Cannes Update – Days 10 and 11

The 65th Cannes Film Festival is drawing to a close, but Brogen Hayes is still on the French Riviera, taking in the delights of David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and Jeff Nichols’s Mud, as well as bringing you the results of the awards given by the Un Certain Regard jury, headed by Tim Roth.

Well if Cannes felt like it was winding down yesterday, then today feels like we are almost over staying our welcome in the south of France. The morning screening was decidedly less chaotic and many even snoozed their way through David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis.

Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) is a young billionaire, who wants nothing more than a haircut. The problem is that the President is visiting New York, meaning that traffic – and Eric’s limo – is slowed to a crawl. As capitalism is destroyed outside the confines of the car, Eric and the people who visit his silent bubble, engage in existential discussions as Eric’s world is slowly destroyed.

The audience was definitely divided for Cosmpolis, with many complaining that this was a stage play, rather than a film. In all, Cosmopolis is a film that could benefit from multiple viewings; it is so wordy and dense in it’s questioning of the world that often the audience may feel that they are missing something. It is this very aspect which will limit the appeal of the film, but if it brings some Twihards into the Cronenberg world, then so much the better. Cosmopolis looks good and is carefully ordered, but stumbles at times when wordiness takes over from the artifice and the bizarre. The film may leave the audience cold at times, but it is beyond doubt that this is a choice that Cronenberg has made.

Robert Pattinson and David Cronenberg were on fine form at the press conference after the film, and had nothing but praise for one another. The atmosphere between the two was so filled with admiration that we would not be surprised to see the two work together again in the future. 

The rain reappeared in the afternoon, which meant that the streets, which were already emptying, were filled with an eerie hush. We walked the length of the Croisette to see Kanye West’s Cruel Summer on Palm Beach. Cruel Summer is inspired by the new G.O.O.D. album of the same name, and is billed as a fusion of short film and art installation; in an immersive 7 screen experience. Maybe it was the rain, or maybe it was the odd angling of the screens, but Cruel Summer – the story of Kid Cudi and his desire to better himself – does not quite work on seven screens. Perhaps it would have been better if the action was confined to one screen and committed to the story. Ultimately, Cruel Summer plays like a short film with music from Coldplay; it is as grandiose as one would expect from West, and more than a little bit odd.

We had a quick chat with Xan Brooks from the Guardian, who was as tired and punch drunk as we were, and between us, we tried to guess what might win the Palme d’Or this year. Whereas 2011 was a year with clear standouts in the Cannes programme, it has been difficult to pin down what the jury will champion this year. There have been many near misses and good intentions, but a clear winner does not yet seem to have emerged from the pack In Competition. Finally, we agreed with Xan that the Palme d’Or could well go to Michael Haneke’s Amour – even though he won in 2009 for White Ribbon – then said goodbye for another year.

Finally, in the evening, we braved the rain and headed to the beach for the screening of the latest from Anthony Hemingway; Red Tails. Red Tails is the story of the Tuskegee air force in World War 2, which was entirely made up of African American pilots. The film stars David Oyelowo and Ne-Yo and was introduced by George Lucas himself. Once we had dusted the sand from our feet, it was time for bed. The last early morning screening beckoned; Matthew MConaughey’s second film In Competition, Mud.

On Saturday morning we took to the famous Red Steps for the last time and scurried into the Grand Theatre Lumiére for the screening of Mud, another southern charmer at Cannes.

Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) are two young boys who discover a fugitive hiding on an island in the Mississippi. Together, Mud (Matthew McConaughey) and the two boys form a plan to avoid bounty hunters and reunite Mud with his one true love.

In all, Mud is a sweet and gentle story with a heck of a lot of heart. The relationship between Ellis and Mud is warm and familiar, and it is this combined with Ellis’s refusal to believe negative stories about his newfound friend and mentor, that keeps the film moving. The film runs at just over two hours and, even when the DCP in Cannes messed up, the audience stuck with the film and waited out the mistake; surely a show of the strong material we were watching.

After a brief rest on the balcony in the sun, we hit the cinema again for Gimme The Loot. The film follows two young graffiti artists as they try to do the impossible; tag the giant apple at Citi Field, or Shea Stadium as they call it, in New York. This has been tried many times over the past 20 years, but Sofia (Tashiana Washington) and Malcolm (Ty Hickson) believe they are the ones who will finally succeed.

Gimme the Loot is a sweet story of two friends running across New York City, pulling scams to try and raise the money they need to make their dreams come true. The acting may leave a little to be desired at times, but in all, the film is a charming story of friendship. 

We spent the afternoon saying goodbye to our colleagues who were leaving for home, then spied Ty Hickson and Tashiana Washington as they meandered down the Croisette – Hickson’s jacket was bright blue and hard to miss! Also out for a stroll in the sunshine was legendary director David Cronenberg, who was deep in conversation was he wove his way through the crowds. We then saw Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon leave their hotel for their short journey to the Red Steps, and watched as they walked into their screening hand in hand. Aww.

The Awards from the Un Certain Regard jury, headed by Tim Roth, were announced tonight. The top pize went to Michel Franco’s Despues De Lucia (After Lucia), Special Jury Prize went to Le Grand Soir, Suzanne Clement and Emilie Dequenne shared the Best Actress Prize for their performances in Lawrence Anyways and  A Perdre la Raison, respectively.The Jury also awarded a special prize to Aida Begic for Djeca.

The fact that the Un Certain Regard Jury have given their awards, can only mean one thing; the 65th Cannes Film Festival is almost at an end. It has been a year of breakout hits and some muddled storytelling but it has, for the most part, been entertaining and challenging. The awards for films In Competition take place tomorrow night, when the argument that has raged over the last few days will finally be put to rest; who will win the coveted Palme D’Or. All bets are off as the competition really is wide open, but if we had to bet, we would guess that Holy Motors will take home an award, and we would love to see Mads Mikkelsen win for his compelling performance in The Hunt (Jagten). We will bring you the results tomorrow evening, and until then… Bon Nuit!