After a spectacularly entertaining weekend down on the South Coast I’ve been catching up with our gallic cousins and their cinema adoring ways, as the 66th incarnation of the worlds most famous film festival closed yesterday. Never a stranger to controversy the filthy minded French decided to award the prestigious Palme d’Or to a lesbian love story which apparently features long sequences of unsimulated sex, thus to maintain my journalistic integrity I will of course (coughs) be seeking this out as soon as it opens in London. I might even go and see it a few times, just, well, ’cause I’m sure it will reward repeat viewings, right? I will obviously have to penetrate its numerous thematic and social layers, so maybe three or four visits should suffice? Jury president Mr. Steven Spielberg esq. explained the rationale behind the decision, stating “The film is a great love story … We were absolutely spellbound by the two brilliant young actresses, and the way the director observed his young players”;
Interesting choice of phrase Steve. Just to be serious for a moment this does sound great, and very timely given the presence of the gay marriage debates and legislation being enacted in certain states of the US and across swathes of Europe. A three-hour long lesbian coming-of-age drama kinda makes a change from Iron Man 3 I guess….
Looking to the land of the rising sun Takashi Mikke’s new one was savaged across the board, I’ll still go and see it and give him a chance, given his proclivity I guess he’s due a dud given the great height’s he’s been hitting over the past few years. Of more interest is countryman’s Hirokazu Koreeda drama Soshite Chichi ni Naru which gentley wooed many of the crowd, and picked up a festival prize as well. Less impressive was Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring which vanished without a trace, although it apparently features a pole dancing scene which auterist spotters have linked back through three of her films, the overall opinion seems to be that the film is as vacuous as its privilged and pilfering characters.
Back in America and Alexander Payne’s Nebraska got a lot of love, and Bruce Dern moseyed off to the sunset with a best actor gong, so I’m really looking forward to this one. It has kind of a The Last Picture Show vibe to it, and those landscapes can look phenomenal when properly photographed in black and white. The Coens also took home the Grand Prix, although I have zero interest in 1960’s folk music, well, it’s still the Coens, and thus is essential viewing. Speaking of zero interest, there’s a biopic of Liberace you say?;
I know that trailer’s been out for a while but I’ve only just sat down and watched it, I predict a Oscar nomination for Mr. Douglas come next February, he’s kinda at the right age to get given a best actor gong isn’t he? Like I said Liberace holds zero interest for me but it’s Soderbergh so like Magic Mike I’ll overcome my antipathy to the source material and give it a chance, as usual it’s got that Soderberghesque lenses, gels and filtered ‘look’, and Matt Damon looks like he’s trying something different as they say. Speaking of elderly sex-pests (Douglas that is, not Damon) Polanski made a complete twat of himself with his dinosaur opinions, given his rather sordid history you’d think he’d be primed to keep his stupid mouth shut? His comments have kinda soured me on seeing his new film Venus In Furs but we’ll see if that opinion changes.
One of the ’emerging’ films which seems to have leapt out from the Croisette is J.C. Chandor’s follow-up to Margin Call (I watched that again earlier in the year and it actually gets better the second time around) which sees Robert Redford surviving a sinking, storm-swept ship. There’s no-one else in it, he speaks maybe a dozen words in the 90 minutes picture, so this sounds like one of those cinematic experiments which when successfully executed can be truly sublime.
Finally, looking over to the genre side of things then Jim Jarmusch’s vampire drama has had a mixed response, with phrases like ‘energetic’ and ‘studenty’ spurting around. Jarmusch has been a like lukewarm over the past years I find, but that’s quite a cast and I’ll give anything a chance which aims to pump some new blood into the post Twilight vampire genre. But you know me gentle reader, even before the festival started I was anxiously looking forward to Refn & Gosling’s second collaboration, and the reports of mass walkouts and boo’s hurled at the screen due to some insanely gratuitous violence have got me all a flutter, what can I say except I guess I’m a sick fuck? Kristen Scott Thomas is apparently phenomenal;
That’s Kubrick’s last cinematographer Larry Smith who crafted those neon glowing visuals, here’s a painful clip – you have been warned.