SPECIAL REPORT FROM CANNES
As is tradition, it will be helter-skelter in Cannes. The archangels will descend on the red carpet while the critics, all few thousand of them, will practice the old sport of vulturism, eyeing the wrecks and picking up the carcasses, when the the 65th Cannes Film Festival begins tonight (a week later than usual to allow the dust of the French presidential election to settle). There are 22 films in Cannes' Competition _ the most coveted contest in the world, sort of _ and most of them are latest works by brand-name directors who will, like futuristic priests, lead us to a prayer at Our Church of Cinema, godly and satanic. To many, the festival is also an annual rite of self-flagellation. Better bring your own whips.
No matter, we keep going back to bring you fresh report from the world's most influential movie event. This year, Hollywood is prominent, while the harvest from Asia is thin. There are two Korean films in the competition, and there's a Thai film: Cannes regular and former Palme d'Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul will premiere his 61-minute Mekong Hotel in the Special Screenings (meaning no prize, just a showcase). But apart from that, the competition line-up is salacious, with a solid roll-call of big Anerican names and mid-career warriors from elsewhere who're all ready to for a 12-day duel. Usually the competition has one or two new directors _ but this year it's an adult-only Premiere League, and the heat of exitement will be palpable.
For a start, four former Palme d'Or winners are back in the competition. Michael Hanake returns to the Croisettes with Amour, his new drama starring Isabelle Huppert; a Cannes darling, Hanake won the top prize in 2009 with The White Ribbon, and his Cache (which opens in Bangkok) was a critical success back in 2005.
Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami continues his border-crossing adventure with a Japanese-speaking film Like Someone in Love _ the director's previous one was a French-speaking Certified Copy, which was a modest hit in Bangkok arthouse. Romania keeps its momentum going with the new film by Cristian Mungiu, Beyond the Hills, an orphanage drama; Mungiu won the Palme d'Or in 2007 with the startling 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days.
And if you're not tired of Ken Loach, Cannes is giving you Ken Loach. The British veteran won in 2006 with the IRA drama The Wind That Shakes the Barley (a modest hit at our Lido) and this year he's back with a comedy The Angels' Share. Not to mention that his last two films that came to Cannes were picked to pieces by the hardnosed critics here.
More than other years, at least five films in the competition will definitely be released in Thailand, and all five are American. Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, Cannes' opening film today, will land at Lido as early as next month; the film stars Edward Norton, Bruce Willis and Tilda Swinton, among others, in a twee love story of two pre-teen lovers, and fans of Anderson's The Dajeerling Limited or The Royal Tenenbaums are sure to be eagerly awaiting this one. Shifting to the darker mood, dark as hell on Earth, is Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg's adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel about a reckless money trader who rides around Manhattan in his limo while apocalypse, real and symbolic, is erupting around him. Robert Pattinson, in a quasi-vampiric mode, plays the money trader.
Taste of Money , one of the two Korean film in Cannes competition by Im Sang-soo.
Three other films that have already had a Thai distributor are: Lee Daniel's The Paperboy, starring Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman; John Hillcoat (from The Road and The Proposition) is in competition with Lawless, a Depression-era gangster drama; and Mud, with Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McCoughnahey (the director is Jeff Nichols, whose previous work, Take Shelter, was shown for weeks at Lido).
Elsewhere in the competition, we'll see the long-awaited adaptation of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, with Garrett Hedlund as Dean and Kirsten Steweart (Bella from Twilight) as Marylou. The Beats will sit up in their graves with a cruious gaze at Walter Salles's treatment of their seminal text. Brad Pitt stars in Killing Them Softly, a new film by Andrew Dominik Then, of course, we have Leos Carax and his much-awaited return to feature filmmaking: Holy Motors is the title, and it stars Eva Mendes and, ahem, Denis Lavant. We have no synopsis, but we won't miss it for the world. Another potential revelation rests with Mexican Carlos Reygadas _ the best of his contemporaries _ who'll arrive in Cannes with his new film Post Tenabras Lux, a drama involving two men.
Kirsten Stewart in On the Road by Walter Salles.
Maenwhile, French master Alain Resnais, who made his first film in 1936 and still going strong, is in the competition with You Ain't See Nothing Yet; an auspicious sign that 2012 might be a Cannes vintage year
Two Asian films in the competition are from Korea, and this, once again, confirms the status of that country as a genuine force in global cinema. The first one is Hong Sang-soo's In Another Country, starring Isabelle Huppert; the other is The Taste of Money by Im Sang-soo, who was in the competition two years back with The Housemaid (it played at our Lido too).
Over to the sidebar Un Certain Regard section, a second-tier programme of discovery and offbeat offerings, the most anticipated films for cinephiles and hard-core critics is perhaps Koji Wakamatsu's 11/25 The Day Mishima Chose His Own Fate: Wakamatsu, 76, was a former "pink filmmaker" who made low-budget exploitation films in the 1960s. Meanwhile the dissident Chinese director Lou Ye will open the Un Certain Regard with Mystery; Lou Ye was banned by the Chinese government after he made a film about the Tiananmen Square incident called Summer Palace in 2006 (that film was also released in Bangkok).
Robert Pattinson in Cosmopolis by David Cronenberg.
Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson
De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone) by Jacques Audiard
Holy Motors by Leos Carax
Cosmopolis by David Cronenberg
The Paperboy by Lee Daniels
Killing Them Softly by Andrew Dominik
Reality by Matteo Garrone
Amour (Love) by Michael Hanake
Lawless by John Hillcoat
Da-Reun Na-Ra-E-Suh (In Another Country) by Hong Sangsoo
(Do-Nui Mat The Taste Of Money) by Im Sang-soo
Like Someone In Love by Abbas Kiarostami The Angels' Share by Ken Loach V
Tumane (In The Fog) by Sergei Loznitsa
Dupa~Dealuri (Beyond The Hills) by Cristian Mungiu
Baad El Mawkeaa (After The Battle) by Yousry Nasrallah
Mud by Jeff Nichols
Vous n'avez encore rien vu (You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet!) by Alain Resnais
Post Tenebras Lux by Carlos Reygadas
On the Road by Walter Salles
Paradies : Liebe (Paradise : Love) by Ulrich Seidl
Jagten (The Hunt) by Thomas Vinterberg
Mekong Hotel by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, will be screened in the Special Screenings
About the author
- Writer: Kong Rithdee
Position: Deputy Life Editor