Cannes Update May 20th 2011

More updates from Cannes including the new movie from Almodovar

We didn’t think it was possible, but somehow, it is even hotter today in Cannes.

We got up super early to head to Melancholia – there was a fist fight outside the Palais over admittance to The Tree of Life, so we were not taking any chances – but it was worth getting out of our cosy beds for… Lars Von Trier has delivered a beautiful ethereal movie about the end of the world, although he may argue differently.
If the world was created in The Tree of Life, then Melancholia destroyed it. The story focuses on Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) as they navigate the pitfalls of the planet Melancholia’s proximity to Earth as well as Justine’s doomed wedding reception, her marriage and her depression. Maybe this disaster was foretold, however, as the planet Melancholia is headed toward Earth on a collision course that sparks very different reactions from our cast.

Melancholia looks stunning, from the opening montage to the closing scene the film is lush, sumptuous and almost dripping with life and colour. The slow motion montage at the start kicks off the themes of bewilderment and isolation that carry on throughout the film. The planet Melancholia becomes almost a character in itself, it’s proximity to Earth affects each character in a different, and unexpected manner. Kirsten Dunst portrays Justine in an understated, almost quiet way that dominates the entire film, without being domineering.

The film may be a statement on the depression that Von Trier admits to suffering, (at the press conference today, Gainsbourg subtly confirmed this) and at times the appears to suffer this depression itself, languishing through scenes that repeat themselves or seem superfluous to the action that underlies the visuals. That being said, Melancholia is an interesting and visually dazzling film, and although it languishes at times under an overlong running time, and a drawn out script, it is worth watching, if only to see the creator of the Dogme 95 movement of film making, return closer to the world of Hollywood cinema.

Elsewhere on La Croisette Ichimei – the latest from Takashi Miike – screened, although we were busy doing interviews, so we were not on hand to discover whether the film was in 3D or not, a topic that had everyone speculating throughout the day. We also saw Milla Jockovich looking elegant in red and white on her way to see The Conquest, and Jason Mraz wandering around the Palais, hiding under a flat cap, but chatting happily with Justin Tickell – the man behind The Big Fix.

We have to be up early again to see Almodovar’s latest, The Skin I Live In, so from Cannes, Bonne Nuit!


We have just returned to our masion, to recover from seeing Antonio Banderas looking gorgeous on the Red Steps. Banderas, Almodovar and Elena Anaya were in Cannes tonight for the official screening of The Skin I Live In. We were lucky enough to see the film this morning, and the film received prolonged applause from those of us gathered in The Grand Theatre Lumiere at 8.30 this morning.

The story is that of a plastic surgeon (Banderas) who seeks venegence against a man who – he believes – raped his daughter, leading to her suicide, but The Skin I Live In is not the horror movie we expected. The story is incredibly dark with Banderas’s character portrayed as a combination between Frankenstein and the monster he created. There is surprisingly little gore, and hints of Georges Franju’s Eyes Without a Face in this adaptation of Thierry Jonquet’s novel. Banderas is on fantastic form, playing Robert as a charming man with very little scruples. Elena Anaya had a challenge on her hands with this role, but she mixes desperation with just the right amount of fear and bewilderment.

The Skin I Live In could have been a horror movie, since the subject matter is so dark, but Almodovar manages to treat the story with a little levity combines with melodrama while his tongue in firmly in cheek and this is what makes the film work. And of course it is wonderful to see Almodovar and Banderas working together again after twenty years.

Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive was the most anticipated screening on La Croisette this evening. The film received almost entirely positive praise from those at the screening, which was so packed that had to sit on the floor! Ryan Gosling stars in Drive as a Hollywood stunt driver, who also rents himself out – for five minutes at a time – as a wheelman. Things quickly change, however, when he falls for his charming neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan).

Drive plays with the exploitation style, and since it is a film about a driver, it is hardly surprising that it swerves (sorry) towards carsploitation. That said, don’t write Drive off as Fast and the Furious Six, the film is dirty, beautiful and tough. The film is beautifully shot and has the best use of slow motion that we have seen at this year’s Cannes (Sorry Mr Von Trier). The audience knows virtually nothing about the driver, yet within moments, we are rooting for this guy to win. The story is much more complex than it appears at first – we thought we had it pegged, but Winding Refn surprised us, and kept us guessing until the last moment. If you are a fan of Death Proof, or the exploitation style of film making, see Drive. It is messy, violent and badass with a killer soundtrack. One of the best films we have seen so far.

To counteract all of these high profile films, took ourselves down La Croisette to the cinema at the Mariott to see Jean-Jacques Jauffret’s film in the Director’s Fortnight – Apres Le Sud. The film began well and borrowed the non-linear, non-chronological timing of 21 Grams. Sadly, the subtitles packed in half way through the film, and we were lost. We can imagine what happened, but we are not sure, other than there being a tableau at the end of the film which was obviously inspired by the images of Jesus at the crucifixion. If there was another meaning, it was lost in translation.

Today we saw Jason Mraz, again, Malcolm McDowell – who is in town for a screening of A Clockwork Orange and a Masterclass – and Justin Kurzel, director of Snowtown, gave us a wink as we dashed from one screening to another. We also talked to the people behind Cannes in a Van, which shows short films on the screen at the back of a van each night, in a different location. We must turn in now though, we have another early start tomorrow for the eagerly awaited This Must Be The Place, starring Sean Penn.

Words – Brogen Hayes