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In the Cannes – Days 3 & 4

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D’accord mes amis, here’s a quick round-up of the last couple of days at the festival they call Cannes, mainly because that is where it takes place.

One of the competition films I forgot to mention that was screened on Day 2 was Jupiter’s Moon, made by Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó (who directed the excellent White God from a few years previous). The film sadly received largely negative reviews with IndieWire describing it as “A Vapid But Visually Astonishing Riff On Europe’s Refugee Crisis.” and Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian claiming “Jupiter’s Moon isn’t a total success – but it’s aiming at the stars.”

And so to Day 3 and a shaky start for the Netflix financed competition-entry film Okja directed by Bong Joon-Ho (The Host, Snowpiercer). When the Netflix logo appeared at the beginning of the film a large number of the audience booed while several applauded, and then it became apparent that the film was being projected at the incorrect ratio as heads were out of frame and so more booing ensued! The film was re-started, the festival apologised and the film received relatively good reviews and even a standing ovation for it’s afternoon screening! A five-star review in The Guardian followed and a favourable review by David Jenkins in Little White Lies who particularly praised it’s young star Ahn Seo-Hyun.

Legendary New Wave director Agnes Varda’s (she’s 89 in a few days time!) new film Visages, Villages was, perhaps surprisingly, playing here “out of competition”. Her first with a co-director (photographer/installation artist JR), the film received unanimous acclaim from the critics. Screen Daily calling it “a tender collaboration and an engaging, warm-hearted journey that never overstays its welcome.”

Day 4 of the festival and to a film screening in competition from a director I have the great pleasure of knowing, and a film that I am very much looking forward to seeing, Ruben Östlund’s The Square. Fortunately I was pleased to see the film received a majority of rave reviews with Vulture reporting that it is “a Fantastically Uncomfortable Art-World Farce”, The Guardian giving it four stars along with The Telegraph.

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Next up, and to another film that received pretty much universal praise from the ciritcs, is Robin Campillo’s competition entry, 120 Beats Per Minute, with Entertainment Weekly already suggesting it could win the Palme d’Or. Guy Lodge for Variety said ” Campillo’s outstanding AIDS activist drama melds the personal, the political and the erotic to heart-bursting effect.”

And finally to Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) competition film about Nouvelle Vague director, Jean-Luc Godard, entitled Redoubtable. Louis Garrel stars as Godard in this adaptation of Godard’s ex-wife Anne Wiazemsky’s memoir, One Year Later. The film received very mixed reviews and even Godard himself called it “A stupid, stupid idea for a movie!”. Just before the screening was about to start, the auditorium was evacuated due to a bomb scare. One report suggests that when the journalists were asked to move by the security guards, they just remained there protesting about not being allowed in to see the film! Only in Cannes, sacré bleu!

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