Friday, May 16, 2014

Day Three

Though none were on cycling, I had a nice string of three sports films today--soccer, running and hockey. Gerald Dapardieu plays Jules Rimet, a Frenchman who served as president of FIFA, the Federation International de Football Association, for thirty-three years up to 1954 in "United Passions," an aptly named French film that traces the history of soccer's governing party from 1904, when it was established, to present day.

Rimet was president when the World Cup was inaugurated in 1930 in Uruguay and was also at the helm when the the greatest game in the history of the sport was played in Rio de Janeiro in 1950, recounted in a documentary I saw yesterday.  Both events receive extra emphasis.  That first World Cup was actually the brain child of a wealthy Uruguayan, who fully funded it, even paying for the transportation of all the teams and constructing a new 100,000 seat stadium.  Sam Nell plays a later president from Brazil and Tim Roth a fundraiser for the organization when it was struggling.  He brought Coca- Cola in as a sponsor.

The running movie, "Back on Track" from Germany, centered on an 80-year old guy recently sentenced to a nursing home by his flight attendant daughter.  He's not happy there at all.  He is a former champion marathoner who was said to have won Boston and Berlin and the 1956 Marathon at the Melbourne Olympics, making him a national hero in Germany, although he is a fictional character.  He resumes running in frustration against the wishes of the administrators of the nursing home, hoping to run in the Berlin marathon once again.  This movie has already had a successful commercial release in Germany.  

The real-life charismatic captain of Russia's Red Army hockey team, Slava Fetisov, was on hand to introduce "Red Army," an  American documentary produced by Werner Herzog, an Out of Competition selection.  The team was the most dominant team in all of sports history going two years at one stretch  without defeat.  The film had the flair and fast-pace of the sport it covered.  If it had been produced a year earlier it would have been an ideal opening film for the new Herzog Theater at Telluride in the town's indoor ice rink.  It could well play there this year.

The Austrian documentary "The Great Museum" on Vienna's Art Museum lacked any strong characters to center on and to give it a sense of life.  This was an uninspired,standard point-and-shoot documentary that failed to do justice to its subject.  I would have been spared it if Ralph and I hadn't fallen five people short of gaining entry into Atom Egoyan's Competition entry to start the day.  Although the general consensus was that we were lucky to miss it, we will both make an effort to judge for ourselves, committed as we are to see everything in Competition.

Ralph went straight to the Debussy for the eleven o'clock screening of Mattieu Amalric directing himself in  "The Blue Room" in Un Certain Regard.  I arrived too late from "The Great Museum" to gain entry falling way short.  Ralph said I didn't miss much.  But if I gotten in I would have been spared of even less, the utterly inane American feature "May the Best Man Win," a pale imitation of the Jackass movies.  Two young guys compete against each other to get the most YouTube views for various infantile pranks, including each trying to seduce their own mother.  The pranks are meant to be funny, but only one or two raised much more than a smirk from the handful of us subjecting ourselves to it.

It's not  Cannes without a Isabelle Hupert movie.  Rather than waiting to see her tomorrow night on stage at the Debussy for "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby," I got an early dose of her in "Paris Follies," a gentle, feel-good French commercial film.  Hupert is bored as a housewife on a cattle ranch.  She goes to Paris for a weekend to revive herself.  She takes a boat ride down the Seine and does all the things a tourist would do other than taking advantage of any of the thousands of rental bikes scattered around the city.  She also has a fling with a Danish guy that is as sweet and inconsequential as the movie before returning to her husband.

As usual Ralph and I ended our day at the Debussy at ten p.m. with an Un Certain Regard entry.  This one was "Amour Fou" from Germany, another directed by a woman.  It was a plodding period piece taking place in the early 1800s with a character loosely based on the morose poet Heinrich von Kleist trying to seduce a woman into ending her life with him.  He has two candidates.

After the screening we returned to the Palais complex after midnight to see if anyone had returned Ralph's iPhone that he lost at the afternoon screening of Ceylan's much acclaimed Competition entry.  No luck, so Ralph will have to replace it as it is instrumental in acquiring Invitations to the Palais the instant they are made available.  We've both had some success, lessening the stress of waiting in line sweating out whether we'll get in or not, though it is no guarantee.  Ralph had initially been turned away in the balcony to Ceylan's film, but made an attempt on the first floor, though his ticket was for the balcony.  But if he hadn't gotten in, he'd still have his phone.  Though it will cost him 350 euros to replace, it was almost worth seeing this movie that is fulfilling the predictions that it could win the Palm d'Or.

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