Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cannes Day Four

Today was catch up with the Competition  Films day.  I would have seen four of the 22 if I hadn't been turned away from "Reality" for the third time, though I am getting closer, within the final 25.  The day began with John Hilcot's "Lawless," a superb recreation of  moonshiners during the prohibition era with another role for Jessica Chastain.

For the first time I was able to sit through a movie with Keller, my friend from Marfa, Texas who has been a Telluride regular for the past 18 years, getting hooked on it two years after me.   He's been a passholder and lately a Patron/Sponsor at Telluride, though he always likes coming by my shipping department and pitching in.  This is his first Cannes experience.  It has been a bit intimidating and overwhelming for him.  The Palais theater with a seating capacity of 2300 could accommodate the entire population of his home town.    The crush in and out of theaters has been a bit much for Keller  and finding his way around as well.  Whenever he sees a cruise ship out in the bay he's upset that even more people are coming to town.  In the first three days of the festival he had only sat through two movies in their entirety.  Every day he says will be his last so he can resume his three-month motorcycle trip around Europe.

"Lawless" passed the Keller test though and so did "Paradise," Ulrich Seidl's Competition entry we saw later in the day about older, very fleshy Austrian and German women on holiday in Kenya living it up  as sex tourists with young African men.  This was a virtual documentary with stunning authenticity.  It was very real but also very sad and somewhat pathetic.

Keller had walked out of "After the Battle" on Day Two when this Competition entry about the latest Egyptian uprising and revolution had its premiere in the  Palais.  He wasn't the only one.  I could understand why at first, but I was very glad I don't have such inclinations, as this was a worthy portrayal of the issues dividing the country.

There are two movies in the market capitalizing on famous figures in their title--"You Can't Kill Stephen King," a horror film and "The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom."  I didn't know it, but the Dolly Parton film becomes a bicycle film, when an adolescent girl hops on her bicycle to ride from her small Canadian town to Minneapolis to attend a Dolly Parton concert.  She is adopted and is convinced Dolly Parton is her biological mother.  Her mother chases after her when she discovers she has gone missing, dressed up in her Dolly Parton outfit with white boots and frilly skirt and bright red lipstick and white jacket with red trim.

My documentary for the day was "Sexwork and Me" about the legal window prostitutes of Amsterdam.  The government is trying to phase them out, even though it is a big tourist draw.  The female director was able to convince five of the prostitutes to go on camera with her, though two refuse to reveal their faces.    One is an older woman who could have been cast in the Seidl film.  She also earned money from the government by servicing men with autism and other disabilities.    Nothing out of the ordinary in this documentary.

As usual I ended my day at the final post ten pm screening of an Un Certain Regard film in the Debussy.  Today it was "Antiviral" by Brandon Cronenberg, the first film by the son of David, who has a film in Competition. Proud father was in attendance.  This perverse sci-fi tale of an agency that will inject celebrity diseases to those who wish to experience them was a waste of time.  Lots of needle time--injecting the diseases and also withdrawing a blood sample from celebrities with a virus.  This is supposed to be a commentary about celebrity infatuation.

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