Paul Atreides: What’s in the handbag? Reverend Mother Mohiam: Pain.
It’s called Lady Blue Shanghai and I’m pretty sure it’s David Lynch warning us what a David Lynch parody contest at Florida State University Film School might look like if a few freshmen could lay their hands on a psychic Dior handbag. Or else a regular ol’ Dior handbag with a flashlight in it. (Thanks slashfilm. Thanks a lot.)
Deadline‘s Mike Fleming says Another Year is generating lots of interest among key players.
The Mike Leigh-directed film Another Year is the first Cannes Festival premiere that has sparked interest from the domestic distributor crowd. Everybody got a look at it this weekend, and I’m hearing that Sony Pictures Classics and The Weinstein Company are in the mix and a deal could happen quick.
21-year-old Xavier Dolan received a standing ovation at the Cannes Fest this weekend for his second film, Les Amours imaginaires. CTV reports:
“I’ve been in interviews the whole day so I’m just starting to read the reviews,” [Dolan] told The Canadian Press on Sunday. “But the public reception was really warm, it was very moving.”
Dolan plays Francis “a sensitive intellectual gay man” and Monika Chokri stars as his best friend Marie “a sharp-tongued woman who dresses in vintage.” Says Mike Goodridge, Screen Daily:
Both of them are attracted to a young man in their circle called Nicolas (Niels Schneider), a sexy guy with a mop of blond hair who is new in town and looking for friends.
Both fall hard for the outgoing, intelligent Nicolas and each is led on by his flirtatious and tactile manner but neither can work out whether he is gay or straight or interested in either of them. The two begin a duel of sorts in which they try to outdo the other in his affections…
So far, there have been no standing ovations and no loud booing. The only film that got mildly booed was the pretty awful La princesse de Montpensier. The Tavernier film was a difficult sit, despite the much-commented upon beauty of the cast. It is a limp romance novel at best with some nudity.
Speaking of nudity, my first random observation about Cannes is that they use sex to sell whenever possible, and it seems to be working. With so many films to see, and so little time to see them, the ones that have pretty naked people in them seem to be at the top of everyone’s must-see list, men and women included. Sex sells. So what else is new?
On one of our many walks about town, where people know and approach Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere, we bumped into the one and only Owen Gleiberman of EW. He kind of talked a bit about Mike Leigh and why he doesn’t belong to any kind of cult that would have Leigh as its main leader. I had been wondering, therefore, what he was going to think about Cannes’ best offering so far, Mike Leigh’s touching Another Year:
“…when I say that I loved ‘Another Year,’ the Leigh film that just premiered at Cannes, members of the Leigh cult should consider themselves warned: The movie has precious little in the way of shrieking, didactic working-class sanctimony, or cheaply lovable over-the-top gags. What it does have is an overwhelming bittersweet melancholy at the passing of life from middle age into‚Ä¶well, I guess you could call it late middle age, but then you‚Äôd be falling into the self-deception shared by the movie‚Äôs characters, who will do anything to avoid the realization that the cold and nasty word for the condition they‚Äôre heading towards is‚Ä¶old. “
After many years of reading and quoting Gleiberman it was, as my dad would say, a gas to hear him actually speak. Now I hear his voice when I read his reviews. Weird, that. And this is why he gets paid the big bucks:
And what a randomly moving collection of troubled, romantic, confused, world-weary, stubbornly deluded souls they are! The characters, between big gulps of wine, specialize in that scalding English thing, ‚Äútaking the piss‚Äù out of each other, but there‚Äôs no mockery in Leigh‚Äôs view, only grace. At times, the movie is like the Beatles‚Äô ‚ÄúEleanor Rigby‚Äù turned into a startlingly humane comedy. Amid the usual Leigh slew of lived-in performances, one of the actors achieves greatness: Lesley Manville, who plays Sheen and Broadbent‚Äôs most regular, and desperate, Saturday night dinner companion, a fragile, sozzled, enthusiastically needy secretary who has been coyly girlish, and drunk, for so long that she has no idea the loneliness she‚Äôs seeking to escape is of her own devising. The final shot is just her face, staring, as everyone else babbles away at the dinner table, and it‚Äôs one of the most haunting, volumes-speaking final shots in the history of cinema.
In Contention’s Guy Lodge wrote a thoughtful, articulate review of Mike Leigh’s Another Year. My only gripe is, really, 31/2 stars? I think it’s a four star film. But I tend towards passionate enthusiasm. I admit this to be true about myself. Not good at being a critic:
If ‚ÄúHappy-Go-Lucky‚Äù was a discursive thesis on the merits and challenges of making one‚Äôs own happiness, ‚ÄúAnother Year‚Äù continues that investigation, while taking human loneliness as its essay subject. If there‚Äôs a problem here, it‚Äôs that the film might mark the divide between contented coupledom and the yearning single life a little too patly.
Or perhaps it doesn‚Äôt: the film‚Äôs mostly self-contained opening sequence, featuring a startling cameo from Imelda Staunton as a married insomniac assigned to Gerri for counselling, stands starkly at odds with the rest of the film‚Äôs advocation of togetherness: here is the film‚Äôs only character who wants to be alone, and isn‚Äôt permitted to be. ‚ÄúWhat is the one thing that would improve your life?‚Äù Gerri asks her brightly. ‚ÄúA different life,‚Äù comes the bitterly defiant response.
We keep expecting to follow up this story as the titular year unfolds, but we never do, just as the fates of Tom and Gerri‚Äôs rotating stream of visitors are left variously in limbo. Leigh‚Äôs deceptively harsh but supremely moving film may be a paean of sorts to togetherness, but it‚Äôs also an elegy to those we‚Äôve let slide out of view.
How Guy managed to write something this good on four hours of sleep and a diet of cigarettes and beer I’ll never know. Wait, minus the cigarettes. Keep the beer. I don’t think there is anything pat about it. What struck me most was what Gerri says about choices. There are choices to be made – good ones and bad ones.¬† We choose our fates and we must live with those decisions. Or change. Great flick.
There are only a few places a blogger person can afford. We don’t really go to restaurants because we work for ourselves and therefore have no expense account. I know one very high profile blogger who vows never to pay for food. He eats at parties and things and manages just fine. As for me, I have a bed and breakfast, so one meal is taken care of.
Two films screened this morning on Cannes. One is absolutely great, and the other is okay, but not anything truly exceptional. Mike Leigh‚Äôs wonderful Another Year is the strongest film I‚Äôve seen here, but given the amount of films that have screened, and those still yet to screen, that might not be saying much. Another Year was first, and You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger second. What was interesting was that they are both by directors who write their own rules and often tell stories of interconnected human relationships.
Sasha will have her review for us shortly, but in the meantime here are 3 clips from Another Year, Mike Leigh’s Cannes entry following a London couple and their friends through 4 seasonal checkpoints in a single year.