Day 3 from Cannes: Milos Loves Romanian Film!

May 18, 2009

DAY 2, CONTINUED Packed screening of Kore-Eda's film, Air Doll. Kore-Eda is a hot Japanese filmmaker, noted for his wry, sometimes quite spiritual riffs on life. The plot of Air Doll is the relationship between a blown-up air doll (most often designed for sex) who comes alive and men. Based on a short manga, the contrived conceit of the film is actually handled very well.‚  The film is kind of a metaphysical parable, full of sentiment, if sometimes veering pretty close to triteness. Thirst: a Korean-U.S. co-production, directed by Park Chan-Wook. He made Old Boy, a revenge film, very violent, but the violence is cartoonish. For me, the violence in Thirst-the story of a priest who becomes a vampire-is a little too much. It's all camp, but there is only so much blood-sucking someone who did not grow up watching gore can take. I'm certain it will be a big success. An hour to kill: market screening of a new Russian film about Genghis Khan. If nothing else, the costumes and locations should be spectacular. The film has an American co-producer who graduated from the "Cinematography Institute of Chicago." To my knowledge, no such institution exists -- but hey, if it looks good on the resume and gets that individual to become a full-fledged co-producer, I'm all for inventing that institution, in retrospect. Lots of Russians in the audience. The film starts, a strange cartoon. Perhaps it's the credits. Ten minutes, then stop, an announcement -- they played the wrong film and will start again. Ten minutes later -- they shipped the wrong film to Cannes. No Genghis Khan, no empire, no nothin'. DAY 3 Rain, coming down in sheets. French logic in action: as we rush past all of the barriers -- a circuitous route -- to get to the first screening of the day at 8:30 a.m., there is a section of canopy for about 10 feet. As we walk under, the guard yells, "Lower your umbrellas!" No matter that after that 10 feet, there is another 60 feet to go in the rain, including walking up the water-soaked red carpet. Jane Campion's (The Piano) Bright Star, the much-awaited film about poet John Keats and Fanny Brawn screens at 8:30 a.m. Unfortunately, there is not much poetry in it; Bright Lights comes across as an expensive Masterpiece Theatre, leaden and altogether boring. Roy, a British guy who lives in Cannes year-round and works doing translation, says that yesterday in the news, France has finally admitted there is a recession. Until now, the worldwide global slump stopped at French borders, much like the fall out from Chernobyl, which also managed to avoid crossing into France. The Nazis in World War II did, too. Martin Scorsese dedicated the Roger Ebert Conference Room at the American Pavilion here on the beach a while ago. Chaz Ebert and Thierry Fremaux, the director of the Cannes Festival were on hand. Roger moderated many conferences there over the years. The Romanian film, Police, Adjective from Corneliu Porumboiou is just simply wonderful, the methodically filmed narrative about a small town detective on the track of high school kids who may or may not be dealing drugs, concentrating on minimal details, but the film builds a quietly riveting suspense, with many funny moments, ending up in a wonderfully ironic (and brilliant) discussion about the meaning of conscience between the police chief and the detective. Romanian cinema rules! ‚ The party for the Abu Dhabi Film Festival is tonight and ostensibly, they are the last people in Cannes with money. But what if it continues to rain? Fortunately, the very nice people in the Turkish pavilion make fantastic (and free) Turkish coffee"¦
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