Cannes 2019

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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby Precious Doll » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:07 am

Having now seen six of the films in this years Cannes competition (5 of which were also prizewinners) has given me some actual perspective of the selections but one must naturally see everything to make a complete assessment. I am also going to comment on some of the questions/points raised by Mister Tee & dws as they were very interesting and valid. I'll start from the bottom up:

The Whistlers (Corneliu Porumboiu) (Romania)

Porumboiu has built up a pretty good slate of films over the years though he has yet to progress to the top tier of Romanian film directors. The Whistlers is an enjoyable romp with a number of unique elements to its story to set it apart from general cops/crooks genre. A screenplay prize would not have been unwarranted and I suspect this will be Romania's entry for the Foreign Language category. Its certainly way more accessible than their entry last year, though its not in the same league artistically.

Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho & Juliano Dornelles) (Brazil)

This is rather enjoyable and its a credit to the directors that they keep a handle on all the characters as it is something of an ensemble piece. The standout is Udo Kier - quite a performance I must say from Mr. Kier and he has enormous fun with it. His scene with Sonia Braga is priceless. However, the drawback of the film is that it is an allegory of the current political climate in Brazil and if you don't know much about it, like me, you are, like me again, probably missing out on nuances in the film. It works well enough anyway but I couldn't help feeling I was completely in on the joke. This will not be Brazil's entry for the Oscars - they will select something that doesn't piss the Government off.

Pain & Glory (Pedro Almodovar) (Spain)

I liked Pain & Glory but I do not think it is in the same league as the very best of Almodovar of say the last 20 years (All About My Mother, Talk to Me & Volver). Having said that, it is his most personal film to date and grounded by the very best work Antonio Banderas has ever done.

Mister Tee said in relation to Banderas: "Obviously I have no idea how competitive this year's best actor Oscar field is going to be, but it strikes me Antonio Banderas has precisely the profile of someone who gets a nomination for a foreign-language performance: a familiar face in American films with a US profile, a long resume, a seemingly culminating performance in a film by his longtime collaborator. If the film breaks through, I think he's a hot prospect for a slot." Mister Tee is right on the money with his comment and I suspect the film will breakout (my partner loved it, whilst I merely liked it) and Banderas is so central to the success of the film. Major film critics awards may also come into play and I'd be surprised if Spain doesn't submit this for Foreign Language Film where it will have a very good chance of receiving a nomination and maybe even a win.

In relation to another Mister Tee comment: "On the other hand, you have to wonder if there's anything Pedro can do to win a Palme (this is at least the third time he was thought to be in the running for it but fell short)." I suppose Almodovar just has to strike it lucky with the right film in the right year with the right jury and competition. This year he didn't stand a chance with Parasite and given the strength of Banderas' work in the film the best actor prize (like the joint actress prize for the Volver ladies) seemed to be the most appropriate place for the film to win something. Personally, I think Almodovar was robbed in 1999 for All About My Mother. That year is a story in itself*.

Les Miserables (Ladj Ly) (France)

What a debut feature! I really went in expecting just another French police/crime genre film and got a fast paced, action packed nail biting thriller with loads of social commentary packed in. Its probably the best film of its kind from France since La Haine. This is another film that juggles a multitude of characters and stories effortlessly. Told with confidence and bravo though never drawing attention to itself. Once again a wonderful debut feature. Ladj Ly is clearly a talent to keep an eye on in the future.

Portrait of a Lady (Celine Sciamma) (France)

Just simply great. Nothing in Celine Sciama's career prior can really prepare one for the maturity of filmmaker skills on display in this film. A unique and beautiful love story told with restraint and boldness. Noemie Merland & Adele Haenel are brilliant and in some respects the film could be seen as love poem from Celine Sciamma to Adele Haenel (they are partners and have been together for some time). I seem to get the impression the Merland has been receiving more praise but its very hard to single one out over another. Having not seen the best actress winning film Little Joe I can't comment on the performance of the leading lady but certainly award a joint best actress award may have been the way to go. Also, a good time to recommend an earlier Sciamma film Tomboy - one of the best 'growing up' films ever and its a very adorable, funny and wise tale.

Parasite (Bong Joon-ho) (South Korea)

Flawless, brilliant, genre bending, funny and horrific - sometimes at the same time this is Bong's best film to date which is some accomplishment given the general high standard of his output. Without yet seeing the other 15 films in competition it really is hard to imagine that any of the others are better or more deserving of the Palm than Parasite. The detail of the screenplay is a marvel and it is yet another competition film with a large ensemble of actors playing flawlessly with each other. Also, Bong's direction has never been more assured than Parasite - complex scenes and scenarios directed with slight of hand, the camera gliding effortlessly around captured events as they unfold. This would have to be one of the most deserving best film winners at Cannes ever. South Korea will finally get their first Oscar nomination for foreign language film and I wouldn't rule out a screenplay or director nomination at the Oscars either if the films breaks out. I'm not willing to go out on a limb and say this is going to win the Foreign Language Film Oscar yet but I don't think anything has been released anywhere to date that would beat this with the possible exception of the Almodovar being a spoiler as it deals with a film director struggling with some of lifes challenges that may be to the Academys taste. I do think once Parasite begins to be more seen there will be some detractors but the 'wow' factor of this film is going to dwarf the few that won't much care for it.

As for comments on AwardsWatch which I have not bothered to read myself (thanks to dws & Mister Tee for their reporting) it is rather silly to be critical and busting their spleens over awards given to films they have not seen. I can understand expressing disappointment of a favourite filmmaker missing out or being happy when a favourite filmmaker wins even if one has seen the films but I don't see any sense carrying on about it.

* When About My Mother was in competition at Cannes, Jury President David Cronenberg announced that they (the jury) were only going to consider films by new directors!

True to his word Cronenberg's jury mainly awarded new/unknown directors most of the prizes Rosetta (the Dardenne Brothers), L'humanite - 3 awards including best actor & actress (WTF) (Bruno Dumont). Pedro Almodovar did win director for All About My Mother.

Almodovar lashed out in the press not because he didn't win the Palm but that that isn't the criteria for selecting winners and a great film like David Lynch's The Straight Story (singled out by Almodovar) when home empty handed.

Cronenberg recently said he felt vindicated by the choices because the Dardennes & Bruno Dumont went on to have great careers.

Really, I felt that the established directors simply should have withdrawn their films from the competition but that at the end of the day, what the hell. What counts more than anything is your film is well received by critics and audiences. As has been proved many times over not just at Cannes but other awards is that when you award something not liked by critics and audiences it doesn't add value to the film that has been awarded - it actually adds a stench and that the award and film for the matter are rather quickly forgotten. The great ones last a lot longer than the memory of the awards they may not have won.
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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby Precious Doll » Tue May 28, 2019 1:18 am

Great summary of Berlin & the Oscars dws. Over the years the importance of Berlin as one of the 'big three' film festivals has declined to a degree, though it still has been a great festival for some lesser known talents of international cinema. Most notably A Separation. Funnily enough Ashgar Farhadi's most recent films premiered at Cannes which illustrates the prestige that Cannes has over Berlin, whereas his earlier film About Elly played at Berlin and won a prize.

I look forward to your Venice summary. The only casual observation I note with Venice is that it has become, along with Toronto, the launching pad for Oscar hopefuls and that has probably happened as you pointed out below to the change of release strategies for Oscar bait films.

Talk of these three festival always reminds me of the very early 1980's when Fassbinder wanted to have a new film and each of the festivals in the one year with the hoped of winning to top prize all three festivals. Whilst hee did win the Golden Bear for Veronika Voss he passed away before got his chance at what would have been history making.
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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby dws1982 » Mon May 27, 2019 1:53 pm

Precious Doll wrote:I remember back in the late 1970's Oscar nominated and winning films like All That Jazz (1979) & Being There (1979) had their international releases delayed until after they had shown at Cannes in 1980 - one of the competition rules is that a film cannot be released outside its country of origin prior to its competition showing.

I've actually looked at this in context of the Berlin Film Festival. I was planning a long post on Berlin's (as well as Cannes' and Venice's) relationship to Oscar races, but life got in the way and I never got around to finishing it, so I'll share some of what I discovered here.

From roughly the mid-80's through the mid-00's, Berlin was a very common stop for year-end releases making their international roll-outs.

From 1987 to 2004, there were always current Oscar contenders (some Best Picture contenders, some in just a category or two) making, essentially, their international debuts at Berlin. At first I wondered, why filmmakers would take their film over to Berlin during Oscar season--which was surely already a busy time for them. I quickly realized why when I looked at how those Oscar contenders performed at Berlin: Out of 18 festivals, 48 films went to Berlin during their Oscar season, and of those 48 films, 36 won some award at Berlin--a 75% success rate. There wasn't a single year in that time period where the Berlin jury did not give at least one award to a current Oscar contender, and they were often winning something big. (Eight won the Golden Bear, although a few of those only had nominations in a category or two.)

But then, Berlin suddenly stopped playing host to current Oscar contenders, and you can look at the timing to find out why easily enough. 2004 was of course the first year under the new Oscar schedule. Whereas Berlin had been going on right around the time the nominations were announced (I seem to remember a few nominees finding out about their nomination while in Berlin), under the new schedule it was wrapping up just before the actual awards were handed out. To accommodate this new schedules, release patterns were sped up dramatically.

How dramatically? Well, looking at a few Best Picture winners that played Berlin, Rain Man, a mid-December release in the US, had not been released anywhere outside of the US and Canada by the time it went to Berlin. The English Patient, a mid-November release in the US, had also not been released outside of the US and Canada when it went to Berlin almost three months later. It’s not a one-to-one comparison, obviously, but look at Bohemian Rhapsody for an example of how much faster the film distribution world spins now: It was released in early November, available to buy on video and streaming in mid-February--which is when Berlin takes place--and it’s NOT an example of a movie that bombed and was out of theaters in two weeks.

Now movies like The Revenant, which was one of the last films finished and released in the 2015 Oscar race, aren’t held in the US and Canada for two months. The Revenant was released worldwide, in almost every country in Europe, by the end of January 2016, before Berlin. Phantom Thread, another movie that, under old paradigms, would be a classic Berlin film, and one that was (relatively) slow to roll out in the United States, was still in almost every country in Europe by the first weekend of February 2018--once again, before Berlin. Movies are just put out much faster right now, and the Berlin festival has changed dramatically as a result.

For the most part, American films at Berlin have gotten smaller, and unless they're from an established name, they hardly ever hold on to an Oscar season almost a year later.

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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby Precious Doll » Sun May 26, 2019 1:19 am

Cannes has changed a lot.

I remember back in the late 1970's Oscar nominated and winning films like All That Jazz (1979) & Being There (1979) had their international releases delayed until after they had shown at Cannes in 1980 - one of the competition rules is that a film cannot be released outside its country of origin prior to its competition showing. As Evil Angels (1988) was a US/Australian co-production is was allowed to be released in those to countries long before Cannes, while the rest of the planet had to wait.

It was also very common for US films to have been released in the earlier months of the year: Coming Home (1978), An Unmarried Woman (1978), Norma Rae (1979) and Missing (1982) being classic examples, and then after Cannes go into release throughout the result of the world over the next six or more months.
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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby dws1982 » Sat May 25, 2019 10:02 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Quentin going home empty-handed is reminiscent of when LA Confidential, despite American raves, got nothing in 1997. Films that seem certain to be American hits are often passed over at Cannes on a "they don't need the help" basis.

This is an interesting note, because not winning something at Cannes is not a clear kiss of death for awards prospects for mainstream American films. Mystic River and No Country For Old Men also left Cannes with nothing (despite their directors having had films win awards at Cannes in the past) and went on to do fine commercially and with the Academy.

I'm always fascinated by the relationship between Cannes and Oscar prospects. Back when it was released, I read that 12 Years A Slave could've pushed post-production and been completed in time for Cannes, but someone--either the producers or the distributor--worried that if it played at Cannes and didn't win anything, it come back to America with an air of failure/disappointment that would be hard to shake. (With Spielberg at the head of that jury, I honestly think it would've won something big.) But as other films have shown, going home empty-handed from Cannes doesn't always torpedo a film's Oscar hopes, and winning awards at Cannes doesn't guarantee that an American film will do anything at the Oscars--see The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, for example. I don't think the people behind 12 Years a Slave realized that Cannes and the Oscars exist in different but sometimes overlapping universes, and they probably could've done fine playing Cannes, whether or not they won anything.

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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby dws1982 » Sat May 25, 2019 5:16 pm

Tee, you're definitely right about the AwardsWatch thread. Mad that Sciamma's film didn't get what it "deserved" and that the Dardennes got an award that they didn't "deserve" (one person said that "those two white dudes should be retired from the competition"), even though there's no evidence that anyone in that thread was actually at Cannes watching these films.

Innaritu said that the Palme D'or choice of Parasite was "completely unanimous".

Also, with the Director win, the Dardennes have had films win every award at Cannes except the Jury Prize.

US Distribution:
Parasite - Neon (they actually picked it up several months ago)
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood - Sony
Pain and Glory - Sony Pictures Classics (they've distributed all of Almodovar's films for 20+ years)
A Hidden Life - Fox Searchlight
Les Miserables - Amazon
Portrait of a Lady on Fire - Neon/Hulu
The Dead Don't Die - Focus
Frankie - Sony Pictures Classics
The Traitor - Sony Pictures Classics
Atlantique - Netflix (just picked up today)

No word that I've seen yet on Young Ahmed, although since IFC had distributed the Dardenne's last few films, I suspect they'll pick it up. Don't think the Loach film has distribution yet, either, although IFC and SPC have both put out some of his recent films. I expect an announcement on several other competition--and non-competition--films in the coming weeks.

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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby Mister Tee » Sat May 25, 2019 1:52 pm

As always, it's hilarious reading the Awards Watch folks' vehement objections to awards none of them have seen. The gripe this year is that women didn't win anything big enough -- that the Portrait screenplay prize was small potatoes compared to what the film "deserved". Never mind that a different woman won the Grand Prix.

I think you can make the case that jury members prefer to honor someone who's already built up something of a body of work, a designation which clearly applies to Bong Joon-ho over the past decade. It's also apparently the first Palme for South Korea, and the first time Asian films have won back-to-back.

On the other hand, you have to wonder if there's anything Pedro can do to win a Palme (this is at least the third time he was thought to be in the running for it but fell short). Or if there's anything the Dardenne brothers can do to avoid winning a prize. (They're to Cannes what John Williams is to the Oscar music branch.)

Obviously I have no idea how competitive this year's best actor Oscar field is going to be, but it strikes me Antonio Banderas has precisely the profile of someone who gets a nomination for a foreign-language performance: a familiar face in American films with a US profile, a long resume, a seemingly culminating performance in a film by his longtime collaborator. If the film breaks through, I think he's a hot prospect for a slot.

Quentin going home empty-handed is reminiscent of when LA Confidential, despite American raves, got nothing in 1997. Films that seem certain to be American hits are often passed over at Cannes on a "they don't need the help" basis.

Seems to have been a fairly exciting festival. Which comes as good news to those of us who've been starved for months for anything remotely worth seeing.

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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby dws1982 » Sat May 25, 2019 12:47 pm

Winners--
Palme D'Or: Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
Grand Prize: Mati Diop, Antlantique
Actor: Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Jury Prize: Ladj Ly, Les Miserables and Kleber Mendonca Flho, Bacurau
Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Young Ahmed
Actress: Emily Beecham, Little Joe
Screenplay: Celine Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Special Mention: Elia Suleiman, It Must Be Heaven

Camera D'Or: Our Mothers, Cesar Diaz

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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby Precious Doll » Sat May 25, 2019 1:20 am

I read somewhere that the Kechiche film has 178 bum shots in the film which is an awful lot even for a film running at 206 minutes.

There has also been speculation that the way more explicit tone in which Kechiche takes the film from the first was to deliberately provoke people and he appears to have succeeded in spades in that department.
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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby dws1982 » Fri May 24, 2019 10:53 pm

To be fair to Kechiche, I did read a take somewhere that indicated that the hostile reaction that his film got at Cannes may be colored a lot by the MeToo movement (the first part premiered about a month before MeToo became a thing) and the fact that Kechiche is himself currently under investigation for sexual assault.

---------
Predictions:
Palme D'Or: Parasite
Grand Prize: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Jury Prize: Atlantique
Best Actor: Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Best Actress: Neomie Merlant, Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Best Director: Marco Bellocchio, The Traitor
Best Screenplay: It Must Be Heaven

These are almost impossible to predict: Remember in 2016, Elle and Toni Erdmann were two of the biggest hits of the festival and went home with nothing, while the Grand Prize went to that Xavier Dolan film that everyone seemed to hate. Last year, none of the winners were seen as embarrassments (and higher-than-normal number went on to Oscar recognition), but Burning and, to a lesser extent, Ash Is Purest White, were thought to be prize contenders but went home empty-handed.

I've read some speculation that Innaritu might be less-inclined to give the big prizes to LGBT-themed films, but Pain and Glory and Portrait of a Lady On Fire were widely-acclaimed enough that it would look bad to snub them altogether, which is why I settled on Best Actor/Actress for them. If that speculation is wrong, I would expect one or both to win something bigger.

A Hidden Life seems like that type of film that could make sense winning anything from Director to Actor (not that Diehl got Best Actor-level raves, but sometimes they go oddball there) to one of the big three Jury prizes, but it would also make sense winning nothing. Right now I lean towards nothing. The big win for it was picking up US Distribution at Cannes--and at a $14 million pickup price, Fox Searchlight must think they can do something with it come awards season. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is another that could win one of several awards, although unlike the Malick film, I don't think it'll go home empty-handed.
Last edited by dws1982 on Sat May 25, 2019 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby Precious Doll » Fri May 24, 2019 8:00 am

dws1982 wrote:Read somewhere yesterday that this Cannes didn't seem to have any disasters like Sea of Trees or The Last Face. All that changed yesterday, however, with Abdellatif Kechiche's Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo. It's gotten by far the most hostile reaction of any film in then competition, with most saying that on the back of this reaction, Kechiche is unlikely to find the funding for the final part of his trilogy.


Such a shame as the first part of the trilogy Mektoub My Love: Uno was good and features a great breakout performance by Ophélie Bau who stole the film. I believe her character takes on quite a different arc in the second film that goes way against the grain of the first film. Doubt this new film will find its way to cinemas in my part of the world given Mektoub My Love: Uno played to empty houses.
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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby dws1982 » Fri May 24, 2019 7:23 am

Read somewhere yesterday that this Cannes didn't seem to have any disasters like Sea of Trees or The Last Face. All that changed yesterday, however, with Abdellatif Kechiche's Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo. It's gotten by far the most hostile reaction of any film in then competition, with most saying that on the back of this reaction, Kechiche is unlikely to find the funding for the final part of his trilogy.

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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby Okri » Wed May 22, 2019 9:38 pm

This is a very director heavy jury. Not sure if that affects how we think of the possibilities.

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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby Sabin » Wed May 22, 2019 6:07 pm

Mister Tee wrote
So, for the Palme, I'd say Pain & Glory, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and Parasite are the most likely, pending how the jury feels about Tarantino winning a second time.

I think the question is who does the jury think is more overdue to win the Palme? Pedro Almodovar or a woman?

I don't mean that to diminish Portrait of a Lady on Fire. My friends at Cannes say it's fantastic and easily their favorite.
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Re: Cannes 2019

Postby Mister Tee » Wed May 22, 2019 4:33 pm

To update the state of the competition: Bong Joon Ho's Parasite seems to have got exceptional reviews from the trades. The response to Desplechin's Oh Mercy is more mid-range -- positive but restrained. And Xavier Dolan's Matthias & Maxime is getting mixed-to-negative reactions.

So, for the Palme, I'd say Pain & Glory, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and Parasite are the most likely, pending how the jury feels about Tarantino winning a second time.


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