Thursday, May 15, 2014

2014 Cannes Film Festival: Day 2

Cinema of the Beach © FDC
  • Day 2 - Thursday, May 15

  • Recap of the second day of the 67th Cannes Film Festival (Festival de Cannes), which runs until May 25, 2014.

    Two Compétition films were screened today:
    • From the UK, co-produced with France and Germany, Mr. Turner by Mike Leigh.

      The former Palme d'Or (1996: Secrets & Lies) and Best Director (1993: Naked) winner competes at Cannes for the fifth time, with this, his thirteenth feature film.

      Official Synopsis:
      Explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851).
    • From Mauritania, co-produced with France, Timbuktu by Abderrahmane Sissako.

      A previous winner of the FIPRESCI Prize (2002: Heremakono) in the Un Certain Regard section. This is his first film in the Official Competition.

      Official Synopsis:
      Not far from Timbuktu, now ruled by the religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully in the dunes with his family. Until a fateful accident forces Kidane to face the new laws of the foreign occupants.

    In the Un Certain Regard section:
    • Opening the section from France, Party Girl by Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger, and Samuel Theis.

      Co directed by three longtime friends and graduates from La Fémis, this is their first trip to Cannes.

      Official Synopsis:
      Angelique is a 60-year-old bar hostess. She still likes to party, she still likes men. At night she makes them drink, in a cabaret by the French-German border.
    • And from Israel, That Lovely Girl (Loin de mon père) by Keren Yedaya.

      Previous winner of the Camera d'Or (2004: Or), which screened in the Critics Week sidebar. This is her second feature film, and first to appear in the competition at Cannes.

      Official Synopsis:
      Moshe and Tami are a couple, Moshe is in his fifties and Tami is in her early twenties. They live together in a cruel and violent relationship, from which Tami seems unable to set herself free. Tami and Moshe are father and daughter.
    Competition Film
    Mr. Turner
    directed by Mike Leigh
    UK, France, Germany
    Quotes from the press conference:

    "He was a great, sublime radical painter. I found it possible to generate plenty of interesting content from the life of this fascinating man."Mike Leigh on the subject of the film.
    "I already worked on a film (Topsy Turvy) that took place in Victorian times. There was a responsibility to create a reality that was properly grounded in the research. You can do all the research, but you still have to create a characterization. There was no script, as always."Leigh on the historical accuracy.

    Critical response:
    "The immaculate, semi-gothic production design anchors you in the period, as does a script which feels like it was laboured-over for years, decades, without ever feeling precious or wantonly ornate."David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
    "Leigh has made another highly personal study of art, commerce and the glacial progress of establishment tastes, built around a lead performance from longtime collaborator Timothy Spall that’s as majestic as one of Turner’s own swirling sunsets."Scott Foundas (Variety)
    "A successful and accomplished film, which is particularly well written and directed, and impeccably executed."Domenico La Porta (Cineuropa)
    "Leigh’s creation of the period, ranging geographically from Margate to London, exudes authenticity in every detail."Richard Mowe (Eye For Film)
    "Timothy Spall, gives what’s probably the finest performance of his career — the equal, at least, of his role in Leigh’s Secrets & Lies, which won the Palme d’Or here at Cannes 18 years ago."Robbie Collin (The Telegraph)
    "Anchored by a masterful performance by Timothy Spall in a role he was born to play, and gilded by career-best effort from DoP Dick Pope, working for the first time on digital for Leigh to bridge the gap between the painting and cinematography, Mr. Turner manages to illuminate that nexus between biography and art with elegant understatement."Leslie Felperin (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "Moving, scholarly and serious as it is, Mr. Turner may be the most entertaining art biopic yet made – a grand canvas of inexhaustible riches."Jonathan Romney (Screen Daily)
    Competition Film
    directed by Abderrahmane Sissako
    Mauritania, France
    Quotes from the press conference:

    "The triggering factor, a couple was stoned in a tiny village in the north of Mali. However it wasn't the event, but the fact that no one spoke about it. The world today is becoming increasingly indifferent to the face of horror."Director Abderrahmane Sissako on the film's origin.
    "In Africa everything is focused on the family. This is a tale of a family and we were like a family. He gave me general advice and his view of things, yet I was free to do my own work as an actor."Actor Ibrahim Ahmed

    Critical response:
    "The beauty of Timbuktu comes from its narrative simplicity, from the strength of the acting and from editing which alternates immediate cuts with more contemplative moments, broadly facilitated by the beauty of the frames and the magic and natural lighting of this timeless place."Domenico La Porta (Cineuropa)
    "Sissako confirms his status as one of the true humanists of recent cinema with this stunningly shot and deeply empathetic drama."Jay Weissberg (Variety)
    "After all the orgiastic brutalities Hollywood indulges in to show the mean streak of the human race, Sissako’s precise, economic, style looks almost monastic, but unsurprisingly obtains a far more powerful effect."Dan Fainaru (Screen Daily)
    "A great help is the palpably sensuous cinematography by Sofian El Fani who follows his fine work on Blue Is the Warmest Color with an open-air feast of sunlight and space."Deborah Young (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "This is in no way the remorselessly grim film its subject matter might lead you to expect – it’s full of life, irony, poetry and bitter unfairness. It demands respect, but it also earns it. "Tim Robey (The Telegraph)
    "The individual set pieces linger in the mind, while the film as a whole bursts with beauty and originality."Sophie Monks Kaufman (Little White Lies)
    "For all its value in bearing witness to the kind of atrocious acts that get but little attention on the world stage, this is not mere testimony, this is cleverly crafted and remarkably affecting storytelling. "Jessica Kiang (The Playlist)
    Un Certain Regard Opening Film
    Party Girl
    directed by Marie Amachoukeli, Clair Burger, Samuel Theis

    Critical response:
    "Explores some of the same terrain as Sebastian Lelio’s 2013 Berlinale hit “Gloria,” although Paulina Garcia’s titular Santiago divorcee proved more consistently empathetic."Charles Gant (Variety)
    "While the three directors are certainly enamored with their subject (after all, she is one of their moms), they sometimes allow that to get in the way of efficient filmmaking, letting seemingly improvised scenes run on for no major reason."Jordan Mintzer (The Hollywood Reporter)
    Un Certain Regard Film
    That Lovely Girl (Loin de mon père)
    directed by Keren Yedaya

    Critical response:
    "Claustrophobic and essentially a two-hander, it's not so much a movie as a series of increasingly traumatizing, bleak indignities... Even Lars Von Trier would probably shift uneasily in his seat and find it a bit much."Oliver Lyttelton (The Playlist)
The 2014 Cannes Film Festival runs from May 14-25, be sure to return for our daily coverage!

Screening Tomorrow at #Cannes2014 (Friday, May 16):
  • Captives by Atom Egoyan (In Competition)
  • Winter Sleep by Nuri Bilge Ceylan (In Competition)
  • The Blue Room by Mathieu Amalric (Un Certain Regard)
  • Amour Fou by Jessica Hausner (Un Certain Regard)

See our other coverage of the 67th Cannes Film Festival:


Unknown said...

I'm happy that Mr. Turner is getting great reviews as I love Mike Leigh and relieved that he's managed to liven things up after the Grace of Monaco debacle. I'm interested in Timbuktu as I feel the need to watch more film from Africa.

Unknown said...

Hi Mette! It's not so weird, festivals are great to learn about the newest films to watch out for... and to avoid.

Unknown said...

My thought was frantically preparing damage control for the domestic release.

Unknown said...

Good to see the positive reviews for Mr Turner. Wouldn't surprise me if Timothy Spall wins a few awards for his performance over the next year.

Unknown said...

I don't think I want to see a film that would make Lars von Trier feel uncomfortable. But Mr Turner and Timbuktu sound like they're worth a watch. It's true what Steven said, African films don't get much attention. I might not have seen just one.

Unknown said...

Yeah that's good to see, as I know you are a huge Mike Leigh supporter. From the early reviews, I'd wager Spall as the favorite for Best Actor.

Unknown said...

I think the subject matter of THAT LOVELY GIRL might be too grim, even for me.

As for African films, surely you've seen DISTRICT 9.

Unknown said...

I'm not the biggest fan of Mike Leigh but I cannot ignore Mr Turner which is big news in the UK. Everybody at my gallery is talking about it! I loved Topsy Turvy and so seeing Mike Leigh make a film about JMW Turner with Timothy Spall makes me cautiously optimistic that I've found another film I can like.

Unknown said...

I feel the same way about Leigh. Not usually excited about his films but this one looks interesting. Great to see you around filmnohito!

Unknown said...

Haha, nooo. I really want to see it though.

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