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More Thoughts From Cannes

More Thoughts From Cannes

There simply isn’t the time to write about every film in depth while seeing on average four films per day, so for now I’ll offer a few thoughts on the run. First, I cannot in any way join the chorus of bravos that generally greeted “Another Year,” Mike Leigh’s study of several characters’ various success in dealing with aging. For me the film is obvious, schematic and lacking in interesting undercurrents or subtext. Jim Broadbent and especially Ruth Sheen are wonderful as a lucky older couple who are obviously made for each other, but the central performance by Lesley Manville, as a perennially single woman facing bleak years ahead, is so on-the-nose, insistent and, in the end, irritating that it practically drove me out of the cinema.

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s unfortunately titled “A Screaming Man,” a Chadian feature also in the competition, in which an African civil war is seen strictly from the intimate point of view of one city-dwelling family, is beautifully composed, absorbing in a low-key way but rather pat in the final analysis.

By far the most unworthy competition entry thus far is Takeshi Kitano’s “Outrage.” As if his most recent features hadn’t been sufficient indication, this return to the yakuza genre shows that the well as indeed run dry for this 1990s critics’ darling. The film is composed of bad guys killing other bad guys off to such a total extent that it’s meant to be absurd, but it offers precious few stylistic or thematic reasons to hang with it. A wash-out.

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