After all, it's just a ride….

Cannes Carnage 2014

cannesSo the crimson hued carpet has been rolled up for another year, I can’t say I’ve been following events with a forensic French-trained eye, but I do always make some time for some postcoital analysis of the films to watch and the breakthrough texts which demand further investigation. The best write-up I’ve downloaded is the always reliable Jonathan Romney which has a couple of amusing moments, and his championing of one film has got me specifically excited for a movie I’d heard nothing about and which as far as I can see has received relatively little coverage elsewhere – now that’s the work of a skilled critic. I think I’ll give Grace Of Monaco  a miss considering the total annihilation the film has received, I do like to make my own mind up as you’ll see from my list below but what little I’ve read illustrates that worst of combinations – a ‘bad-bad’ movie as opposed to a ‘so bad its good’ movie. If that makes sense. Finally, just to be a philistine and non-patriotic Judas I couldn’t care less about Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, all his bloody films look like BBC dramas anyway although I am passingly fond of the artist on which the film is based, I’m also struggling to find much of substance of John Boorman’s Queen & Country which seems to have had a uneventful unveiling. So here then is a very short list of the films I’ll be seeking out here in the UK over the coming months, distribution permitting;

Winter Sleep – I think you should always make an effort to see the Palme d’Or winner from a cineaste perspective, although I must admit that the prospect of a three and a quarter hour Nuri Bilge Ceylon movie – a director with whom I’ve never particularly connected – doesn’t exactly inspire me with hope. Still, we shall overcome, I’ll also keep an eye out for the Godard which sounds like quite the hallucinatory cinematic experience…

Lost River – Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut has been widely slated but I must admit my interest is still piqued, although that trailer is not at all promising. At the very least the work of the increasingly brilliant cinematographer Benoît Debieis should be worth the price of admission alone, call me an shallow, image obsessed ingrate if you like but any film shot by the same guy behind Spring Breakers and Enter The Void is worth a look in my book….

Captives – As a huge fan of Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter any film which is being compared to his finest hour strikes me as essential viewing, even if the subject matter sounds somewhat distasteful. The time fractured narrative should cause some mental gymnastics but I’m up for the challenge, a intellectual equivalent of maintaining constriction in the frosty light of a bleak and numbing winter if that trailers anything to go by…..

The Tribe – This is the one that Romney has specifically convinced me to see. Shot with non-professional deaf actors in the Ukraine in sign-language without any subtitles this sounds challenging to say the least, I just love the idea of a film without the usual visual aides and props are not available, yet the film is so powerful that it still communicates what by all accounts is an incendiary look at a youth subculture in crisis.

Maps To The Stars – Any new Cronenberg gets  splattered onto my hit-list regardless of subject matter, genre or collaborators, this scathing Hollywood satire sounds like it might be in the same exalted league as The Player, The Bad & The Beautiful with maybe the corrosive cruelty of Sunset Boulevard. Among all the gloom, economic depression and political corruption invested across this portfolio something with a little humour, no matter how sour, might be welcome.

Two Days, One Night – I’ve never been thoroughly seduced by the Dardenne Brothers and their post neo-realist pictures, but I must admit the entire premise of their hugely acclaimed has me brimming with excitement. Another terrific performance from Marion Cotillard doesn’t hurt either, and the political allusions to this nausea inducing age of austerity should prove to be social dynamite. The title reminds of the kitchen-sink dramas of the UK of the 1960’s such as Saturday Night & Sunday Morning….

Leviathan – This sounds like a big one, a seriously dense political allegory which wades into deep and complex waters – Russian corruption, political cruelty, the theatrics of the state puppet masters in juicing the system at the expense of the innocent. Certainly a film which one needs to be in the requisite mood to immerse oneself, until then I’m also hiring Andrei Zvyagintsev’s previous film The Banishment as a little aperitif…..

The Rover – And finally a film which has received largely mixed reviews, but those more aligned to genre cinema away from your Film Comment and Sight & Sound’s of the film world have recommended this dystopian ozzie grimfest. Having recently traversed the Mad Max trilogy on Blu I reckon a return to all things dystopian would be a fun trip, and David Michod seems to be one of the more interesting filmmakers to emerge from ‘down-under’ for quite some time. I think this has been picked up for US distribution next month, the UK is due for August…..



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