Never a day over 25
To begin with something frivolous, it has come to the attention of the Croisette that Leonardo DiCaprio, who is now 44, has never dated anyone over 25. Indeed, according to a fascinating graph by a studious Reddit user, the average age of his girlfriends since 1999 has been 22.9 years. We might not have mentioned this discrepancy were it not for the terrific performance that Camila Morrone, the actor's girlfriend for the past 18 months or so, gives in Annabelle Attanasio's Mickey and the Bear (reviewed below).
The Argentine model turned actor, a sometime stepdaughter of Al Pacino, ought to have been the toast of the town. Instead she was repeatedly photographed "boarding a yacht" and "winning red carpet" with her famous boyfriend. And, yes, in keeping with the stats, many media outlets were quick to note that she's 21 and was therefore born after the release of Titanic. "Draw me like one of your what girls?"
Men in heels: get used to it
A lesson from history. It’s well known that high heels were originally a masculine fashion trend. Having originated as a military device in 15th-century Persia, where they came in handy for keeping one’s feet in stirrups, heels migrated to Europe, peaking in the 17th and 18th centuries as the height of vogueishness among the men of the courtly classes. Well, trust Xavier Dolan, one of 21st-century cinema’s great innovators, to stand tall on the Cannes red carpet in a pair of Christian Louboutin’s Cuban-heeled oxfords. Start practising that heel-to-toe motion, chaps.
The future is seaweed
“We don’t need advanced technology. Mother Nature has seaweeds and shellfish which sequester five times more carbon than land-based plants,” says Bren Smith, the fisherman at the centre of Ice on Fire, directed by Leila Conners and produced by, as it happens, Leonardo DiCaprio.
The climate-crisis documentary, which premiered at Cannes on Thursday, hopefully claims that we can reverse the incoming apocalypse with… kelp. As well as soaking up all that carbon, this traditional fish feed makes for fewer bad smells. “If you provide a seaweed diet to cows, you get a 90 per cent reduction in methane output,” Smith says.
“Climate change can be reversed if we act now,” DiCaprio says, so long as we stop greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere and bring carbon-dioxide levels back down through photosynthesis. Hmm. That sounds like a good start. Or possibly a prayer before dying.
And today’s reviews...
Mickey and the Bear
Directed by Annabelle Attanasio. Starring Camila Morrone, James Badge Dale, Calvin Demba, Ben Rosenfield, Rebecca Henderson. Association for the Distribution of Independent Cinema selection, 88 minutes
Camila Morrone plays Mickey, an attentive, clever girl trying to navigate school life, a boyfriend who'd be happy to see her knocked up, a job at a hunting-trophy store, and nursing her father, Hank (James Badge Dale), a widowed father struggling with PTSD, opioid addiction and dozens of variations on toxic parenting.
As she turns 18 there are chinks of light in Mickey’s parentification nightmare. Dr Watkins (Rebecca Henderson), a sympathetic Veterans Affairs psychiatrist, and Wyatt (Calvin Demba), a new English boy at school, both take an interest, and a pending scholarship might allow her to leave Anaconda, Montana, behind.
Dad, however, will stop at nothing to keep her around. James Badge Dale manages to exude even more menace when he’s attempting pleasantries than when he’s firing a gun or throwing dinner at the wall.
Camila Morrone works in delicate movements. The Association for the Distribution of Independent Cinema’s programme at Cannes Festival is selected by a panel of film-makers, so there’s plenty of craft to admire in Annabelle Attanasio’s powerful debut feature, from the colour schemes to the empty landscapes to the cleverly cut ambiguous denouement.
Directed by Marco Bellocchio. Starring Pierfrancesco Favino, Maria Fernanda Candido, Fabrizio Ferracane. In competition, 145 minutes
The "maxi trial" against the Sicilian Mafia, which lasted from February 1986 until January 1992, centres this handsome Italian drama about Tommaso Buscetta (Pierfrancesco Favino), the highest-ranking Mafia associate to turn police informant.
Although The Traitor cuts between happier times, protective custody and life in witness protection in the United States, a daunting chunk of the film is devoted to criminal hearings.
Favino is currently favourite to take home the best-actor award from the Croisette for a charismatic turn made from a sketchily drawn part. The Traitor ought to be Goodfellas – or possibly Badfellas – but there are too many historical details to get through, leaving little room for characterisation. A gaggle of screenwriters – Valia Santella, Ludovica Rampoldi and Francesco Piccolo, as well as the film’s director, Marco Bellocchio – rely heavily on facts and lists scrolling across the screen.
Those intimately acquainted with the story may well love this cinematic illustrated guide. But for the newcomer it can feel overwhelming and head-spinning. Too much information.
Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo
Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche. Starring Ophélie Bau, Shaïn Boumédine, Salim Kechiouche, Marie Bernard, Roméo de Lacour. In competition, 202 minutes
Six years ago a jury headed by Steven Spielberg made Cannes history by awarding Abdellatif Kechiche the Palme d'Or, for Blue Is the Warmest Colour, plus an honorary Palme to each of the lead actors, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. And then Julie Maroh, who wrote the graphic novel on which the film was based, complained about the cold nature of the lesbian sex in Kechiche's. And the actors complained about a 10-hour sex-scene shoot. And Kechiche called Seydoux "an arrogant, spoilt child".
That kerfuffle may have had a negative impact on Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, the first part of the director’s gargantuan adaptation of the 2012 novel La Blessure, la Vraie, by François Bégaudeau. Other things that may have had a negative impact on Canto Uno – which went straight to video on demand in Ireland late last year – included its three-hour length, its lack of plot and its embarrassing number of arse shots.
Kechiche has taken these criticisms on board for the second instalment in a proposed trilogy. Unfortunately, his response to that criticism is to double down. It takes all of one minute for the first arse to appear. Within an hour, this writer was better able to identify an actor from the waist down than from their face.
Loosely speaking, Intermezzo returns to the twentysomething gallivanters of the first film as they sun themselves and dance the night away in the southern French coastal town of Sète. There’s some chatter that Ophélie (Ophélie Bau), now pregnant by Tony (Salim Kechiouche), will have to get an abortion before her fiance returns from duty in Iraq. A new 18-year-old student, Marie (Marie Bernard), joins the group, having been selected for Amin (Shaïn Boumédine): “We warmed up a bitch for you,” say the others.
Beyond these sketchy details nothing happens bar an extended nightclub sequence (I never want to hear Abba’s Voulez-Vous again) in which, to paraphrase Norma Desmond, they don’t need plot or personality: they have twerking. Imagine Love Island with no heads and no story for a fifth of your waking day.
After more than three hours of gyrating bottoms, the film was roundly booed by those who hadn’t walked out. Many wondered if the entire exercise isn’t an act of trolling. The 13-minute, unsimulated cunnilingus scene certainly looks like a provocation. Perhaps part three of Mektoub, My Love will be a male-gaze-subverting, action-packed punchline. You can skip this one, regardless.