After months of anticipation leading up to the event, the 2013 Cannes Film Festival finally reached its conclusion with its awards reception last Sunday, with Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue is the Warmest Color” taking home the highly coveted Palme d’Or. Even with “Blue”‘s expected win, the final week of the festival was not without a fair share of controversy, as many highly anticipated premieres were met with middling responses and some award winners (Kechiche’s included) were heavily criticized upon their wins. Meanwhile, we took a look at this year’s impressively gay Cannes, the reaction and source material surrounding the release of Stephen Soderbergh’s “Behind the Candelabra,” and Joe Swanberg’s just-announced Lena Dunham and Anna Kendrick starring Christmas film.
With Cannes reaching its end, many waited in feverish anticipation for the announcement of this year’s winners, with “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “The Immigrant,” “The Past,” and many others all looking like potential winners among this year’s main slate. Eventually, Kechiche’s “Blue” beat out the competition for the festival’s highest honor, while the Coens received the runner-up award, and the leads of “The Past” and “Nebraska” walked away with this year’s acting awards, over expected favorite such as Michael Douglas for his campily great performance in Soderbergh’s “Behind the Candelabra.”
Following its somewhat controversial win, many returned to Eric Kohn’s original review from one week earlier, in which he praised the film for its frank and boundless portrayal of the sexual bond linking its two heroines and the heartbreak of watching their relationship fall apart. Kohn writes “‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ elegantly tussles with the idea of reconciling desire with other factors involved in the cultivation of healthy companionship,” and in his A- review gives a potential defense for its later Palme d’Or win.
Why This Year’s Cannes Film Festival Prizes Went to the Right Films
Taking a chance to comment on the results after the awards were given out, Eric Kohn framed this year’s winners within the main slate as a primary example of Cannes’ continuing ability to provide and acknowledge the best alternatives to mainstream cinema. From the freedom of sexual depictions in “Blue is the Warmest Color”‘s uncensored storytelling to “Inside Llewyn Davis”‘s overarchingly subdued tone, many of the winner’s were able to defy the normal constraints of their plotting in favor of new, exciting forms of expression, making them a key example of Cannes’ maintained
Nicolas Winding Refn On the Tepid Cannes Reaction to ‘Only God Forgives’ and Why His Second Time at the Festival Was Like ‘Going to the Office’
Amongst the flurry of acclaim given to many of this year’s lower profile entries, Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives,” one of the festival’s most anticipated films, was met with a much less positive reaction from critics for its indulgently self-serious style. Speaking to us after the film’s premiere, Refn seemed generally unfazed by the reaction, comparing it to the mixed reception of his eventually critically adored “Drive” just two years earlier, and arguing against the festival’s clinical structure, ending with his belief that critics will eventually come around on the film upon its release.
Meanwhile in stark contrast to Refn’s relatively low key reaction to recent criticisms, James Gray didn’t mince words when responding to the heavily divided reception his period drama “The Immigrant” received upon its premiere. Speaking with IW, Gray commented on the film’s intense emotional impact and its deliberate pacing, while stating that while he has no problems with hearing criticism, critics of the film’s pacing “should be ashamed of themselves,” for dismissing a film meant to be “something for thought, not fast food.” With a release date set for later this year, the debate is sure to continue upon the film’s theatrical release.
Que(e)ries: It Was An Impressively Gay Cannes, But ‘Behind The Candelabra’ Ended Up Having Little To Do With That
Against the backdrop of the first film centered on a same-sex relationship to win the Palme d’Or, a landmark event in the festival’s 66-year history, and the premieres of Queer Palm-winner “Stranger By The Lake” and Guillaume Gallienne’s biographical “Me, Myself and Mom,” our own Peter Knegt took a look at the one Cannes entry already available to those not attending the festival, “Behind the Candelabra.” But while the film received a fairly positive reception in Cannes, us included, Knegt was less impressed by the film’s clinical approach to its biographical subject matter, arguing that we have now reached a point in which its portrayals of gay content don’t need to be applauded in favor of a lackluster final product.
Read the First Chapter of Scott Thorson’s ‘Behind The Candelabra,’ the Book on Which Steven Soderbergh’s HBO Movie is Based
Before its airing on HBO last Sunday following its Cannes premiere, we posted the complete first chapter of “Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace,” Scott Throson’s first-hand account of the time he spent the late entertainer Liberace and the lawsuit that would follow. Providing the primary source material for Steven Soderbergh’s biopic, the chapter follows the early life and interests of Liberace, before his rise to fame or his meeting with Throson.
The 10 Indie Films You Must See This June
Continuing the extension of our summer movie list, we presented our preview of the 10 top Indie alternatives coming out this month, including new films from Joss Whedon, Sofia Coppola, and Pedro Almodovar. With over 30 films listed on our June calendar, there is no shortage of indie options at the theater this month, with other highlights including Xavier Dolan’s latest Laurence Anyways, Peter Strickland’s psychological thriller “Berberian Sound Studio,” and Neil Jordan’s return to the bloodsucker genre with “Byzantium.”
Exclusive: Joe Swanberg Made a Christmas Movie on 16mm With Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham, Melanie Lynskey, and Mark Webber
Even with his SXSW hit “Drinking Buddies” still awaiting its upcoming summer release, Jow Swanberg is moving on at a rapid pace with the announcement that in addition to the fall release of his drama “All the Light in the Sky,” the director will also soon prepare the release of a Chicago-set Christmas film entitled “Happy Christmas.” Shot on 16mm film last December and starring Lena Dunham, Anna Kendrick, and Mark Webber, the film’s plot has been mostly kept under wraps, but Swanberg plans to take the film on the festival rounds next year with a release soon after.
Why Zach Braff’s Film Going to Cannes Shows the Future of Film Financing
And finally, it wouldn’t be a week of independent film news if Zach Braff’s infamous Kickstarter-funded “Wish I Was Here” wasn’t brought up at least once. Bringing his film to Cannes with its desired stars attached and the film seemingly on its way to production, Braff was only able to make an appearance due to the $3.1 million crowdsourced last month by more than forty-six thousand investors, making the film’s financing strategy a completely different case than what was originally facing both his production, and the many others vying for financing at the festival. By reducing onset costs and providing more potential incentive, Braff’s strategy has the potential to make independent film a rational business proposition again.