Bonjour mes amis, and welcome to a satirical and light-hearted daily round up of all the hot gossip, daily controversies and what’s hot and what’s not from the sun-drenched Croisette of the hottest festival on the film calendar!
Well, not quite, I am not actually at the festival but will be posting daily reports by living vicariously through the typed word of my fellow film critics as they queue aimlessly for hours to get into the latest films, gaze lovingly at the stars on the red carpet and rush off after a screening to be the first to post their online reviews. I shall be reporting from the comfort of a swivel chair in my 3″ by 8″ home-office or from the wooden benches at my favourite coffee shop in town, The Firestation.
So enough tittle-tattle I hear you cry, what’s going on at Cannes this year? Well this year the jury president is none other than Spanish director, Pedro Almodovar, and his jury comprises of actress Jessica Chastain (The Martian), X-Men actress Fan BingBing, Italian director Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty), composer Gabriel Yared (Betty Blue), actress Agnes Jaoui (The Taste of Others), The Handmaiden director Park Chan-Wook, the German director Maren Ade who should have won the Palme d’Or last year for the excellent Toni Erdmann, and erm….Will Smith.
The main controversy this year has been the inclusion of two films in the competition from the streaming site, Netflix, as French law states that a film cannot be screened by a subscription service until 36 months has elapsed from it’s theatrical release. Netflix has reacted by stating they do not intend to release the two films in question in French cinemas which has in turn outraged French cinemas and caused a new rule to come into play from next year’s festival where the distributor must pledge in advance that their film will receive a theatrical release in French cinemas. The two competition films caught up in this controversy are Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories starring Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Dustin Hoffman, and Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja starring Tilda Swinton.
And so to the opening film of the festival, which screened last night out of competition, and Cannes regular, Arnaud Desplechin’s Ismael’s Ghosts featuring a stellar cast of French talent in Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marion Cotillard, Mathieu Amalric and Louis Garrel. On paper this would seem a very steady and safe bet as an opening film, but judging by the comments from the vast majority of critics it was a bit of a damp squib, with The Guardian describing it as “a ragbag of half-cooked ideas for other movie projects.”
In direct contrast, one of the other films that screened last night was by a favourite director of mine, Andrei Zvyagintsev (The Return, Leviathan, Elena) who’s latest film, Loveless, wowed the critics. The Wrap already claiming it to be a top contender for the coveted top-prize, the Palme d’Or.
Ok, more tomorrow, I’m off for a Crêpe Suzette, Salut !