After all, it's just a ride….

Cannes 2014 Schedule Announcement

Cannes2014The worlds most prestigious film festival announced its programme this morning so I thought it would be prudent to throw a few thoughts together. Before we get into that you might be wondering why the Menagerie hasn’t dipped his toes – or rather made an offer to dip his toes – in the Côte d’Azur (I have been approached to do so) and the simple answer is what makes the world go round – money. I have reviewed possibilities in the past and as you’d expect it is catastrophically expensive, I’d be more than happy to spring for the airfare but vomiting 300 Euros and upward a night for a hotel is simply impossible, not to mention the lost earnings I suffer as a self-employed dude. I’ve also heard tales of a simply hellish schedule, arising at 5am and queuing for six or seven hours for a slim chance of getting into even a mildly anticipated movie, although there would be a sense of continental sophistication and, well, superbadass coolness to be among the first 200 people to see the next Malick film or whatever I’m not sure it’s really worth the effort. That said I can’t help think it must be experienced at least once, if only for the personal pride in being awarded accreditation (the assessment process is notoriously rigorous, with specific attention directed to the quality not quantity of applicants previous work), as in the field of film criticism it really doesn’t come much higher does it? The chance to bathe in film history such as this titanic trio on stage together from 1983? I dunno, we’ll see how it goes assignment wise this year and what rainy day coffers we can accrue, until then here’s my initial pick of the bunch for this years programme;

Not the most surprising choice for opening night as this project oozes Cannes credibility – sophistication, class, a few frames of prestigious cinema history, a character study rather than North American pyrotechnics. I’m a little lukewarm on the project as Grace Kelly isn’t really featuring in my favourite actresses pantheon, but for a sense of cinema history and I assume some Hitchcock references – I assume the fireworks at 1:05 is a sly nod to this – so this will be hunted down, eventually….

A film about oblique power in Russia? How timely. Andrei Zvyangintsev is something of a Cannes veteran with both his earlier works Banishment and Elena previewing to solid acclaim, it sounds as if his new feature Leviathan could garner a hat-trick of praise. Can’t say I’ve seen either of his movies but I hope to rectify this shortly, the short of his I’ve posted above certainly

This was announced as well, both projects presumably being in production for a couple of years at a minimum, then they get released against a political back-drop that is growing more and more worrying in Eastern Europe – you’ve gotta love those coincidental intersections of life and art….

From Russia to America, I can’t say I particularly gravitate to wrestling movies, and I’m not sure I can take Steve Carrell’s ‘take me seriously as an actor’ looking appearance here, but with Annapurna as the production company behind this I’m quietly confident that this will hold its own in the ring – they have quite the robust production pedigree.

At the spritely age of 83 Godard continues to prove that the old masters are still in operation, and with the latest film his first foray into 3D it should be fascinating to see what inevitable meta-commentary he will make of the format, and the current state of the art form – I doubt he’ll be entirely salubrious….

Showing out of competition is Zhang Yimou’s latest collaboration with his muse Gong Li, not much to glean from that short trailer but I thought I’d throw it into the mix to demonstrate the global reach of the schedule.

A new Argento, but not the one you’re thinking off. I’m very pleased to see Asia back behind the camera, her previous film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things was a sleeper which I rented and was quietly blown away by, can’t believe it’s already a decade old. No trailer yet so above is a quick look at her previous effort, there are fifteen female directors featured at this years festival (out of 49 official entries) with a total representation of both genders across 28 countries. Sounds a little more equitable than most festivals….

I’d be doing this post a Gallic injustice if I didn’t mention some of the French material on offer, with new films from Oliver Assayas (Sils Maria), Michel Hazanavicus follows up the Oscar triumphs of The Artist with a distinct shift in subject matter with the severe sounding Serbian war picture The Search, and current new artesian hope Xavier Dolan has his fifth feature Mommy in competition. He is 25 and has already made, distributed and exhibited five pictures. Le Bastard….

How have I not heard about this until now? Jesus, I think I’m slipping in my advancing years. David Michod’s follow-up to his ferocious Animal Kingdom is already being compared to another famous Australian exploitation classic which I won’t insult you by naming, this looks pretty intense, no?

I should also mention Deux Jours, Une Nuit by Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne featuring Marion Cotillard, from the UK both cinematic institutions Mike Leigh (Mr. Turner) and Ken Loach are in attendance (the latter with I think his last film Jimmy’s Hall before his recently announced retirement), Ryan Goslings directorial debut Lost River, the aforementioned Cronenberg Maps To The Stars and plenty more besides which I don’t have the time to reference here – Bradshaw’s crafted a more comprehensive round-up here. Now we’ve got some web-spinning, by which I mean writing, to weave after this afternoon’s cinema visit…..

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