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Cannes 2009
Daily Movie News, Photos And Exclusive Video From The 2009 Cannes Film Festival

Cannes: The End

Posted on Thursday May 28, 2009, 08:52 by Damon Wise

The awards are over, and who would have thought that The White Ribbon would win? Well, most people really. I would have gone for it myself, except that Lars Von Trier was still around on Saturday afternoon, which is often a sign that the filmmaker has been tipped off about a possible win. As it was, his surreal, brilliant Antichrist only won the best actress award, for Charlotte Gainsbourg, and she looked visibly moved at the closing ceremony. Other than that, the awards went pretty much as I thought; it was only ever really between Michael Haneke and Von Trier for the Palme D'Or. A Prophet got the Grand Prix, Christoph Waltz took best actor (“You gave me back my vocation,” he told Tarantino from the stage), Alain Resnais received a special honorary award, and Andrea Arnold and Park Chan-Wook shared a jury prize for Fish Tank and Thirst respectively.

The only what-the-f... came with the best director prize, which went to Brillanta Mendoza, whose film Kinatay was, ironically,...

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Cannes Day Ten: The White Ribbon

Posted on Friday May 22, 2009, 18:59 by Damon Wise

Apologies for not updating, but the rigours of Cannes mean that one can either do interviews, see films, or get drunk and do nothing at all. I have, of course, been taking the first option, and although I cannot reveal who with, I can now say with impunity that I now know quite a lot about one of the 20 films in competition, having spoken to pretty much everyone in it or involved in it. In the last 48 hours I've only seen one film: Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon. And while tiredness, bad signage in the Palais and pathetic air conditioning conspired to ruin that viewing experience, I think this is a very strong film with a lot of potential to win several of the prizes available on Sunday.

In my semi-official reaction to the film's PR people I described it as The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher as related by The Fast Show's Rowley Birkin QC; it's a sort of pre-WW1 Midsomer Murders mystery in which the crimes are never solved while the seeds of many, many more are sown. I haven't li...

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Photo Special: Inglourious Basterds Photocall

Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 15:34 by Amar Vijay

Photos from the Cannes photocall for Inglourious Basterds

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Cannes Day Eight: Basterds!

Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 11:05 by Damon Wise

As the lights went down for Inglourious Basterds I seriously thought I might have an anxiety attack. One minute this film looked like it would never be made, the next it was in production, then it was in post and then it was in the can. And then it was in Cannes, all within the space of under a year. But the reason I felt so nervous was because I wasn't sure he would have enough time to get it right. The script was a monster; it involved an ensemble cast that would need perfect – not just good – choices, and the ending was a very, very bold gambit. To the point of madness, in fact. So I'm pleased to report that not only is Inglourious Basterds the film I wanted it to be, it really should satisfy those who want Quentin Tarantino to get back to the intricate, pop Rubik's cube stylings of Pulp Fiction, but with more subtext to chew on and deeper emotional shading.

The only cue I had to the film's finished form was a promise from producer Erica Steinberg: “I...

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Cannes Photo Roundup

Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 10:04 by Amar Vijay

More photos of stars in Cannes

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Cannes Day Seven: Broken Embraces

Posted on Wednesday May 20, 2009, 00:21 by Damon Wise

Excuse the late blog but I'm still not quite sure what to say about the new film by Pedro Almodovar. I saw Broken Embraces just before the festival (it's been out in Spain for a few weeks now), and it really didn't grab me. I've seen all but one of the Spanish director's 17 major features – all on the big screen, my favourites being Matador and High Heels – so I'm not being mealy mouthed: I just can't quite figure out anything better to say, other than it's one of the director's better minor-key works, with a  stronger-than-usual melancholy edge. I think the problem is that the main character is male, and for some reason I just don't find Almodovar's heroes as engaging as his heroines. And, also, I was misled by the mistranslated pre-publicity, which suggested an almost Charlie Kaufman-esque film-within-a-film. But as it stands, Broken Embraces is a very straightforward melodrama about a blind film director (Lluis Homar) who has lost his sight and the love of his life (Penelo...

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Cannes Day Six: Looking For Eric

Posted on Monday May 18, 2009, 16:46 by Damon Wise

After the weekend's love-in, during which I showered praise on Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock and went slightly insane for Lars Von Trier's Antichrist, I feel I have to calm my fevered mind down a little bit in anticipation for Inglourious Basterds, a film that's about to occupy the best part of three days of my life. I've already given it two on set; I did an unforgettable set visit in December that has pretty much left me desperate to see it and... I WANT THE WAIT TO BE OVER NOW! But the thing that's really killing me is that Tarantino is so supremely confident about it. Pretty much the last thing he said to me, when I asked if he had any reservations about tackling a WW2 movie, was, “Do I look like I have any reservations?” Well, he didn't and he still doesn't. I'm not naming any names (Cough! Gaspar Noe! Cough!), but while other directors are still fiddling with their films to get them ready for the competition, QT has locked his and banked it. He's been out seeing other movies, too, since he a...

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Cannes Photo Roundup

Posted on Monday May 18, 2009, 11:14 by Amar Vijay

A selection of snaps from the 2009 Cannes Film Festival

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Cannes Day Five: Antichrist!

Posted on Monday May 18, 2009, 03:51 by Damon Wise

It's incredibly late at night, or rather, it's early in the morning, but I feel I have to write about Antichrist, the new film by Lars Von Trier. I avoided everyone who went to the earlier screening and I saw the film cold (well, lukewarm by anyone else's standards, since I knew that Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg were in it, and that their only co-stars were a fox, a deer and a bird). Anyhow, I was blown away by it. You will have read by now that it is terrible, an embarrassment and a career low, and I can't argue with any of that, since I can't figure out how to give it an Empire rating myself. So it's not a film I can recommend. But it's definitely something I can say is worth seeing if you want to see where film history has been, is at, and can go (if that makes sense). To be honest, I thought that Lars, sensing his career as an ageing enfant terrible was about to go tits up, would deliver a gruesome, gruelling genre movie to re-establish himself as a provocateur. H...

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Cannes Day Four: Thelma and not Louise*

Posted on Sunday May 17, 2009, 11:22 by Damon Wise

Today is going to be quiet, film-wise, as i won't get a chance to see anything until Lars Von Trier's horror thriller Antichrist, which screens this evening and which I'm most excited about. So to fill today's blog slot, here are some excerpts from an interview I did yesterday with the very wonderful Thelma Schoonmaker, a brilliant editor who had the good fortune not only to meet Martin Scorsese back in the day, an encounter that resulted in one of the most incredible collaborations in the history of film, but to marry the late visionary British filmmaker Michael Powell, a passionate and intelligent director whose influence can still be seen today in films by directors as diverse as Scorsese, George Romero and Baz Luhrmann. Francis Ford Coppola's new film Tetro even includes a sequence based on Powell's majestic Tales Of Hoffman, made with longtime partner Emeric Pressburger, but his clearly heartfelt tribute it doesn't even come even halfway close to the original.

Thanks to ITV Global...

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Cannes Day Four: A Prophet and Mother

Posted on Saturday May 16, 2009, 17:32 by Damon Wise

Sadly, I don't have much time to write about today's discoveries, but I'll make a special effort to bring your attention to Jacques Audiard's A Prophet (pictured) and Bong Joon-ho's Mother. A Prophet is an astonishingly detailed crime drama that could end up being this year's Gomorra, but although it's arguably more accessible, its 2hr 30 running time might deter many that might otherwise be drawn to it. Beautifully performed, shot and performed, it stars Tahar Rahim as Malik, a young illiterate Arab who is sent to prison for assaulting cops. Formerly a juvenile delinquent, he is now old enough to go to the big house, and he is immediately accosted by a Corsican gang who run the joint. The Corsicans want him to kill an informant who is being housed there in transit, and though he is reluctant, Malik realises he has to do what they say or be killed in forfeit. The first half hour is tense and desperately uncomfortable as the Corsicans train him in murder: he learns ...

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Cannes Day Three: Part Two

Posted on Friday May 15, 2009, 18:47 by Damon Wise

I hadn't planned to see Taking Woodstock today because it clashed with my plans to see the restoration of Powell and Pressburger's The Red Shoes, one of my all-time favourite films. But now I've seen Ang Lee's latest, I'm so very moved to write about this fabulous film at once that my entire evening will have to be revised. In short, Lee has done it again; he really has to be one of the most intelligent, subtle and all-round perfect directors working in the English language. What he has done here beats Cameron Crowe at his own game; it's like a Wes Anderson movie with real people and real feelings, and, for me, it's the first truly great movie to receive its world premiere in 2009.

Set 40 years ago this August, Taking Woodstock is an account of the setting up and staging of the three-day music festival that provided both the acme of the 60s experience and also the end, the quintessence of the moment – “the crest of a high and beautiful wave” – lamented by Johnny...

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Cannes Day Three: Part One

Posted on Friday May 15, 2009, 11:04 by Damon Wise

Sorry! Sorry! I have made a terrible mistake! The screening of Fish Tank was at 11.30, not 11am as I presumed, which means I would have had to have left before the end to make my 1pm stage interview at the UK Pavilion with actor Matt Smith. Any by all means the film is great (“Borderline five stars,” said one normally unexcitable critic), so I'll try to catch up with it next Sunday at the repetitions. And beyond that, it's in Edinburgh anyway, plus it's out in the UK quite soon, I think. But the annoying thing is that I missed Humpday. Grrr. But that, too, is in Edinburgh. Hooray!

In the meantime, here are my thoughts on a couple of films I saw last night. Huacho is a Chilean film that follows a rural family in the day to day life. First their power goes, because they haven't paid their electricity bill. Then granny makes cheese and flogs it. The mum goes to work as a cleaner. Then the son goes to school. Then grandad puts up a fence. Er, and that's it. Beauti...

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Cannes Day Two: Tetro

Posted on Thursday May 14, 2009, 15:38 by Damon Wise

Day Two began with a conundrum: Fish Tank or Tetro? That is, the new film from the UK's Andrea Arnold, which I'm told is even better than her debut, Red Road, or the latest from Francis Ford Coppola, his allegedly back-to-basics, intimate masterpiece. In the end, I went for Tetro, figuring I can probably see Fish Tank tomorrow – which leaves me with tomorrow's conundrum – Humpday or Fish Tank? – seeing as it starts very soon after another film on my want-to-see list.

The big story with Tetro is that is would be, no pun intended, one from the heart, a highly personal story of two Italian-American brothers who are reunited in Buenos Aires. I hadn't seen Youth Without Youth, and nothing I heard about it made me want to, but I was keen to see Tetro all the same, largely because it stars the crazy Vincent Gallo, the lovely Maribel Verdu and the imperious Klaus Maria Brandauer. Two hours later I emerged somewhat disappointed. It's not a ca...

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Video: Bumblebee In Cannes

Posted on Wednesday May 13, 2009, 17:26 by Amar Vijay

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Cannes Day One: Up

Posted on Wednesday May 13, 2009, 17:02 by Damon Wise

The Cannes film festival got off to an unusual start for me, since I was actually able to get into the press screening of Up in good time and actually sit downstairs in the Salle Debussy, which may not sound like much of a treat but it should tell you something about the bureaucracy here that it is. It's like the scene in Borat when he realises his New York hotel room has a chair in it: king of the castle indeed. But what made the extra difference was the the 3D specs I was handed on the way in. Not the red and green ones I got for Creature From The Black Lagoon, or the polarised ones I got for Parasite or even My Bloody Valentine 3D: this were big chunky red plastic goggles. Even festival director Thierry Fremaux got excited, getting up onstage to take a snap of the bespectacled masses.

This certainly was the cutting edge of 3D, but the downside of wearing the damn things is that it made Up, a light, funny and very brisk comedy, seem longer than it ought...

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RECENT POSTS

Cannes: The End
By Damon Wise

Cannes Day Ten: The White Ribbon
By Damon Wise

Photo Special: Inglourious Basterds Photocall
By Amar Vijay

Cannes Day Eight: Basterds!
By Damon Wise

Cannes Photo Roundup
By Amar Vijay


RECENT COMMENTS

Cannes Video Blog #4
"1 - wtf was Kingsley on about?, hell, just what was he on?! Need his weedman contact details  livinlaj
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Cannes Memories
"Zing! Nice summary alright. Empire seems pretty united on being positive about Ta"  Acho
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Cannes Memories
"Thanks for the concise, relatively brief review - this is most appreciated when some critics seem to"  Manfrendshensindshen
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Cannes Video Blog #11
"Taken is one of those 'Ronseal' movies, in that it does exactly what it says on the tin ... in it's "  indytim
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Cannes Video Blog #11
"God, I love Taken so damn much, and yet hate it, too. Though you can't really take a film like that"  MovieMogul
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POPULAR POSTS

Cannes Day Eight: Basterds!
9 comments

Cannes Day Five: Antichrist!
5 comments

Cannes Day Two: Tetro
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Cannes Day Seven: Broken Embraces
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Cannes Day Three: Part Two
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