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Watch: Cannes Clips Including ‘Zulu’ With Orlando Bloom & Forest Whitaker, Claire Denis’ ‘Bastards,’ Jia Zhangke’s ‘A Touch of Sin’ & More

Watch: Cannes Clips Including 'Zulu' With Orlando Bloom & Forest Whitaker, Claire Denis' 'Bastards,' Jia Zhangke's 'A Touch of Sin' & More

To the outsider, the Cannes Film Festival can be a nebulous thing. Even if you know the filmmaker or the cast, sometimes you need more context than a review to give you a sort of firmer grasp of the shape, texture and tone of a movie. Clips from the festival are landing left and right, so we thought we’d grab a smattering and ground you a little deeper than some of the reviews and pictures your may or may not have seen. 

So here we go. 
The first clip is a featurette from “Zulu,” the official Closing Film of Cannes this year, that brings together some interesting talent for what seems to be a hard-boiled crime tale. Directed by Jérôme Salle (“Largo Winch” and “Anthony Zimmer,” which was later remade as “The Tourist” with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie) “Zulu” stars Orlando Bloom and Forest Whitaker as a couple of South African cops on a case that goes to the highest levels. Here’s the official synopsis:

Cape Town, 2010. A mutilated corpse is discovered in the city’s botanical gardens.

As chief of police, Ali Neuman investigates the mysterious circumstances surrounding the macabre murder of the daughter of former rugby champion Stewart Weitz, he makes a startling discovery.

A drug whose composition is unknown appears to be the cause of the homicide.

Check out the featurette below and we’ll have our verdict soon.

Next is Amat Escalante’s “Heli” which played in competition and we reviewed here. The fractured narrative film (at least at first) centers on the titular character who slowly finds his life crossing paths with the dangerous world of the drug cartels, affecting everyone in his family. We called it a “beautifully shot but despairing look at corrupted lives,” and said Escalante’s style will no doubt draw comparisons to Michael Haneke. He’s certainly a director to watch, with a magnificent eye for framing and pacing. This is one arduous slow burn, and features a torture scene that was the talk of the Croisette. Here’s the synopsis: 

Estela is a 12 year old girl who has just fallen crazy in love with a young police cadet who wants to run away with her and get married. Trying to achieve this dream, her family will have to live the violence that is devastating the region.

Check out the clip below, which centers  on the romance alluded to in the logline, which is largely the pivot point of the first act. You can watch another exclusive clip right here.

Shield of Straw,” the latest from Japanese filmmaking mad man Takashi Miike swaggered its way into the Cannes Competition lineup, but hardly had a fighting chance. The crime film isn’t getting the easiest time at the Croisette, getting a chorus of boos after its press screening, with several negative reviews including our own. We described it as “tedious and overstuffed,” with the movie essentially like a remake of “16 Blocks” but set across Japan. centering on two cops transporting a criminal who is being hunted by the public at large thanks to a bounty on his head. Below is the official synopsis and two clips from the movie and you can see if it intrigues you enough to check it out.

“Kill Kunihide Kiyomaru, and I will pay you 1 billion Yen.” This is the ad placed in all the main newspapers in Japan. In placing the ad, the powerful multi-billionnaire Ninagawa puts an irresistible price on the head of the man he believes to be his granddaughter’s killer. Realising he has become a target for millions of people, Kiyomaru turns himself in at the Fukuoka Police Station. Four officers are dispatched to bring Kiyomaru back to Tokyo, risking their own life, but now any number of assassins lie in wait on the 1.200km journey. The trip becomes a hellish chase, with potential killers at every turn. Will the police get Kiyomaru to Tokyo to face justice, or will justice of a different nature prevail?

Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke’s “A Touch Of Sin” seems to be somewhat of a gear shift for the filmmaker, and it centers on violence that enters the lives of four disparate people in China. Our review said this “change-up” yielded “peculiar and bloody results” which has this writer intrigued. It’s essentially about the corroding effects of capitalism in China and the encroaching violence that sometimes comes along with it. Synopsis and clip:

An angry miner revolts against the corruption of his village leaders. A migrant worker at home for the New Year discovers the infinite possibilities a firearm can offer. A pretty receptionist at a sauna is pushed to the limit when a rich client assaults her.  A young factory worker goes from job to job trying to improve his lot in life. Four people, four different provinces. A reflection on contemporary China: that of an economic giant slowly being eroded by violence

Claire Denis is one of France’s most revered directors, and with great reason.  A tactile sensualist, she often favors mood over plot and story, and her latest, “Bastards” isn’t much different, and is told in her typically elliptical style. The film has kind of a B-movie plot about sex trafficking, but of course done in Denis’ idiosyncratic aesthetic and it’s really pretty bonkers. Our review said it’s “destined to divide, disturbing and salacious” and that’s still enough to intrigue those of us who haven’t seen it. Think “Taken” but told by Denis…no, seriously…. And by the way, if you’re a fan of Denis, you’ll want to check out our retrospective of all her films we wrote a few years back.

Official synopsis:  Captain on a container-ship, Marco Silvestri is called urgently back to Paris. His sister, Sandra, is desperate… her husband has committed suicide, the family business has gone under, her daughter has gone adrift. Sandra accuses the powerful businessman, Edouard Laporte responsible. Marco moves into the building where Laporte’s mistress lives with his son. 

Described as the “Dogtooth” of Cannes 2013, Alex Van Warmerdam‘s “Borgman” may be the most positively loony film of the festival. Our review from France called it, “a deliciously dark and twisted Cannes competition treat” and it sounds like one of the festivals highlights thus far. The black comedy has been earning some share of chatter around the Croisette so it may be one to keep an eye on, and hopefully an American distributor will bite.

Official synopsis: Borgman’s arrival in the tree-lined avenues of an exclusive residential area is the beginning of a series of unsettling events around the carefully constructed facade of a wealthy couple, their three children and their nanny.

Below, three clips from the film, plus a recently released teaser trailer.

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