May 14, 2008

Cannes, 5/14.

Cannes Here we go. Wall-to-wall Cannes, from today through May 25. If the items noted in the "Anticipating Cannes" entry, updated through last night, are any indication, the mood over there is nowhere near as festive as it was when last year's 60th anniversary edition opened. "Everyone may be expecting the bounty of good and even great films from around the world over the next 12 days, but the excitement is tempered by a sense that those films are facing unusually difficult prospects back in the United States." Manohla Dargis and AO Scott open the New York Times coverage on more or less the same downbeat note that Anthony Kaufman did indieWIRE's yesterday.

"Year after year - since its inception in 1939, really, when moving picture pioneer Louis Lumiere headed the jury - Cannes has embodied the notion of cinema as a monumental, prestigious form of artistic expression," writes Eric Kohn in Stream. "Over time, however, many regulars have started to feel that the festival has devolved into a oversized European fashion statement.... The stars nab the spotlight while distributors haggle for their best prospects and breakout independent filmmakers fight to gain notice. Together, they aggressively huddle for space in the hulking shadow of the Palais des Festival. The chaos is kinda brilliant."

"Cannes likes to return to the same filmmakers time after time, but this year none of its established British favourites - Loach, Leigh, Winterbottom and Figgis - has made the cut. Instead, something much more interesting is happening in the festival's lower echelons: four British directors, two of them well-known and two rather less so, have been selected, and while they are all at different stages in their film-making careers, their presence points to a new generation of British cinema beginning to make an impact on the world stage." Andrew Pulver introduces the Guardian's interviews with Steve McQueen (Hunger), Sam Taylor-Wood (Love You More), Thomas Clay (Soi Cowboy) and Duane Hopkins (Better Things).

"From a film lover's point of view, this year offers one of the most exciting Cannes lineups in many years," writes Salon's Andrew O'Hehir in a fairly lengthy preview. "I haven't looked forward to a festival this much (in terms of actually seeing movies) since I started doing this job. Still, it must be said that those cheap cloudy-weather metaphors fit a little too well."

What's more, John Horn reports that Cannes draws "bandits like moths to a flame. 'It's a convention of thieves,' says Tom Luddy, a co-founder of the Telluride Film Festival. He is speaking from personal experience: His Cannes hotel room and its safe were cleaned out several years ago. 'The pickpockets know it's perfect hunting grounds. They must come from all over the world.'" Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times is blogging in earnest.

Matt Noller opens a journal at the House Next Door.

"This year's Cannes Film Festival is awash with nostalgia," report Lars-Olav Beier and Martin Wolf in Der Spiegel. "The world's most important cinefest is celebrating the legacy of 1968, showing films by the now ageing masters of world cinema and even features two films that romanticize the left-wing icon Che Guevara."

Anne Thompson's blogging up a storm.

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw pages through the catalogue. So, too, does Facets Multi-Media Executive Director Milos Stehlik.

More arrivals: Ty Burr, Eugene Hernandez, Glenn Kenny, Peter Knegt and Lou Lumenick.

Special sections reminder: indieWIRE; Variety; and the Guardian, the Telegraph, the London Times.

In German:

Online browsing tip #1. Magnum photos at Slate.

Online browsing tip #2. Cinematical's Kim Voynar snaps pix of all those posters all over town.


Online viewing tip #1. At the Circuit, Michael Jones has video of Jack Black... and a bunch of pandas. More from Peter Knegt.

Online viewing tip #2. The IFC's got its Cannes Cam up and running again.

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Posted by dwhudson at May 14, 2008 11:23 AM