a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Festival de Cannes!

If the Philadelphia Film Festival takes place in April and Cannes opens up in May, does that mean we (the PFF) are last in the International Fest line? Each year, the fests seem to have their slate cleaned, introducing a whole new crop of titles that will either land a stateside distribution, or traverse the rocky terrain that is being shipped from fest to fest. (Or, they do both -- unnerving to think it's been a year since Time of the Wolf, to name one, premiered in France and that I saw it at the PFF yesterday.)

Anyway, the Cannes line-up was announced today, much to the wonder of those who were quick to dub last year's a barrage of non-stop mediocrity and piss-poor judgment. The jury's the first tip-off: Quentin? As the judge? Backed up by member Tsui Hark? Emmanuelle Beart and Tilda Swinton may serve to round that out -- if only a bit -- but one thing's for sure: genre movies are in this year.

The biggest carp is an obvious one: how come Pedro Almodovar's latest is out of competition? Do they perhaps already know that it's no continuation, after Talk To Her, into Almodovar's maturity/calming-the-fuck-down? And should it be interpreted as an insult that this Opening Night Film has been paired with the Closing Night Film of De-Lovely, Irwin Winkler's sure-to-be-dire Cole Porter mesh? The same injustice was served to Kiarostami (Five -- although he nicely, if slightly arrogantly, stated that he would no longer compete at festivals after winning oh so many) and Jean-Luc Godard (Notre Musique), while Ousmane Sembene (Moolade) got thrown into the "Un Certain Regard" section (as did Kiarostami, with the surely-meta- Five on Ten).

Thus endeth my bitching. There's still the expected crop of Anges Jouai (Comme Une Image), Walter Salles (Motorcycle Diaries) and one of the few returning doc-heads, Michael Moore (whose rather unfortunatley titled Farhenheit 9/11 gives him an unfair one-up on such luminaries as Ross McElwee and Chris Marker -- I'd say stop him, but...). Oh, and there's also Shrek 2 (in competition -- natch?), The Ladykillers (um?), and some new, hopefully fun stuff from Hirokazu Kore-eda (Nobody Knows) and Emir Kustirica (Zivot Je Cudo).

Dawn of the Dead and Bad Santa are also popping up in "Un Certain Regard." They came out, they did their thing, they're not gonna get anything -- why?

Of course, and this should by all means be unanimous, the things I'm most ballistically excited about are returns from two of my favorite auteurs. Clean, Olivier Assayas' reunion with Maggie Cheung, made the competition cut, and one hopes he does to the girl-rock-band movie what he's already done to filmmaking (Irma Vep), teenage amour fou (Cold Water), and, um, everything (Demonlover).

And then there's 2046, Wong Kar-Wai's very belated follow-up to In the Mood For Love -- still aching all these years for not trumping Dancer in the Dark. If reports and juicy morsels of gossip are to be trusted -- he keeps changing the plot; he's been shooting for four years; Gong Li showed up on set only to find the shoot over -- this thing's gonna be another Ashes of Time: Wong gone far too ambitious and not able to pull it together. Not that I, like most Wong Geeks, don't like it -- it's pretty and sporadically genius -- but this will be a sad return on four years of waiting. (With Ashes, at least he took a vacation and churned out Chungking Express -- should he have done that again?) All of this stated, I feel like getting myself a credit card, flying to France, and parking myself in front of this next month. Would it be worth it? Probably not -- and decidedly yes.

Additionally, is it not totally awesome that model and Femme Fatale starlet Rie Rasmussen has apparently directed a short entitled Thinning the Herd? And that she too will be competing?


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