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The Top 10 Critics to Follow on Twitter During Cannes

The Top 10 Critics to Follow on Twitter During Cannes

Cannes is the best film festival in the world. It’s also one of the hardest festivals to attend and cover, and certainly the hardest to follow in the U.S., where you’re saddled with a six-to-nine hour time difference and a discouraging lack of pastis. Whether you’re following the developments at Cannes from home or abroad, the best place to look for updates is Twitter — and if you are looking for updates on Twitter, here are the ten critics Criticwire thinks you need to follow. The festival’s already underway, so get clicking.

Mike D’Angelo
Outlet: The A.V. Club
Twitter Handle: @gemko
Years Covering Cannes: 10
Most Anticipated Film: Carlos Reygadas’ “Post Tenebras Lux”
Why He’s On Our Radar: D’Angelo, who maintains an invaluable list of movies and theatrical releases dates on his website, The  Man Who Viewed Too Much, is one of the true masters of the 140 character review (on this year’s opening film, “Moonrise Kingdom”: “Balance between pre-adolescent ardor and adult disappointment a bit wobbly, but mostly delightful in ‘Rushmore’ vein.”).
Sample Work: An open letter to Lars von Trier, after “Antichrist”’s infamous Cannes premiere: “I love you, man. Not in a lame, hokey Rudd-and-Segal bromance way, but deeply and profoundly. If our paths cross over the next couple of days while you’re in town, don’t be surprised if I walk up unannounced and give you a giant bear hug. I’m pretty sure I kind of despised your new movie, ‘Antichrist,’ but that doesn’t remotely matter. Thank you. Thank you for having the guts to make something as insane and offensive and wholly uncompromising as this.”

David Fear
Outlet: Time Out New York
Twitter Handle: @davidlfear
Years Covering Cannes: 2
Most Anticipated Film: David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis”
Why He’s On Our Radar: You won’t find too many better writers at Cannes than David Fear, the film editor at Time Out New York. In a Fear review, the prose itself is just as entertaining as the insights into the film up for discussion.
Sample Work: Assessing the reaction to “Sleeping Beauty” at Cannes 2011: “Okay, so maybe a dinner party scene featuring some black-clad extras from old Robert Palmer videos edges toward kink-aesthetic overkill, and the combo of Leigh’s stark, subzero formalism and Browning’s numbed performance had some critics sligning accusations of academic cinema-by-numbers. Just because she’s equating capitalism with spritual death and exploiting female sexuality doesn’t make this a term paper; the cri de coeur that ends this drama is as emotionally anguished as you’re likely to hear.” 

Aaron Hillis
Outlet: MovieMaker Magazine
Twitter Handle: @cobblehillis
Years Covering Cannes: 3
Most Anticipated Film: David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis”
Why He’s On Our Radar: Hillis is something of an indie film renaissance man. He’s a critic, interviewer, editor, podcaster, a boutique DVD label executive, and even a programmer — as the curator of Brooklyn’s eclectic and adventurous reRun Gastropub Theater.
Sample Work: Praising Jason Statham’s latest masterpiece, “Safe”: “The movie is neither as franchise-friendly as ‘The Transporter’ nor as boorishly experimental as ‘Crank: High Voltage,’ but Yakin’s sleek, visually witty direction (a static, inside-the-car shot of a thug getting run over twice nabs two laughs) elevates his undeniably dopey script.”

Ben Kenigsberg
Outlet: Time Out Chicago
Twitter Handle: @benkenigsberg
Years Covering Cannes: 5
Most Anticipated Film: Abbas Kiarostami’s “Like Someone in Love”
Why He’s On Our Radar: Anyone who’s spent time with Kenigsberg at a festival will tell you he is indefatigable in the face of movies to cover. A voracious and passionate critic, nobody at the festival this year will skip more meals and get less sleep in the pursuit of the complete Cannes experience. If there’s something interesting going on in the South of France over the next couple days, you can be sure Kenigsberg will see it.
Sample Work: Raving about Kenneth Lonergan’s “Margaret”: “Part of what resonates about ‘Margaret’ is that it’s not about any one thing: Lisa’s guilt coexists with other emotions, as she rebuffs the advances of a friend (John Howard Gallagher Jr.) in favor of defloration by a drugged-out asshole (Kieran Culkin), and later — as Paquin did in another post-9/11 movie, ‘25th Hour’ — flirts with a teacher (Matt Damon).”

Robert Koehler
Outlets: Filmlinc.com, Filmjourney.org, Cinema Scope, Cineaste
Twitter Handle: @bhkoe
Years Covering Cannes: 9
Most Anticipated Films: Carlos Reygadas’ “Post Tenebras Lux,” Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Mekong Hotel”
Why He’s On Our Radar: Koehler is a consummate festival critic who’s covered or juried just about every film festival on the planet. A member of FIPRESCI and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, he’s written for numerous outlets including Variety and Cahiers du Cinema. At Cannes 2012, he’s writing for no less than four different publications.
Sample Work: Covering the Riviera Maya Film Festival: “The contours of Riviera Maya combine many of the aspects of the old FICCO, with its ambitious survey of contemporary cinema, and BAFICI, particularly its Buenos Aires Lab, which has proven to be a hugely effective works-in-progress site and source of co-production activity for emerging Latin American filmmakers. The result of all of this activity, between finished, nearly finished, and proposed movies, was a kind of conference of the (cinematic) birds, with nearly every important young Mexican filmmaker in attendance.”

Eric Lavallee
Twitter Handle: @ioncinema
Years Covering Cannes: 6
Most Anticipated Film: Carlos Reygadas’ “Post Tenebras Lux”
Why He’s On Our Radar: The Montreal-based founder and editor-in-chief of IONCINEMA is so invested in the Cannes Film Festival and its prestigious lineup that he spent weeks predicting the films to premiere at the Palais this May. The series culminated in this post, featuring his top 70 (!) picks to make the cut.
Sample Work: Correctly predicting Reygadas’ “Post Tenebras Lux” would play at this year’s Cannes Film Festival: “Reygadas is a Cannes darling (all of his films have played there), and his new film appears to be the sort of impressionistic tone poem that screams for the centre stage of the Main Competition. By all accounts, this looks like it’ll be this year’s ‘The Tree of Life,’ and we thank our lucky stars that it wasn’t ready as anticipated last year or the Croisette may well have sunk straight to the bottom of the Mediterranean under the psychological weight of it all.”

Michal Oleszczyk
Outlet: Hammer to Nail
Twitter Handle: @michaloleszczyk
Years Covering Cannes: 1
Most Anticipated Film: David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis”
Why He’s On Our Radar: A frequent contributor to Fandor, The House Next Door, Hammer to Nail, and a member of Roger Ebert’s intrepid Far-Flung Correspondents, Oleszczyk will be covering Cannes for the first time. We’re eagerly looking forward to reading what this superb writer thinks of his first visit.
Sample Work: Discovering “The Shining” documentary “Room 237” at Sundance 2012: “As parts of ‘The Shining’ are played over and over again, accompanied by a nonstop commentary by its devotees, ‘Room 237’ manages to build up a vertiginous, slightly queasy momentum all its own. Much as in the case of Errol Morris’s documentaries, where reality is often blurred into the ‘reality’ of whoever happens to be describing it for us, so does ‘Room 237’ often suggest a peek into the minds of its speakers rather than into the realities of Kubrick’s film.”

Michael Phillips
Outlet: Chicago Tribune
Twitter Handle: @phillipstribune
Years Covering Cannes: 7
Most Anticipated Films: Carlos Reygadas’ “Post Tenebras Lux,” Andrew Dominik’s “Killing Them Softly”
Why He’s On Our Radar: Phillips, the former co-host of “At the Movies,” has a unique gift for making the highest of highbrow art films feel totally accessible, an important skill at Cannes, where you’re pretty much only watching the highest of the highbrow.
Sample Work: Analyzing “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia:”: “In his previous picture, ‘Three Monkeys,’ [director Nuri Bilge] Ceylan willingly dwarfed his human characters in favor of the skies, the thunder, the urban landscapes of his locales. ‘Anatolia’ seems just about perfect to me in its balance of pictorial and humanistic concerns. The wondrous cinematography is by Gokhan Tiryaki. It is not an easy picture. Not many masterpieces are.”

Sasha Stone
Outlet: Awards Daily
Twitter Handle: @awardsdaily
Years Covering Cannes: 3
Most Anticipated Film: Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Why She’s On Our Radar: As the founder and editor of Awards Daily, Stone brings an awards season insider’s knowledge, along with her talents as a film critic, to her analyses of the potential Oscar candidates at the festival.
Sample Work: Celebrating Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo“: “Easily one of 2011′s best films, Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ is a lyrical dream, a film that pays homage to what is so transformative about cinema — its possibilities, its power, and its magic… The last thing I expected was this slow dance, this melancholy masterpiece that takes its time telling its story, and fills itself not only with dazzling visuals but moments of genuine sentiment.”

Jeffrey Wells
Outlet: Hollywood Elsewhere
Twitter Handle: @wellshwood
Years Covering Cannes: 10
Most Anticipated Film: Andrew Dominik’s “Killing Them Softly”
Why He’s On Our Radar: Wells blogs about anything and everything on his mind, and at festivals that often includes extensive posts about poor accommodations and inept staffers. Often insightful, frequently hilarious, and always memorable, Wells’ festival dispatches are legendary in film circles (if you’ve ever heard someone use the phrase “emotionally vivid cowboy hat” he’s why). If he’s unhappy about something at Cannes, you’re going to hear about it (he’s already displeased with the wi-fi, a common Wells festival coverage theme). 
Sample Work: Reviewing “A Dangerous Method” at the Telluride Film Festival: “David Cronenberg’s ‘A Dangerous Method’ (Sony Classics, 11.23) is one of those brilliant, highly refined dramas with stirring elevated dialogue that are good for you, like spinach. It’s difficult to truly enjoy films of this sort as you watch them, but they’re hard to forget or dismiss after you’ve left the theatre. In the long or short run all good cinema gains upon reflection.”

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