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Cannes Reviews: Jane Campion, Alain Resnais

Ben Whishaw, Abbie Cornish in Bright Star

Peter Bradshaw on Bright Star (with Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw, above) in The Guardian:

Jane Campion has put herself in line for her second Palme d'Or here at the Cannes film festival with a film which I think could be the best of her career; an affecting and deeply considered study of the last years in the short life of John Keats, and the ecstasy of loss which suffuses his love affair with Fanny Brawne - a love thwarted not due to illness, but to a pernicious web of money worries, social scruples and irrelevant male loyalties.”

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Kinatay by Brillante Mendoza

Maggie Lee on Kinatay in The Hollywood Reporter:

“Festival darling Brillante Mendoza's Kinatay is a long night's journey into the Philippine underworld of casual corruption and nauseating cruelty, seen through the eyes of a greenhorn police cadet. Featuring shooting violence, rape and mutilation extensively in real time, from camera angles that make the audience feel like they are watching a snuff film, this full-on experience of forced voyeurism is certain to incite strong (most probably offended) responses.”

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Alain Resnais on set of Wild Grass
Andre Dussollier in Wild Grass

Dan Fainaru on Alain Resnais' (above, upper photo) Wild Grass (with André Dussollier, above, lower photo) in Screen Daily:

“Alain Resnais' Wild Grass showcases one of the great masters of modern cinema with a romantic fantasy which displays the comfortable but consummate confidence of an artist who knows exactly what he wants to do and how to do it. If, once upon a time, audiences were scared away by the complexity of his work, here Resnais is offering a deceptively simple and elegant picture, which will grow in depth and meaning with every additional viewing.”

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Johnny Hallyday in Vengeance

Thomas Sotinel on Vengeance (with Johnny Hallyday, above) in Le Monde:

“Ultimately, the risk pays off, as Vengeance, set between cop-thriller tragedy (the film is an explicit homage to the cinema of Jean-Pierre Melville) and the theater of the absurd, ends up by imposing its bizarre seduction.”

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Spring Fever by Lou Ye

Howard Feinstein on Spring Fever in Screen Daily:

“Close-ups of flowers not only open and close the film, they also pop up intermittently, mirroring shifts in both the story line and the state of mind of its gay protagonist. This integration of visuals and narrative, however, is the exception rather than the rule in this ambitious and – by mainland Chinese standards – daring project.”

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Filmmaker Lou Ye – who was banned from filmmaking by Chinese authorities following his politically charged Summer Palace – on his own Spring Fever, via indieWIRE:

“I didn't film homosexuality, I showed feelings and complex relationships. While evaluating these relationships, I show a complex world.”

“Regarding these love scenes … It doesn't matter if they're homosexual or heterosexual, I shot them in the same way. Sex is important to life in general.”

Photos: Courtesy Festival de Cannes

Derek Elley on Looking for Eric (above, Ken Loach and Eric Cantona) in Variety:

“… helmer Ken Loach and writer Paul Laverty's ninth feature together is a curious hybrid: Three movies – boilerplate, socially aware Loach; personal fantasy; romantic comedy – wrap around a central core of a hopeless soccer fanatic who's given a second chance to sort out his life. As in many of Laverty's scripts, problems of overall tone and character development aren't solved by Loach's easygoing direction, though when it works, Eric has many incidental pleasures.”

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A Prophet by Jacques Audiard

Anthony Kaufman on A Prophet at indieWIRE:

“If James Toback's petty-criminal tale Fingers inspired Jacques Audiard's previous The Beat That My Heart Skipped, it's Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas that looms over his latest A Prophet. Successfully balancing art-film portraiture with a gangster picture's plot, the film may be one of the more conventional movies in this year's Cannes competition, but judging from the sustained applause after its Cannes premiere on Saturday morning, it's also been one of the more satisfying.”

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Emile Hirsch, Ang Lee on set of Taking Woodstock

Allan Hunter on Taking Woodstock at Screen Daily:

Taking Woodstock is a sweet, meandering salute to the transformative power of three days of peace and music that took place in the summer of 1969. A defining moment in American cultural life is seen through the conventional prism of a young man's coming of age and assertion of his individuality. The underlying themes of family tensions and personal epiphanies are quintessential Ang Lee [above, with Emile Hirsch] territory but this is a slender anecdote compared to the award-winning reach of more recent Lee ventures like Brokeback Mountain (2005) or  Lust, Caution (2007).”

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Katie Jarvis in Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold

Dave Calhoun on Fish Tank at Time Out:

“It's hugely satisfying to report that Fish Tank shows [director Andrea] Arnold going from strength to strength, offering new depths of filmmaking while at the same time building on a view of the world and a way of telling stories that are distinctly her own. She also coaxes a performance of extraordinary emotion from young British newcomer Katie Jarvis. Fish Tank is another intimate portrait of a female character living on the margins of a city.”

Photos: Courtesy Festival de Cannes

Cannes Reviews: Jane Campion, Alain Resnais © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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