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Cannes Day 2: Minute by Minute

Cannes Day 2: Minute by Minute

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.

Missed out on Day 1? Get the latest.

7:46 PM: Obsessing for “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” Cannes Fetes seiminal film – “A [gay] and a commie in a jail cell, what a marketing nightmare.” Producer David Weisman made that quotable quote in a documentary about a film that became his obsession and the obsession of all involved…”It was a project designed to ruin everyone’s career,” said Weisman… What happened afterward is a long and series of false starts, anguish and even rejection that nevertheless created one of the seminal independent films of the ’80s…”It was like that mountain in ‘Close Encounters,’ you just had to go there,” said Weisman. “The investors said, ‘I don’t know why I’m doing this, but where do I sign?’ Nobody thought they’d get their money back, it was just a charitable contribution to art. None [of the investors] were gay or political. It was just this unspeakable thing that [drove everyone].” Read the full story. [Brian Brooks]

7:34 PM: Loach Tops Betting Odds For Palme – Online gambling site Paddy Power has laid out odds for what film might win the Palme d’Or, with Ken Loach’s “Route Irish” currently narrowly leading over Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s “Biutiful” and Mike Leigh’s “Another Year.” The full list of odds, for what they’re worth:

3/1 Route Irish (Ken Loach)
4/1 Biutiful (Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu)
5/1 Another Year (Mike Leigh)
6/1 La Princesse de Monptpensier (Bertrand Tavernier)
6/1 Poetry (Lee Chang-dong)
10/1 Fair Game (Doug Liman)
12/1 Tournee (Mathieu Almaric)
14/1 Des Hommes et des Dieux (Xavier Beauvois)
16/1 Hors-la-loi (Rachid Bouchareb)
16/1 Un Homme Qui Crie (Mahamat-Saleh Haroun)
18/1 Outrage (Takeshi Kitano)
18/1 You, My Joy (Sergei Lovnitsa)
20/1 Housemaid (Im Sangsoo)
20/1 La Nostra Vita (Daniele Luchetti)
20/1 Loong Boonmee Ralek Chaat (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
25/1 Rizhao Chongqing (Xiaoshuai Wang)
25/1 Copie Conforme (Abbas Kiarostami)
33/1 A Frankenstein-terv (Kornel Mundruczo)
33/1 Utomlyonnye Solntsem 2 (Nikita Mikhalkov)

6:51 PM: Controversy in Cannes — Rachid Bouchareb sent a letter to the Cannes Film Festival that was released today, following weeks of heated debate concerning his portrayal of the French colonization of Algeria in his film “Hors la loi” (Outside of the Law), which is none too flattering.

Bouchareb has said that he appreciates the opportunity to premiere his film in Cannes at the “most prestigious of all festivals.” Bouchareb hopes the film, which he says is “a work of fiction”, will be viewed “in a spirit of mutual respect and in a calm climate” as the film has still yet to be seen. Thierry Fremaux, general delegate of the Cannes Film Festival, has said in response to the reaction to the film, “The Algerian War issue remains sensitive in France.”

In his letter, Rachid Bouchareb wrote:

“Over the last three weeks, there has been acrimonious debate concerning the screening of my film Hors La Loi, although the people taking part in this debate have not seen the film… Faced with such passion, and so as to restore some degree of calm in this over-heated context, it seems to me important to stress two points.

– Hors la loi is a work of fiction, a saga that tells the story of three Algerian brothers and their mother over a period of more than thirty years, from the middle of the nineteen-thirties to the independence of Algeria in 1962.

-The cinema must be in a position to tackle all types of subject. I have done this as a film-maker, with my own sensibilities, without forcing anyone to share them. After the screenings will come the time for public debate. Deeply attached as I am to freedom of expression, it seems normal to me that certain people might not agree with my film, but I would hope that such disagreement could be expressed in a calm atmosphere as part of a serene exchange of ideas
France is seen by the whole world as a land of liberty, and I am particularly proud to be able to show my film here, in the most prestigious of all festivals. I hope that the screening will take place in a spirit of mutual respect and a calm climate.”

The film will be screened as an Official Selection for Competition on Friday, May 21st. [Carter Glascock/Caitlin Nascher]

5:30 PM: Thoughts on “Tournée” From Around The Web – Prolific French actor Mathieu Amalric, who played the villain in Bond flick “Quantum of Solace” and gained critical praise in “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” kicked off the Cannes competition set with his foray into the burlesque circuit. In “Tournée” (On Tour), Amalric directs himself as a has-been producer who takes a group of American burlesque dancers on tour across France.

Calling the film a “strong start” “by any reasonable standard” while noting the lack of dramatic tension in the film, France24’s Jon Frosch says, “The film gets mileage out of its culture clash premise (the girls churn out very broken French and transform even the stuffiest place they go into a rowdy performance art fete), but the director’s nimble, spontaneous camera also catches unexpected moments of loneliness, flirtation, and hostility among the dancers, their not-so-fearless leader, and his two young sons who accompany the troupe in the film’s second half. ” On the LA Times’ 24 Frames blog, Steven Zeitchik notes of the film, “Although it didn’t fail on any major artistic level, most filmgoers, including us, found the burlesque slice of life interesting but the main protagonist opaque and familiar, as we did his problems. It’s a character drama light on the characters and the drama. Don’t bet on it for your office Palme d’Or pool.” [Bryce Renninger]

1:49 PM: Berney on the Move — In the wake of his sudden departure from Apparition, a company he launched just one year ago here in Cannes, Bob Berney is sounding optimistic as he pounds the pavement for a new gig here at the Cannes Film Festival.

“It’s clear things need to change,” Berney told Anne Thompson, “especially with exhibitors, who are willing to be more experimental and creative. There’s plenty of room for films with the bigger chains, who need crossover product. I still think there’s a big audience. With the right backing behind you, it can still work, even though it’s tough out there.”

Anne Thompson has the scoop on Berney’s move. She sat down for an exclusive conversation with the veteran distributor late last night on the balcony of his Croisette apartment here in France. “Contrary to some reports,” she writes, “Berney is neither back in bed with Newmarket (where he enjoyed his greatest freedom and success) nor shacked up with Harvey Weinstein.” [More at Thompson On Hollywood]

1:29 PM: From the Pope to the Palais — 100+ year old filmmaker Manoel De Oliveira had an interesting day yesterday, jetting from an audience with the Pope in Rome to a night on the red carpet in Cannes. Todd McCarthy ran into the filmmaker at Gilles Jacob’s opening night VIP dinner at the Majestic Hotel last night. [More at Todd McCarthy’s Deep Focus]

In Cannes today with Mattieu Amalric (left to right) Evie Lowell, Mimi Le Meux, Kitten on the Keys, Dirty Martini, and Julie Atlas Muz. Photo by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE

1:16 PM: Burlesque Moments — Dirty Martini. Evie Lowell. Kitten on the Keys. Julie Atlas Muz. Mimi Le Meux. A group of sexy new screen starlets with unique names took the stage at the Cannes Film Festival today. The women, stars of Mattieu Amalric’s “Tournée” (On Tour), are all seasoned performers, but new to the movies. Members of the New Burlesque movement, the four preached sexual freedom and shared some salty stories during a news conference ahead of tonight’s world premiere of the new film in Cannes.

Amalric stars as Joachim, a former French TV producer who hits the road with a group of burlesque performers in this new film, which weaves erotic on stage performances with behind the scenes drama as the troupe travel around France dreaming of a final tour night in Paris. The film received a decidedly mixed reaction at its first press screening last night here in Cannes and will screen for French industry and locals at tonight’s gala.

There’s a revolution happening, veteran burlesque star Dirty Martini said today, when asked about the burlesque scene. She called the U.S. performance movement “a fuck you” to the establishment and likening New Burlesque to Punk Rock. “It’s very DIY,” chimed in Kitten on the Keys.

“We are women who are concerned with using burlesque as a way to educate women [about] their need for their own sexual expression,” elaborated Dirty Martini, “We are here to break stereotypes.”

“I am inspired by Shirley Temple and punk rock,” said Kitten on the Keys, adding, “And Freddy Mercury!”

Photo by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

11:45 AM: Lauer Loves France — NBC’s Today show host Matt Lauer and the U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco, Charles H. Rivkin officially opened the American Pavilion this morning in Cannes. Rivkin, who was appointed by President Obama last June, kicked-off the short ceremony flanked by the dozens of U.S. interns working in the American Pavilion. He delivered a short speech in what sounded like flawless French.

Reverting to English, he introduced Lauer saying he felt like the popular morning news show host was “a member of his family.” Lauer then took to the mic and said, “When I retire from this job, I’d like to be Ambassador to France.” With that, the two cut the red ribbon and up went the cheers. The two the headed into the Roger Ebert Conference Center inside Am Pav for a moderated discussion. [Brian Brooks]

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