Archive for May, 2012
For two weeks in May, the 7th art world turns its undivided attention to Cannes, coastal resort reknowned worldwide for its film festival, 65 years running and immediately evocative of old world glamour, groundbreaking cinema, red veloured stairs, press conference faux-pas, beach starlets, heady rooftops parties, controversial awards, statements and sit-ins. As is the case for most festivals now, the “peripheral” festival of sorts (Un certain regard, Cinéfondation, Caméra d’Or) holds probably more interest than Cannes’ main selection of competitors, and yes, it has become overrun with branding and business. Still, while many festivals have gone corporate and are thus lost to the austere industry, Cannes has retained some of its vintage sheen and since 1946 continues to guard the myths and magic it is made of.
The 2012 awardees :
Prix de la mise en scène
Prix du scénario
Prix d’interprétation féminine
Prix d’interprétation masculine
Prix du Jury
Palme d’Or du court métrage
To my personal dismay, Jacques Audiard whose magnificent film « De rouille et dos » (helmed by an outstanding Matthias Schoenaerts who inhabits every scene with the kind of fierce magnetism that only Brando could conjure and Marion Cotillard who delivers here, with careful restraint, her most poignant performance since “La Mome”) I thought was a shoe-in for both the Palme d’Or and Best male performance, lost again to his 2009 competitor Michael Haneke. I’m not sure what greater film Audiard could next direct that would possibly outstand “Un Prophète” and “De rouille et d’os” and finally earn him the Palme that has eluded him: his directorial career has thus far been an ascending flight from fearless excellence with “Un Prophète” to a small masterpiece with “De rouille et d’os”.
That said, in all fairness, I have yet to see “Amour”…
Two Days in New York.
I hated it. I nearly left mid-way through the film. And frankly, I do say this with some regret considering how much admiration I have for Julie Delpy as an actress, writer and director, and how thoroughly I enjoyed the prequel “Two Days in Paris”. However, whereas “Paris” had good taste, sharp dead-pan delivery (Adam Goldberg had much to do with this) and presented a genuinely intelligent reflection on the traumatized post-post-modern battlefield of relationships, and yes, of course delighted in clichés but handled them with measure, “New York” is an overbearing assault of bad taste, over the top caricatures, run-on scenes, and blunt physical comedy. None of it was funny. Some of it was just absurd (I suppose as some kind of statement on the absurd pretenses and pretentions in our lives). All of it was irritating, cringingly so.
And seriously… note to independent directors: featuring wild card Vincent Gallo will not redeem your movie.
So for what it’s worth, I urge you to ignore this unfortunate sequel and instead watch the smart and funny and far superior first film “2 Days in Paris”. TRAILER
Yes, it is AnnieHallesque. And No, it doesn’t stand the comparison. But the film is still completely worth it. Spilling with honesty and self-deprication, it is brutally (but refreshingly) lacking in sentimentality; it’s love as the real screwed-up thing. If occasionally self-indulgent, it’s endearingly so. You can’t help but feel sympathetic toward a first time writer/director (composer/singer?!) whose belly probably aches in the editing room as she wants to keep EVERYTHING in. Also, she’s brilliantly chosen her screen partners: first there’s Paris, and then Adam Goldberg who steals every scene. His hypochondria, scathing anti-nationalism, cynical and sobering humour are one helluva turn on. Honest to God, by the end of the film I was rooting for their relationship to fail so he’d marry me.
What’s not to like ?
With RadioStars, Romain Levy directs a disarmingly funny bunch of juvenile radio-buddies (headlined by the fast-talking Manu Payet and brooding Clovis Cornillac) who, after their radio show gets bumped off the top rated seat, jump on a bus to win back their audience and make their way back to the top – and in the process (and in varyingly hilarious forms) lose and (sort of) find their ways in life and love. Uninhibited, whizzing with cheeky (if occasionally borderline) one-liners and grooving to the sounds of an infectious soundtrack, it’s a joyride that’s totally fun and totally forgettable. TRAILER
The Artist has undoubtedly served over the past few months as France’s cultural ambassador – promoting the vigour and crowd-pleasing cachet of our country’s film culture. However, infused as it is with vintage hollywood glamour, it is, arguably, the least french film to have come out of France over the course of the year and is hardly demonstrative of France’s diverse and singular cinematic esthetics.
The most promisingly authentic vision seems to belong to rookie director Guillaume Brac, whose first two films seem to have gone unnoticed even domestically. Both his short feature (“Le Naufragé”) and medium feature (“Un Monde sans femmes”) tell a slightly blistered, unromantic tale of awkward companionships between men and men, men and women, mothers and daughters, set against the desolate Picardie coast.
Reminiscent of Rozier’s documentary fictions, and gorged with Rohmerian influences (particularly the “contes” cycle), Brac’s two films (projected in sequence) feel somehow more natural than both ‘anti-methodical’ masters’ films. This is greatly due to the extraordinary cast, especially the anything-but-a-leading-man, Vincent Macaigne, the anti-hero of our clumsty tale : the kindest and most winsome of losers.
In sum, we may have found with Brac not only a natural heir to Rohmer and to Rozier, but perhaps one with an even more affectionate sensibility towards his characters and a more intuitive sense of casting. TRAILER