Perhaps one of the most unexpected double features at the Cannes Film Festival is the pairing of Gyorgy Palfi’s Taxidermia and Richard Linklater’s Fast Food Nation. Both films, in their own convincing ways, are enough to turn someone off of meat-eating for… well, at least until the following day. Both films have been among the most fascinating, thought-provoking films I’ve seen this week. Taxidermia is an entirely demented look at three generations in one family and a constant need to fulfill oneself (and fill oneself) through food and sex. Plus, the film is pretty twisted and in no way would I suggest someone with a weak stomach even try to brave their way in. I liked it alot, though.
Fast Food Nation, on the other hand, is an entirely accessible but sometimes disturbing look at the fast food companies of America. I’m completely biased about this film, given I know so many of the people who worked on it… but I assure you, Linklater has delivered a provocative and entertaining portrait on the business of the American dream. Many people buzzed about how the film was much more politically-minded than some expected. Attending Friday night’s premiere was a highpoint of my time here so far, especially since it was my first Cannes gala at the Lumiere. Now, for those who don’t know, to film geeks this is like getting 50-yard-line tickets for the Super Bowl. It’s a big deal, and the French take it so seriously, which is why I brought a tux. Brian Brooks at indieWIRE snapped a nice photo of Linklater and I, at the after-party.
Before I get to my pictures, let me also come to the defense of the Danish film, Princess. I caught this animated feature and was totally riveted. Imagine a cartoon influenced by Japanes anime as well as the world of Dogme 95… complete with the requisite shock value that both genres often provide. This is an old fashioned revenge tale, set in the world of adult filmmaking, and told with a commanding sense of storytelling. Some folks have been mixed on its graphic nature, but it’s really powerful stuff. Speaking of graphic and powerful, some Shortbus items as we get to the pictures:
(The view from the Croisette, to a busy Majestic Beach: the location for sunbathing, parties, and very many photo shoots.)
(All dressed up and nowhere to go: An eager fan waits patiently outside the Palais, just in case someone has an extra ‘Fast Food Nation’ ticket.)
(The view from atop the famous red steps at the Grand Lumiere Theater, as I ascend for the ‘Fast Food Nation’ premiere.)
(Linklater, bottom right, embraces his producers Jeremy Thomas and Malcolm McLaren as the film receives a standing ovation after the screening.)
(At the ‘Fast Food Nation’ party, here’s Chris Blackwell and David Koh of Palm Pictures. Blackwell is also known as the man who signed both U2 and Bob Marley… so yeah, I pretty much worship him.)
(Speaking of Palm, on Saturday night the company hosted a yacht party that was quite nice. Sundance/CineVegas programmer Trevor Groth mugs for the camera while trying to fasten a bowtie, a promo item from the film ‘The House is Burning,’ before he made his way to see ‘Red Road.’)
(The super-sweet John Cameron Mitchell, wearing a gray suit and shorts, exiting the Grand Lumiere after the world premiere of his new film, ‘Shortbus.’ The second feature from the man who brought us ‘Hedwig & the Angry Inch,’ this project has been in the works for years particularly because of its – quite frankly – hardcore sexual content. Alas, the audience loved it, giving Mitchell a lengthy standing ovation that caused him to burst into tears. I really like this film… now we just have to see if a brave distributor is willing to put its super-controversial subject matter in theaters.)