Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The Screen International Grid

The trade paper has Inside Llewyn Davis ahead in the race for the Palme d’Or.

Mon, May 20, 2013, 21:34


Every morning at Cannes, among the groaning masses of free documents on every flat surface, one encounters a copy of trade paper Screen International. The main body of the paper is stuffed with advertisements for films you will never see and would never want to see. Fake versions of Kung Fu Panda featuring rabbits. Bulgarian historical epics starring Malcolm McDowell. Tatum O’Neal vehicles. That sort of thing.

The paper does, however, have an excellent item in its back pages collecting various reviews from esteemed critics on the films in competition. They don’t always predict the winner. (In 2010, Mick Leigh’s Another Year led throughout, but didn’t win a single thing. Dancer in the Dark was bottom the year it triumphed.) But the gird offers interesting pointers to what’s up and what’s down. Here is this morning’s edition. As you can see, Inside Llewyn Davis, the latest from the Coens, is well out in front, with Asghar Farhadi’s The Past and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Like Father Like Son following in second and third places. I don’t expect that to change tomorrow morning. I am, it seems, the only critic in the south of France who liked Takashi Miike’s Shield of Straw, and Valerie Bruni-Tedischi’s A Castle in Italy is fairly humble stuff.

There could be a shift in the top runners on Thursday morning, however. We have just seen Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty and it is absolutely terrific stuff. If you thought he’d lost it with This Must be the Place (which I rather enjoyed, but many didn’t) then rest reassured. This beautiful, crazy film — an apparent tribute to La Dolce Vita — looks very much like the work of the man who made Il Divo. It may not catch Llewyn Davis on the grid (3.3 out of 5 is a high rating in this place), but expect it to figure in the competition that matters on Sunday night.