Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2014 Cannes Film Festival: Day 8

Michel Hazanavicius and Bérénice Bejo at the Photocall for The Search © FDC / K. Vygrivach
  • Day 8 - Wednesday, May 21

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

    Two Compétition films were screened today:
    • The Search by Michel Hazanavicius (France, Georgia).

      The latest from the Academy Award winning director of 2011's The Artist. This is his second time in the main competition programme.

      Official Synopsis:
      The Second Chechen War. 1999. THE SEARCH recounts, on a human scale, a powerful story of conflict told through four lives that will be brought together by a shocking twist of fate.
    • Goodbye to Language (Adieu au language) by Jean-Luc Godard (France).

      This 3D film, is the seventh time in the competition lineup for the legendary New Wave director.

      Official Synopsis:
      The idea is simple: A married woman and a single man meet. They love, they argue, fists fly. A dog strays between town and country. The seasons pass.

    In the Un Certain Regard section:
    • Fantasia by Wang Chao (China).

      The former Un Certain Regard award winner (2006: Luxury Car), represents the only film from China in the section.

      Official Synopsis:
      Father got leukaemia. Mother was laid off long ago. She had to borrow money for her husband everywhere. Sister went to a night club to be a waitress secretly and soon became a “call girl”. Lin was cold-shouldered at school because of father’s illness.
    • Snow in Paradise by Andrew Hulme (UK).

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

      Official Synopsis:
      Based on a true story. Dave is a petty criminal who thrives on drugs and violence in London’s East End. When his actions kill his best friend Tariq he’s propelled into unknown feelings of shame and remorse. He discovers Islam and begins to find peace until his old life of crime comes back to test his new belief.
    Competition Film
    The Search
    directed by Michel Hazanavicius
    France, Georgia
    Quotes from the press conference:

    "The main reason for this film is that I wanted to tell a story that few have told. I thought it was worthwhile to make a film on this subject, and to show the human and emotional side of the Chechen war."Michel Hazanavicius on the impetus for The Search.
    "What interested me most of all was the fact that he wrote a character who wasnt the hero. In war films, it's always the westerners who know everything, and save the world. My character gradually learns that things are much more complicated than that. That you have to work on a smaller scale in order to make an impact."Bérénice Bejo on her character.
    "After The Artist, I was in a somewhat strange situation, I had the impression I could do anything I wanted, so I felt it was right to make this film. Had I made 'The Artist 2', I would have felt a great deal of pressure, because people would have compared the sequel with the first. This film is completely different, that's how I prefer to work."Michel Hazanavicius on the success of The Artist.

    Critical response:
    "Intermittently stirring and undeniably well made as it slowly unspools a multi-pronged drama set during the 1999 outbreak of the Second Chechen War, the picture has run-of-the-mill pacing and storytelling lapses that are compounded by its ultimately hectoring, didactic approach."Justin Chang (Variety)
    "Carole is not Bejo’s finest character and the actress is capable of far more subtle work than the role requires. "Fionnuala Halligan (Screen Daily)
    "The very consumer-like element of its packaging does not erase the accuracy of the message which appears in the eyes of a child sucked into the vortex of gratuitous and unpunished crimes."Fabien Lemercier (Cineuropa)
    "Lacks the credible emotions of the original and never assembles a convincing reason for its existence. "Eric Kohn (IndieWire)
    "The results are misjudged and indulgent enough that we’re glad to learn that his next project promises a return to more light-hearted territory ."Oliver Lyttleton (The Playlist)
    "There’s a film like The Search at every festival: it’s not especially bad, more a weary obligation with one overriding problem. No one actually engages in a search, or not much of one."Tim Robey (The Telegraph)
    "A sprawling, multi-stranded stock drama that delves deep into the Second Chechen War, but somehow comes up seeming compassionless and cold. "Adam Woodward (Little White Lies)
    "With a muted colour palette in the style of Saving Private Ryan, Hazanavicius creates scenes of conflict that have echoes of everything from Apocalypse Now, to Full Metal Jacket."Richard Mowe (Eye For Film)
    "Everything is used in the service of a worthy argument, but its melodramatic plotting, its banal characterisation and heavy-handed point-making rob the film of the essential credibility it needs if it's going to intervene in the conflict effectively."John Bleasdale (Cine-Vue)
Competition Film
Goodbye to Language (Adieu au language)
directed by Jean-Luc Godard
Quotes from the press conference:

Jean-Luc Godard did not attend the festival, but instead sent the following video letter to festival president Gilles Jacob and festival director Thierry Fremaux

Critical response:
"The high-wire marshalling of images, the frankly dazzling 3D and, of course, copious amounts of dog lol footage mean that Goodbye To Language exists as an implacable object d'art that's entirely enigmatic and wholly accessible at the same time."David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
"It's his most outwardly aggressive statement against contemporary civilization since the barbaric climax of "Weekend.""Eric Kohn (IndieWire)
"Science fiction seems somehow fitting for what you might call Godard’s anti-Avatar."Jonathan Romney (Screen Daily)
Un Certain Regard Film
directed by Wang Chao

Critical response:
Check back for review snippets.
Un Certain Regard Film
Snow in Paradise
directed by Andrew Hulme

Critical response:
"So obnoxiously convinced of both its edginess and depth while doing nothing but trotting out the same Cockney gangster cliches we’ve seen done better twenty times elsewhere"Jessica Kiang (The Playlist)
"Its fragmented structure becomes a mannered cover-up for a surfeit of clichés and a shortage of narrative complexity."David Rooney (The Hollywood Reporter)
The 2014 Cannes Film Festival runs from May 14-25, be sure to return for our daily coverage!

Screening Tomorrow at #Cannes2014 (Thursday, May 22):
  • Jimmy's Hall by Ken Loach (In Competition)
  • Mommy by Xavier Dolan (In Competition)
  • Charlie's Country by Rolf de Heer (Un Certain Regard)
  • Misunderstood by Asia Argento (Un Certain Regard)

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


Unknown said...

Godard is always intriguing no matter if the film is good or not as I want to see it. I can't believe the negative reviews of The Search. I think Hazanavicius should stick to lighter-fare though Bejo was great in The Past.

Unknown said...

I think with THE SEARCH, it's the case of an artist suddenly finding success and given free rein, but not knowing what to do with it. I'm sure he will quickly settle down and rediscover himself.

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