SPECIAL REPORT FROM CANNES
Cannes Day 5: Love and other nightmares
- Published: 20/01/2013 at 12:49 PM
- Online news:
Cannes, May 20
On Day 5, Isabelle Huppert showed up in two movies, almost back to back. Then at the evening press screening, the boos – that time-honoured Cannes tradition – were finally heard (the loudest came from the unhappy man right next to me).
I’ll write more on Huppert in the next few days; jut briefly, she plays a supporting role in Michael Hanake’s “Amour”, a surprisingly tender yet typically clinical new work from the Austrian master, and in the Korean film “In Another Country”, by Hong Sansoo, she plays three characters in a wry study of foreignness and possibility of desire in everyday life. Here’s one of the most versatile and fearless actresses at work today in the world.
Now the boos: It was at the screening of the much-expected new film by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, the great modernist alchemist, undaunted to the task of philosophizing and, as the new film shows, cinematic tomfoolery. “Like Someone in Love” is the title, and it’s a film shot in Japan and starring an all-Japanese cast. Kiarostami gave us the best first shot of the entire festival – a slightly crooked wide angle in a café – and the most baffling last one involving a rock, an old man, and incessant shouting. Between those, a young student who moonlights as a call girl takes a trip to see her customer, an ageing sociological professor who slowly becomes the young woman’s trusted friend and counselor. The urban landscape of Japan provides Kiarostami with a backdrop for his famous car shots – reflecting the neon signs and Tokyo sky, some of them are very beautiful. And while the booers took offence with the film’s meandering, seemingly pointless conversation and merry-go-round car ride, the film isn’t merely a self-indulgent project of a prestigious director, though I confess to be not quite sure what the film is exactly about, apart from being an attempt to capture (or toy with) the Japanese vibrations and quirks by a visiting filmmaker. Bafflement led to frustration and frustration led to booing (not that many people booed actually, perhaps less than five, but they were determined to be loud). Compounding the on-screen irritation was the fact that journalists had been waiting and shivering in the stormy rain outside Salle Debussy more than 30 minutes (some over an hour) before we were allowed inside with our socks wet and our heads soaked.
For me, “Like Someone in Love” not a bad film; it’s amusing, it’s a deliberate tease. And it exemplifies the role of Cannes as the war zone of film criticism, since it’s a film that will be debated with a passion during the remaining seven days. –Kong Rithdee
About the author
- Writer: Kong Rithdee
Position: Deputy Life Editor