Sunday, May 26, 2013

2013 Cannes Marathon Post-Mortem

The 2013 Cannes Film Festival is over and what a festival it was this year. Certainly better than last year’s as there was a lot of excitement and buzz that occurred. There were a lot of films I want to see that lived up to the hype like The Bling Ring, Venus in Fur, The Past, Nebraska, Only Lovers Left Alive, Jeune & Jolie, The Immigrant, and The Past. There was also some notoriety towards the new Nicolas Winding Refn film Only God Forgives that got some boos but it made me want to see the film even more.

The winners this year were a bit surprising considering the fact that the jury for the main competition was lead by Steven Spielberg. Yet, I applaud the jury’s decision for the winners they chose. I had never heard of Abdellatif Kechiche or any of his work but the fact that his new film is a three-hour lesbian drama called Blue is the Warmest Colour definitely has me interested and I’m happy it won the Palme d’Or while Spielberg also gave special mention towards its actresses in Lea Seydoux and newcomer Adele Exarchopoulos. I’m happy that the Coen Brothers got another prize in the Grand Jury prize for Inside Llewlyn Davis while I was marking out for the fact that Bruce Dern and Berenice Bejo won the acting prizes. I’m glad that Hirokazu Koreeda got the third place Jury Prize while Fruitvale Station received a special mention from the Un Certain Regard section.

I want to thank Bonjour of Bonjour Tristesse for the coverage of the festival while I want to give a couple of mentions towards Alex of And So It Begins… with his list of the films booed at Cannes and John of John Likes Movies for his list of the best and worst films opening the festival .

This year’s marathon was really good though it wasn’t as exciting in comparison to last year’s but there were no duds in the film that I chose this year though it was hard finding the time to watch all of them during its duration which began withWings of Desire and closed with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. So now, here are my picks for the Cannes Marathon Awards for this year.

The Palme d’Or for Best Film of the Marathon goes to… Enter the Void

I had been hearing about this film for years and I wanted to see it though I wasn’t sure what cut to pick as there’s been different versions of the film. When I regained access of the Sundance Channel and was able to DVR this film, I knew I needed to pick this film for the marathon. What I didn’t expect was how crazy it was as it was truly something I need to see again but on a bigger TV and in high-definition. This is definitely like no film that I had ever seen before as I praise Gaspar Noe for creating something that defies everything while he creates visual effects and other things that I think is on par with some of the groundbreaking work that had been done in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now I need to get this film in DVD or maybe on Blu-Ray if I ever get a Blu-Ray player.

The 2nd Place Grand Jury Prize goes to… Happy Together

I’m a Wong Kar-Wai fan and I love what I’ve seen from him so far with the exception of My Blueberry Nights. This is among the films of his I’m eager to see as I finally saw it and was amazed by not just its imagery but also in how touching he’s managed to create a love story that is tumultuous yet engaging. It’s a film that is quintessential Kar-Wai as it is told with such style and beauty.

The 3rd Place Jury Prize goes to… Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

One of the things I love about doing this marathon is finding something that will surprise me. This film blew me away in terms of not just its themes on life and death but also how it was told with such simplicity while not being afraid to display its idea of spirituality. It’s a film that I think is truly deserving of the Palme d’Or it received at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival as I hope to check out more films from Apichatpong Weerasethakul in the future.

The Best Director Prize goes to… Abbas Kiarostami for Certified Copy

Abbas Kiarostami is a master filmmaker and certainly one of the best as he does things with film that makes him standout against everyone else. Yet, he seems to do it so easily where he make you watch something that is simple unaware that there’s so much more to this. The direction that he brings for this film is just truly potent in its imagery as well as the drama that he captures in the film. I’m eager to see more of what he can do.

The Best Actor Prize goes to… Olivier Gourmet for Le Fils

There weren’t a lot of standouts in the acting front with a few exceptions but once I came to see Le Fils, all bets were off. Olivier Gourmet’s performance is definitely a performance for the ages but not in a traditional sense. Notably as Gourmet is someone who doesn’t do a lot in his approach to acting as he keeps things low-key while conveying the sense of grief that his character is going through. It’s really the best thing that Gourmet has done in his work with the Dardenne Brothers.

The Best Actress Prize goes to… Juliette Binoche for Certified Copy and Jeon Do-yeon for Secret Sunshine (tie)

This was tough as there were some major performances from the actresses I saw throughout the duration of the marathon. In the end, it came down to two women who had both won Best Actresses Prizes at the festival. Juliette Binoche’s performance in Certified Copy is full of radiance in terms of a woman who is trying make her case about the concept of authenticity in art and humanity as well as someone who is feeling lost in her life. Jeon Do-yeon’s performance in Secret Sunshine was definitely something I couldn’t get out of my head for the way she displays her sense of grief and doubt in a woman that is lost as these two performances are something audiences should see.

Best Screenplay goes to… the Dardenne Brothers for Le Fils

The screenplay for Le Fils I think is one of the Dardenne Brothers’ finest work. Though they’re more regarded for their work as filmmakers, they are definitely masters in the art of storytelling. What makes this script standout are the big questions they dare to ask in not just about grief and vengeance but also forgiveness. Notably as it’s a story about a man who learns that the young teen who killed his son years ago is released and wants to become a carpenter that just raises the idea of what could happen.

The Technical Prize goes to… Christopher Doyle for Happy Together

Christopher Doyle is definitely one of the best cinematographers out there as his work in Happy Together is a prime example of his brilliance. Notably in the way he uses different film stocks and lighting schemes to create a sense of mood for the story and making Buenos Aires into a dream world. It is truly a work of art in what Doyle does in the way he uses color to express the melancholia of the story.

The Special Jury Prize goes to… Gong Li for Farewell My Concubine

One of the highlights of Farewell My Concubine was the performance of Gong Li. While the film may center around Leslie Cheung and Zhang Fengyi, it was Gong Li’s role as a prostitute who comes between the two leading men that stole the show for me. Here’s a woman who isn’t trying to come between these two men as it forms this uneasy triangle but she becomes the one person in the film that tries to keep things together amidst the turmoil of the times. It’s definitely a performance that is definitely overlooked that gives reasons into why she’s one of the best actresses in the world.

And now the ranking for the 10 remaining films that I saw in the marathon:

4. Certified Copy

Abbas Kiarostami’s film about the idea of authenticity is definitely one of his most accessible features that features amazing performances from Juliette Binoche and William Shimmel as they play two people spending an entire afternoon in Tuscany talking about authenticity in art and humanity.

5. Secret Sunshine

Lee Chang-dong’s drama is definitely a highlight of the marathon for the way it explores a woman’s grief in the wake of tragedy as goes to faith for help only to experience doubt as it is truly one of the finest films from South Korea.

6. Le Fils

The Dardenne Brothers are definitely among one of the world’s best filmmakers working today as Le Fils is confirmation of that where they take on the suspense genre in their own to tell the story of a carpenter who learns that one of his new students is the young man who killed his son years ago.

7. Lenny

Bob Fosse’s bio-pic on the famed stand-up comedian is definitely one of the most engrossing but also brash films that defies the idea of the genre while it features Dustin Hoffman in one of his great performances of his career.

8. Z

Costa-Garvas’ intense political drama is a stark yet entrancing film about the mysteries revolving around an assassination that features a brilliant Jean-Louis Trintignant as a magistrate who uncovers the truth about what happened.

9. Farewell My Concubine

The co-winner of the 1993 Palme d’Or is a captivating epic-drama that revolves around the lives of two Peking opera actors who endure many changes in the course of China’s history.

10. El Norte

Gregory Nava’s breakthrough film is a heartbreaking melodrama about two Guatemalan siblings who trek through Mexico during the Guatemalan Civil War to go to America is a very harrowing film that explores two people’s determination for a better life.

11. Somersault

The film that would introduce the world to Cate Shortland, Abbie Cornish, and Sam Worthington is a mesmerizing film about a young woman running away from home to find love in a small Australian town that plays into the world of growing pains for a young woman.

12. Japon

The feature-film debut of Carlos Reygadas is a hypnotic yet eerie film about a suicidal man seeking serenity in a small town that features some exotic images that would play into the idea of loss and isolation in the world.

13. Police, Adjective

Corneliu Porumboiu’s film about a police officer struggling with his role about busting a teenager for drug possession is a very sobering yet intriguing film that explores a world that is in a state of transition where a man deals with his role as a cop as it’s definitely a hallmark of the Romanian New Wave.

Well, that is it for the Cannes Film Festival Marathon for 2013. Next year, I’ve decided that the marathon for Cannes 2014 will be nothing but Palme d’Or winners that I have not seen. Until then, au revoir.

© thevoid99 2013


Chris said...

I too, wasn't expecting Blue is the Warmest Colour to win.
Agree J Binoche’s performance in Certified Copy is superb, I need to rewatch that, a lot to take in for one sitting: Are they married, did they used to know eachother, are they having an affair. Or can not worry about that, and watch for the interesting discussions they have.
You saw some great films in that marathon, I'm adding Enter the Void to my list.

thevoid99 said...

This year's Cannes was way better than last year. Oh, if you have epilepsy, don't watch Enter the Void because it has a lot of shimmering lights. It's a fucking trip.

Thaddeus said...

This is my first time checking out your site - I've seen you on Nikhat's though, and I accidentally went to your music blog first. I guess my point is that I should've had someone take a picture of my face when I saw how much you've written for May alone. My jaw dropped further when I saw that you, like me, favor posts that aren't brief.

Let me sum it up by saying: rock on, woman, you've got a new follower starting now. Your idea for a Cannes-a-thon was pretty nifty, too.

thevoid99 said...

@Thaddeus-Thanks dude but I'm a dude. That picture you see is my favorite actress Jena Malone.

Thaddeus said...

Ha! Sorry, man! Admittedly, I am neither Roy Scheider, nor a guy dressed like a shark near a Starbucks.

thevoid99 said...

@Thaddeus-That's OK. Of course that shark is still fake.

Chris said...

I know you're busy with reviewing, and might need a break after Cannes marathon.
But if you have any interest in doing a guest post of your Top 10 songs by Daft Punk ? (in the next 2-3 months), shoot me an e-mail. Maybe similar layout to Top 10 The National guest post recently.
If it's not for you, don't worry about it.

thevoid99 said...

@Chris-I might do it on Friday. I usually don't watch films on Fridays and I think I have time to do it. I'll send you an email when I come up with it.