Each day at the Cannes Film Festival (May 12 – 23), indieWIRE is publishing a frequently updated dispatch from France. All times listed are local French time.
9:07 PM: “Valentine” Round-Up — “Blue Valentine” has just had its European premiere and reviews have been as fairly positive, it seems, as they have been in the states. Sukhdev Sandhu of the Telegraph described the film as “an anguished, acutely observed and at times deeply affecting story about falling in and out of love that channels the keening, ugly desperation and emotional heft of the great John Cassavetes.”
Some had problems with the film’s plot elements, however, such as Brad Brevet of Rope of Silicon who said, “Cianfrance alludes to important personality traits of his characters, uses them against them, but provides little to no context to rationalize their behavior.” [Carter Glascock]
8:54 PM: “Blue Valentine” at AmPav — As Ryan Gosling and other members of the cast and crew of the critically acclaimed “Blue Valentine” arrived for a panel at the American Pavilion, many of the young women in attendance swooned at the star’s entrance. Producer James Patricof siezed the moment and pretended they were doing it for him.
Director Derek Cianfrance explained that the film was given a lengthy self-imposed 12-year gestation period in shooting in order to accentuate the time lapse in the two main characters’ marriage. “The process has to inform the story and the content of the characters,” he noted.
During this time of adjustment, actors Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams were told to be openly hostile to each other and build up real resentment on the set. “I had a hard time with it,” Williams said. “My big dilemma was ‘Why am I upset?’ It was hard for me to live in the ambiguity of it.”
“I’ve never seen two characters that lived in two subjectively different worlds before,” Cianfrance said. “What I wanted to do in a movie is make it about memory, both long-term and short-term. As we all go through our day we think about our past and it gets amplified. The film is a duet, not just between a man and a woman, but between two time periods.”
In terms of promoting indie projects like this as opposed to big studio projects, Gosling said, “A lot of people don’t hear about these little movies because they don’t have theaters that play it in their town. If you do a lot of these big movies it gives you a chance to get the little movies out there.” [Carter Glascock]
7:31 PM: Shorts Screen at AmPav — The American Pavilion held a screening of short films selected for their second annual Emerging Filmmaker Showcase today in Cannes. Q&As were held after the dozen films were shown, divided into four categories: student documentaries, emerging documentaries, student narratives, and emerging narratives.
Winners were announced in each of the four categories after the screening: “Still Here” (student doc), by Alex Camilleri, about Randy Baron, a New York City man who has lived with HIV for 30 years and dedicates himself to educating others about the virus; “Nico’s Challenge” (emerging doc), by Steve Audette, about a 13-year-old boy who climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to raise money to send wheelchairs to Tanzania; “Stroll” (student narrative), by Alexander Schepsman, about an agoraphobic former jazz pianist who returns to music after hearing a single mother singing to her baby in the next apartment; and “The Bake Shop Ghost” (emerging narrative), by Lorette Bayle, based on a children’s book about a young baker haunted by the ghost of her shop’s former owner.
The other films screened in the competition were “A Harlem Mother” by Ivana Todorovic in the student documentary category; “Dig Comics” by Miguel Cima in the emerging documentary category; “Head in the Sand” by David Baldwin, “Daughters” by Chloé Zhao, and “Sebastian’s Voodoo” by Joaquin Baldwin in the student narrative category; and “Rift” by Andrew Huang, “Touch” by Jen McGowan, and “La Première” by Michael and Nick Regalbuto in the emerging narrative category. [Caitlin Nascher]
6:31 PM: Doug Liman: “This is what I’ve been trying to do my whole career” — Despite his significant successes over the past fifteen years, director Doug Liman effectively called his career a bit of a failure today at the Cannes Film Festival. Or, at the very least, he admitted that he’s never achieved his ultimate goals with a movie, until now. Read a full report from his Cannes press conference here.
6:14 PM: Magnet Nabs Critics Week Fave “Rubber” — Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, announced today that it has acquired US rights to “Rubber”, which is currently screening as part of Cannes Critic’s Week. Directed by Quentin Dupieux (“Steak,” “Nonfilm”), the film tells the story of Robert, an inanimate tire (yes, a tire) that has been abandoned in the desert, and suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams thelandscape, he discovers that he possesses “telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes without having to move.” More here.
5:54 PM: McCarthy Talks Docs In Cannes — “The more I think about the second-class status of documentaries at Cannes and other European festivals, the more I appreciate the way Sundance has always fought to give them equal footing every January.” – Read his full blog entry here.
5:07 PM: Cannes Round-up — Sir Mick Jagger describes Rolling Stone documentary as “like opening a family scrapbook.” Directed by Stephen Kijak, the film tells how the band dealt with drug addiction and homesickness to create Exile in Main Street, which featured singles such as Rocks Off and Tumbling Dice, in the basement of Keith Richards’ French mansion. The Telegraph reports.
“Some people make comedies. Others have a different point of view,” said Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa, whose film “My Joy”, about impoverished peasants and sadistic cops in snowy rural Russia premiered on Wednesday, AFP reports.
“Long before the festival opened, this 5 hour, 33 minute movie about the Venezuelan-born terrorist, international man of mystery and brutishly committed ladies man, Ilich Ramírez Sánchez – i.e., Carlos the Jackal – was a must see. The movie, which screened just once and out of competition, is scheduled to play on French television this week.” Manohla Dargis reports on Olivier Assayas’ “Carlos” in the New York Times.
The Weinstein Company’s “Blue Valentine” debuted Tuesday night to a five-minute standing ovation at the Debussy Theatre, followed by a classy rooftop party thrown by the Weinsteins at the Princess Stephanie hotel on the Croisette that didn’t even get started until well after midnight. Stars Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams and scene-stealing newcomer Faith Wladyka attended along with director Derek Cianfrance, a slew of producers, and, of course, Harvey Weinstein. Pete Hammond reports in the Los Angeles Times.
3:48 PM: IFC’s Kiarostami Pact — In its second swift acquisition of a film at the Cannes Film Festival, IFC Films has acquired U.S. rights to Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy.” Earlier this week, IFC Films acquired Xavier Dolan’s “Heartbeats” just days after its premiere here at the Cannes Film Festival. [More at indieWIRE]
1:01 PM: Media Stars Gone Natural — “Doug Liman’s ‘Fair Game’ opens with a credits sequence featuring images from the post-9/11 war on terror set to the Gorillaz’s single ‘Clint Eastwood’, marking the only instance of stylized commentary in this thoroughly subdued dramatization of recent history,” writes Eric Kohn in his review of the film, which had its first screening this morning ahead of tonight’s gala premiere. “The lyrics – ‘I’m useless/But not for long/The future is coming on’ – signal the shift into a new era of heated public engagement with global threats,” Kohn continues, “But Liman’s fictionalized account of the 2003 outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame strays from fiery political commentary in favor of an insistently unsentimental tone that only occasionally moves beyond the level of a solid made-for-TV routine. [More at indieWIRE]
12:57 PM: Solace in Verse — “Korean director Lee Chang-dong generally displays an interest in outspoken characters suffering from irrevocable loss,” writes Eric Kohn in his indieWIRE review. “His latest feature, ‘Poetry’, continues that trend with a moving portrait of creative discovery and the pressures of age. Yung Jungee plays the 66-year-old Mija, a gentle woman coping with the onset of senility and finding solace in a writing course. Her journey to externalize her life in verse forms the bulk of the movie. Lee patiently establishes her solemn existence around Yung’s deeply believable performance, injecting a bittersweet vibe into her bleak reality.” [More at indieWIRE]
12:51 PM: Bonnie and Clyde on Drums — “Light on story but heavy on ingenuity, the Swedish musical comedy ‘Sound of Noise’ portrays musicians as the ultimate outlaws,” writes indieWIRE critic Eric Kohn in his review of the new film here in Cannes, “In truth, the movie only incidentally relates to the musical genre, since everything onscreen is ostensibly diegetic – but magically so. An account of several villainous drummers intent on wreaking havoc across an entire city by turning it into their own instrument, its magnificent premise suggests a feature-length version of “Stomp” forced into the structure of a classic detective yarn.” [More a first take on Olivier Assayas’ “Carlos” in The New York Times. “But Carlos isn’t Che slogging through the jungle for the cause: Carlos is a mercenary, a thug.” She calls him “one of pop culture’s brand-name villains” and “a new kind of movie terrorist.”
She seems to like the film, but isn’t raving. “Played by [Edgar] Ramirez with jolts of charisma and, smartly, little of the usual movie-star charm – if not much depth or nuance – Carlos is a difficult character on which to hang such an ambitious, inherently cumbersome tale,” Dargis writes.
7:53 AM: Thursday Schedule — A full week into the festival the event heads into the final stretch.