Wednesday, May 18, 2011

64th Cannes Film Festival (2011) Report

The 64th Cannes Film Festival is now over, and many of 2011's most highly anticipated films have had their premieres.  Let's take a look at some of the early reviews and images from the Festival de Cannes 2011.

The hallowed Red Stairs at the Palais des Festivals
Day 1 - Wednesday, May 11

Opening Ceremony

64th Cannes Film Festival competition film jury
Uma Thurman towers over everyone as the official competition jury poses on the famous red carpet at the Palais des Festivals.  Also in the jury are Robert De Niro, Jude Law, Olivier Assayas, Martina Gusman, Johnnie To, Nansun Shi, Linn Ullmann, and Mahamat Saleh Haroun.   

Opening Film, Out of Competition
Midnight In Paris (2011), Woody Allen 

Woody Allen, Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams
"This supernatural comedy isn't just Allen's best film in more than a decade; it's the only one that manages to rise above its tidy parable structure and be easy, graceful, and glancingly funny, as if buoyed by its befuddled hero's enchantment." - David Edelstein (New York Magazine)

"Midnight in Paris might not sing like Bullets Over Broadway or sizzle like Vicky Cristina Barcelona but Allen's directing is quietly affectionate, and the film ultimately becomes another valentine to heedless idealism." - John Lopez (Vanity Fair)

Day 2 - Thursday, May 12

Competition Film 
Sleeping Beauty (2011), Julia Leigh 

Emily Browning, star of Sleeping Beauty
"It's a startlingly poised, modern-day fairy tale, a strange marriage of Jane Campion and Lars Von Trier that titillates, terrifies and haunts in equal measure." - Sukhdev Sandhu (Daily Telegraph)

"This is a museum piece, mounted on a wall behind glass, able to be seen but never felt, a cold film about heated things, fascinating but flawed." - Drew McWeeney (HitFix)

Competition Film
We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011), Lynne Ramsay

John C. Reilly, Lynne Ramsay, Tilda Swinton, Ezra Miller
"A bleak and traumatic drama marked by a blistering performance from Swinton." - Simon Reynolds (Digital Spy)

"Ms Ramsay sabotages her refined visual style with the bluntness of her storytelling, washing the screen with red and turning Kevin into a demon child of near-parodic proportions" - Manohla Dargis (New York Times)

Un Certain Regard Film
Restless (2011), Gus Van Sant

Bryce Dallas Howard, Jason Lew, Gus van Sant, Henry Hopper and Mia Wasikowska
"Restless is an almighty dud. Van Sant crashes back to Earth with a tasteless and whimsical riff on teen romance and death in which he tries to recast the American suburbs as a fairytale world in which passion, imagination and a love of nature can counter the debilitating effects of cancer and grief." - Dave Calhoun (Time Out London)

"So successful has Gus Van Sant been in trying to make films with teen appeal that the 58-year-old has now started making movies resembling the work of film-school students" - Kaleem Aftab (The Independent)

Day 3 - Friday, May 13

Competition Film
We Have A Pope / Habemus Papam (2011), Nanni Moretti

Screenshot from Nanni Moretti's We Have A Pope
"The big problem with Habemus Papum is that Piccoli (historically a wonderful and charming performer) just looks shell-shocked every minute. There's no texture to the performance." - Stephanie Zacharek (Movieline)

"Like much of Moretti's work (the Palme d'Or-winning The Son's Room being the main exception), Habemus Papum is slight but amusing, and often oddly touching. We got us a decent time-killer." - Mike D'Angelo (AV Club)

Competition Film
Polisse (2011), Maïwenn

Polisse Actress/Director Maïwenn on the Red Steps
"Like a whole season of The Wire packed into a single two-hour-plus film, Poliss covers much ground, and even with its loose threads and frenzied structure, it convincingly jumps from laughter to tears and back again, never losing sight of the brutal realities at its core." - Jordan Mintzer (The Hollywood Reporter)

"All too often, the cast look like drama students put into some sort of group improv workshop and told to think themselves into the role of stressed cops." - Peter Bradshaw (Guardian [UK])

Midnight Screening - Out of Competition
Swordsmen / Wu Xia (2011), Peter Chan

Li Xiao Ran, Kara Hui, Jimmy Wang Yu, Tang Wei, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Peter Chan, Sandra Ng, Donnie Yen, Cecilia Wang
"Bursting with light and color, and a torrent of martial arts action both swift and savage (arguably the best that lead actor Donnie Yen has choreographed for years), "Wu Xia" is coherently developed and stylishly directed by Peter Ho-Sun Chan to provide unashamedly pleasurable popular entertainment." - Maggie Lee (Reuters)

"Channeling David Cronenberg's A History of Violence by way of 1917 China, this clever if over-amped thriller tackles themes of identity, honor and the latent killer instinct with a playful spirit that's never at odds with its underlying seriousness" - Justin Chang (Variety)

Day 4 - Saturday, May 14

Out of Competition
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Rob Marshall

Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp reunited.
"One can't help but feel that the Disney-Depp partnership has taken the series as far as it can go in this form, and short of a large-scale overhaul of the franchise, it may be best to set these particular Pirates adrift for good." - Chris Tilly (IGN Movies)

"Chicago director Rob Marshall brings back all the familiar elements — swashbuckling action, big set pieces, Johnny Depp's self-mocking camp performance — but this lumbering enterprise seems far removed from the freshness and charm of the 2003 original." - Tim Grierson (Screen Daily)

Competition Film
Footnote / Hearat Shulayim (2011), Joseph Cedar

Yuval Scharf, Shlomo Bar Aba, Joseph Cedar, Alma Zack, Lior Ashkenazi
"Although arguably a slightly mannered film, this has something that audiences yearn for, whether at festivals or the multiplex: a really good story." - Peter Bradshaw (Guardian [UK])

"Footnote is the film I've enjoyed most at the festival so far. It's a serious farce with significant issues on its mind, a film that invites both laughter and reflection as it seamlessly changes tones from comic to dramatic." - Kenneth Turan (LA Times)

Competition Film
Michael (2011), Markus Schleinzer

Christine Kain, David Rauchenberger, Markus Schleinzer, Michael Fuith
"Illustrating the banality of evil in an impressively controlled and sometimes darkly humorous fashion, Michael takes a coolly nonjudgmental, non-psychological approach to a disturbing topic, spending five months in the life of a 30-ish pedophile who keeps a 10-year-old boy locked in his basement" - Alissa Simon (Variety)

"Those who find the cruel-to-be-kind cine-anthropology of Haneke, the obvious influence here, will have conniption fits five minutes into the story, and though it's an easy film to admire, it's a damned hard film to like." - David Fear (Time Out New York)

Day 5 - Sunday, May 15

Competition Film
The Kid With A Bike / Le Gamin au Velo (2011), Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Thomas Doret, Cecile De France
"After the slightly sub-par Lorna's Silence (2008), the brothers are back on peerless form with this story of innocence betrayed and befriended, which must count as one of the best films about childhood since Kes — or for that matter Bicycle Thieves, to which it surely nods." - Jonathan Romney (Screen Daily)

"It's hard not to like "The Kid with a Bike," and yet I missed some of the edge that the Dardennes brothers usually bring to a film. This one is a bit too much like a fairy tale, not that you don't want to believe it." - Barbara Scharres (Chicago Sun Times)

Competition Film
The Artist (2011), Michel Hazanavicius

Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo and Michel Hazanavicius
"Feature-length, knowing recreations of past genres can often be tiresome after the initial novelty has worn off, and yet The Artist manages to keep up the same level of charm as its lead actor, Dujardin, throughout. Best of all, The Artist never feels like a parody or a good idea that becomes laborious in the execution. It's lovingly corny, great fun, good-looking and respectful." - Dave Calhoun (Time Out London)

"By the end, it's all you can do not to cheer on the seemingly star-crossed lovers and not to sigh about how they don't make films like this anymore. Except, of course, Hazanavicius just has." - Sukhdev Sandhu (Telegraph [UK])

Day 6 - Monday, May 16

Competition Film
House of Tolerance / L'Apollonide - Souvenirs de la Maison Close (2011), Bertrand Bonello

(Top L-R) Joanna Grudzinska, Esther Garrel, Maia Sandoz, Jasmine Trinca, Betrand Bonello, Adele Haenel, Pauline Jacquard, Judith Lou Levy (Bottom L-R) Iliana Zabeth, Hafsia Herzi, Alice Barnole, Celine Sallette, Noemie Lvovsky
"This marvelous 'painting' would only be a feast for the eyes if it did not value the remarkable actresses whose performances are testament to the meticulous care with which the director highlights them." - Fabien Lemercier (Cineuropa)

"What makes this film stand out is its lyrical cinematography and costume design (courtesy of Anaïs Romand) that create a lush claustrophobia highlighting the golden cage these high-class prostitutes of yore lived in." - Deborah Young (The Hollywood Reporter)

Competition Film
The Tree of Life (2011), Terrence  Malick

Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life
"Few American filmmakers are as alive to the splendor of the natural world as Terrence Malick, but even by his standards, The Tree of Life represents something extraordinary." - Justin Chang (Variety)

"Brandishing an ambition it's likely no film, including this one, could entirely fulfill, The Tree of Life is nonetheless a singular work, an impressionistic metaphysical inquiry into mankind's place in the grand scheme of things that releases waves of insights amidst its narrative imprecisions." - Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)

Un Certain Regard Film
Hors Satan (2011), Bruno Dumont

Alexandra Lamatre and David Dewaele in Bruno Dumont's Hors Satan
"Dumont's drama is grounded in everyday concrete reality. Lead actors who initially seem uncommunicative, even unappealing, prove idiosyncratically compelling in a film that sees Dumont stripping his style to the bones, with echoes of his 1997 debut The Life of Jesus." - Jonathan Romney (Screen Daily)

"Maddening, pretentious, hypnotic and transcendent in roughly equal measure, Dumont's minimalist study of an oddball poacher and the farm girl who keeps him company contains only a dozen 'dramatic' events, but they all register indelibly, such is the director's talent for making the minor appear momentous — and maybe religious" - Rob Nelson (Variety)

Day 7 - Tuesday, May 17

Competition Film
Le Havre (2011), Aki Kaurismäki

Director Aki Kaurismäki
"In its portrait of a storybook burg protecting its own, "Le Havre" acknowledges an increasingly global village while turning a new leaf for Kaurismaki. In his previous pictures, if a character said, "I'm not alone. I've got friends," as Marcel does here, it'd simply be a matter of time before Fate's cruel hand turned that sentiment to ash. Not here. I might be wrong, but expect a prize or two for "Le Havre" come Sunday and the closing-night." - Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune)

"A political film that eschews politicking, a comedy with a serious point, and imbued with a deep, emotional core, the latest from the Finnish director received hearty applause from the critics at Cannes and now matches The Artist for the biggest, most rousing crowd-pleaser of the festival" - Kevin Jagernauth (The Playlist)

Competition Film
Pater (2011), Alain Cavalier

Michel Sedoux, Alain Cavalier, Vincent Lindon
"Cavalier and Vincent Lindon get all meta as they construct an absurd political narrative where they are elected president and prime minister of France, respectively. Paradox and contradiction become supporting characters in this pretentious landslide of irony." - Glenn Heath Jr. (Slant)

"Occasionally droll and engaging, this often opaque venture ultimately disappears up its own meta-cinematic derrière, and is unlikely to appeal outside a hardcore coterie of Francophile lovers of experiment." - Jonathan Romney (Screen Daily)

Out of Competition
The Beaver (2011), Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster, director of The Beaver
"Gibson and the baggage he brings along with him on this regret and redemption tale make "The Beaver" an often moving and always disturbing film." - Roger Moore (Orlando Sentinel)

"That this ambitious, if deeply odd, film is so compulsively watchable is a credit to Gibson's compelling performances, both as spiritless Walter and the Cockney-accented voice of the tireless title character." - Carrie Rickey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Day 8 - Wednesday, May 18

Competition Film
Melancholia (2011), Lars Von Trier

Kirsten Dunst, Lars Von Trier, Charlotte Gainsbourg
"Melancholia is the work of a man whose slow emergence from personal crisis has resulted in a moving masterpiece, marked by an astonishing profundity of vision" - Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly)

"Easily the most restrained film the director has made since Europa. Essentially shock free, the operatic, three act film plays more like an Ingmar Bergman chamber piece than anything else and the biggest surprise the film packs is just how contemplative Von Trier is this time around."  - Kevin Jagernauth (The Playlist)

Competition Film
Hanezu No Tsuki (2011), Naomi Kawase

Tetsuya Akikawa, Hako Oshima, Tohta Komizu, Naomi Kawase, Taiga Komizu
"Like all of Kawase’s fiction films, Hanezu prostrates itself reverently before the majesty of Nature, emphasizing how humans are inseparable from their habitat. Her visuals are as pure and clear as spring water and more awe-inspiring than ever." - Maggie Lee (Hollywood Reporter)

"Shot on handheld digital, with a wistfully melancholic string soundtrack, this is one of those films that washes quite pleasantly over one’s head. But in the end, it feels like an in-between project for the prolific Kawase."  - Lee Marshall (Screen Daily)

Day 9 - Thursday, May 19

Competition Film
The Skin I Live In / La Piel Que Habito (2011), Pedro Almodóvar

Pedro Almodovar, Antonio Banderas
"An entertainingly preposterous story which is nudged even further along by Almodovar's trademark gender preoccupations" - Fionnuala Halligan (Screen Daily)

"Almodóvar brings something hypnotic to the surgery-porn aesthetic of his operating theatre of cruelty: the latex, the scrubs, the cold steel, the exquisite yet appalling contrast between wounds and young flesh. It is twisted and mad, and its choreography and self-possession are superb." - Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian[UK])

Competition Film
Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai / Ichimei (2011), Takashi Miike

Eita, Takashi Miike
"He's still best known for pushing the limits of taste with stomach-churners like Ichi the Killer and Audition, but it's films like Ichimei that have established him as one of Japan's most consummate filmmaking luminaries." - Adam Woodward (Little White Lies)

"If Hara-kiri is inevitably less satisfying than 13 Assassins, it's because it not only lacks that film's sustained virtuosity but also takes a more reverent approach to its source; it's possible to admire Miike's newfound classical restraint while also wishing he'd put a more singular stamp on the material." - Justin Chang (Variety)

Day 10 - Friday, May 20

Competition Film
This Must Be The Place (2011), Paolo Sorrentino

Judd Hirsch, Paolo Sorrentino, Sean Penn, and Eve Hewson
"This Must Be the Place – starring Sean Penn as Cheyenne, a retired goth rocker living in Dublin has superbly elegant and distinctive forms: looming camera movements, bursts of pop, deadpan comedy, quasi-hallucinatory perspective lines in landscapes in which singular figures look vulnerably isolated." - Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian [UK])

"It's flawed and some will dismiss it. But he's provided a memorable role for one of the best actors of our time, a role that allows Penn to dig deep but also giggle and even offer a tip about how to keep lipstick fresh all day long." - Michael Glitz (The Huffington Post)

Competition Film
Drive (2011), Nicolas Winding Refn

Ryan Gosling, Nicholas Winding Refn
There are moments when the nocturnal shots of Los Angeles bring to mind superior crime fare, but there's no substance to all the flash. As for any emotional heft regarding the protagonist's feelings for Carey Mulligan's simpering heroine, forget it: all the smiling stares meant to convey their growing interest in one another soon become tiresome, so that his self-sacrifice feels futile and meaningless." - Geoff Andrew (Time Out London)

"You can make a case that Drive is here because action cinema and genre cinema are too important and too exciting, enthralling and, yes, artful when well-made to be merely dismissed as suitable only for hacks to make and dolts to watch. French enthusiasm for American crime cinema from the 40s and 50s gave us the vocabulary and value set to truly appreciate film noir and anyone who can truly appreciate film noir will appreciate Drive." - Kevin Jagernauth (The Playlist)

Day 11 - Saturday, May 21

Competition Film
The Source / La Source des Femmes (2011), Radu Mihaileanu

Hiam Abbass, Hafsia Herzi, Leila Bekhti, Radu Mihaileanu, Sabrina Ouazani, Biyouna
"Beautifully photographed amongst the harsh light of the dry, desert landscapes, The Source frequently feels like a musical and the women constantly burst into song as a way of expressing their feelings and grievances." - Allan Hunter (Screen Daily)

"Never one for subtlety, the writer-director tosses everything he can into this two-hour-plus humanist couscous, stirring in a mix of songs, sentiments and socio-religious questions set beneath breathtaking North African landscapes, and carried by a strong central performance from actress Leila Bekhti." - Jordan Mintzer (The Hollywood Reporter)

Competition Film
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia / Bir Zamanlar Anadolu'da (2011), Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Gokhan Tirtaki, Nihan Okutucu, Ahmet Mumtaz Taylan, Yilmaz Erdogan, Muhammet Uzuner, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Ebru Ceylan, Ercan Kesal, Zeynep Ozbatur Atakan, Gokhan Tiryaki
"Both beautiful and beautifully observed, with a delicate touch and flashes of humor and horror, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, is an ambitious, leisurely inquiry into a specific world that transcends borders." - Manohla Dargis (New York Times)

"The structure of his images is no less than striking, his use of the Anatolian landscape, breathtaking with the obscurity reigning over the first half helping to enhance his particular talent for lighting interiors, and even more, human faces." - Dan Fainaru (Screen Daily)

Day 12 - Sunday, May 22

Closing Ceremony

Mélanie Laurent and Robert De Niro

Closing Film, Out of Competition
Beloved / Les Bien-Aimés (2011), Christophe Honoré

Chiara Mastroianni, Ludivine Sagnier, Christophe Honore, and Catherine Deneuve
"In the Honoré tradition, it’s not afraid of overstating its emotions — like Love Songs, it blends musical numbers into the narrative a la The Umbrellas of Cherbourg — which isn’t the sort of thing that too many American directors (save, perhaps, John Turturro) would even attempt these days." - Stephanie Zacharek (Movieline)

"There is pleasure in hearing the terrific actors lay open their hearts through the downbeat music and lyrics, and, by the time Deneuve strolls through the Paris streets in her Vivier pumps, singing through tears and revisiting her reckless youth, Honore achieves a lovely evocation of the star in Cherbourg, mourning the loss of l’homme de sa vie." - Mike Goodrich (Screen Daily)

Which of these films are you most looking forward to seeing in the coming months?


Maletero37 said...

Excellent coverage!  The only thing I didn't like was seeing Owen Wilson's face.  Ugh!
Awesome article though!  Following!

Gie And said...

Great coverage! I wish I cold attend at least one festival...

The Angry Lurker said...

 Great post, looking forward to Beaver and Pirates mainly, maybe Hari-Kiri aswell.

Beasts in Human Skin said...

Where are the shirtless pics of Mel Gibson smoking and laughing maniacally?!

Rick S. said...

I'm definitely most likely to see "The Tree of Life" and "Midnight in Paris". A lot of these look great though! Keep the updates coming here 

G said...

 wow some great films and so much going on

thevoid99 said...

I've been following the festival and so far, it's been exciting.  The films I'm dying to see that isn't "The Tree of Life", "The Kid with a Bike", or "Melancholia" are "The Artist" and "Sleeping Beauty".   I'm surprised by the reaction towards "Restless" since Gus Van Sant is one of my favorite directors yet seeing that it's just like what the trailer suggests has me worried.  I guess if it's playing at my local multiplex, I'll watch with very low expectations.

Lars von Trier's comments... all I can say is... HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA.

Seriously, I don't take anything he says seriously to begin with.  "I'm a Nazi".  Come on!  I prefer to let his work speak for himself.  Love your blog by the way.

Jack L said...

Awesome post!
 I'm looking forward to a few of these, like Tree of Life, and maybe even The Beaver.
But several look pretty bad...

Ironchefman said...

Wow, nice run down! I have high hopes for Midnight in Paris.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks.  I'm not a fan of his either.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

 Lol, I'm glad I haven't seen those

Bonjour Tristesse said...

From the preview clips Hari-Kiri looks pretty good.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks.  Me too.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I can't wait for The Tree of Life to be released here

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks thevoid99.  Yeah Von Trier was quite funny, but Aki Kaurismaki yesterday was even more hilarious.  Check out the Le Havre, photocall, interview, and press conference if you haven't seen them already.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

 Thanks Jack, yeah quite a few must see films and many to avoid as well.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

 Thanks Ironchefman, reviews look positive so far, it currently has 86% on RottenTomatoes.

Adalmin said...



I've never seen a grown man blabber about edgy topics just to get a rise out of people like that.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Haha yeah and the press are once again making an uproar over nothing. 

The best part was watching Kirsten Dunst squirming beside him, 'Oh god this is terrible'

exploitmister said...

Wow, this proves once again that this fest couldn't be less independent. I'm glad I can go out of my way to a film festival to see Pirates of the Carribean!

Mr. Xploit

Post a Comment