Cannes Film Festival Wrap-Up: Week 2, Part 2

REVIEWS

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (In Competition)

This fantastical film has been lumped in with Jean-Luc Godard’s Socialisme as almost unreviewable. However, Kevin Jagernauth of The Playlist does his best to sum up the bizarre plot:

Punctuated with dry humor and expressive cinematography, the picture unfolds exquisitely but requires and demands an audience willing to meet it halfway. The plot, such as it is, revolves around the titular uncle who, suffering from kidney failure, is visited by the ghost of his dead wife and by his long lost son who returns in a monkey-man like form not unlike Chewbacca with glowing red eyes. With Uncle Boonmee contemplating the end of this life, and wondering if his illness is the karmic result of killing communists and bugs, he decides to travel back to the place of his birth.

Eric Kohn of indieWIRE echoes a lot of the above sentiment calling the film “impenetrable” and going on to say:

Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul has made a career out of directing movies that seem like dense visual riddles, matching poetry with mysterious cinematic designs. However, while his earlier features often felt primarily energizing as intellectual exercises rather than creative pursuits, his latest work—“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives”—takes the identical approach into the delightful realm of fantasy.

Carlos (Out of Competition)

Oliver Assayas’ five hour long film Carlos had a lot of people worried about its insane running time, but Jeffery Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere says that it is “never boring”:

This is a politically crackling, intrigue-filled saga of Carlos the Jackal (a.k.a, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez) with a no-bullshit, this-is-what-it-was, rock-solid authority in every line and scene and performance — no Hollywood crap of any kind, no comic relief and nothing artificially heightened. And it boasts a riveting, never-alienating but never-sympathetic lead performance by Edgar Ramirez, whom I know from relatively recent roles in Che and The Bourne Ultimatum (in which he played a bad guy who cut Matt Damon a break at the end).

Todd McCarthy of Deep Focus compares Carlos to last year’s Cannes entry, Che, saying that it Assayas’ film was everything Soderberg’s film wanted to be:

In what is certainly his best work, French director Olivier Assayas adopts a fleet, ever-propulsive style that creates an extraordinary you-are-there sense of verisimilitude, while Edgar Ramirez inhabits the title role with arrogant charisma of Brando in his prime. It’s an astonishing film.

Route Irish (In Competition)

Ken Loach’s Iraq War film was once thought of as a favorite to win the Palme d’Or at this year’s festival. However, after the recent crop of reviews I have a feeling that will not be the case. Leslie Felperin of Variety says that the film is honest and a good effort, but too presumptuous about a conflict that is far from over:

Constructed along the lines of Loach’s 1990 political thriller “Hidden Agenda,” pic laudably tries to find a sideways view on the conflict and its appalling atrocities. However, like a sculptor working with clay that just won’t dry, Loach struggles to carve out clear ethical certainties from the still-sticky moral morass of Iraq…

Mike Goodridge of Screen Daily agrees saying that its definitely a watchable film, but its not Loach at his best:

Shot by sometime Loach collaborator Chris Menges in gritty grey hues, the film looks like a Loach film but the story of stolen cellphones, corporate cover-ups and renegade revenge wouldn’t be out of place in a Hollywood action thriller. The filmmaker isn’t entirely comfortable with the genre and at times, with its low-intensity George Fenton score, it feels like an episode of a British TV series.

DISTRIBUTION DEALS

  • Xavier Dolan’s Les Amours Imaginaires (aka Heartbeats) and Antoine Blossier’s Prey have been picked up by IFC Films for U.S. Distribution. This means they will probably be available for IFC On Demand. [indieWIRE]

OTHER NEWS AND POSTS

  • Sasha Stone’s poignant Cannes diaries conclude with observations on how it feels to be a mere “blogger” at the most prestigious film festival on earth. [Awards Daily]
  • Several of the stars at Cannes are out to encourage the release of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi who is currently in jail in Iran. [The Independent Eye]
  • Roger Ebert decides to begin a “campaign for real movies”, hoping to encourage Cannes films being seen by American audiences. [Ebert’s Journal]
  • Political movie controversy isn’t restricted to the U.S. Apparently right-wing French broadcasters are railing against the Cannes film Outside the Law, which is about Algeria’s struggle for independence from France. [Alternative Film Guide]
  • The Critics Week Grand Prize has been awarded to the Danish war documentary Armadillo. [Total Film]
  • Interviews: Juliette Binoche [Vulture], Doug Liman [indieWIRE]

PICTURES

  • (Above) Kate Beckinsale is on the jury at this year’s festival and she is looking beautiful on the red carpet as always. [Alternative Film Guide]
  • The first images of Ken Loach’s Iraq war drama Route Irish premiered this week along with the premiere of the film. [The Playlist]

VIDEOS

  • Along with the photos, the first video clips of Route Irish have also cropped up online. [The Playlist]
  • The trailer for the delayed film Love Ranch, which played out of competition at Cannes, has appeared online. [Apple Trailers]
  • The first look at Oliver Assayas’ film Carlos looks very good. It gives you only a glimpse of what can be expected from this 5+ hour film. [Rope of Silicon]
  • Finally a preview and making of feature for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s much lauded film Biutiful has hit the web. Check it out below. [The Playlist]

Over the weekend I will post my Palme d’Or predictions as well as what Cannes means for the Oscars. Stay tuned!

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  • “Carlos” looks amazing. I’m very much looking forward to it. But this year’s festival doesn’t look like it has nearly as many high-quality films as the last few years did.

  • I agree, last year ‘Inglourious Basterds’ wasn’t even the top film of the festival and look at all the success it had. I don’t think there are any ‘Basterds’ or ‘White Ribbons’ at this year’s fest.

  • What about two years ago, with “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”?

    That being said, “Another Year”, “Carlos”, and “Biutiful” all look very good.

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