood dream ended with a crash. "There’s a gleeful toxicity here that will launch a thousand think-pieces," writes Collin. "Pitt’s character is capital-P problematic, absolutely by design." "But," he concludes, "the transgressive thrill is undeniable, and the artistry mesmerisingly assured." Tweets are enthusiastic, and praise is being heaped on Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate. Al Pacino reportedly has a hilarious cameo as Dalton's agent. "This curious fairy tale may not be the truth, and it may prattle on too long, writes Lawson in Vanity Fair. "But when its stars align, and they let loose with their unmistakable shine, Hollywood movies do seem truly special again. And, sure, maybe TV does too."Justin Chang in his LA Times review calls this a "richly evocative, conceptually jaw-dropping, excessively foot-fetishizing, inescapably terrifying and unexpectedly poignant movie."


    MARGOT ROBBIE AS SARON TATE IN ONCE UPON A TIME...IN HOLLYWOOD [Sony Pictures Releasing]
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-27-2019 at 09:04 PM.

  11. #26
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    PARK SO-DAM, CHOI WOO0SIK IN PARASITE

    Parasite (Bong Joon-ho). Competition.

    Parasite/(기생충 (Gisaengchung) is "a pitch-black tragicomedy about economic inequality in modern Korea," Jessica Kiang explains in her Variety review. His past filmography - Snowpiercer, Memories of Murder, The Host and Okja - shows Bong to be a genre unto himself, says IndieWire's David Erlich. Peter Bradshaw (who elsewhere compares it to Joseph Losey's The Servant)calls this film "a bizarre black comedy," "satirical suspense drama," a "creepy invasion of the lifestyle snatchers" set in "a modern-day 'Downton Abbey situation" that "gets its tendrils into you." He gives it 4 out of 5 stars in his Guardian review. There's a resemblance to Hirakazu Koreeda's Palme d'Or-winning Shoplifters in that here there is an impoverished family that hides its relationships, in this case to rob an ultra-rich family. The invading poor family burns with resentment and wants to take on a lifestyle that they think should be theirs. This is at once Bong's "most tightly plotted" and " most formally polished work," says Kiang, and proceeds seamlessly and with finely crafted settings with "a watchmaker’s skill" In the way it keeps "the pendulum of our sympathies swinging back and forth between the grasping desperation of the poor and the idle hatefulness of the rich."

    Looks like Parasite will take a high spot on Screen Daily's Jury Grid - where, incidentally, Tarantino's new film got four 4.0's but averaged 3.0, in third place below Pain and Glory and Portrait of a Lady on Fire, because big fans it also had scoffers and a hater, having received a 3, two 2's and a zero (the latter from Die Zeit's Katja Nicodemus). Nonetheless Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has current Metacritic score of 86%. (Cannes press conference for Tarantino: H E R E.)

    The post-Tarantino Screen Daily jury grid:
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2019 at 10:31 PM.

  12. #27
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    Wed. May 22 at Cannes: Dolan and Desplechin.


    XAVIER DOLAN IN MATTHIAS & MAXIME

    Matthias & Maxime (Xavier Dolan). Competition.

    After two ambitious turnoffs - a "one-two stumble," one critic calls them - that seemed to bring his career to a crisis, despite the first winning a big prize at Cannes, Dolan is back in secure, comfortable territory, says Guy Lodge in his admiring Variety review, with a tale of uneasy male friendship starring Dolan himself and Gabriel D’Almeida Fritas, as longtime pals, one (Dolan) a mess (with a toxic mom à la Mommy), the other (Freitas), a together young lawyer. They may be more then friends: having to kiss in front of friends acting in a friends' short film reminds them they've done so for real before. Now Matthias' pending promotion and Maxime's upcoming two-year sojourn in Australia forces them to decide. The "warmth and restraint" here feels like maturity at last (just turned 30), says Steve Pond of The Wrap. Here says Pond, Dolan returns to "the sweet spot he hit so often in his earlier films." Dolan depicts complicated tensions with old pals and business associates, including the Beach Rats star Harris Dickinson as a kind of cock tease temporary law associate of Matthias. But Jon Forsch of Hollywood Reporter feels this film lacks the emotional urgency of Dolan's first films, their "formal and emotional risk-taking," their "dramatic richness." Dolan's formerly "messy, complicated characters, layers of provocative ambiguity, tension and stakes" all are muted or missing here, Forsch says. Moreover, the toned down, sexually repressed puzzle-relationship at the movie's center "today registers as quaint, even dated." (Matthias & Maxime wound up near the bottom of the Jury Grid with a 1.7; only Kechiche's film scored lower (1.5), and of those polled only Peter Bradshaw liked it. Kechiche's scores were more mixed, with two 3's and even a 4 but two zero's.)


    LÉA SEYDOUX, ROSCHIDY ZEM IN ROUBAIX, UNE LUMIÈRE

    Oh Mercy/Roubaix, une lumière (Arnaud Desplechin). Competition.

    Desplechin must feel very much at home here, having had six films in Cannes Competition and several more in sidebars, served on the Jury in 2016 and opened the festival with Ismael's Ghosts in 2017 (also featured at the NYFF). Nonetheless his turn to something ostensibly more genre in Oh Mercy met with a mixed response. Peter Bradshaw in his Guardian review describes this northern French crime movie with its "annoyingly wise police captain" (Roschdy Zem) as "fatally split" in tone by Desplechin’s "lofty pretensions." It's supposed to be a police-procedural, but also wants to be a "musing prose-poem about the vanity of human wishes," says Bradshaw, and this dual role is too much for its star to put across. Bradshaw finds the film "self-admiring" and gives it 2 out of 5 stars. The narrative pieces through various cases, explains Ben Croll in The Wrap, settling eventually on the murder of an 80-year-old woman which the Zem's Captain intuits at once was done by the two drug addicts next door (Léa Seydoux and Sara Forestier, both in very unglam mode). Desplechin is more interested in "relationship power dynamics," says Croll; but the whole film seems to him more TV pilot than feature. Weissberg says exactly the same thing in his Variety review. (Weissberg's nonetheless may be the most sympathetic of these reviews.) Lee Marshall of Screen Daily thinks this a "detour" for Desplechin. It "roots in" a 2008 TV documentary and is most interested in the interrogation transcripts, some used here verbatim, for what they show about the relationship between Seydoux's and Forestier's characters, ultimately becoming, Lee Marshall feels, "a ritual of expiation and redemption" but ultimately more the portrait of a washed-up city (Desplechin's original home town) than a crime story. There are elements, Marshall says, such as voiceovers from a rookie cop's diary, that feel like fragments from an earlier draft. Maybe Desplechin wanders too far afield for a film that defines itself as of the crime genre.

    Final Competition films still to come:
    The Traitor, dir: Marco Bellocchio
    Sibyl, dir: Justine Triet
    It Must Be Heaven, dir: Elia Suleiman
    Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo, dir: Abdellatif Kechiche
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-27-2019 at 12:39 PM.

  13. #28
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    Winning animation in Critics' Week.


    STILL FROM ANIMATED PRIZEWINNER I LOST MY BODY

    I Lost My Body/J'ai perdu mon corps (Jérémy Clapin). Critics' Week.

    French filmmaker Jérémy Clapin’s feature-length animation J'ai perdu mon corps (the original French title) garnered the top award, the Nespresso Grand Prize, at Cannes’ Critics' Week, the prestigious parallel section aimed at emerging directors and showing shorts and first and second-time films. "It's time for animated films to stop being considered a separate genre," Clapin delcared. The film concerns a young man's severed hand that goes looking for its body. It stood out, says Variety's Guy Lodge, for being the only "toon" in the sidebar, and also for its "blend of morbid humor and touching drama.:" The film's producer Marc de Pontavice said in an interview in AlloCiné it was the challenge of arousing audience sympathies for an object that drew him to the story, and he liked the idea of a part longing for the whole rather than the reverse. The film will go to the big Annecy animation fest, and is looking for a distributor.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2019 at 10:36 PM.

  14. #29
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    DAKOTA JOHNSON, ARMIE HAMMER IN WOUNDS

    Wounds (Babak Anvari). Directors Fortnight.

    This Netflix-sponsored horror flick, an adaptation on Nathan Halligrud's novelThe Visible Filth, is British-Iranian director Anvari's sophomore film following his 2016 Under the Shadow (" a retro spook story set in ’80s Tehran" - Variety), but is much cruder and a bust, says Peter Bradshaw in his Guardian review. Armie Hammer is a college dropout tending bar at "a rough dive in New Orleans" who dates Dakota Johnson's Eng. Lit. grad student but is enamored of Zazie Beetz, who drinks at his bar with her boyfriend. Things get supernatural and super-creepy for Armie when there's a bad fight and a student leaves behind a cell phone with a video of it that Armie opens. (The debt to J-horror is clear.) Hammer, says Bradshaw, seems to be competing "for a bad-acting award" and givesWounds 2 out of 5 stars. Variety says it's "a spooky, silly body-horror flick that's thrilled to torture Armie Hammer." Amy Nicholson's Variety review suggests this may be a fun picture for younger audience members, and Bradshaw may miss the humor in how Armie is used by Anvari in it, but not a very good movie: Screen Daily says it has "some shockingly uninspired jump-scares" and Erlich in IndieWire calls it "a woefully underwritten jump-scare machine." It debuted at Sundance; perhapas there was no need to review it here.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2019 at 10:38 PM.

  15. #30
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    WILLIAM LEBGHIL IN ALL ABOUT YVES

    All About Yves/Yves (Benoît Forgeard). Directors' Fortnight.

    The French director Benoît Forgeard's second feature closed out the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes. It is a screwy comedy something like if John Waters made a movie where a "wannabe rapper" (William Lebghil), his dream girl (Doria Tillier), and a talking fridge all have sex at one point, says Jordan Minter in his Hollywood Reporter review, which says it "overstays its welcome" but is also "a memorably weird experience." Yves is the name of the fridge, which Lebghil's character is a product-tester for, "a Sub-Zero-type device inhabited by the mind of 2001’s HAL 9000 and the musical prowess of contemporary beatmakers like Drake's 40 and Boi-1da," says Mintzer. The whole thing is a "spoof" on "where artificial intelligence is headed" with "smart" appliances if you imagined them capable of competing in "the Eurovision song contest," says Lisa Nesselson in her Screen Daily review, which also praises this film but similarly says it "overstays its welcome." Last year Lebghil costarred with Vincent Lacoste in the popular in France med school film The Frehshman/Première année reviewed on Filmleaf in February (R-V 2019).
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2019 at 10:39 PM.

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