Friday, May 17, 2013

2013 Cannes Film Festival: Day 3 Roundup

  • Day 3 - Friday, May 17

  • Recap of the third day of the 66th Cannes Film Festival (Festival de Cannes), which runs until Sunday May 26, 2013.

    Screening In Competition today:
    • From France, Le passé (The Past) by Asghar Farhadi.

      His sixth feature and his Cannes debut. High expectations all around for this, the follow up to his Berlin Golden Bear and Academy Award winning A Separation (2011). A French drama starring Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, and Ali Mosaffa.

      Official Synopsis:
      Following a four year separation, Ahmad returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his French wife Marie’s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure. During his brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie’s relationship with her daughter Lucie. Ahmad’s efforts to improve this relationship soon unveil a secret from their past.
    • From China, Tian Zhu Ding (A Touch of Sin) by Jia Zhangke.

      A previous winner of the Venice Golden Lion, Still Life (2006); this is his third film in the main competition at Cannes.

      Official Synopsis:
      Four people, four different provinces. A reflection on contemporary China: that of an economic giant slowly being eroded by violence.
    In the Un Certain Regard section:
    • From France, L'Inconnu du lac (Stranger By The Lake) by Alain Guiraudie.

      Official Synopsis:
      Summertime. A cruising spot for men, tucked away on the shores of a lake. Franck falls in love with Michel. An attractive, potent and lethally dangerous man. Franck knows this, but wants to live out his passion anyway.
    • From Italy, Miele by Valeria Golino.

      Competing for the Camera d'Or with her directorial debut.

      Official Synopsis:
      Miele is the story of Irene a 30 years old girl who helps suffering people.Terminal patients who want to make shorter the struggle with death, people whose suffering injure the dignity of an human being. One day a 70 years old man in good health, who simply thinks to have lived enough, asks her to help him.
    Competition Film
    Le Passé (The Past)
    directed by Asghar Farhadi
    Quotes from the press conference:

    "He is extremely precise, nothing is left to chance, everything is carefully orchestrated, and yet we feel liberated in our acting."Tahar Rahim
    "I enjoyed it very much. Asghar is like a choreographer. its as though we are interpreters, we are real performers, the director deals with the story, and all I have to do is look at my partner, say the dialogue and I dont have to worry about anything else. He takes care of all the details and I have nothing left to do, I just love it."Berenice Bejo
    "It was special. This was a unique experience. We rehearsed a great deal and saw each other frequently that helped us be free in our acting and give our all. It was an exceptional experience."Actress Pauline Burlet
    "Wherever I work, I remain an Iranian filmmaker. It's difficult to place a national label on a work of art. The question and answer are unimportant. The most important thing is the bond between the spectator and the film. Each viewer can make the film their own."Asghar Farhadi

    Critical response:
    "This is an exquisitely sculpted family melodrama in which the end of a marriage is merely the beginning of something else, an indelible tapestry of carefully engineered revelations and deeper human truths."Justin Chang (Variety)
    "There is no dramatic dead wood here, and Farhadi has taken great pains to make sure that every character who appears on screen has an angle, has a moral compass and has their own personal interpretation of the events as they happen."David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
    "It’s a brilliant piece of cinematic craftsmanship, but at times, our admiration of Farhadi’s art and his actors’ bravura drowns out our belief in a story that feels a little too rootless, too designed for dramatic effect."Lee Marshall (Screen Daily)
    "A superbly written, directed and acted drama that commands attention every step of the way"Deborah Young (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "Farhadi's nuanced storytelling results in an overlong and sometimes lethargic feel, occasionally to the detriment of its seriously fascinating plot, but for that same reason its set of surprises continually resonate."Eric Kohn (IndieWire)
    "This is a tremendously well written piece of work, with impressively developed characters, with scene after scene that further enriches and deepens our comprehension of their actions, yet never judges any of them."Kevin Jagernauth (The Playlist)
    "Good storytelling is good storytelling: whether he chooses to return home or not, "The Past" proves that Farhadi's international career is ready for takeoff."Guy Lodge (In Contention)
    "Through solid acting and an astoundingly natural dialogue (a real achievement for a movie filmed in a language which is not that of the director), The Past confirms all the virtuosity within the simplicity of a filmmaker who has now become an expert when it comes to sad serenades"Fabien Lemercier (Cineuropa)
    "Although The Past lacks the biting political subplot of the aforementioned A Separation, it once again confirms the Iranian director as one of world cinema's most accomplished anatomists of human relationships."John Bleasdale (CineVue)
    "Farhad skilfully and delicately weaves these stories together. Some of them are dramatic and tragic, yet he never veers into melodrama. His scenes involving the children move you to tears without feeling manipulated."Jo Ann Titmarsh (Flickering Myth)
    "Performances, across the board, are dazzling and fearless, and Farhadi’s script juggles the ensemble with dexterity, ensuring no one is side-lined, no reasons unexplained."Jamie Graham (Total Film)
    "The most likely Palme d’Or contender so far ... proves to be an impressive picture that verges on melodrama – in a good way."Catherine Bray (Film4)

    Competition Film
    Tian Zhu Ding 天注定 (A Touch of Sin)
    directed by Jia Zhangke
    Quotes from the press conference:

    "In society people are often aware of violent events, but they forget them very quickly. Hopefully when they see the film they won't forget, they will be able to talk about it. You can't make progress by hiding violence. Cinema can help us understand the violence and hopefully bring about change."Jia Zhangke on violence.
    "I'm dedicated to preserving my creative freedom and do my best to avoid self censorship. I believe that I can embody true freedom. Once I have done that, I then ask myself what I can do so that as many Chinese people as possible can view the film."Jia Zhangke on censorship.

    Critical response:
    "Although the four stories sometimes leave something to be desired in the narrative sense, I remain in awe of Jia’s ability to foreground his characters while keeping all the drama of landscape and the action of street life behind them fully in play."Barbara Scharres (
    "Encouraging though it is to see Jia stretching himself, he hasn’t quite made a successful transition to populism yet."Mike D'Angelo (The AV Club)
    "Jia may have conceived and produced A Touch of Sin for and about his own people, but the thematic inquiries of his film remain universal, the extent of his ambition as limitless and provocative as it's ever been."Jordan Cronk (The House Next Door)
    "There are frequent flashes of very tough violence, and two of the tales climax in roaring rampages of revenge that will enthral and delight your inner Quentin Tarantino. "Robbie Collin (The Telegraph)
    "Anyone expecting some kind of all-kicking, all-boxing extravaganza will swiftly learn otherwise minutes into this lengthy, ruminative study of the everyday violence pervading contemporary Chinese society."Guy Lodge (Timeout London)
    "The end result is ambitious, disturbing, and kinetic, something akin to a modern day prophecy forewarning a plague of national rot and disillusionment already on its way to settling in forever."Glenn Heath Jr. (PressPlay)
    "The broadness of his canvas sometimes stretches and there are a couple of moments where the shifts of tone clang, but given its ambition there's still a lot to admire in this view of the China that lies behind the myth and propaganda."John Bleasdale (CineVue)
    "He has an incredible eye, not only in the way he's able to spot the rich pictorial beauty of these crumbling landscapes, but in the clever juxtapositions that comes of placing his rogues gallery of murders, drifters and depressives against them."David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
    "The gritty social issues of his earlier work drive and inspire his work, but he is growing as an auteur, and growing fast, sucking in kung fu and gunplay to relay his message about hyper-modern China."Alex Griffith (Next Projection)

    Un Certain Regard Film
    L'Inconnu du lac (Stranger by the Lake)
    directed by Alain Guiraudie

    Critical response:
    "By turns a commentary on risk-taking, sex, death and the gay community wrapped up in an art-house thriller with comic notes. Oddly enough, it’s a mix that works."Fionnuala Halligan (Screen Daily)
    "Though it contains explicit scenes of gay sex, this is essentially an absorbing and intelligent exploration of queer desire spiced up with thriller elements"Boyd van Hoeij (Variety)
    "This particular entry veers as close to straight-up gay porn as any narrative feature I’ve ever seen, with perhaps a third of its running time devoted to unsimulated sex acts."Mike D'Angelo (The AV Club)
    "Love and passion, the director suggests, can be uplifting but his main aim was to examine the emotions of being in love with the "obscenity" of sex."Richard Mowe (Eye For Film)

    Un Certain Regard Film
    directed by Valeria Golino

    Critical response:
    "Aided by Gergely Poharnok’s expert lensing, Golino makes the leap into the director’s chair with consummate assurance, drawing out the script’s subtleties with only a few unnecessary glitches while coaxing a topnotch perf from Jasmine Trinca."Jay Weissberg (Variety)
    "Trinca’s live-wire performance keeps us watching, and despite the occasional self-consciously auteurish touch, there’s an energy to the film’s direction and editing that bodes well for Golino’s future on the viewfinder side of the lens."Lee Marshall (Screen Daily)
    "An impressively mature directing debut from Italian actress Valeria Golino, who crafts an often engrossing character study."Deborah Young (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "Golino loses her impetus in the second half of the narrative but there is much to admire and appreciate."Richard Mowe (Eye For Film)
    "Let down in part by an overly sentimental denouement, Miele remains an excellent drama, finely addressing big ideas, that is gorgeous to behold and very well acted."David Neary (Next Projection)
See our other #Cannes2013 coverage:


Unknown said...

I'm glad the buzz is good for "The Past" as I was really wowed by "A Separation" and hope for good things from Asghar Farhadi. I hope to see more of his work soon.

Unknown said...

Wow - Miele looks great. I'll have to seek that out asap.

Unknown said...

"The most likely Palme d’Or contender"- a promising review for The Past. A Separation (2011) surprised me in a good way, so look forward to Farhardi's latest.

Unknown said...

The Past sounds topical and timely. Will be interested to catch that one.

Unknown said...

I'm happy for the warm reception too. The only thing that concerns me is how similar in theme this new film is to A Separation. I hope for his next one, he ventures a bit further in terms of story and scenario.

Unknown said...

Yep, very promising. I've got my eyes on that one.

Unknown said...

It's still early but I predict we'll see this film take at least one award next Sunday.

Unknown said...

Agreed, It's high on my anticipated list.

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