Tuesday, May 21, 2013

2013 Cannes Film Festival - Day 7 Roundup

Claude Debussy Theatre © FDC
  • Day 7 - Tuesday, May 21

  • We're now past the half way mark of the festival, with only ten Competition films left including today's pair. Yesterday's films were universally bashed by the critics, let's hope today's lineup fares better.

    Here's a recap of the seventh day of the 66th Cannes Film Festival (Festival de Cannes), which runs until Sunday May 26, 2013.

    Screening In Competition today:
    • From the USA, Behind the Candelabra by Steven Soderbergh.

      The previous Palme d'Or winner with his 'final' film as a director.

      Official Synopsis:
      Before Elvis, before Elton John, Madonna and Lady Gaga, there was Liberace: virtuoso pianist, outrageous entertainer and flamboyant star of stage and television. Liberace lived lavishly and embraced a lifestyle of excess both on and off stage. In summer 1977, handsome young stranger Scott Thorson walked into his dressing room and, despite their age difference and seemingly different worlds, the two embarked on a secretive five-year love affair.
    • From Italy, La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty) by Paolo Sorrentino.

      This is his fifth time in the main competition at Cannes.

      Official Synopsis:
      Aristocratic ladies, social climbers, politicians, high-flying criminals, journalists, actors, decadent nobles, prelates, artists and intellectuals - whether authentic or presumed - form the tissue of these flaky relationships, all engulfed in a desperate Babylon which plays out in the antique palaces, immense villas and most beautiful terraces in the city? They are all there, and they are not seen in a good light? Jep Gambardella, 65, indolent and disenchanted, his eyes permanently imbued with gin and tonic, watches this parade of hollow, doomed, powerful yet depressed humanity. A moral lifelessness enough to make one’s head spin? And in the background, Rome in summer. Splendid and indifferent, like a dead diva?
    In the Un Certain Regard section:
    • From Canada, Sarah Préfère la Course (Sarah Prefers To Run) by Chloé Robichaud.

      Competing for the Camera d'Or with her first feature film.

      Official Synopsis:
      Sarah is a gifted young middle-distance runner. Her life changes when she’s offered admission to Quebec’s best university athletics program, in Montreal - far from her suburban Quebec City home. Sarah doesn’t have her mother’s financial support for the move, or any support at all: her mother worries that leaving will be bad for Sarah’s health and life. But Sarah is stubborn, and moves to Montreal anyway, with her friend Antoine. Though barely out of their teens, they get married because they want the best scholarships and loans. Marriage turns out to be completely different from what the naïve 20-year-olds expected. Sarah doesn’t want to hurt anyone with the choices she makes, it’s just that she loves running more than anything else.
    • From France, Les Salauds (Bastards) by Claire Denis.

      A film many expected to appear in the main competition.

      Official Synopsis:
      Captain on a container-ship, Marco Silvestri is called urgently back to Paris. His sister, Sandra, is desperate… her husband has committed suicide, the family business has gone under, her daughter has gone adrift. Sandra accuses the powerful businessman, Edouard Laporte responsible. Marco moves into the building where Laporte’s mistress lives with his son.
      What Marco hadn’t foreseen are Sandra’s shameful, secret manœuvres… and his love for Raphaëlle which could ruin everything.
    • From Argentina, Wakolda by Lucía Puenzo.

      Official Synopsis:
      Patagonia, 1960. A German physician meets an Argentinean family and follows them on the long desert road to Bariloche where Eva, Enzo and their three children are going to open a lodging house by the Nahuel Huapi lake. This model family reawakens his obsession with purity and perfection, in particular Lilith, a 12 year-old with a body too small for her age. Unaware of his true identity, they accept him as their first guest. They are all gradually won over by this charismatic man, by his elegant manners, his scientific knowledge and his money — until they discover they are living with one of the biggest criminals of all times.
    Competition Film
    Behind the Candelabra
    directed by Steven Soderbergh
    Quotes from the press conference:

    "I thought he was messing with me. I was playing the drug czar in Traffic, and I saw this pensive look on Steven's face, and he said, 'Have you ever thought about Liberace?'"Michael Douglas on when he was first approached for the role
    "It's the seventh time I've worked with Steven. I trust him completely and I really mean that."Matt Damon
    "I'm absolutely taking a break. I don't know how extended that will be. I can't say that if this were the last movie I made that I would be unhappy. I'm really really proud of this film."Steven Soderbergh

    Critical response:
    "A generally enjoyable film, even if far too much time is spent on domestic melodrama."Ryland Aldrich (Twitch)
    "Evolves into a moving love story of two misfits who find each other and achieve fleeting happiness before it all falls apart."Richard Mowe (Eye For Film)
    "There is great humour and wit throughout Behind the Candelabra, but at no point are we laughing at Lib and his unique lifestyle choices."John Bleasdale (CineVue)
    "For all its seamy up-close intimacy, feels neither structurally nor formally compromised by the nurturing hand of HBO"Guy Lodge (In Contention)
    "The film has paste diamonds in abundance, but in the role of Liberace, Michael Douglas is the real, icy-cold crystalline-carbon deal."Robbie Collin (The Telegraph)
    "The subtle sense of subversion that lifts generic material beyond mundane, journeyman hokum is just not there, and while this is certainly a higher class of cinematic biography, it's still just does its job of hitting all the cosy beats we expect in this type of material."David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
    "Decadently entertaining, even if its basic rise-and-fall structure is nothing new."Kevin Jagernauth (The Playlist)
    "Superbly scripted, brilliantly directed, smart but never smarmy and led by a lead performance by Michael Douglas so good you often forget you’re watching an actor rather than the famous character he’s playing."Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)

    Competition Film
    La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty)
    directed by Paolo Sorrentino
    Quotes from the press conference:

    "I lived in Rome when I was young, I worked there. Over the years I've noted many anecdotes linked to Rome. Then it was the character of Toni which gave me the idea to make this film."Paolo Sorrentino on the film's origin.
    "Fellini said that he invented everything in La Dolce Vita. I'm not sure if there is a link between his film and the actual situation at the time. My film has a very inward look at things. Italian directors have always explored meaningful topics. I'm not sure if there is a link between our films. Perhaps mine might become a masterpiece too."Paolo Sorrentino on the comparison with Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita

    Critical response:
    "Sorrentino continues to tackle major topics using an extraordinary combination of broad brushstrokes and minute detail."Jay Weissberg (Variety)
    "At times, a profound film about superficiality, loss of innocence, missed chances and imitations of life; but at others it recycles a vision of Rome, and a fashionable ennui, that Fellini nailed once and for all more than 50 years ago."Lee Marshall (Screen Daily)
    "Humor plays a major role in making the film enjoyable, and there are a lot of laugh-out-loud moments that capture human absurdity and frailty."Deborah Young (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "It's pristine emotional implacability makes it difficult – maybe even impossible – to engage with on any satisfying subtextual level"David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
    "It's a virtuoso piece of filmmaking which will have Baz Luhrmann hanging up his glad rags in despair."John Bleasdale (CineVue)
    "Fifty years is too long a time to make any comparisons, but the capacity to represent a segment of society and a state of mind with slow, deforming power together with eloquent realism is certainly similar."Camillo De Marco (Cineuropa)

    Un Certain Regard Film
    Sarah Préfère La Course (Sarah Prefers To Run)
    directed by Chloé Robichaud

    Critical response:
    "Feels too thin both narratively and cinematically, struggling with a belabored storyline as it heads towards the final lap."Jordan Mintzer (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "The drama between the couple evolves organically, creating tensions that are both highly convincing and relatively uncommon in most films."Chuck Tryon (Filmmaker)
    "Sophie Desmarais does very well in an almost silent role, managing to convey the anxiety and shyness of her character, especially with her eyes."Éric Moreault (Le Soleil) [translated from French]

    Un Certain Regard Film
    Les Salauds (Bastards)
    directed by Claire Denis

    Critical response:
    "Claire Denis takes us down a very ugly road and I can honestly say I’ve rarely been more relieved to come out of a movie theatre…"Edouard Austin (Orange.com)
    "For perhaps the first time ever, I had the sense that Denis's painstaking approach was little more than an act of concealment; that her actual story was thin and tacky and that her elaborate style was precisely that."Xan Brooks (The Guardian)
    "Ultimately, if you’ve the stomach for its more seedy aspects, what still separates this film in terms of quality from Denis’ best work is that once you’ve pieced together the puzzle-box structure, there remains little else to chew on. "Jessica Kiang (The Playlist)
    "Pointlessly mixes up its ingredients, creating a distancing effect from the tangible sadness at its core. The result is the rare case of a movie that confirms its maker's skill while wasting it on useless ambition."Eric Kohn (Indiewire)
    "Partisans of the director’s elliptical style will find plenty to reinforce their predisposition, others will be distanced by this grim revenge drama, which is both unrelentingly dour and unnecessarily hard to follow."David Rooney (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "Denis merges these disparate fragments to produce a hypnotic, disconcerting work of violence and revenge that continues to rattle in the spectator’s brain even after the film has long finished."Rowena Santos Aquino (Next Projection)

    Un Certain Regard Film
    directed by Lucía Puenzo

    Critical response:
    "The directing is fluid, it immerses you in the family and it makes you love Wakolda, right from its opening moments." Céline Louis (Orange.com) [translated from French]
    "I could imagine this playing quite well to UK audiences, or possibly even being given a thriller-makeover in a US remake." Catherine Bray (Film4)
See our other #Cannes2013 coverage:


Unknown said...

I'm definitely seeing Behind the Candelabra this weekend, gotta do something when GoT is on hiatus :(

Unknown said...

I already got Behind the Candelabra set to record on that Sunday though I'm going to watch it a few days afterwards as I need a bit of break once this marathon is over.

Unknown said...

I confess Behind the Candelabra leaves me cold. It looks tragically dull and I think Soderbergh hasn't been great for years. Plus I usually hate anything Michael Douglas is in. He's like Emma Stone for me - if they say "yes" to a film it's a strong indicator it will be bad. I almost universally can't stand every film MD has starred in after the 70's. But it has a descent write up here... so I might see it....
I'm really sad about the Claire Denis reviews. What a huge shame. I'm dying to see that film. I would have thought Cannes would be a fairly good audience for her, so those reviews do worry me.
Nothing seems to have gotten the same buzz Holy Motors and Amour had last year - at least at this point.

Unknown said...

BT is it just me, or does Cannes seem a little lackluster this year? Nothing to do with your excellent coverage of course - which is spot on as usual - but for some reason the lineup looked exciting but nothing seems to be making it hum...

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