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Home Movie News Monica Bellucci + Asia Argento + Jean-Marc Barr: Cannes Film Festival

Monica Bellucci + Asia Argento + Jean-Marc Barr: Cannes Film Festival

Laura Neiva Adrift
Laura Neiva in Adrift.

Cannes review snippets

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

At, Alex Billington on À Deriva / Adrift (above, with Laura Neiva), screened in the Un Certain Regard sidebar:

“I think I stumbled across a big Cannes sleeper hit. From the beaches of Brazil comes Adrift, known as À Deriva in Portuguese, the third film from Brazilian director Heitor Dhalia. I’m going to say right up front – following in the footsteps of City of God director Fernando Meirelles, Dhalia is the next great Brazilian filmmaker on the verge of breaking out. Adrift is his calling card, a gorgeous family drama about a beautiful young girl and her parents. It’s not a masterpiece, but it is definitely one of the better films I’ve seen here that offers so much to fall in love with, whether it be the actors, cinematography, or story.”


In Time, Richard Corliss on director-writer Sam Raimi (above, top photo) and co-writer Ivan Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell:

“After a while, Raimi’s attentiveness to genre formula becomes almost reassuring. You know This Awful Thing is next on the agenda. But I’m obliged to confess that, when the first image of the demon flashed on screen, I got a jolt to my nervous system that was more than a seismic shiver — it felt exactly like a deep electric shock. Kudos also to the Raimis for saving their one plot twist until the end so that people leave the movie wondering who the hero-victim will be in the all-but-inevitable Drag Me to Hell 2.”


In the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert on À l’origine / In the Beginning:

“I think I may have just seen the 2010 Oscar winner for best foreign film. Whether it will win the Palme d’Or here at Cannes is another matter. It may be too much of a movie movie. It’s named À l’origine, by Xavier Giannoli [above, top photo], and is one of several titles I want to discuss in a little festival catch-up. Based on an incredible true story, it involves an insignificant thief, just released from prison, who becomes involved in an impromptu con game that results in the actual construction of a stretch of highway. …”

“This is one of those movies that catches you in its spell. It’s a hell of a story. There’s a difference between caring what happens in a movie, and merely waiting to see what will happen.”

Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian:

Heath Ledger takes a poignant final bow in Terry Gilliam’s loopy, sweet-natured but madly self-indulgent fantasia The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, showing here at the Cannes film festival out of competition. Halfway through shooting, Ledger had made a desperately sad early exit, so the director ingeniously re-invented his character as a series of personae. Jude Law, Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp gamely stepped into the breach.

“When Gilliam shoots off into his surreal wonderland, his film has a kind of helium-filled jollity and spectacle. … But the film’s convoluted curlicues are tiring, insisting too loudly on how ‘imaginative’ everything is. And when it descends into the real world – Lucy out of the sky without diamonds, as it were – the film can frankly be a bit ho-hum, with some very broad acting from the bit-part crowd players.”

Asia Argento

Asia Argento (Photo by Eric Ryan/Getty Images)

Jean-Marc Barr

Jean-Marc Barr at Montblanc Party

Rachel Weisz

Rachel Weisz (Photo by Tony Barson/WireImage)

Shu Qi

Shu Qi (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Sophie Marceau

Sophie Marceau (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)

Juliette Binoche

Juliette Binoche (Photo by Jean Baptiste Lacroix/FilmMagic)

Monica Bellucci

Monica Bellucci (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)


James Christopher in The [London] Times:

“In the scenes he did complete Ledger is a marvel to watch, though his entrance – hanging from a London bridge with a rope around his neck – is bitterly ironic.”

“… the film is a romantic homage to the art of make believe, and it grants Gilliam a license to run riot with his mind-bending illusions. But the story that holds these visions together is slim, incomprehensible, and desperately unconvincing.”


Lisa Schwarzbaum in Entertainment Weekly:

“The typically twisty, Gilliam-shaped truth of this newest patented mishmash of fantasia set-pieces, though, is that Ledger’s role, completed in memoriam by Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell, is the liveliest piece in the puzzle (um, there were a number of walk-outs), a muddle of a deal-with-the-devil plot involving Doctor P (played a la grand old crackpot/Dumbledore by Christopher Plummer), said Devil (Tom Waits), and the Doctor’s peachy daughter, Valentina (Lily Cole), whom the Doc had previously promised to the Prince of Darkness on her 16th birthday in exchange for immortality. (Dad now regrets that offer.)”


Emma Jones at BBC News:

“All eyes are naturally on Ledger’s performance for the time he remains on screen.

“It’s bittersweet to see him in the flesh and to hear lines spoken to him in the film about those who go before their time: ‘They are forever young, they won’t grow old.’

“It’s also hard to judge his performance as the film cuts between his replacements – Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell.”

“However, Gilliam’s multiple choices work well, with Ledger and Depp actually looking curiously similar.”


Terry Gilliam (above) on Heath Ledger, via Anthony Breznican’s piece for USA Today:

“We [Gilliam, friends, and associates] discussed for a long time whether one actor could take the part, and I felt that was impossible and didn’t think it was respectful. I didn’t think it would work at all. And because we had the magic mirror (a plot device in the film) and Heath goes through it three times I thought okay – three actors, that would be the way to approach it. I think it’s more surprising.”

“I’ve been very lucky because, while Heath died over a year ago, I’ve been working with him almost every day in the cutting room so he’s been alive and well. It’s slightly different for me. He doesn’t seem to be that long departed from us. He’s just the guy I work with daily.”

Photos: Courtesy Festival de Cannes

Lars von Trier & ‘Antichrist’

Wendy Ide in The Times:

“Von Trier has moved away from the sparse, rough and ready work of the Dogme era and embraced a stylised and visually sumptuous look for Antichrist. The movie is packed with arresting and atmospheric images, some of which you’ll wish you could permanently erase from your memory.

“If von Trier’s issues with female sexuality have been evident in previous films, particularly Breaking the Waves and Dogville, in Antichrist he ups the ante, constructing a gender war of nuclear intensity between a bereaved couple hoping to heal their wounds and their marriage in an isolated country retreat.”


Xan Brooks in The Guardian:

“Chaos reigns. I stumble out in a daze, momentarily unsure whether I loved it or loathed it. Abruptly I realise that I love it. Von Trier has slapped Cannes with an astonishing, extraordinary picture – shocking and comical; a funhouse of terrors (of primal nature, of female sexuality) that rattles the bones and fizzes the blood before bowing out with a presumptuous dedication to Andrei Tarkovsky that had sections of the crowd hooting in fury. If he had dedicated Antichrist to the Queen Mother he could not have insulted them more.”


Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times:

“Whether this is a bad, good or great film is entirely beside the point. It is an audacious spit in the eye of society. It says we harbor an undreamed-of capacity for evil. It transforms a psychological treatment into torture undreamed of in the dungeons of history. Torturers might have been capable of such actions, but they would have lacked the imagination. Von Trier is not so much making a film about violence as making a film to inflict violence upon us, perhaps as a salutary experience. It’s been reported that he suffered from depression during and after the film. You can tell. This is the most despairing film I’ve ever have seen.”


Lars von Trier at the post-screening press conference, as quoted in The Guardian:

“I don’t have to justify myself. I make films and I enjoy very much making them. You are all my guests, it’s not the other way round. I work for myself and I do this little film that I’m now kind of fond of and I haven’t done it for you or the audience so I don’t feel I owe anyone an explanation.”

Dave Calhoun in Time Out London, via David Hudson’s The Daily:

“For quite some time at the beginning of Michael Haneke’s latest film, which is a two-and-a-half hour parable of political and social ideas set entirely in a north German village in 1913 and 1914, you wonder what you’re watching, how its disparate parts hang together and what it all might mean. More than ever, the playful, challenging, sometimes shocking director of Hidden, Funny Games and Time of the Wolf solidly resists answering the ‘what’s it all about?’ question and makes you work hard to make sense of what you’re seeing. As in Code Unknown, he resists focusing on one story or a limited number of characters and instead offers a wide, rich canvas of people and experiences linked only by the fact that they are neighbours and increasingly all subject to a burgeoning threat from within. The hard work pays off.”


Mike Goodridge in Screen Daily:

“When he is on top form Michael Haneke’s artistry and unerring control of his material is hard to beat. And he is on top form in The White Ribbon, a meticulously constructed, precisely modulated tapestry of malice and intrigue in a rural village in pre-World War I northern Germany. It’s a rich, detailed work pregnant with the sinister undertones and evil deeds for which the film-maker’s work is legendary and won’t disappoint Haneke fans waiting for fresh material after his experimental US remake of Funny Games.


Eric Kohn at indieWIRE:

“Despair haunts every moment of Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon. The director’s dour, Bergmanesque black-and-white portrait of enigmas and familial discord in a Protestant German village at the beginning of the twentieth century peddles in the art of downbeat expressionism. Pairing visual mastery with a quietly immersive story, The White Ribbon plays like a morbid version of Our Town, patiently revealing the inward discord beneath the surface of a settled community. It’s a frightening depiction of mortality.”


Xan Brooks in The Guardian:

“Where À l’Origine is concerned with the present, The White Ribbon looks to the past. Michael Haneke’s stark, subtle pastoral plays out in feudal rural Germany in the runup to the first world war and spotlights a series of mysterious crimes that may just have been committed by the village children. The White Ribbon‘s blend of formal, poetic compositions and hushed, simmering drama reminded me variously of Malick and Bergman, and if the picture finally does not quite achieve the level of a masterpiece, this may be down to the fact that I’ve always found Haneke to be a cold, stern and aloof director; the creator of films that I can admire but never love.”


Wendy Ide in The [London] Times:

“Shot in sober black and white, with no musical score and told with a stately and deliberate pace, The White Ribbon is infused with a fascinatingly austere cruelty. As it focuses largely on the generation that would go on to embrace the tenets of national socialism, it is tempting to read the film as an allegory for the foundations of Nazi Germany in the psyche of its people. But as with much of his work, particularly Hidden and Code Unknown, Haneke leaves us with more questions than answers.”


Michael Haneke, as quoted in Movieline:

“I don’t want this film to be taken as just a film on fascism. What I was setting out to make is a film is that says any ideal will become perverted when it is formed to an absolute. It’s not meant to be just a German problem, it’s problem for everybody.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”


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).”


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


J. Hoberman in The Village Voice:

“So what is there to say about a movie that ends with the corniest character (Brad Pitt) proclaiming, ‘This might be my masterpiece.’ Lots actually. Inglourious Basterds might well be QT’s m.p. – if by that we mean the fullest expression of a particular artist’s worldview. Perhaps one should call Inglourious Basterds – a sort of World War II spaghetti western, even more drenched in film references than blood – quintessential Tarantino. A little long, a bit too pleased with itself, it’s a movie of enthusiastic performances, terrific dialogue, amoral, surprisingly crude, mayhem, and mind-boggling juvenile fantasy.”


Jonathan Dean in Total Film:

“While the opening, gripping chapter – set in a French peasant house in 1941 – is excellent and a final cinema (where else?) foyer scene is epic in its grandeur with sweeping cameras and impeccable set design, much of Basterds felt flat, with a schizophrenic spaghetti western style that blasts Ennio Morricone at the start and then David Bowie later on.”


Geoffrey Macnab in The Independent:

“Despite the wartime setting, we’re still in Tarantino’s universe. Many of the protagonists resemble characters found in earlier Tarantino movies. Mélanie Laurent’s vengeful young Jewish woman is not so different from Uma Thurman in the Kill Bill films. The Basterds have some of the same swagger as Reservoir Dogs.

“The way the Germans are drawn is so broad that it makes the characterisations in Allo, Allo! seem restrained. However, there is an intensity about the film-making and performances that stops even the more absurd elements here appearing risible. You can’t help but admire Tarantino’s chutzpah. No other director would have the gall to throw in a David Bowie song (“Putting Out Fire With Gasoline”) in a 1940s war film or to cast Rod Taylor as Winston Churchill.”


At Radio France Internationale, Fiachra Gibbons examines the reactions of French critics’:

“To say that the critics hate Inglourious Basterds is a little like saying the Pacific was a mite choppy on the morning of the tsumani. Eric Neuhoff of Le Figaro, in almost charitable mode, says that you ‘could cut Pitt’s hilarious accent with a hachet.’ Cliché piles upon cliché in his depictions of occupied France, he says, before rolling out his most brutal criticisms – Tarantino has simply become old and dull. ‘In Pulp Fiction, the dialogue went with the action. In Inglourious Basterds, it replaces it.’ Then he delivers the final coup de grace. ‘Tarantino is like a child left to play with a gun who then shoots himself in the foot. You feel sorry for him, because as one of the characters says in the film, “The French respect film directors.”‘”

Photos: Courtesy Festival de Cannes

Cannes Film Festival 2009: Competition Line-Up

Los abrazos rotos (Broken Embraces), Pedro Almodóvar, Spain

Fish Tank, Andrea Arnold, UK

Un prophète (A Prophet), Jacques Audiard, France

Vincere, Marco Bellocchio, Italy

Bright Star, Jane Campion, UK

Bakjwi (Thirst), Park Chan-wook, South-Korea

Map of the Sounds of Tokyo, Isabel Coixet, Spain

À l’origine (In the Beginning), Xavier Giannoli, France

Das weisse Band (The White Ribbon), Michael Haneke, Austria

Taking Woodstock, Ang Lee, USA

Looking for Eric, Ken Loach, UK

Kinatay, Brillante Mendoza, Philippines

Visage (Face), Tsai Ming-liang, France/Taiwan

Soudain le vide (Enter the Void), Gaspar Noé, France

The Time that Remains, Elia Suleiman, Palestine

Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino, USA

Vengeance, Johnnie To, France/Hong Kong

Antichrist, Lars von Trier, Denmark

Les herbesfolles (Wild Grass), Alain Resnais, France

Spring Fever, Lou Ye, China

Cannes 2009: Out of Competition Films, Special Screenings

Below is a sample of out-of-competition films, special screenings, and midnight screenings at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

Pete DOCTER, UP (Opening Night Film)




Robert GUÉDIGUIAN, L’ARMÉE DU CRIME (The Army of crime)


Marina de VAN, NE TE RETOURNE PAS (Don’t look back)


Photos: Courtesy Festival de Cannes

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Sharon Goodier -

I just re-read my comment for the first time. I was so horror struck by the film that my comment must be seen in that light. Of course, I know all religions have their “calvinist” strains; the Catholic church, too, and that religion changes from culture to culture, even the same faith or denomination. Irish Catholicism is distinctly differen from Spanish Catholicism and in the states there are even big differences between east coast Christians, both Catholic and Protestant and west coast Christians or Middle America Christians of the same denomination. I agree with Michael Haneke’s comment that all ideals become facistic when they are held as absolute truths, including and especially political ideals.

Sharon Goodier -

Nobody has picked up on the Calvinist-Lutheran theology of this movie. It is so horrible that to call it religion is to insult all religions. I now understand why so many Germans did what they did as Nazis and why the world has unfolded as it has in Europe in the past 100 years. Maybe it also explains why the United States produces so many macabre serial killers — the justitification of parental brutality in the name of instilling virtue and the torture of self esteem inherent in the religious teachings. As someone raised in a liberal Catholic milieu, I’m in a state of shock but I now understand why Ontario protestant kids weren’s allowed to play with me — they might have discovered too much freedom and fun!!

nygurl08 -

I can’t wait to see Cornish and Whishaw in Campion’s new indie film Bright Star when it opens in theaters Sept. 18th. The visuals looks stunning, and the story sounds interesting. If you haven’t seen the trailer for Bright Star, you can find it here on the updated official site.


It is a great news to our Indians that Mr.Nagendra Karri produced a picture WHERE ARE YOU SOPHIA and presented in the CANNES FESTIVAL 2009.. Great achievement and we wish him success..


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