Bangkok Post » Post Blogs
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Cannes Day 11: The rite of spring
Ahhhhhhh. The Palme d’Or will be announced this evening French time) and the race is finally coming to an end. After a slow start, Cannes produces a fairly good year, with a number of solid films, a few shocks, a few boos, and a lively atmosphere that testifies to the health of autuer cinema. Journalists come here every year with the expectation to be blown away, to see something undescribable, unclassifiable, something that will reinvent cinema and shift the paradigm – that’s wishful thinking. Such tectonic shift happens, maybe, once every 10 or 20 years, if not more, while the rest is the hibernation and the festering period before the wound, the glorious wound, bursts open again.
That means we should be content with the ripe fruit that Cannes produces this spring. There have been strong films like Jacques Audiard’s prison drama “The Prophet”; Elia Suleiman’s ode to a Palestinian family “The Time That Remains”; Michael Hanake’s cold dissection of a Protestant community “The White Ribbon”; Jane Campion’s sad biopic of John Keats “Bright Star”; Quentin Tarantino’s glib, maddening, super-fun “Inglouroius Basterds”; Gasper Noe’s death trip “Enter the Void”; and Lars von Trier’s domestic horror “Antichrist”. In the Un Certain Regard, Raya Martin’s take on the indigenous Filipino tale “Independencia” and Corneliu Porumboiu’s “Police, Adjective” stand out as a unique voice.
The paralell section Directors’ Fortnight is growing even more strongly, with more daring, edgy selection that successful usurped viewers from the Competition. My favourites have been Pedro Costa’s music movie “Ne Change Rien”; Hong San-soo’s hilarious sketch of a pathetic film director “Like You Know It All”; and the Malaysian drama “Karaoke”.
By the way, the closing film of the festival is – as most closing films are – a dud. It happened to be the film I had secretly hoped that at least it would be entertaining, but it’s not to be. “Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky” is a dramatised story of the brief affair between the French fashion icon and the Russian-born composer. The movie opens with Stravinsky’s infamous premiere of his brilliantly savage “The Rite of Spring” in Paris in 1913. It’s supposed to be a love story between two revolutionaries: Chanel turns the page in the history of fashion and Stravinsky reinvents the music of the 20th century. But what we got is a tasteless soup of half-hearted romance and unheated sex. The music, mostly the intro section of “The Rite”, is repeated over and over again without any meaning or interpretation. Stravinsky is a great artist, one of my heroes, and here I’m very disappointed.
That said, there’s another film about the life of Coco Chanel (without the mention of Stravinsky). It stars Audrey Tautou and it’s not part of the Cannes festival, but has been released theatrically in France. There’s a chance that it’ll find its way to Thailand.
My next entry will be the last.
This post has 1 feedback awaiting moderation...
Leave a comment
Recent posts by this blogger
Recent reader comments
- mr.meldrew on One month on: A brief reflection
- pierre corso on Pre-Cannes (and the scourge of volcanic ash)
- Pierre Laburthe on Pre-Cannes (and the scourge of volcanic ash)
- nestor fermin on New Facebook group: We're sick of the Ministry of Culture
- Wilard Van De Bogart on New Facebook group: We're sick of the Ministry of Culture