I'm off to Wisconsin for the weekend, so all I've got today is a quick roundup of Cannes dispatches. To give you an idea about what it's like to be at the world's best attended and most maligned film festival, Cinematical's James Rocchi tell us,
In the Bizarro-world landscape of Cannes, Ocean's Thirteen can actually be seen as a bold departure from the mainstream; after nearly two weeks of slow-mo black and white, grinding poverty in Eastern Europe, subtitled mayhem, suicide, unsimulated sex wrenching teen angst and Dogme-style naturalism, a few movie stars feels like a nice change from the same old same old.
This is an interesting comment, especially in the context of complaints over the past few years that Cannes had gotten too Hollywood. The tone for the festival was set by Wong Kar Wai's disappointing My Blueberry Nights, although it's hard to tell if the problem was the presence of Norah Jones (who I kind of like) or with the film itself. On the other hand, Lee Chang-Dong's Secret Sunshine garnered some praise, and everyone from Hou Hsiao-hsien to Michael Moore seemed to go out of their way to be nice to the French now that they're stuck with Nicolas Sarkozy for president. Everyone had fun with the shorts, as usual (sample: "Academic theologians with a taste for obdurate Brechtian aesthetics, say hello to your new favorite film!"--Nathan Lee in the Village Voice on Manoel De Oliveira's Magic Mirror), proving once again that cineistes like their films short and their actresses tall (sorry, Norah Jones).
The most intriguing film, i.e., the one I'm most like to pay a babysitter to see in the theater, is Roy Andersson's You the Living, which Mike D’Angelo at ScreenGrab describes as "like a lost silent
comedy, with magnificently constructed sight gags (the best of which
adds a pointed new twist to the old "yank the tablecloth from beneath
the china" routine) and a recurring Dixieland-jazz score, heavy on the
tuba." Frankly, I'd rather see a "miserabilist ode" with a tubist soundtrack than another arty, drearily noble wheelchair film (Julian Schnabel's The Diving Bell and the Butterfly).