Brogen Hayes braves the rain and looks at Antiviral – the new film from Brandon Cronenberg – and more at the 65th Cannes Film Festival.

Saturday started off dull and cold here in Cannes, but an air of excitement pervaded the Croisette as we huddled together in the early morning to see John Hillcaot’s latest film, Lawless. Lawless is a fantastic follow up to John Hillcoat and Nick Cave’s previous collaboration, The Proposition. The film is a story of love, family and survival that is utterly enthralling and action packed. The performances are mesmerising – even if some of the accents are borderline unintelligible – and at the end of the day, Lawless is a heck of a lot of violent, bloodsoaked fun.

After running to one of the many beach venues to chat to Gael Garcia Bernal about his much-loved film No, it was on to the Irish Film Board party where it was announced that the Irish Film Board has signed a co-production agreement with South Africa. Co-production agreements mean more scope and funding for Irish films, so this is a positive move for Ireland.

We had our foot stepped on by Alec Baldwin as he was interviewed while meandering down the Croisette, then we got in line for the late night screening; Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral. Antiviral is the first film from Cronenberg – the son of the celebrated David – and is set in a future where the most valuable celebrity collectible is their diseases. Brandon Cronenberg has created an assured, stylised and unsettling film in Antiviral. His father once said that the only thing that unsettled him was needles, so it is hard to imagine how the famed director felt last night, watching the object of his repulsion examined in such detail on the screen. The film feels like a combination of Perfect Sense, The Matrix and every single movie about obsession and celebrity that you would care to name. The concept of examining the idea of celebrity is fascinating, and the film feels as though it is taking our collective obsession with the painted and the perfect to it’s logical – if terrifying – conclusion. We managed to catch a glimpse of Tim Roth – President of the Un Certain Regard jury – after the screening, and he seemed bewildered at the attention he was getting. 

If Saturday was overcast, then Sunday was even worse, rain drove is in to the Palais early to see Michael Haneke’s latest film; Amour (Love). Amour focuses on a subject that many film makers will shy away from; death. An elderly couple are enjoying their retirement in Paris when Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) suffers a stroke. The film is spent examining the final weeks of Anne’s life and the impact that the knowledge that death is approaching has on those that love her. Tears flowed at the press screening, although most emerged praising the film, despite it’s incredibly tough subject matter.

Queue skipping abounded at the afternoon screening of In Another Country, but we prevailed and we managed to get in to the jam-packed cinema. The film combines three stories of loss where the characters must learn to live with their loss and the choices they have made in their lives. Isabelle Huppert as Anne – or maybe three different Annes – forms the emotional heart of the film and, as the three stories overlap it becomes clear that Anne’s choices are ones that we all make through our lives. 

While waiting in the rain to get into Like Someone in Love, we saw Chris O’Dowd who was in town to promote his film The Sapphires and heard that Pete Doherty promoting his film Confessions of a Child of the Century. The rain put a dmpner on the atmosphere on the Croisette, however, and we did not stray far from the warmth of the Palais.

Down in the Marché we got incredibly lost while looking at the films that are coming up and had to be rescued from the labyrinth by Ed King, the brains behind the annual Horrorthon at the IFI. Ed is in Cannes collecting films for his festival and between us we found our way back to the Palais. While in the Marché we saw some great upcoming films advertised, but none had such a great ad campaign as the one that proclaimed ‘Chuck Norris doesn’t breathe in Cannes. He holds air hostage until you buy his film. Not sure what the film was though, as it sure wasn’t The Expendables 2.

We were turned away from a jam packed screening of Simon Pegg’s new film A Fantastic Fear of Everything earlier, and  failed to get into Like Someone in Love, so we are off to try again… Good night from rainy Cannes.