Cannes Diary 2016 – Days 6 and 7

Another early morning today as we headed down to the Palais for the screening of Jeff Nichols’ latest film ‘Loving’. Starring Joel Edgerton and our own Ruth Negga, ‘Loving’ is the story of a white man and a black woman in 1950s Virginia who are jailed for the “Crime” of getting married. Forced to leave the State to avoid prison, the Lovings begin legal proceedings to return home and, with the full weight of the ACLU behind them, start the entire country on a path to marriage equality.

Hugely timely with the marriage equality debate still raging around the world, ‘Loving’ is a film that could so easily have turned into a courtroom drama but director Jeff Nichols has a flair for telling small, family stories on the big screen, and this is exactly what he does with ‘Loving’, making the film a story about love, and forcing the legal drama to take a backseat. Read our full review here.

After an hour spent writing on the sunny press balcony – we know, our lives are so hard! – we stepped back into the Palais for a screening of David Mackenzie’s new film ‘Hell or High Water’. Directed by the man who brought us ‘Starred Up’, and written for the screen by Taylor Sheridan, who recently wrote ‘Sicario’, ‘Hell or High Water’ is a film that plays with the familiar cops and robbers clichés while being funny, smart and emotional. Paralells are drawn between the Texas Rangers and the bank robbing brothers they are seeking out, as well as the recent economic crash being compared to the land grab that saw settlers taking over from the Native American people. Despite the rather pedestrian title, ‘Hell or High Water’ is a genre busting thrill ride, with plenty of emotion, action and a wonderful score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Read our full review here.

Another Cannes day filled with movies, we rejoined the queue at the Palais in the evening – after a quick catch up, and an ice cream, with some Irish distributors – for Olivier Assayas’ latest film ‘Personal Shopper’. The second film at the festival to star Kristen Stewart, and the second collaboration between the actor and director, ‘Personal Shopper’ tells the story of Maureen (Stewart), a woman working as , you guessed it!, personal shopper for a famous star, while waiting in Paris for a sign from her twin brother, who died in the city a few months before. It helps that Maureen and her brother were mediums, but Maureen’s efforts waken something far more sinister than the brother she lost too soon.

‘Personal Shopper’ was the first film we heard boo-ed at the Cannes Film Festival this year – the Cannes audiences love to make known their opinions in the most vociferous ways – and is a true disappointment after the strong and powerful collaboration between Stewart and Assayas in ‘Cloud of Sils Maria’. The film never seems sure what it is trying to be – ghost story, boredom tale or thriller – and this tangled mess is incredibly obvious on screen. Read our full review here.

In happier news, however, we are getting closer to solving the mystery of just who shouts “RAOUL!” at the beginning of screenings in the Debussy screening room in Cannes. A film festival tradition, legend has it that this running gag started when someone came in late to a screening and was looking for a friend. The tradition lives on at every film festival, and we have now come to the conclusion that it is someone downstairs who shouts the name every evening – prompting laughs and applause from those assembled in the Debussy theatre – which means we have narrowed it down to one of about 750 people. We’ll keep looking…

Another early morning this morning, but a beautifully bright and sunny day as we climbed the Red Steps for what felt like the millionth time this year; a far cry from the thunderstorms that were forecast… Hmm, perhaps we should not have said anything, we may be tempting fate.

Anyway, this morning’s film was Pedro Almodovar’s latest; ‘Julieta’. Based on three short stories by Alice Munro, ‘Julieta’ tells the story of a woman writing letters to estranged daughter – who she has not seen for over 12 years – to try to explain the choices that she made as a mother. ‘Julieta’ is a film with a powerful message at it’s heart, but is seriously undermined by a constant and unengaging voiceover. Read our full review here.

After a short break between films, we headed back into the Palais to see Matt Ross’ new film ‘Captain Fantastic’. The film stars Viggo Mortensen as Ben, the head of a huge family who have a very different way of living; completely removed from the rest of the world, in a forest. This small family community see the world in a different way from most of the rest of us, but their fragile world comes under threat when the children’s mother dies and the family return to the “real world” for the funeral. ‘Captain Fantastic’ is a beautiful, quirky, funny and poignant look at the world we live in, love and grief, and earned a full five star review from us here in Cannes. You can read the full review here.

After ‘Captain Fantastic’ we had out day completely thrown into chaos by an interview that ran long. Here is a simple truth about the Cannes Film Festival; every year there is an interview that takes way longer than it was scheduled to. This year, that honour goes to the living legend Robert DeNiro, who was in town to promote his new film ‘Hands of Stone’, as well as being honoured by the festival itself. We arrived in the roof of the Palais on time, but Mr DeNiro’s press day was running way behind schedule… What could we do but wait!? The view from the roof of Palais is simply stunning and we had plenty of time to instagram the view from the top before sitting down to talk to Robert DeNiro and his co-star Edgar Ramirez about ‘Hands of Stone’. We will publish the full interview on later in the year, but for now, here’s a shot of Robert DeNiro and Edgar Ramirez in interview mode…

Edgar Ramirez and Robert Deniro in interview mode. #cannes2016

A photo posted by Brogen Hayes (@brogenhayes) on

Since the interview ran so late, we had no chance of getting in to see ‘Ma’Rosa’ – there are even limits to the mythical pink badge – so we returned home and had some well earned sleep to be ready to face the day tomorrow.

Still to come at Cannes 2016; Sean Penn’s film ‘The Last Face’, Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘The Neon Demon’, Xavier Dolan’s ‘It’s Just the End of the World’ and many more.

Words: Brogen Hayes