Day 2 from Cannes Film Fest: And now...some movie watching (and a little politics)

May 14, 2009

Worldview Film contributor Milos Stehlik‚ is bringing us all the action from the Cannes Film Festival. And, of course, some other musings on the French scene:
Day 1 (continued) Before every press conference (which usually follows the first press screening of a competition film) the "team" for the film: director, actors, screenwriter, producer and sometimes various friends -- line up for the "photo-call" -- the staged photo op held on an outside terrace on the third (by American, not European system of numbering floors) floor of the Palais. The photo-call for Up which included the director, Pete Docter, John Lassater, the head of Pixar Animation, and two other guys, prompted by the photographers to look and point upwards -- UP! It strikes me that they are all men. Is there a glass ceiling for women in animation?
I learned this from waiting in line to buy shampoo at the Monoprix: (which is a French national chain-they also sell groceries) today is a good day for love for Capricorns, but a bad day for work. This from the TV monitor hung just above the cashier's counter. No idea of the authority which passed this judgment, but I assume it was astrologically determined. There is not much else to do but stare at the monitor since although there are only two people in front of me, it takes (like most things in France) what seems like forever. Roger Ebert once wrote a very funny piece about trying to get a check in a Cannes restaurant. Other things I learned from the monitor: to make a "remoulade des legumes" you start with 100 grams of pasta. (I didn't get the rest of the recipe since my turn at the checkout counter finally came, but from the picture, it looked delicious). Opening night at Cannes: the most beautifully dressed member of the jury -- Asia Argento (right). It is always so easy to forget just how little most actors are -- Isabelle Huppert is barely a wisp. DAY 2 Last night, Lou Ye's Spring Fever , from the director of Suzhou River and Summer Palace, certainly a pioneering film for China, with its graphic treatment of homosexuality in a story of obsessive love. Shot in naturally-lit settings, its strongest points are the verite-like depictions of the underground punk music scene in China. As for the obsessive love story, it is so convoluted and inconclusive (and difficult, given the low-light settings to know who is who) that it becomes tedious. More politics today with the screening of the unauthorized Iranian film which opens the Un Certain Regard section of the festival, No One Knows About Persian Cats. A portrait of the underground music scene in contemporary Iran, Ghobadi (who is no stranger to self-promotion, and whose previous films include Turtles Can Fly and A Time for Drunken Horses) announced in a letter that he was engaged to then-imprisoned American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi. No one from Iran here at Cannes could confirm this, and Ghobadi's statement seemed clouded in rumor. First credited with co-writing No One Knows About Persian Cats with one screenwriter, Roxana's name was now in the screenwriting credits. A priceless scene here in Cannes this morning:‚ 10 minutes before the 8:30 a.m. screening of ther British film Fish Tank, a young woman clad in a blue cleaning uniform came on stage with a vacuum cleaner attached to a very long cord, and then proceeded to vacuum up something center stage to the spontaneous applause of the 2,000 people in the audience.
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