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Cannes Diary: “Everything is Fine”

Cannes Diary: "Everything is Fine"

By Karina Longworth

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m sitting in a big, round room at the top of the Palais called Le Club, listening to hundreds of people scream. There’s a balcony encircling Le Club which looks out on docked yachts straight ahead, and the artist’s entrance for the red carpet premieres down below. The “Indiana Jones and Harrison Ford’s Public Pension Collection” premiere begins shortly, and every few minutes, the paparazzi mob down below erupts into a guttural, multi-lingual wail, each one greater than the last, as another celebrity gets out of another car.

Meanwhile, a large group of notebook-clutching press types have started to gather around two flat screen monitors inside Le Club, watching simulcast coverage of the arrivals. I would be making catty comments with them if I sensed that we spoke the same language––and if they seemed just a tiny bit less star-struck. Frankly, I’m slightly appalled. At least George Lucas had the decency to wear a sports coat––Spielberg, decked out in a baseball cap, a pink shirt and what appears to be a sweater vest made out of berber, is an embarrassment. Shia LaBeouf looks embarrassed. Shia LaBeouf, by the way, is extremely attractive for a 12 year old.

I didn’t even try to get into an “Indiana Jones” screening today––early word suggests it’s less than spectacular (my Cannes roommate Eric Kohn live-blogged his screening via text message for indieWIRE) and I’ve been having bad luck with lines, so I figure I’ll try to catch the “day after” screening tomorrow. I’m sitting in Le Club because I was shut out of what I believe is the final screening of Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”––I showed up an hour before the scheduled start time, after walking out of Jia Zhangke’s interminable “24 City,” and the screening was already full. I’ve been having much better luck getting into screenings in the market (more on the distinction between the Festival and the Marche in a post coming up later today), but this means I’ve missed out on a lot of the films at the center of the conversation. People are talking about “Vicky Cristina,” “Tyson,” “Tokyo!” (especially Michel Gondry’s segment), Steve McQueen’s “Hunger” and, to a lesser extent, “Waltz with Bashir.” I made it into a 10 pm screening of that last one last night, but had to walk out after about 40 minutes due to a combination of starvation and exhaustion. Based on what I saw, there are a lot of beautiful images, but Manohla Dargis’ rave (already the stuff of legend around here) seems irrationally exuberant.

But don’t cry for me––I’m seeing films in the market that no one else is seeing, and even when they’re bad (like the Darby Crash biopic “What We Do Is Secret,” which plays like an after school special directed by a young John Waters––if John Waters had been lobotomized and had lost his sense of humor), I at least get a kick out of going out and making discoveries. And sometimes they’re really, really good.

I found myself with an unexpected hole in my schedule on Saturday and stumbled into a market screening of a film called “Everything is Fine,” which premiered in the Panorama at Berlin in February, where it drew kind reviews from Screen and Variety but didn’t find U.S. distribution. It’s a beautifully made film about a teen boy and girl who come together after four of their friends commit suicide. With a strong sense of style and an especially inventive feel for sound design, first-time feature director Yves Christian Fournier manages to turn the story of the inner conflict of a 17 year-old boy into something almost resembling a thriller, with a final act catharsis that left several of us in the screening room in tears. I’ve been describing it as the French-Canadian “Paranoid Park,” except more satisfying emotionally and without the problematic homo-erotic subtext. I think it’s against the rules for me to write a full review of anything that’s screening for buyers outside of the Festival proper, which is a shame––”Everything is Fine” is, by far, the most exciting thing I’ve seen in Cannes thus far.

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