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Sunday, May 16, 2010
Cannes Day 5: Purgatory
Is Cannes Film Festival the closest thing to Purgatory?
Some days, it's hell; others, heaven, or critics work hard to convince (delude) ourselves. And when we all get properly half-mad after 12 days, we equate the Palme d'Or with fire-baptism and the Judgement Day. God bless cinema and Thailand, amen. In any case, Cannes remains Purgatory this year, for none of the Competition films, perhaps with the exception of Mike Leigh's Another Year, has stood out, and this means that the Thai film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, which will have a gala premier on Friday May 21, still harbours a small hope (what else do we have?) of scoring among the 9-member Jury.
In the morning we saw Bertrand Tavernier's The Princess of Montpensier, a rather run-of-the-mill period melodrama about the love quadrangle between a young princess and the lovesick French noblemen in her orbit. Corsetted feminism? Better rewatch The Last Mistress then. A section of the audience up on the balcony also booed it at the end, though it's not wise to take booing seriously at Cannes.
Then in the evening, the press saw Takeshi Kitano's Outrage, the sole representative from Japan in this year's Competition. It's Kitano's return to yakuza bloodbath after Brothers in 2000, and even though it features the actor/director's trademark irreverence (including a racist joke), a number of outrageous murder techniques and finger-chopping, and satirical humour that subverts the rules of the genre -- despite those things, Outrage is a fun yet inconsequential effort. Last year at this point, Cannes was roused from its Mediterranean torpor by Lars von Trier's Antichrist, which set the critical mass on a fiery debate that lasted days, if not weeks. Kitano's brand of physical violence is like a firework on Cannes beach -- a spectacle that lasts only a few seconds.
On a different note: In Cannes Film Market -- the commercial element attached to Festival de Cannes -- it's confirmed now that an Indian studio has bought the right to remake the Thai horror film Faad (Alone). Meanwhile, a Hong Kong company has also bought the remake right of the Thai romantic comedy Rot Faifa Maha Nather (Bangkok Traffic Love Story). I'll try to get more updates on the business side of several Thai studios that are currently here. For now, please excuse me as I retire to my lonely graveyard (bed), though I prefer the stripey one back at home.
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