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Friday, May 15, 2009
Cannes Day 3: Sing sing sing – and dance dance dance!
You cross yourself when you see TWO very good films in a row. And they both are not in the Competition! First, I had a mesmerising afternoon watching “Ne Change Rien”, an unclassifiable specimen from the Portuguese ace Pedro Costa, shown in the sidebar Directors’ Fortnight. The luminous black-and-white film basically captures various recording sessions of French singer/actress Jeanne Balibar, whose game, sultry voice matches her long, Egyptian-queen face. Last time Mr Costa had a film in the Competition was in 2006, another undescribable gem called “Colossal Youth”, in which half the audience walked out before the first hour ended (the film was 140-minute-long).
With “Ne Change Rien”, Mr Costa experiments with the idea of cinema as music, or vice versa, while his choreography of light and shadow transforms a recording studio into a majestic cavern presided over by the ever-captivating Ms Balibar. We were transfixed, hypnotised, and finally emerged from the screening feeling our feet hovering slightly above the ground. Pedro, you’re the man.
Then: the screening of “The Red Shoes”, in the Cannes Classic programme, was an ultimate reminder of the pure joy of cinema. This 1948 film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger has been recently restored – the result is a new 35mm print that’s so spanking and colurful – and the screening was preceded by an appearance of Martin Scorsese.
Scorsese’s father took him to see “The Red Shoes” in 1950, he said, and it became one of the films that left a lasting impression on him even after 59 years. And again, it’s a film about music, about the inseparable existences of life and art. The story concerns a ballet company, an aspiring conductor, and a red-lipped young dancer who’s making her debut with Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Red Shoes”. The long, phantasmagotic dance sequence in the middle held the 1,800-seat theatre in a speechless rapture; really, they don’t make a movie like this any more.
The Cannes screening was the first of this restored print, and soon it will travel to different places . Hopefully, for what else we can cling if not hope, it will one day finds its way to Siamese shore.
And briefly, to answer your question:
Is there a Thai restaurant in Cannes?
No, not a real Thai restaurant. There are two “Asian Fast Food” places that have Thai and Lao staff, and they serve passable versions of stir-fried beef, noodles and pad krapao (10 times the price in Bangkok). So there you go.
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