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Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Cannes Day 7: It’s good to be in the bunker built by the French Resistance
Jim Carrey was there at the screening of his new film “I Love You Phillip Morris”.
“It’s good to be here in the bunker built by the Resistance,” the actor said, jokingly referring to the huge underground auditorium that is the main venue of the Directors’ Fortnight programme on Boulevard de la Criosette. “When I read the script of ‘I Love You Phillip Morris’, I knew that I absolutely had to do it… even though I had to offer my service for free.”
The film, directed by first-time filmmaker Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, is based on a true story of Steven Russell (Carrey), a gay con-man who pulled off some of the most amazing schemes while being locked up in prison, and his lifelong love affair with a blonde, blue-eyed queer named Phillip Morris, sweetly played by Ewan McGregor. Carrey may feel that the script is special, but unfortunately the finished film is not. Indeed, it’s rather uninspiring – a pedestrian “Jim Carrey” movie with a gay theme thrown in. The source material, which reminds me of the dazzling pop-caper “Catch MeIf You Can”, has a great potential that’s however not realised. And Carrey playing an arm-flapping gay isn’t the most falttering sight to the homosexual population, I would say.
Over to the Competition section: Today we saw “Broken Embraces”, the much-expected new film by Spanish (gay) master Pedro Almodovar. It stars the strikingly beautiful – isn’t she always? – Penelop Cruz as a mistress of a construction tycoon who aspires to become a movie star and begins a love affair with a film director. Everyone in the film leads a double-life – as if to be one person is not enough in the Almodovar universe. In all, it’s fairly entertaining, though, again, it’s far from special – and remotely far from the radical heyday of early Almodovar, or from the heart-melting melancholy of “All About My Mother” and “Talk To Her”.
As Cannes 2009 reveals only OK movies so far, I wonder if we’re expecting too much from cinema. Have we forgotten that the artistic paradigm doesn’t shift every year, and that we may have to wait another five years, if not more, to witness a movie that truly announce the coming of a new era, like what the Iranian and Quentin Tarantino did in the 1990s, or what Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Jia Zhangke did in the early 2000s?
Speaking of which, Day 8 will unveil Tarantino’s new film “Inglourious Basterds”, starring Brad Pitt as a freakish assassin in the the Nazi-occupied France. Stay in touch.
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