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CANNES: Day 3 - Celia gives us the news & reviews Van Sant's THE LAST DAYS!!

Hey folks, Harry here with the next report from Celia and CANNES! This time it is Gus Van Sant's THE LAST DAYS. Let's get on with it, sounds like Gus has another winner!

Cannes, day 3

For two days, the Louis Lumière theatre has been cold as a fridge : too much air contionneering. They finally have tuned it, but everyone in the screening room is coughing or sneezing (my case).

This little illness is really bad timing for evryone, because there is not one fest-goer who went feverish about this year's activity : the "hunt the Star Wars gala screening tickets" !

Weather is finally hot and sunny, the tourists have arrived. They walk along the Croisette, hoping to see stars while the fest-goers are running everywhere because the screening schedules are awfully set this year.

The event of the day could have been Michael Pitt playing the guitar in the Louis Lumière theatre tonight at 10 p.m., but it actually was the "Brothers Grimms", new Terry Gilliam film, exclusive 20 minutes. It was so exclusive that only a happy few could get in the screening room (not my case).

FILM REVIEW : "LAST DAYS", a Gus Van Sant Film

Maybe it is because I was 14 when Nirvana hit France with the "Nevermind" album. Maybe it's just because I like a lot Michael Pitt, in my opinion a great actor. Maybe I just have weird tastes in cinema. Anyway, I loved "Last Days".

"Last days" is about, well, the last days of a rock star, named Blake, who looks a lot like Kurt Cobain and who has a life very much like Kurt Cobain had. Michael Pitt is Blake, an amazing Michael Pitt, portraying this man who seems awfully lost, always high, though he's never seen taking drugs, and terribly alone.

Blake's last days begin in a forest and we understand that he ran away from a rehab center. He arrives in his mansion, where his companion, portrayed by Asia Argento, is, with three others so-called friends. Blake spends his time running away and hiding, except from a middle-aged woman, a friend, portrayed by Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth. Who still doubts it's Kurt Cobain's last days we're seeing ?

The Kim Gordon scene is quite moving : she tries to "wake him up", she makes him talk about his daughter and she tries to get him away from this mansion where he is alone and abandoned by his companion and his friends, all of whom who egoitically think about them and refuse to take his despair into account.

Everyone knows how it ends. But the last we see of Blake as he just died is particularly touching. And I won't spoil it by telling the scene !

Though it's all about rock n' roll, "Last Days" is not a rockumentary and there is very few music. A Lou Reed song, a beautiful song interpreted by Michael Pitt who wrote it with his band Pagoda, and a very interesting scene where we see Blake creating a piece from the outside of the room and travelling back. The other "musical" element is the film are the bells : chiming, tolling, we often hear them and understand they are in Blake's mind, until the last minutes...

The narrative construction is not linear and it seems to me that it's making the film a more "grunge" film than any 90's films.

Michael Pitt is particularly impressive. Though we rarely see his face or hear him except muttering, he remains very expressive with body acting.

Let's face it : I loved it. But it won't be a mass audience film !

Readers Talkback
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  • May 13, 2005, 2:35 p.m. CST

    R.C.'s opinion: First!!!

    by R.C. the "Wise"

    I've always wanted to do that...sadly!

  • May 13, 2005, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Sounds good

    by John-Locke

    Why didn't he just actually make a film about Kurt Kobain though? Why change the names?

  • May 13, 2005, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Since this talkback is sorta kinda about Kurt Cobain, I'm gonna

    by Harry Coin

    . . . let's get this strait- Courtney Love killed Kurt Cobain. No, she didn't actually pull the trigger. Legally she isn't responsible. But deep down in my cold, rocky heart, I know being married to Love for more than five minutes would drive a coma victim to suicide. She is a puss and drug filled hosebag who should just hurry up and OD already so someone decent can raise Kurt's daughter. The only nice thing I have to say for her is at least she spent Kurt's money on some nice titties.

  • May 13, 2005, 4:15 p.m. CST

    Goldshower Girl (or is it woman?), come out and PLAY-YAYYYYYYY!!

    by Nice Marmot

  • May 13, 2005, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Suckubus! Courtney Love is a no good, trash talking,

    by John-Locke

    evil ass, Legend killing, VD carrying, Suckubus. Now where's my $3.50.

  • May 13, 2005, 4:29 p.m. CST

    What's with these sorta-almost-bios?

    by Christopher3

    I mean this and the new Bill Condon Non-Supremes thing. Did the studios seek permission or not?

  • May 13, 2005, 6:37 p.m. CST

    priceless sucubus comment...

    by the_man_from_Rio

    "i thought if i gave him 3.50, he'd go away" "goddamn it woman, now that you gave him the 3.50, he's gon'keep coming back" (something along those lines)

  • May 13, 2005, 6:45 p.m. CST

    back 2 cuntney love....

    by the_man_from_Rio

    she may have pulled the trigger after all...some theorize she gave him a dose of fucked up h, and he went out, but afraid that would put him into a coma and not kill him, she blew his brain out. remember people: there were no prints on the shotgun trigger!!! how da fuck u explain that? i thought we went over this in the last kurt cobain talkback....and speaking of last talkbacks, where's goldshower girl? not only do i want to piss in her nose, but i want to drop trou' and lay an cleveland steamer on her forehead....oh and about the movie...i think it's going to be pretensious art-house crap (and i liked elephant)...i heard there's a scene where "Blake" (gimme a fuckin break) spends about 15 mins making easy-mac....this one is going to be hard to swallow, van sant, just like easy-mac...

  • May 14, 2005, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Maybe it's not straightforward non-fiction for a couple of reaso

    by abcdefz1

    I'm thinking it might be like ELEPHANT, which was also a fuzzed-up version of events: 1) You don't actually know what was inside the people's heads [admittedly a flimsy reason]; and/or 2) If the stories are opened up a bit and made less specific is historical detail and more specific in behavioral detail, it makes the movies a bit more allegorical. ELEPHANT wasn't just Columbine; it's also kind of like a workplace that suddenly turns violent, or the life of two boxers that leads to a fight in which one bites another's ear off, etc.; LAST DAYS, maybe, isn't just Kurt Cobain, but any number of suicides. Or maybe I'm reaching. I didn't think ELEPHANT was entirely successful (and the whole gay-angle thing was kind of insulting to viewers -- let alone what gays must have thought), but I admired what I thought Van Sant was getting at. GERRY is really underrated; that one's just a great, great movie.

  • May 14, 2005, 2:39 p.m. CST

    I second that abcdefz1, Gerry is extremely underrated

    by John-Locke

    It's not for everyone, but better than most people think. I also like that people interpret the ending differently.