The morning dawned bright and sunny as we dragged our already exhausted selves out of bed to go to the Palais for Chan-Wook Park’s latest film ‘The Handmaiden’. The walk to the Palais is always a good one however, with the building and it’s bright yellow posters peeking out between the palm trees. It was so pretty, we just had to instagram it.
As well as this, we decided to instagram the walk up the Red Steps for those who have always wondered what it is like. We walk up the steps almost every morning to get into the Grand Theatre Lumiére – the biggest screening room in Cannes, which seats 2,500 people – and it never ceases to be a thrill. Click play below to find out just what the Red Steps look like when you are climbing them.
A video posted by Brogen Hayes (@brogenhayes) on
Ushered downstairs, away from our usual seats, for ‘The Handmaiden’, we weren’t sure what to expect. The film is one of five with a running time of over 2 hours and 20minutes screening at the festival, but the good news is that Park Chan Wook’s latest film knows just what to do with such an extended running time.
‘The Handmaiden’ is the story of Sookee (Kim Tae-ri), a young girl in 1930s Korea who is sent to be a handmaiden in a house owned by a wealthy Japanese man. The woman Sookee is to care for, Hideko (Kim Min-hee), is the older man’s dead wife’s niece; a woman he plans to marry to inherit her wealth and keep his book collection going. Sookee and her accomplice The Count (Ha Jung-Woo) have other ideas, as they plan to convince Hideko to marry The Count instead. Little do any of them realise, however, that Hideko has a plan of her own.
Based on the novel ‘Fingersmith’ by English author Sarah Waters, ‘The Handmaiden’ is an erotic thriller that is beautifully shot and continually keeps the audience on their toes as it twists and turns with double cross after double cross. Park Chan Wook has made a beautiful, lush and fun film, and we can’t wait to see it again. Read our full review here.
After ‘The Handmaiden’ – and a quick glimpse of Jury President George Miller as he nipped out of the Grand Theatre Lumiere – it was back into a very disorganised queue to see one of the most anticipated films if Cannes 2016; ‘The BFG‘. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film is a new adaptation of the Roald Dahl book of the same name. Ruby Barnhill plays Sophie; a young orphan who suffers from insomnia, and knows that the Witching Hour comes at 3am. While looking out the window one night, Sophie sees something impossible; a giant, and it is not long before she is stolen away to a magical world full of adventure, danger and a visit to the Queen.
‘The BFG’ is incredibly faithful to Roald Dahl’s book, and is a nostalgic adventure with a warm heart, mainly thanks to Mark Rylance’s towering – sorry! – performance as the BFG himself. Read our full review here.
Next up, we headed down the Croisette to talk to the cast and crew of Ken Loach’s film In Competition; ‘I, Daniel Blake’. Writer and long time Ken Loach collaborator Paul Laverty was first, reminding us that the film was born out of talking to real people on benefits, those who had them denied and one person he talked to who casually mentioned that he had not eaten for three days, because he had no money to buy food, like it was a normal occurrence. Laverty was frank and honest about his hopes for the future and the experiences he’d had while making the film; the full interview will be published on Movies.ie in the future. We also got to talk to Dave Johns and Hayley Squires – the lead actors in ‘I, Daniel Blake’ about their experiences working with Ken Loach and talking to people whose experiences had influenced the film. Squires spoke about the strangeness of buying all new clothes to come to Cannes, knowing she was going home to her mum’s house because she cannot afford to live in London, and Johns was incredibly funny – it was easy to see that he is a stand up comic by trade.
Andrea Arnold’s latest film ‘American Honey’ was the last movie of the day, which is beautifully shot and shows the America Mid West off at its most instagrammable, but lacked story and, at two hours and 42 minutes long, was far too meandering and similar to ‘Spring Breakers’ to be truly engaging. Our full review is here.
Around the festival; Liam Gallagher was spotted hanging out in an Irish bar, Carrie Fisher’s dog became a red carpet star at the official screening of ‘The Handmaiden’, while the wonderful Miss Fame from RuPaul’s Drag Race season 7 also made an appearance on the red carpet, wearing a wig the same colour as the steps. Perhaps someone should have warned her!
The first screening of the morning was another film from a woman director at Cannes; ‘From the Land of the Moon’, which is the first of two films to star Marion Cotillard at the Festival, and one of three directed by women in main Competition. The film is the story of a love triangle in post WWII France, and as always, Cotillard is the heart and soul of the film. Read our full review here.
After this, it was a quick dash through the Palais to the screening of Michael O’Shea’s horror flick ‘The Transfiguration’, which examines death, loss and just what happens to a teenager going through puberty at he same time as tragedy, and how they cope with it. Eric Ruffin plays Milo, a an isolated and quiet teen boy a modest collection of vampire films on VHS, who just so happens to have a need to drink blood. Slow burning and real feeling, ‘The Transfiguration’ is an impressive debut feature from Brooklyn-born Michael O’Shea, and marks him as a director to watch out for. Read our full review here.
After the screening, we were lucky enough to have a chat with Michael O’Shea about the film’s impressive journey to Cannes, Irish vampires and shooting a film on a small budget. O’Shea was lively, passionate and animated, as well as being charmingly new to the press circuit, asking us to cut out spoiler filled answers that he gave – don’t worry we will – and telling us he is in the process of applying for Irish citizenship since three of his four grandparents are from Sligo… He thinks! The interview will appear on movies.ie in the future so keep an eye out for it, meanwhile, feast your eyes on a picture of the bubbly and fun Michael O’Shea looking glum as he posed for picture for us on a balcony overlooking Cannes.
A photo posted by Brogen Hayes (@brogenhayes) on
After we slipped on the wet floor of the Palais, it was time to go home and change into dry jeans, but not before we saw the giant hairy creature from ‘Toni Erdmann’ negotiating security at the front of the Palais du Festivals. The character had also been at the photocall for the film, and seems to be one of the most in demand celebrities of the weekend as people gleefully clicked photos of the strange and hilarious sight of a seven foot tall hairball being scanned by a metal detector on the way into the Palais.
The last film of the day came in the form of Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Paterson’ – Jarmusch’s film ‘Gimme Danger’ is also screening at the festival, a rare honour for a director to show two films on the French Riviera at the same time – and stars Adam Driver as the title character. As we queued for ‘Paterson’, an impromptu dance party started up on the Red Steps around the corner, as the cast of ‘American Honey‘ – joined by Kristen Stewart – danced to “Choices (Yup)” by E-40, which features heavily in the film.
In Paterson, Adam Driver plays a man still living in the town he grew up in, a town he was named after. Driving buses for a living, and living a seemingly charmed life with a girlfriend who loves him, a dog who doesn’t and a nightly routine of going for a drink in the same bar, while out walking the dog. So why can’t this aspiring poet write? Jim Jarmusch explores the nature of creativity and the day to day lives of people in this sweetly charming film that is one of the best so far at the festival.
After the screening of ‘Paterson’, we headed to the Cinema on the Beach, hoping to see the reprise of ‘Purple Rain’, but it seems we were out of luck again; the screening instead was of ’A Man and a Woman’, the 1966 French film, directed by Claude Lelouch.
Tomorrow morning is another early start, with a screening of Jeff Nichols’ latest film ‘Loving’, one that we are very excited about indeed. Bon Soir from Cannes!
Words: Brogen Hayes