Bangkok Post » Post Blogs
Friday, May 13, 2011
Day 2: Thai Night and a haunted supermarket
Day 2, May 12
First thing first: The Thai Night.
Playing a patriot and freeloader, I missed Faye Dunaway and the screening of her 1970 movie "Puzzle of the Downfall Child" by opting instead to attend the Thai Night, a showcase party sumptuously held at Hotel Majestic (wow!) and lubricated by French wine and Thai beer. The Ministry of Commerce hosted it, and HRH Princess Ubolratana presided over the event that also screened the teaser of her new movie, "Together Forever". Stylistically speaking, the film seems heavily influenced by a Korean romantic drama, but we'll have to wait and see since the filming in Switzerland has just wrapped. The distinguished audience was pretty thrilled today.
Also, this Saturday, Thailand, partly through Ministry of Commerce, will spend reportedly 40 million baht to host a Muay Thai boxing tournament on the beach of Cannes. Of course this is to promote Thai boxing and the great Thai culture. What're you thinking? I have no patriotic or masochistic desire to waste my time to go witness it, but maybe I'll have to. We'll see.
Now the movies of Day 2. So far, three Competition titles have been screened -- all by female directors. Nothing marvellous has presented itself to the horde of hungry journalists, not even Lynne Ramsay's much-expected "We Have to Talk About Kevin". And certainly not Maiwenn Le Besco's anti-pedophilia police saga "Polisse", which plays like 15 continuous episodes of a TV cop series. Perhaps that's the problem with Cannes: expectations are so high, and the aura of legend and cumulative greatness hangs like lead over every Comepetition screening, the sometimes unfair bulwark that even a solid movie has to overcome.
"We Need to Talk About Kevin", by Scottish Ramsay, is solid but somehow prosaic. Tilda Swinton plays a self-blaming mother whose teenage son commits a heinous crime that demolishes her bourgeoise family and everything that's come before it. Ramsay's known for the lyrical poetry -- sometimes its beauty is heart-stopping -- of her films, "Ratcatcher" and "Movern Collar", but here the narrative seems to frame her rhythm and dramatic concentration. The best thing is "We Need to Talk About Kevin" is perhaps Jasper Newell, the young boy who plays Kevin as an evil child whose incorrigibility goes beyond mere rebelliousness and defies any social norms and simple psychologising. He's the Anti-Christ (without the Satanic possession), and Ramsay has given us, by and large, a domestic horror. Ms Swinton will surely be a contender for Best Actress -- along with Emily Browning from "Sleeping Beauty" (see Day 1).
Over to the Un Certain Regard, the sidebar section that sometimes yields unexpected treasure. Well, not so fast. The UCR's opening film, Gus Van Sant's "Restless", is either a mild disappointment or a major one depending on how much faith you have in this versatile and assured director (his previous film is "Milk"). "Restless" features the rising star Mia Wasikowska ("Alice in Wonderland") as a terminally ill teenager who enjoys a sweet romance with an odd boy who's obsessed with funerals and whose best friend is the phantom of a Japanese kamikaze pilot. The problem, I believe, is the tenuous screenplay, light as feather, and Van Sant just can't lift the material out of the what-would-you-do-if-you-had-three-months-to-live cliche. Nevertheless Wasikowska, her charm discreet in the glaring Meditarranean sun, is a joy to watch throughout.
Lastly, a brief note on the Brazillian film "Trabalhar Cansa" in the Un Certain Regard: this is perhaps the first film whose plot point concerns a haunted supermarket and voodoo capitalism (sort of). It's not really a ghost film though, but a wry social satire on the fate of invisible workers who toil away to make Brazil one of the fastest-growing economies on Earth.
Watching it again should be more fun than watching Muay Thai on the beach of Cannes. But who am I to say?
We Need to Talk about Kevin.
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