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Entries in Cannes (60)

Friday
Mar212014

Cannes Watch? The "Return" of Gong Li & Zhang Yimou

Speculating about what might be at Cannes is not something I do so as to prevent the envy but the reunion of director Zhang Yimou with his most beloved muse Gong Li is definitely something to consider. Together they made six international hits, four of them Oscar-nominated (Raise the Red LanternJu DouShanghai Triad, Curse of the Golden Flower), the first two are among the best Chinese films ever made.

Their seventh collaboration just released first stills and a nearly wordless teaser (embedded below).

The film is planning a May premiere at home so Cannes would make sense. The film is based on the novel "The Criminal Lu Yanshi" by Yan Geling about a long term prisoner (Chen Daoming) who, upon release, returns to his wife (Gong Li) who no longer recognizes him. The film also features Miss Chinese Toronto winner (2009) Candy Chang. There's a whole name for young actresses who break through within Zhang Yimou's filmography "Mou girls" (given the global fame of Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi) so she might be one to watch. 

It sounds like the English movie title is yet to be determined, alternately listed as Coming Home, The Homecoming, or Return, depending on where you read about it. Here's the teaser...

Wednesday
Mar192014

50 Years On... "The World of Henry Orient"

Here's new contributor Diana D. Drumm to with a trip back to a film that opened today in 1964...

We open at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival, with all of its bubbles and laughter and cinema. A jury, including the likes of Fritz Lang and Charles Boyer, peer at a roster featuring now-classics The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Pumpkin Eater alongside cult favorite The World of Henry Orient... Oh, you haven’t heard of The World of Henry Orient?

Well, that isn’t so surprising, even considering its headliner, the late great Peter Sellers, it’s been lost to TCM and cult nostalgists. In terms of Sellers’s filmography, it’s sandwiched between two biggies -- Dr. Strangelove and A Shot in the Dark (this loaded schedule along with a marriage to Swedish bombshell Britt Ekland would lead to his first major heart attack in 1964).

Sellers stars at the eponymous “Henry Orient”, a famous pianist based on the dry actor-musician-wit Oscar Levant (you know, Gene Kelly’s friend in An American in Paris) who is being stalked *ahem* pursued *ahem* by two teenage fangirls throughout Manhattan from the Upper East Side down through Greenwich Village. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan242014

Nicole Does Cannes, Part Deux. 

Jose here. After its fall from grace (pardon the pun, no, really do) less than a day ago, Grace of Monaco is back with a punch, having just been selected as the film that will open the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival in May. Just yesterday, it was announced that the movie had been pulled from its March 14 release date, leading people to assume that the film was in trouble. The Hollywood Reporter speculated that director Olivier Dahan hadn't delivered a final cut to The Weinstein Company, adding fuel to a fire started last year when the outspoken director accused Harvey Weinstein of cutting a "catastrophic" version of his film.

More on Grace of Monaco, Nicole Kidman and Cannes openers after the jump! 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan072014

I'm Linking As Fast As I Can

Who can keep up this week?

Vanity Fair Katey Rich on the embarassing Armond White display at the New York Film Critics Circle awards ceremony. I seriously don't know why the NYFCC risks their reputation this way each year?
BBC Jane Campion will head the Cannes jury this year. Yay! (Although this article weirdly states that Campion is the only female to win the Palme D'Or which is no longer true. Lea Seydoux & Adele Exarchopoulus won with their director for Blue is the Warmest Color
ScriptNotes with John August and Craig Mason wonder if filmmakers will ever be able to release a surprise feature a la Beyonce's surprise record
Time 50 things you didn't know about Nicolas Cage for his 50th birthday
The Carpetbagger Will Forte on his surprise detour into Nebraska
Towleroad Lily Tomlin finally marries longtime partner/collaborator Jane Wagner
THR hilarious interview about the forthcoming Golden Globes with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

Finally...
Cinema Blend Liza Minnelli loves The Dallas Buyers Club, says to McConaughey...

And, honey, if you don't win the Academy Award, I'm giving you mine."

Next time I hear "Mein Herr" I'll think, however briefly, of McConaughey. But I hear Mein Herr so often so it won't ruin it for me (what? You watch Cabaret monthly, too, right?). In fact, I'm okay with this regifting if:

1) Matthew can do the entire choreography of Mein Herr flawlessly
2) Matthew gives Liza a supporting role in Magic Mike 2

Monday
Sep232013

NYFF: Cannes Winner "A Touch of Sin"

TFE’s coverage of the 51st New York Film Festival (Sep 27-Oct 14) has begun. Here are Glenn and Jose with their takes on Cannes winner A Touch of Sin

Glenn: For whatever reason, Asian cinema doesn’t get too much exposure in cinemas over this side of the ocean. The discrepancy between words written about the subject and people actually seeing them is entirely out of whack, don’t you think? We all seem to hear about these fabulous movies from around the region and yet outside of a film festival it appears all but impossible to catch them, which makes these festivals so vital. Seems like a massive missed opportunity if you ask me, but then I don’t propose to know anything about the movie-watching habits of mainstream or arthouse audiences. I doubt a film like Jia Zhang-ke’s A Touch of Sin will attract more than middling crowds upon its October 4th release date (curiously during New York Film Festival, so they’re surely cutting into their modest box office expectations already), but that would be expected for any 135-minute, violent indictment of rapid capitalism. One as formally rigid and didactic as this even more so. However much I wish it weren't the case.

It’s not a coincidence that Jia’s rise to prominence as the pre-eminent cinematic purveyor of modern day China began right about the time China began its rise as a global super-power. He’s likely China's finest examiner of the country’s industrial transformation with films such as Venice Golden Lion winner Still Life, fellow Cannes competitor 24 City and observational documentary Useless. With A Touch of Sin he’s taken to his homeland’s obscene capitalism and he's not acting subtle. Hello, one scene features a woman get mistakenly for a prostitute and subsequently assaulted with thick wads of cash! Still, it’s a technical marvel and has a propulsive edge if you give in to its peculiar structure. Jose?

Jose: A Touch of Sin might be one of the angriest movies made in recent years. Winner of the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes awarded by none other than Steven Spielberg, it is a bleak saga in which characters are connected through their disappointment and eventual violent revenge. Knives, guns and explosives are used indiscriminately to show how China is sinking into an endless pit of corruption and violence and – eek – there seems to be no way of stopping it.


Zhao Tao, Jia Zhang-ke's wife and A Touch of Sin's finest performance

This film takes place in a country where miners are forced to deal with old horses with whips while their employers parade around in Audis and brand new jets. A country where shooting someone in the head over their designer purse or fellating tourists while dressed up like a train conductor are simply means of making a living. There is no hopeful outcome in the movie and watching it proves to be an experience as harrowing as it is terrifying. Jia cleverly populates it with moments of dark humor, only to then hold a mirror to our faces and ask us if we know how much we’re contributing to this decay. It’s rare to see cinema – or art for that matter – so furious and bleak.

Glenn: Agreed. A Touch of Sin is a film that has grown exponentially in my mind since viewing it just a couple of days ago. The way images of tranquillity and brutality are beautifully juxtaposed thanks to cinematographer Yu Lik-wai, the way Giong Lim’s music underscores the imagery with throbbing harmonies, the way its ratcheting suspense and cathartic release duel for supremacy… it’s a towering achievement and a new, even more uber-provocative side of the filmmaker that NPR hailed "the most important filmmaker working in the world today." It is a tough watch, and its structure could easily infuriate, but seeks to constantly rattle the audience to its message.