Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The final stretch

Things are beginning to quieten down a little here. The trade magazines are now the size of parish gazettes. The market echoes whenever you laugh at the poster for Batman’s Bolivian non-union equivalent. It’s an odd feeling. It’s rather as …

Fri, May 25, 2012, 16:58

   

Things are beginning to quieten down a little here. The trade magazines are now the size of parish gazettes. The market echoes whenever you laugh at the poster for Batman’s Bolivian non-union equivalent. It’s an odd feeling. It’s rather as if everyone suddenly remembered that – away from all the deals and number-crunching – some sort of film festival is supposed to be taking place. The trade has died down. But the films keep coming.

You want to watch that head in the sun, mate.

The main tipsheet for the Palme d’Or is the Jury Grid in Screen Magazine. Ten critics from around the world rate the competition films and their results are tabulated into a score. At time of writing, two films are out in front: Michael Haneke’s Amour and Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills. But there is a wild card in the shape of Alain Resnais’s You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet. I have yet to meet anybody who found the picture anything other than dull. But its mid-table position on the Screen Grid. The other interesting beast is Leos Carax’s Holy Motors. The phrase “it divided the audience? is not entirely accurate in this case. I have never experienced such a positive response from a Cannes crowd. They were whooping. They were hollering. They were doing all that stuff. I was also on board (and I hated the director’s supposed masterwork Les Amants du Pont Neuf). Following Denis Levant as he transforms into a goblin, a dying man, an assassin and other random personae, the picture overflows with the right sort of energy.

Anyway, more about that in a day or two when we attempt to guess what the jury will think. This morning we attended the screening of David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, which was all right. From a great distance I spotted one of my favourite up-and-coming directors and ambled over for a chat. I. It is Ben Wheatley, who created Kill List and Sightseers, which is playing in a special slot in the Director’s Fortnight. A review will appear here shortly. So I’ll say no more, but I will reveal that it is not any sort of disappointment. How did I manage to spot Ben from such a distance? Well, as you can see, he is hard to miss.

Rarely mistaken for Jane Campion.

Later on we attended the press conference for Cosmopolis which featured Mr Cronenberg, Robert Pattinson and Don DeLillo, author of the source novel. They were all rather dry and amusing. Pattinson confirmed yet again that he is no fool. Others disagree, but I think that he will be with us for a while.

One more piece of egotistical rambling. The other day I got a text from a friend to tell me that a snippet from my reports had appeared as the Hollywood Reporter’s “Quote of the Day”. Well, I was rightly chuffed for the following few hours. It eventually transpired that it appeared, not in that trade paper, but in the local sheet Cannes Market News. Oh, well. Never mind. It was still nice of them — even if the paper does seem more like one of Have I got News for You’s guest publications. Onwards and upwards.

 

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