Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Cannes Diaries: The "Winners"



Such is the life of the casual blogger that I have not been able to write about the Cannes results until today, but I have finally found the time to do so (The world breathes a sigh of relief). While the glitzy guests of the closing ceremony were all sat in the Grand Palais, I was on the Eurostar back to London, and had my mum texts me the prizes as they were being announced (I love my mum!). I have some very mixed feelings about the results. Being a casual blogger who went down the path of guerilla festival-going as opposed to a professional journalist, I only saw ten films, and missed most of the ones who got a prize. But at large, the jury chose to almost completely shun any kind of originality and pick some safe, even average films in some cases.

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Cannes Diaries: Money, Mud And Blood

Give me that Cannes screening invitation or else...
So our last full day in Cannes. Since the start of the selection, I had kept my expectations low in terms of what I would be able to watch, but there was a film that was to be shown at the very end of the festival which I was dying to see, Maniac by Frank Khalfoun. Earlier in the day, I was also hoping for a third fix of South Korean cinema (aka the best cinema in the world, I will never tire of saying it).

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The Cannes Diaries: My Awards



A short post even before I write about today's films as I am on my way to our last screening of the festival, the midnight red carpet screening of Maniac. This is who I would give my prizes too:

The Cannes Diaries: Cosmopolis



On Friday, it was the turn of one of the most expected film of the selection this year, Cosmopolis by David Cronenberg. Bleary eyed, we made our way to the Palais by 715am, hoping to get in the first screening of Cosmopolis at 830am. And within minutes of being there, we were offered two invitations. A few tips to score invitations in Cannes: a clear and readable sign (some write their life story on it!), a smile and basically looking intensely cinephile. Have you ever tried to look intensely cinephile? You need to look as if your life depended on seeing the new Kiarostami, Carax, Cronenberg... but still with your smile on, no need to look creepy.

Mud - Premiere at Cannes Film Festival


Finally on my last day at Cannes I have seen a brilliant film. After ten films, some good, some bad and some great, Mud has come along completely unexpected, and hit me with it's subtle power. It's true that knowing nothing about a film is a great way to go in with a completely open mind. I had no idea what it was about, and it was only at 11.30 this morning I was able to get a ticket for the 3pm screening in the Grand Theatre Lumiere. This was a packed screening, and the thunderous applause at the end, was well deserved.

Friday, 25 May 2012

The Cannes Diaries: Light, Darkness, And Dangerous Liaisons

Post Tenebras Lux
Moving to Cannes properly for the rest of the festival and a train strike meant the day started late for us. But it was a day of excellent cinema, glamour and sunny weather. I could get used to this. We settled for a film based on the beautiful title alone (Post Tenebras Lux) and a later South Korean one called Dangerous Liaisons, because I will watch any film that is adapted from Dangerous Liaisons (Yes, even Cruel Intentions) and any South Korean film (aka the best cinema in the world).

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Cannes Diaries: Kylie Minogue And Agnes Varda



What a day today has been in Cannes, a day of sun (for once!), surprises, incredible cinema, a day that felt like a dream for a film lover such as myself. How often do you find yourself in the company of Agnes Varda and Alexander Payne?

The Cannes Diaries: The Big Sleep And The Queues



Cannes veterans do not sleep, ever, well for the whole duration of the festival anyway. But we are not veterans, and a 5am start to get to the 830am screening of Killing Them Softly with Brad Pitt on time had some not so unexpected results. Elsewhere, the queuing got the best of us... By the way, I hope you have realised that this is in no way meant to be an extensive coverage of the festival, more a report of a grassroots, guerilla festival experience.

Killing Them Softly - Premiere At Cannes


The new film from Andrew Dominik, Killing them Softly had it's world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday, and thanks to our early arrival we were able to get tickets for the 8.30am screening in the Grand Theatre Lumiere. Due to the good looks of Brad Pitt and his presence in Cannes this film has probably received more publicity than any other, but it is deserved? In a word no. The film starts off well with the story of two friends who met in prison, and now both out are still looking to make some money via any means possible.

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Cannes Diaries: When It All Goes Right...



So our first day in Cannes yesterday was an unmitigated disaster. What with the storm of the century, cancelled screenings... It emerged today that the reason one of my screenings got cancelled was because the roof collapsed due to the bad weather! But thanks to a reversal of fortune, everything went right today, and the magic of Cannes was working overtime!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

The Cannes Diaries: When It All Goes Wrong...



Going to Cannes after all this time was always going to be a gamble. My last visit was back in 1998 and I suspected the festival might have changed a lot since. Plus I did remember every year being harder and harder to get into screenings. It was even more of a gamble this year as we had to get our plane tickets and accommodation sorted before even knowing if your accreditation was going to be confirmed. (Thankfully it did!). So how did your first full day in Cannes go?... It was a disaster, which I could not wait to share with you, especially the British among you, who are so fond of shadenfreude...

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Spotlight On The Director's Fortnight - Cannes 2012



The Cannes Film Festival is not all about the official selection, even though it will get most of the attention, with the bigger films and bigger names. There is also the "Un Certain Regard" section and then there is the Director's Fortnight which is completely separate from the actual festival even though it is taking place at the exact same time, but is not to be sniffed at. Indeed it has featured such directors as Coppola and Andre Techine in the past, and is opening with Michel Gondry's new film this year. With the modest accreditation level I have received, access to the official selection will be very difficult so I shall concentrate on the Director's Fortnight, and I have put the spotlight on a few promising titles this year. Look out for my proper coverage starting this Sunday once I get to Cannes.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Farewell Heather Rose! Memories From Cannes



Watching films at film festivals is like augmented reality. No popcorn smells, no lager louts, instead, a crowd of vibrant, passionate people and the chance to live some great experiences that do not involve thirty minutes of adverts. As I was having a twitter conversation about maverick Australian director Rolf De Heer last night, a precious memory from one of his films I saw in Cannes came back to me. And some investigative work on IMDB revealed a sad fact.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Not Much Love For Beloved



Les Chansons D'Amour is arguably Christophe Honore's most beloved film among his fans. So obviously when news emerged that he was at work on a new musical, Les Biens Aimes (Beloved), excitment was high, especially since it was to feature Catherine Deneuve and real life daughter Chiara Mastroianni. The film closed the Cannes Film Festival last year and did not seem to have much of an impact. It is finally out in cinemas a year later in the UK. So what is the verdict?

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Cafe de Flore - Film review


This film from French Canadian writer/director Jean Marc Vallee about a DJ and his marriage breakup feels like a music video, as its plays against a backdrop of house music, 90's indie and 70's French music, hence the title Cafe de Flore (a song named after a cafe in Paris).

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Sundance London 2012 Under The Rain - Part 2



So on to the second part of Sundance London. The festival actually only featured 14 films, out of which I saw 4, which is not a bad strike rate considering. The next film I saw was, aherm, an interesting experience. And the last one, a tough documentary about the war on drugs was exactly was you would want to wake up to watch early on a Sunday morning, if you had decided to kill yourself.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The London Spanish Film Festival 2012



This weekend I’ve seen two films at the London Spanish Film Festival. It’s a shame that they have more than halved the amount of films they screened this year at this festival – it used to be a whole week long, and this year, it was confined to three days. However, the two films I watched were well worth seeing.


I first saw Madrid, 1987, by David Trueba, the younger brother of the more famous Fernando Trueba, who’s film, Belle Époque, in 1992 won him recognition by being named Best Foreign Language Film at the 66th Academy Awards. David Trueba, nevertheless, has been involved in cinema since his early years – writing, directing and acting, like his older brother.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Angel and Tony - Unlikely love affair in Normandy



This is the powerful story of a mothers love for her son, and her desire to do whatever it takes to get him back. Set in a small fishing village in Normandy, Angel is a young woman who has just got our of prison and is trying to put her life back together. She moves to the village where her son is being raised by her parents-in-law, with the aim of regaining custody.