Currently 12 of the 22 competition films have had their premieres. Right now, at least according to initial critic reaction, it seems that Michael Haneke's Amour is the current front runner for the Palme d'Or. I don't think it's a sure bet because there are still a lot of films to be seen and you never know if the jury will love a film that the critics hated, but at this point I'll be surprised if it doesn't take home at least one award on Sunday night.
I hope you have been enjoying my coverage so far, but if you are looking for more in-depth daily reports, including coverage of all the parallel competitions and sidebar screenings, no one does a better job than the most excellent blog Movie On.
I would also like to direct you to a few lucky bloggers who are actually at the festival. Both FilmLand Empire and Marshall and the Movies have already shared some very interesting posts about their Cannes experiences; and the glamorous Virginie is also in Cannes and keeping a seriously amazing photo diary. Thank you for sharing with all of us less fortunate film lovers!
The festival runs until May 27, and I will be keeping a close eye on the events, watching the press conferences, reading the early reviews, and posting frequent updates right here, so be sure to check back often.
2012 Cannes Report: Days 1-6
2012 Cannes Award Winners
Last updated: Sunday, May 27 12:33 PDT
- Day 7 - Tuesday, May 22Competition FilmKilling Them Softlydirected by Andrew DominikUSAMostly positive reviews, and lots of praise for the ensemble cast and the stylish violence. Very promising so far, sounds like it could be this year's Drive.
Quotes from the press conference:
Andrew Dominik: "Crime films are about capitalism. It's perfectly acceptable for all the characters to be motivated only by money."
Dominik on the characters: "These are criminal characters with a funny side to them. Brad's character thinks that the world is a result of natural selection."
Brad Pitt on his role as a producer: "I want to focus on films that have a difficulty being made, and stories that focus on our times and who we are."
Pitt on the violence: "This is the world we live in, so I see it absolutely important to film. I don't see a world without it.""Certainly not for all tastes, especially those of straight-up action fans, the picture's restraint places a considerable burden on the actors to maintain interest, which they shoulder impressively." - Justin Chang (Variety)"Makes great use of the widescreen format and fills his film with visual quirks to sit alongside the smartly written dialogue, and working again with Brad Pitt has come up with a remarkably pertinent crime film that reflects the tough times facing America." - Mark Adams (Screen Daily)"A juicy, bloody, grimy and profane crime drama that amply satisfies as a deep-dish genre piece, Killing Them Softly rather insistently also wants to be something more." - Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)"A cracking piece of storytelling, with a restrained balance of laidback chat and canny visual outbursts, and a delicious thread of gallows humour running through it. " - Dave Calhoun (Time Out London)"It is outstandingly watchable, superbly and casually pessimistic, a world of slot-mouthed professional and semi-professional criminals always complaining about cleaning up the mess made by other screwups." - Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)
Ben Mendelsohn, Ray Liotta, Brad Pitt, Scoot McnairyCompetition FilmThe Angels' Sharedirected by Ken LoachFrance, UKLooks like a very funny film, which is a nice change from the usual serious and heavy stuff that Loach and Laverty make. Another must see.
Quotes from the press conference:
Paul Laverty: "We wanted to show that despite unemployment and the crisis, young people still want to do something with their lives."
Producer Rebecca O'Brien: "We had to remove some of the film's language in order to be classified as a 15. We've shown heavy scenes of torture, water-boarding, fingernails torn out, and they have been 15 certificates."
Ken Loach on the BBFC: "I think we were allowed seven c**ts, but only two of them could be aggressive c**ts."
Actor Charlie MacLean: "When it's raining it's good weather for drinking whiskey, so I feel very much at home."
Actor Paul Brannigan: "I was unemployed. They saved me. I had no money. Who knows what I would have done.""Deftly balances heartbreak and hilarity to offer a cheering, feel good ray of hope from what often seem like the bleakest of lives." - Allan Hunter (Screen Daily)"A heart-warming celebration of kindness, friendship and forgiveness. Like a fine whisky, the angry old man of British social realism seems to be mellowing with age. It suits him." - Stephen Dalton (The Hollywood Reporter)"It’s rewarding to see these filmmakers exploring a different tone with their usual compassion and eye for youthful characters, even if we’re sometimes left in a frustrating middle ground between the more comic and serious sides of their story." - Dave Calhoun (Time Out London)"Loach has for my money found a happy comic register – happier, I think, than his Looking for Eric – and it is an unfashionably uncynical and unironic kind of comedy." - Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)
Gary Maitland, Jasmin Riggins, William Ruane, Ken Loach, Paul Brannigan, Siobahn Reilly
- Day 8 - Wednesday, May 23Competition FilmOn the Roaddirected by Walter SallesFrance, USA, UKQuotes from the press conference:
Walter Salles: "It took eight years to get here. This project started very early on and it crystallized through time."
Salles on improvisation: "We were trespassing the book in a way, but we were being faithful to it in the sense that more than anything else, Kerouac was looking for the constant improvisation and spontaneity and this is what every actor brought to the shoot."
Producer Roman Coppola: "My dad bought the rights to it in 1979 and many filmmakers have tried their hand at getting it made since, but it wasn't until Walter raised his hand that we knew we had the perfect director for the project."
Kirsten Stewart on her character: "I love Marylou, the character is very vivid, she jumps right off the page and smacks you in the face. She wasn't rebelling against anything, she was just being herself."
Viggo Mortensen: "Re-reading the book made me realize how pertinent it is now. Times are quite conservative now, and there is a similar rejection of the status quo by young people today.""Salles managed to set aside the reputation of the piece and try to simply portray it in the same honest, direct voice that made it such an important book in the first place." - Drew McWeeny (Motion Captured)"Despite its pretty cast and sun-ripened colours, the film quickly settles into a tedious looping rhythm." - Robbie Collin (The Telegraph)"It feels long and tedious, as if we've dropped in on someone else's party without knowing or caring who these folks are, knocking back the whisky and barbiturates as regularly as they're knocking off each other." - Dave Calhoun (Time Out London)"Brazilian director Walter Salles, has done a respectable job of it, and at moments better than that, though the film rarely busts out to provide the sort of heady pleasures it depicts." - Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)"In its relentless pursuit of visual and aural polish and in the way it tamely critiques Kerouac’s legend at the same time that it glorifies it, On The Road feels a little shallow. " - Lee Marshall (Screen Daily)"Evocatively lensed, skillfully made and duly attentive to the mercurial qualities of its daunting source material, Walter Salles' picture pulses with youthful energy but feels overly calculated in its bid for spontaneity, attesting to the difficulty and perhaps futility of trying to reproduce Kerouac's literary lightning onscreen." - Justin Chang (Variety)
Kirsten Dunst, Sam Riley, Kristen Stewart, Walter Salles, Garrett HedlundCompetition FilmHoly Motorsdirected by Leos CaraxFranceOne reporter at the press conference described it as 'absolutely bonkers', another called it 'beautiful and strange', and from the short clips I've seen it does look that way. All I know is that I definitely have to see this!
Carax dedicated the film to the late actress Yekaterina Golubeva, who starred in his previous film Pola X, and tragically passed away last August.
Quotes from the press conference:
Leos Carax on references to other films: "If you decide to live in that little island that is cinema. It's a beautiful island and it has a big cemetery. Sometimes you go to that cemetery."
Carax on the limited audience for his films: "I don't make public films, I make private films and I invite whoever wants to come see it."
Producer Martine Marignac: "The film almost didn't get made. We thought that twenty years down the road that this wouldnt be the case, but the difficulty in financing this kind of film is because they are not viewed as commercial."
Kylie Minogue on her first time in competition at Cannes and returning to film: "It feels like a dream to be welcomed into this family. It felt good to be back on set. I banned my entire entourage from coming with me, I stripped myself of being 'Kylie', so I could be a blank canvas for Leos."
Denis Lavant on which of the several characters he plays was the most difficult: "All the characters were special and they were all difficult to portray, but I think the last one with the monkeys scared me the most."
Carax on Lavant's performances in the film: "There were at least two scenes I didn't think he would be able to do. He's become 10,000 times a better actor than when we first met. He was already an amazing actor but he's developed even further, which isn't always the case."
"Narratively unhinged, beautifully shot and frequently hilarious 'Holy Motors' coheres -- arguably, anyway -- into a vivid jaunt through the auteur's cinematic obsessions. " - Rob Nelson (Variety)"Overall, this is a film crammed with ideas, yet it lacks the grace of bona fide Surrealism; missing the aura of the genuinely, ineffably strange, it finally remains a self-conscious upmarket weird-out." - Jonathan Romney (Screen Daily)"Exhilarating, opaque, heartbreaking and completely bonkers, Holy Motors, is a deliciously preposterous piece of filmmaking that appraises life and death and everything in between, reflected in a funhouse mirror." - Megan Lehmann (The Hollywood Reporter)"Both brilliantly human and purposefully silly, a prism of performance and death so different from other films that it seems to have been beamed down from another planet." - Glenn Heath Jr. (Press Play)"There’s something fragile, tender and even truthful about Carax’s hall-of-mirrors irrationality, the sense of an artist so weary of decayed human realities that he has no choice but to twist them into the more beautiful shapes afforded by cinema." - Guy Lodge (Time Out London)"This is what we have all come to Cannes for: for something different, experimental, a tilting at windmills, a great big pole-vault over the barrier of normality by someone who feels that the possibilities of cinema have not been exhausted by conventional realist drama." - Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)
Edith Scob, Denis Lavant, Kylie Minogue, Leos Carax, Jeanne Disson, Elise Lhomeau
- Day 9 - Thursday, May 24Competition FilmThe Paperboydirected by Lee DanielsUSASome enjoyed it and others call it the worst film in competition, I can't say I was that excited about this title to begin with, but the split reactions intrigue me.
Quotes from the press conference:
Lee Daniels: "What I could breathe into this world was my truth. Every character in this movie is someone that I know personally."
Matthew McConaughey: "Everything in the film is murky and mysterious. Everyone has their own difficulties with their characters in the film. Nobody is as they seem."
Nicole Kidman: "I'd been looking as an actor for something raw and something more dangerous in terms of performances."
Kidman on independent films: "It's very hard to find financing for these films. It requires a lot of tenacity in the filmmaker to get it made""A risibly overheated, not unenjoyable slab of late-'60s Southern pulp trash, marked by a sticky, sweaty atmosphere of delirium and sexual frustration that only partly excuses the woozy ineptitude of the filmmaking." - Justin Chang (Variety)"Basking in a funky, disreputable feel despite its prestigious source material and classy cast, the film has been crafted to resemble a grungy exploitation melodrama made in the period it depicts." - Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)"The best that can be said of The Paperboy is that it’s sometimes intentionally awful. More often than not, however, it’s just awful." - Simon Abrams (Press Play)"The Paperboy definitely doesn't deliver. It's much the worst in show, making other ordinary fare look masterful." - Xan Brooks (The Guardian)
Macy Gray, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, Lee Daniels, John Cusack, Zac EfronCompetition FilmPost Tenebras Luxdirected by Carlos ReygadasFrance, Mexico, NetherlandsSome very mixed opinions coming out for this one, but I'm still very much intrigued because it appears the director is going for something new, even if it's a failure, this kind of filmmaking is always the most interesting for me to experience.
Quotes from the press conference:
Carlos Reygadas: "I'm sure a lot of the press won't like my film and that's actually a good thing, some things don't please everybody. If you try to please everyone then you are offering them something completely bland. I want to ensure that some people are really moved and touched by the film, even if it's only a tiny proportion of people. That's my goal."
Reygadas on the altered images: "I felt the need to transform what I see with my own eyes. I like to show contradiction in the act of seeing."
Reygadas on a beheading scene: "It's an image that any Mexican today might have in mind when they sleep at night.""Reygadas has elected to shoot large portions of his film through a bevelled camera lens, which refracts his figures, doubles the image and leaves the screen's borders blurred. I have no doubt he is deliberately setting out to vex us." - Xan Brooks (The Guardian)"Yet again, one senses that Reygadas – instead of simply getting on with the job of making a film – has opted instead to go for an opus magnum that reminds us of cinema’s greats. And once again what is finally communicated is vaunting ambition and somewhat frustratingly vague achievement." - Geoff Andrew (Time Out London)"Though shot and screened in Academy ratio, the landscapes here have a majesty that evoke mixed sensations of troubled awe." - Jay Weissberg (Variety)"There is a vision here, certainly, but the film feels genuinely, bracingly experimental in that it seems to be searching for its own meaning and form, rather than asserting them ready-made." - Jonathan Romney (Screen Daily)
Carlos Reygadas, Nathalia Acevedo, Adolfo JimenezDirectors' Fortnight FilmSightseersdirected by Ben WheatleyUKOne of the directors I am keeping my eye on, after his wonderful Down Terrace and Kill List. His latest screened in the Quinzaine, and sounds like a fun little black comedy."Wheatley applies his unique blend of run-and-gun naturalism and scabrous black humor to a wicked little pic in which a tacky couple discovers that cross-country road-tripping makes it surprisingly easy -- and fun! -- to knock off the more obnoxious characters they encounter en route." - Peter Debruge (Variety)"Working for the first time from someone else’s script, Wheatley struggles to put his own stamp on what is inherently flawed material." - Tom Huddleston (Time Out London)"Flesh-creepingly funny comedy about two holidaymakers whose caravanning trip inadvertently turns into a mass murder spree is something that, rather worryingly, you can’t imagine happening in any other country but England. " - Robbie Collin (The Telegraph)
- Day 10 - Friday, May 25Competition FilmCosmopolisdirected by David CronenbergCanada, France, Portugal, ItalyAnother day, another round of mixed reviews from Cannes. Can't say that's surprising, nor does it change my enthusiasm to see this one. I would be worried if Cronenberg made a film that everyone liked.
Quotes from the press conference:
David Cronenberg: "For me, the essense of cinema is a person, a face speaking, not epic, not the grand canyon. Real movie making is a fantastic face saying fantastic words."
Cronenberg on hope in bleak times: "The hope is embodied by the fact that this movie got made. Things are so conservative these days. The hope is in the art."
Sarah Gadon on working with David and Brandon Cronenberg: "Obviously there is going to be difference between working with a first time feature director versus working with a master, but they did share some of the same sensibilities on set. They are both very concise in terms of working with actors."
Robert Pattinson: "Some directors are so exhausted when it's time to work with the actors but David listens so intently when you are doing a scene."
Writer Don DeLillo: "I had absolutely nothing to do with the script, that's why the film turned out so well.""Cut and pasted almost verbatim into the script, the novelist’s mannered dialogue and shallow characters make for an anemic, dramatically flat viewing experience." - Lee Marshall (Screen Daily)"Lifeless, stagey and lacking a palpable subversive pulse despite the ready opportunities offered by the material" - Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)"An exceptional adaptation and a remarkable work unto itself. Everything matters in Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, but not everything is necessarily the same as DeLillo’s book. And that makes the film, as a series of discussions about inter-related money-minded contradictions, insanely rich and maddeningly complex. We can’t wait to rewatch it." - Simon Abrams (The Playlist)"Cronenberg’s superb latest is an existential road movie for our financially and morally bankrupt times" - David Jenkins (Little White Lies)"Threatens to soar and to be important, but it only offers flashes of lucidity." - Dave Calhoun (Time Out London)"You don't go to a Cronenberg movie for comedy, but rather for something exciting, exotic, daring and precise: really, none of those things is present in this agonisingly self-conscious and meagre piece of work." - Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)"Working here with a spare, episodic narrative and dialogue that teems with heady ideas, Cronenberg adopts a direct, scene-by-scene approach that crucially nails the novel's tone of archly stylized pessimism. " - Justin Chang (Variety)
Robert Pattinson, David CronenbergCompetition FilmV Tumane (In the Fog)directed by Sergei LoznitsaGermany, Netherlands, Belarus, Russia, LatviaGenerally positive reception for this one. From the sounds of it, I think this might have an outside chance at the Palme d'Or, and a good shot at one of the other top awards.
Strangely this was the only press conference so far that ended because there were no further questions as opposed to running out of time. Perhaps the press have finally had enough.
Quotes from the press conference:
Sergei Loznitsa: "I wanted to make this film for ten years, and it was only now that I could. This is not a film about war, it's a film about people who find themselves in certain circumstances."
Loznitsa on sound: "I treat the sound in my film just as one would treat music. That's why I don't need music, because the sound is sufficient. Even though 90 percent of the sound in the film is direct sound, we still work very meticulously with it. It took 3 months to complete the sound design."
Actor Vladimir Svirski: "We rehearsed for two months, it was terribly difficult. I come from a background of theatre so I had to learn how to speak normally, and not to act.""His second feature after 'My Joy' is a beautifully rigorous piece which will delight cineastes, his collaboration with cinematographer Oleg Mutu moving up a notch to the point where the film’s visuals are palpably in sync with its protagonists and some notably effective sound design." - Fionnuala Halligan (Screen Daily)"Fans of old-school Soviet cinema may find these wintry forests and fatalistic characters a touch over-familiar, but the film repays patient viewing as it evolves into an engrossing, nuanced, philosophical drama." - Stephen Dalton (The Hollywood Reporter)"Loznitsa knows that war exists and won’t go away; rather than indulging in patriotic or pacifistic platitudes, he tries to show what it might do to our souls. And, in this writer’s opinion, he succeeds." - Geoff Andrew (Time Out London)"Despite its classicism, Loznitsa's helming still feels post-millennial in its austerity, particularly given the total absence of music and the slow-breath rhythms of its editing. The helmer doesn't necessarily break new ground here, but he replows the field with precision." - Leslie Felperin (Variety)
Vladimir Svirski, Vlad Abashin, Sergei Kolesov, Sergei Loznitsa
- Day 11 - Saturday, May 26Competition FilmMuddirected by Jeff NicholsUSAQuotes from the press conference:
Jeff Nichols: "I have five films that are my favorite films, but Terrence Malick's Badlands is always my number one."
Nichols on the influence of Huckleberry Finn: "If you are going to steal stuff from somebody, you should steal from somebody really intelligent. I stole from Mark Twain."
Nichols on his tendency to focus on nature: "In this film, love is a part of nature. It's about these kids going out and exploring. It's a fascinating place to be when you are 14 years old or if you are 40."
Reese Witherspoon: "When I read Jeff's script it just felt like home, and I never get to see home on the big movie screen. He brought such an authentic beautiful story to the place that I'm from, it was just very appealing to me. There are very few movies about the American South that are accurate, and this is one of them."
Tye Sheridan: "I learned a lot of things from Matthew. We are from the same part of Texas, and we talked about that a lot, because of that we had an immediate bond."
Matthew McConaughey: "I had a wonderful time getting back in the clouds. The first time you're in love. It's ruthless, there's nothing reasonable about it. My character lives in the clouds. If he ever came back down to earth he would die of a heartache.""One part 'The Night of the Hunter,' two parts 'Huckleberry Finn,' 'Mud' may be born of the same rustic sensibility that fueled everyone from Andrew Wyeth to Terrence Malick, but Nichols expresses this outlook in a decidedly personal way." - Peter Debruge (Variety)"Underwhelming follow-up to the masterfully visceral 'Take Shelter,' is both a shallow and contrived coming of age story, offers pat sentiments and bland bathos." - Simon Abrams (The Playlist)"Mud has the look and feel of an American indie classic. It is a surefire best picture nominee at next year's Oscars and likely to win some kind of award at Cannes, receiving the warmest applause of the festival at its morning press screening." - Jason Solomons (The Guardian)
Jacob Lofland, Jeff Nichols, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, Tye SheridanCompetition FilmDo-nui mat (The Taste of Money)directed by Im Sang-sooSouth KoreaQuotes from the press conference:
Im Sang-soo: "The biggest problem in Korean society today is what you see in my film."
Im Sang-soo on the similarity of this film to The Housemaid: "Yes there are similar characters and there is a clear relationship with my previous film, but the Housemaid was a remake so I was limited in what I could do. The Taste of Money is much more in line with how I see things."
Actress Youn Yuh-jung on the importance of female characters: "I think in this film, men and women are placed on equal footing, a relationship between an older woman and younger man is something that shocks people in South Korea.""A trite and tangled potboiler that, despite its polemical pretensions, is just a glorified Korean domestic drama with classier couture and shapelier champagne flutes." - Maggie Lee (Variety)"As deep and profound as a comic book printed on glossy paper, Im Sang-soo’s latest has all the style and luster of his previous works, but there is no real story to tell here, just a bunch of old fashioned, tired clichés reprocessed to look like an original script." - Dan Fainaru (Screen Daily)
Kim Kang-woo, Kim Hyo-jin, Youn Yuh-jung, Baek Yoon-sik
- Day 12 - Sunday, May 27Closing FilmThérèse Desqueyrouxdirected by Claude MillerFrancePress Conference 11:00 CET
"Tastefully upholstered, but the narrative, told in linear fashion rather than using the book's flashback structure, generates little heat, empathy or momentum" - Boyd Van Hoeij (Variety)"Far removed from the typical profile of a fun-filled Cannes closing night event, the bill it is supposed to fill this year. A thought-provoking drama, its quietly composed, controlled approach and traditional narrative style is better associated in spirit with the Cannes Classics section, in which it would deserve a place of honour." - Dan Fainaru (Screen Daily)"Glossy, well-dressed, slightly staid feel of a middlebrow TV miniseries. But it still packs enough dramatic weight and literary pedigree to make a box office splash outside France" - Stephen Dalton (The Hollywood Reporter)