Wednesday, May 22, 2013

2013 Cannes Film Festival - Day 8 Roundup

  • Day 8 - Wednesday, May 22

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

    Screening In Competition today:
    • From Denmark, Only God Forgives by Nicolas Winding Refn.

      2011 Best Director winner for Drive returns with his second consecutive film selected to the main competition.

      Official Synopsis:
      Julian, an American fugitive from justice, runs a boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his drug business.
      His mother, the head of a vast criminal organization, arrives from the US to collect the body of her favorite son, Billy. Julian’s brother has just been killed after having savagely murdered a young prostitute. Crazy with rage and thirsty for vengeance she demands the head of the murderers from Julian.
      But first, Julian must confront Chang, a mysterious retired policeman - and figurehead of a divine justice - who has resolved to scourge the corrupt underworld of brothels and fight clubs.
    • From Chad, Grigris by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.

      2010 Jury Prize winner for A Screaming Man.

      Official Synopsis:
      Despite a paralyzed leg that could have barred most avenues, Grigris, 25 year old, dreams of being a dancer. A challenge. But his dreams are dashed when his uncle falls critically ill. To save him, Grigris resolves to work for petrol traffickers...
    In the Un Certain Regard section:
    • From Mexico and Spain, La Jaula De Oro by Diego Quemada-Diez.

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

      Official Synopsis:
      Juan, Sara and Samuel, all 15 years old, flee from Guatemala towards the USA. On their journey through Mexico they meet Chauk, a Tzotzil indian who does not speak Spanish and has no official documents. They all believe they will find a better world beyond the USA-Mexico border but they run into a harsh reality.
    • From Kurdistan, My Sweet Pepper Land by Hiner Saleem.

      His ninth feature.

      Official Synopsis:
      After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Baran, a Kurdish independence war hero, resolves to accept a position in a godforsaken village at the borders of Iran and Turkey, an illegal trafficking Mecca.
      There he meets Govend, a beautiful young woman who has come to work as the teacher in the newly-opened school despite her twelve brothers' hostility to the idea.
    Competition Film
    Only God Forgives
    directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
    Quotes from the press conference:

    Lead actor, Ryan Gosling was not in attendance.

    "I was always fascinated by that cinematic language. It goes against all conventions. I felt going to Paris and meeting Jodorowski, and asking him about how he does his things, it gave me the confidence to try it out."Nicolas Winding Refn on the influence of Alejandro Jodorowski.
    "I like the stoicness the stillness because it makes things extremely cinematic, but in a way that I don't really understand, and that's what really excites me."Nicolas Winding Refn on the influence of Asian cinema.
    "A lot of the language appeared during shooting. If it was written and set up weeks ahead then I would have been terrified."Kristin Scott Thomas on her salty dialog
    "She had no problem turning on the bitch switch."Nicolas Winding Refn on KST's performance.

    Critical response:
    "Continually sports head-on collisions of arthouse and trash, pitting extended dream sequences against katana- uzi-weilding cops."Alex Griffith (Next Projection)
    "Only stoners who are blown away by gruesome violence and Cliff Martinez scores will have any interest in parsing this tale."Jordan Hoffman (
    "While you can admire the execution there is little here to engage the intellect as one bloody set-piece moves on to the next."Richard Mowe (Eye For Film)
    "The gore quotient in the film is high even for Winding Refn. It’s hard to imagine Steven Spielberg’s jury panel finding anything to like in it."Peter Howell (Toronto Star)
    "A failure but a rather magnificent failure, made on Refn’s own terms."Jamie Graham (Total Film)
    "Kristen Scott Thomas' performance is the absolute highlight of the film. Sadly, there is too little of her."Jo Ann Titmarsh (Flickering Myth)
    "The extreme violence becomes predictable and sometimes more interesting elements are thrown away to satisfy the blood-lust."John Bleasdale (CineVue)
    "Some of the most adrenalising moments in motor racing are not the victories but the crashes, and Only God Forgives is the spectacle of a brilliant young director spinning out in style. It’s a beautiful disaster. "Robbie Collin (The Telegraph)
    "Dull, but it's also oddly transfixing, and not just in the sheer splendor of its craft."Guy Lodge (In Contention)
    "Pregnant-pause glances between characters stretch scenes way past the point of tedium, while the hyper-stylized violence is all foreboding build-up, no cathartic release."Keith Uhlich (Timeout)
    "All the aesthetic pleasures in the world mean little, however, when put in service of such one-dimensional characters and shallow moral codes."Jordan Cronk (The House Next Door)
    "Too bogged down by rudimentary style gags to leave room for anything else."Eric Kohn (Indiewire)
    "A hypnotic fugue on themes of violence and retribution, drenched in corrosive reds."David Rooney (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "It will be hard to look beyond the explicit violence and rather thinly drawn plot and characters, but there is much to enjoy and appreciate in the sheer cinematic verve, intelligence and elegance."Mark Adams (Screen Daily)
    "As hyper-aggressive revenge fantasies go, it’s curious to see one so devoid of feeling."Peter Debruge (Variety)
    "Refn sets his camera on rails for a slow-motion trip to the depths of hell, a territory haunted by an original soundtrack by Cliff Martinez, always perfectly in phase with the image."Domenico La Porta (Cineuropa)

    Competition Film
    directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

    Critical response:
    "Struggles by giving the impression that it's always on the brink of heading somewhere, but has no clear sense of which direction to take."Eric Kohn (Indiewire)
    "Some lively dance scenes and welcome splashes of humour do help compensate somewhat for a lack of depth in the characterisation."Catherine Bray (Film4)
    "Strip away the African context and Grigris is a socially conscious morality play in a grand European tradition stretching back through the Dardennes and Ken Loach to the Italian neorealist movement."Stephen Dalton (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "Once his casting was sorted, Haroun perhaps decided to rest on his laurels and left his two leads, Souleymane Deme and Anais Monory, to fend for their lives in a plot that doesn’t hold much water or makes much sense."Dan Fainaru (Screen Daily)

    Un Certain Regard Film
    La Jaura De Oro (The Golden Cage)
    directed by Diego Quemada-Diez
    Mexico, Spain

    Critical response:
    "Does precious little to elevate itself from the endless flow of similar consciousness-raising tales clogging the world's film-festival circuit."Neil Young (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "Though it takes some work to engage with the characters at first, the journey makes a powerful impact, encouraging audiences — especially American ones — to re-evaluate the way they look upon undocumented immigrants"Peter Debruge (Variety)

    Un Certain Regard Film
    My Sweet Pepper Land
    directed by Hiner Saleem

    Critical response:
    "A modern and original film that makes you think without sinking the viewer into gloom and depression. A must see!"Céline Louis ( [translated from French]
See our other #Cannes2013 coverage:


Unknown said...

Man, some of those reviews towards "Only God Forgives" are brutal as I read some of them. The description of the violence was extreme. That is not going to stop me from seeing it. I'm a NWR fan after discovering more of his work last year and I really, really, really want to see this. Plus, that scene with Kristin Scott Thomas. Fuck...

Unknown said...

These reviews have only made me want to see Only God Forgives more! Sounds fascinating and disgusting!

Unknown said...

On my way to the Preview of Only God Forgives right now! I'm glad I saw The Pusher series recently, it looks like Refn might be heading down the same sort of path here. I confess I'm really excited - and this coverage fed that. Nice work as always BT.

Unknown said...

I'm back and I loved it. Loved it loved it loved it. This is a film there should be positive buzz about. Yes - hugely violent - but chillingly good.

Unknown said...

Ahhhh. On the one hand, I'm so very glad to hear that you loved it, seeing how often that we agree on films in general, I know I will likely have the same response; but on the other hand, I'm totally envious of you right now. I won't get to see it for at least another couple of months...

Unknown said...

Seems most of the critics don't have much of a stomach for the ultra-violence. If anything, reading reviews like that make me want to see it more.

Unknown said...

I totally agree. Can't wait!

Unknown said...

I completely understand! And this year I'm a reviewer, so I'm seeing everything before the festival itself - but I won't say too much about this, I don't want to spoil it for you. But I think you will like it. It's very beautiful.

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