Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cannes: Rosengje's Top Ten and Miscellaneous Tweets

Our correspondent Rosengje caught 22 films during her Cannes trip. Before Isabelle Huppert's jury bestows the coveted Palme D'Or, I thought we'd let Rosengje offer up her own jury-of-one highlights. She had to miss Precious, Broken Embraces and Un Prophète due to time constraints.

Her five favorite films were...
  1. Marco Bellochio's Vincere. More on this further down.
  2. Alejandro Amenábar's Agora (previous post)
  3. Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank. This family drama was a major hit with the critics and could be up for prizes today. If Andrea Arnold sounds familiar just think Wasp, Oscar's 2004 short film winner about an irresponsible mother (Natalie Press) and her brood of babies. That was a stunning 26 minutes of film so I'm eager to see this one.
  4. Quentin Tarantino's "kosher revenge porn" Inglourious Basterds
  5. Jane Campion's Bright Star (previous post)
She also wanted to name '10 things that stuck with me most' with honorable mentions going out to Up's use of 3D (see post), Vincere's unapologetically dramatic score, David Lynch’s interview footage in Great Directors (see post), and the beauty of Alden Ehrenreich in Francis Ford Coppola’s misfire Tetro (see post). Now, on to her personal 'top ten'...
10 Eric Cantona in Looking for Eric
Soccer great Cantona’s presence in Ken Loach’s ebullient film avoids camp, instead elevating the fulfilling film into a strangely compelling absurdist realm. His scenes reliably brought the audience to applause, and one involving dancing had the entire Lumiere in hysterics.

09 Sound Effects in Thirst
As anyone familiar with Park Chan-Wook’s previous Grand Prix winner Oldboy can attest to, much of the director’s haunting power is drawn from what is not seen. The implication of horrifying action is nonetheless impossible to escape, primarily because of the explosive sound. This funny, gory Korean vampire flick ultimately delves into camp in its last third, but the grotesque noises accompanying scenes ranging from lovemaking to vampire creating made it a memorable film experience.

08 Brad Pitt’s accent in Inglourious Basterds
This had me concerned in the trailer, but Pitt’s Tennessee hick persona is crucial to the success of Tarantino’s latest. In the initial introduction to the Basterds, the portrayal seems over the top and cloying in its attempt to generate laughs. All is forgiven, however, later in the film. Adopting a phony Italian accent, Pitt’s Aldo Raine is introduced to Christoph Waltz’s Hans Landa, and delivers an impeccable line reading that still has me giggling days later. Perfection.

07 Michael Fassbender
Pictured right with director Andrea Arnold --->
Yummy. I could not sit through the entirety of Hunger, which I found immensely disturbing, but Fassbender capitalizes on his breakthrough status in two Cannes films. He excels in Tarantino’s Basterds and in Fish Tank he is the perfect blend of charm and sleaze. He leaves the audience and characters confused about the character’s intentions until the very end. It's a credit to his screen charisma that I desperately wanted to believe in his sincerity until the last possible second.

06 Abby Cornish & Paul Schneider in Bright Star
05 Rachel Weisz in Agora
04 Liev Schreiber in Taking Woodstock
Discussed in earlier posts.

03 Giovanna Mezzogiorno in Vincere
Rounding out the impressive list of female accomplishments is Giovanna Mezzogiorno’s performance in Marco Bellochio’s operatic Vincere. She left me cold in last year’s Palermo Shooting but she shines as Ida Dalser, Il Duce’s lover during his rise to power in fascist Italy. When she is carelessly tossed aside by the ambitious politician, Dalser is at first isolated and then imprisoned in an insane asylum. Taking the abuse suffered by Angelina Jolie in Changeling to the next level, Mezzogiorno never loses the audience’s sympathy, even as she plunges further into despair. Many of Dalser’s statements against Mussolini remain in question, so the actress must constantly balance the character’s clear logic with the murkiness of her claims. If the film receives a considerable stateside release, I would not be surprised to see Mezzogiorno embraced by critics. The performance is more accessible than Marion Cotillard’s work in La Vie en Rose and the lack of public familiarity with Dalser decreases the burden of representation.

02 Technical accomplishments of Bright Star
Costumes, art direction, cinematography...

01 Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds
Without the success of his multi-lingual, comically terrifying performance the film would have failed. Oozing the debonair sophistication most would want to deny the vicious Nazi figure, Waltz makes an indelible impression in the film’s very first sequence that lingers throughout the film’s lengthy running time. He's completely deserving of a Best Supporting Actor nomination.
So much to consider. Rosengje's write up has me wondering if Mezzogiorno will one day expand her global fame (she's a regular nominee at the Italian Oscars) -- especially if Vincere tours. I expect Oscar buzz for Bright Star to follow the Cannes hoopla rather closely. I'm much much less bullish on Basterds. Rosengje obviously enjoyed the star turns a great deal but Oscar voters have long since cooled on Tarantino's style and, more strangely, seem to have turned a blind eye on his inarguable talent for tapping into the unique strengths of nearly every actor he works for.

The great thing about personal movie loves and communal movie discussion is that one man's treasure is another's... so I thought I'd include additional perspective. These four critics in particular were fun to follow during Cannes: Mike D'Angelo, Eugene Hernandez, James Rocchi and Karina Longworth. If you couldn't get enough Cannes coverage, click to embiggen for a few sample tweets on Basterds, The White Ribbon, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Face and sidebar films like Dogtooth.



Which Cannes film are you most longing to see at this point?
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14 comments:

Noecito said...

It kills me to choose just one, but it has to be Up. (It would be Broken Embraces if I hadn't seen it already)

Adam M. said...

I most want to see Bright Star, Broken Embraces, Fish Tank, Wild Grass, A Prophet, and The White Ribbon, though I hope to see all twenty at some point this or next year. Antichrist sounds like a fun one especially!

Random sidebar: Nathaniel, you have already seen four A-quality films this year and we haven't even hit the halfway point yet! That's pretty amazing, don't you think?

Catherine said...

Oh, easily Broken Embraces. But there's lots of choose from.

NATHANIEL R said...

Adam M... i hope it's amazing! 2004 was pretty good early in the year too. it'd be nice to have an all A top ten :)

Douglas Racso said...

"Kinatay" because someone has go to stand up and take the lead and let Filipino films be seen. Be it bad or not. I am honored and proud to be Filipino to see a movie from the Philippines get in Cannes competition.

Kurtis O said...

While I'm salivating for "Precious" and "Broken Embraces," all the polarizing buzz surrounding Lars Von Trier's "Antichrist" has catapulted it to the top of my Cannes must-see list.

Bernardo said...

AntiChrist. Hands down.

BeRightBack said...

AntiChrist, of course. It sounds like it turns its audiences inside out.

Wayne B. said...

Antichrist, Inglorious Basterds, Broken Embraces....

DJ said...

Bright Star (for the romance and biopic on Keats) and Agora (for Weisz's performance).

Kamikaze Camel said...

Antichrist, Fish Tank (loved loved loved Arnold's Red Road), Bright Star, Broken Embraces, A Prophet and even The White Ribbon (I'm not much of a Haneke fan outside of Hidden). Plus Precious, which wasn't in competition.

Brian said...

One film? Gotta go with my boy Hong Sangsoo. Like You Know It All sounds muy intriguing, and having just seen his Night And Day this weekend, I'm eager to get caught up again.

But Bright Star, Face, the Time That Remains, Wild Grass, Independencia, Nymph and Up! all belong on the "if a theatrical screening in my area is in the cards, no way am I missing it" list. Luckily I won't have to wait too long for at least one of these...

Douglas Racso said...

Independencia is a very good movie. I already saw it in a screening. But it has not gotten that much mass recognition

Simone said...

I am very happy that Christoph Waltz won the Best Actor award for Inglourious Basterds, I originally planned to see IB only because of Michael Fassbender, but now that Christoph is so stand out in this, I want to see this much talked about performance. I believe IB will be exciting to watch, but probably w/o Waltz and Fassbender, I wouldn't be so interested in it.

And speaking of Fassbender, I am so pleased that he was in such high profile at Cannes to promote IB and Fish Tank. I just viewed Andrea Arnold's 'Red Road' last night, and if she puts Fassbender through what she made Tony Curran do, then we're in for a treat!