Thursday, May 22, 2014

2014 Cannes Film Festival: Day 9

Ken Loach, Photocall for Jimmy's Hall © AFP
  • Day 9 - Thursday, May 22

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

    Two Compétition films were screened today:
    • Jimmy's Hall by Ken Loach (UK, Ireland, France).

      The latest from the veteran British director, who screens his work in the main competition for the twelfth (rumored to be the final) time in his much decorated career. Loach is a previous winner of the Palme d'Or (2006: The Wind that Shakes the Barley), and the Jury Prize on three separate occasions, the most recent being for (2011: The Angels' Share).

      Official Synopsis:
      In 1921, Jimmy Gralton's sin was to build a dance hall on a rural crossroads in Ireland, where young people could come to learn, to argue, to dream... but above all to dance and have fun.
    • Mommy by Xavier Dolan (Canada).

      After paying his dues in the Directors' Fortnight and Un Certain Regard sections, the young Canadian director makes his main competition debut, with his fifth feature film in as many years.

      Official Synopsis:
      A widowed single mom finds herself burdened with the full-time custody of her explosive 15-year-old ADHD son. As they try to make ends meet and struggle with their impetuous and unpredictable ménage, the new girl across the street, Kyla, benevolently offers needed support. Together, they find a new sense of balance, and hope is regained.

    In the Un Certain Regard section:
    • Charlie's Country by Rolf de Heer (Australia).

      For his fourteenth feature film, the previous Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize winner (2006: Ten Canoes), returns to Cannes with a film co-written and starring friend and frequent collaborator, Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil (Walkabout).

      Official Synopsis:
      Blackfella Charlie is out of sorts. The intervention is making life more difficult on his remote community, what with the proper policing of whitefella laws now. So Charlie takes off, to live the old way, but in so doing sets off a chain of events in his life that has him return to his community chastened, and somewhat the wiser.
    • Misunderstood (Incompresa) by Asia Argento (Italy, France).

      The Italian film star makes her first trip to the section, with her third feature film as a director. Charlotte Gainsbourg co-stars.

      Official Synopsis:
      Aria is a 9 year-old girl who unwillingly finds herself to live the violent separation of her parents, drifted apart from her half-sisters in an extended family. Her parents do not love her as much as she would like. Aria, pulled back and forth in the conflict between her father and her mother, rejected and pushed away, walks through the city with a striped bag and a black cat, touching the abyss and the tragedy and just trying to protect her innocence.
    Competition Film
    Jimmy's Hall
    directed by Ken Loach
    UK, Ireland, France
    Quotes from the press conference:

    "I said that during a moment of maximum pressure. We hadn't shoot a foot of film and the mountain in front of us was quite high. I thought, I can't get through this again. But you come out the other end. We'll just watch the World Cup and see what the autumn brings. Maybe a little film, maybe not. It's a hard job to give up really."77-year-old director Ken Loach on rumors of retirement.
    "The two films do sit side by side, TWTSTB was a bigger more epic story, this is just a microcosm. It's just a dance hall in a country bog where some kids enjoy dancing, exchange ideas, learn poems... and that's really dangerous. It was the idea of examining it in microcosm that was attractive, but of course they do relate."Loach on the similarities between Jimmy's Hall and The Wind that Shakes the Barley.
    "We not only shot on film, we cut on film. It's not as quick as digital, so you consider what you're doing more carefully. Digital is about speed, and cutting out the people involved in the job. The pressure is to go digital. But, celluloid is real, you touch it, you see it, you make one cut at a time. It's a much more human way of working."Loach on the industry move towards digital.

    Critical response:
    "A minor-key but eminently enjoyable work by a master craftsman."Scott Foundas (Variety)
    "The dialogue comes across as a series of statements rather than convincing as a proper conversation, and while the period design and costumes are nicely put together it all feels rather safe."Mark Adams (Screen Daily)
    "What we're left with is an odd, only fitfully engaging hybrid of The Quiet Man and Footloose, which neither packs much of a punch nor is particularly nimble on its feet."Neil Young (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "This is exasperatingly thin stuff from Loach and Laverty, who have in the past built far more textured narratives, peopled by far richer characters"Robbie Collin (The Telegraph)
    "The script, by Paul Laverty, has a straightforward quality that sometimes underserves Gralton's formidable mission to revitalize his old home, but whenever the music fires up and another dance sequence takes shape, "Jimmy's Hall" introduces another surge of energy that permeates the drab surroundings."Eric Kohn (IndieWire)
    "This is a film of black and white, good and bad, in which no grey area exists and almost all conflicts are external, imposed from elsewhere. No matter how much we may agree with the underlying argument, this is paint-by-numbers political filmmaking, and Loach is better than that."Jessica Kiang (The Playlist)
    "A beautiful and deceptively complex film which expends entirely with the moaning (okay, well not entirely) in order to put pure faith back into the images."David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
    "Loach gives voice with eloquence to the disenfranchised and celebrates the spirit of working people."Richard Mowe (Eye For Film)
    "The script from from regular Loach collaborator Paul Laverty feels airless, as if nothing much is at stake" John Bleasdale (Cine-Vue)
Competition Film
directed by Xavier Dolan
Quotes from the press conference:

"It's not a duty, it's not like work. I don't feel like I'm required to make a film every six months, it's just my passion. It's like a hard drug, I need to express myself and to create."Xavier Dolan on his prolific work output.
"My own father impresses me, but the father figure in general does not. With mothers, I feel a totally different need to depict strong women. I know this doesn't always please people, but for me it's an absolute necessity."Dolan on mothers and female characters.
"Music is the soul of a movie. For me in Mommy it was more about music playing in the film rather than on the film. All of the songs are on radios, in cars, in bars. I wanted the music to be incorporated into the lives of the characters."Dolan on music.
"I am not scared that people will hate my films. I have the fear of falling down those red steps, I have the fear of stuttering when I shouldn't. But I don't have the fear of telling a story, and creating it with people that inspire me. "Dolan on his fears.

Critical response:
"Undoubtedly a major contender for the Palme d'Or, and undoubtedly one of our top films of the festival, nothing in Dolan's previous work, which we have liked to varying degrees, really warned us that he was going to so comprehensively slay us with a story this warm, human and humane."Jessica Kiang (The Playlist)
"Dolan's characters endure a series of seismic up and downs, the movie maintains a vitality and movement that goes beyond craftsmanship to illustrate Dolan's evolution as an artist."Eric Kohn (IndieWire)
"It’s uncanny how much Dolan’s style and overall solipsism have evolved in five years’ time, resulting in a funny, heartbreaking and, above all, original work that feels derivative of no one, not even himself."Peter Debruge (Variety)
"Filled with tenderness and compassion, Mommy may well be Dolan’s most accomplished film to date."Allan Hunter (Screen Daily)
"Feels like a strong step forward, striking his most considered balance yet between style and substance, drama-queen posturing and real heartfelt depth."Stephen Dalton (The Hollywood Reporter)
"It comes at you baying and rattling like an early Pedro Almodóvar comedy, threaded through with an infectious love of full-throttle melodrama, and flinging its energy right back to the cheap seats, thanks to Dolan's customarily zippy design choices."Tim Robey (The Telegraph)
"Even with certain elements left to puzzle over, Dolan's fifth feature is a sophisticated and sincere celebration of motherhood. Once he killed his mother. Now he has made her live forever."Sophie Monks Kaufman (Little White Lies)
"Self-indulgently overlong (a trait shared by several Competition films) but despite this, the energy and sheer visual bravura carry it along on a wave of emotionally truthful performances, with narrative twists of considerable ingenuity."Richard Mowe (Eye For Film)
"Reminiscent of one of Almódovar's heroines, Dorval balances perfectly her brashness and brass, with a tenderness and sensitivity she cannot allow herself to fully express lest her financial and familial problems overwhelm her entirely." John Bleasdale (Cine-Vue)
Un Certain Regard Film
Charlie's Country
directed by Rolf de Heer

Critical response:
"Anchored by the charismatic, tragicomic performance of indigenous icon David Gulpilil, this atmospheric and cautionary tale of a “Blackfella” caught between two cultures has all the makings of a solid arthouse performer."Eddie Cockrell (Variety)
"Equal parts ethnographic and poetic, this eloquent drama's stirring soulfulness is laced with the sorrow of cultural dislocation but also with lovely ripples of humor and even joy."David Rooney (The Hollywood Reporter)
Un Certain Regard Film
Misunderstood (Incompresa)
directed by Asia Argento
Italy, France

Critical response:
"Argento seems to have learned from the experience of her overwrought first features, or maybe from life itself, that there is more to childhood than Gothic horror, and the mischievous moments of being a kid captured in Misunderstood show a filmmaker who is maturing in the direction of audience appeal."Deborah Young (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 (Friday, May 23):
  • Clouds of Sils Maria by Olivier Assayas (In Competition)
  • Leviathan by Andrey Zvyagintsev (In Competition)

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


Unknown said...

I'm glad Jimmy's Hall is getting a good response as I like Ken Loach while I'm intrigued by Mommy as I haven't seen anything by Xavier Dolan as I think should see his films.

Unknown said...

That's good press for Xavier Dolan, the Counting Crows clip from Mommy whet my appetite. Would really open his work to a wider audience winning the Palme d'Or. Great to read it could be his accomplished film to date.

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