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Euro-AICN looks at CAMERA OBSCURA, CODE INCONNU, THE YARDS, 5 FEET HIGH AND RISING, and others in a CANNES wrap-up

It had to happen, just when you thought you were finally free of them... they pull you back in! Yes, this morning Father Geek awoke to... yet another report from our Euro-crew on... CANNES! Well folks festivals that are bigger than life show lots of flicks and generate lots of deal making and that equals lots of news, some naturally late breaking. This report is a case in point. Check it out, they're talking about some good movies here...

Well... I know this comes a bit late... I know some of you are tired of reading about Cannes.... This is the last EURO AICN report on Cannes, Edgard here promises... the Festival ended a few days ago, since then everybody as seen images of Bjork and Lars Von Trier being happy... Personally, I am now really curious to see that movie... I love BREAKING THE WAVES, I thought THE IDIOTS was lame... we will see... meanwhile I have some more reviews from Grozilla in Cannes, the last movies he saw there... the delay is my fault, I was away and could not finish the translation in time, so forgive me people... You will find here a review from THE YARDS which I am also waiting for (I loved LITTLE ODESSA)... And also Eva is back for a (happy) announcement on her short film.

Here's Grozilla's reviews (with some news at the end):

CAMERA OBSCURA

A novice photographer who takes picture of dead people can't stand looking at corpses. So he'll start to "stage" his pictures. This polar is a really nice surprise discovered during the film market in a theatre with only 5 persons. Very well paced, with a great photography and very good ideas, this artistic thriller might pass unnoticed to the buyers. Of course there's no star and tons of ideas not really politically correct. I met the director, Hamlet Sarkissian (what a name !) who told me the film had cost only 300 000 $ !!!!! Without being a masterpiece, this film competes well with most of the "soft" thrillers produced by New Line and Miramax. Even if sometimes the intrigue goes in too many directions, or if the effects are a bit too much, CAMERA OBSCURA (do not mistake it for "La Chambre Obscure", a French film presented in another selection in Cannes) introduces us to a very talented director who makes up for all the Brett Rattner, Gregory Hoblit & co..., and to a wonderful cameraman. Dear buyers, hurry up or else you will miss real talents !

CODE INCONNU

Austrian director Michael Haneke stays in the same direction : to give to the viewer this "heavy" feeling that is the bad European conscience about the world's moral decline. I did not ask him anything. If this director is usually captivating and efficient on the form - even if here he repeats himself with a structure very close of 71 pieces of a chronology - I can not stand his "lessons giver" attitude while his message is one of the most reactionary that I know. Besides it's a bit hard to get some morality lesson at 8.30 am. This showing schedule was probably not the most appropriate with this kind of film.

SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR

Rumour gave this film as the eventual "heir apparent" of Lars VonTrier for the Palm. Roy Andersson is the man who changed Scandinavian commercials with an absurd and caustic wit. He took 4 years to make this film composed of 46 static shots working always the same way : a character in the foreground and some agitation behind. I did not understand why people from the press were laughing all the time (two men push a car, the theatre cracks up in laughs; a guy is sitting for 30 seconds without saying a word; laughs again). Andersson would like to be the equivalent of a Gary Larsson, but we are very far from it. In the Nordic cinema, you will prefer, and by far, films from Aki Kaurismaki or films from the Dutch Alex Van Warmerdam, also very well structured but less cold, more human. "Songs from the 2nd floor" looks more like an anthology of not funny jokes disguised an IKEA catalogue. Instead of a big absurd film, you get a simple altered movie. Interesting if you are curious, but not as a Palme d'Or.

THE YARDS

For the last 5 years, James Gray has been polishing up his second film after LITTLE ODESSA. Another family story taking the sacrosanct structure of the Greek tragedy. Leo (Mark Wahlberg) comes out of jail for a car robbery he did not commit. He comes home. His mother (Ellen Burstyn) is sick, his aunt (Faye Dunaway) has remarried with the boss of a railroad company (James Caan) who offers him a job. Leo finds again Willie (Joaquin Phoenix) whom he did not give away for the robbery and his cousin Erica (Charlize Theron). The railroad company is shrouded in corruption. Willie kills an employee and says Leo is guilty... Gray says he took inspiration from ROCCO ET SES FRERES (Rocco and His Brothers) and LA BETE HUMAINE (The Human Beast). Personally I saw more the shadow of "On the Waterfront" and the light of "The godfather". Which is already something good. "The Yards" keeps referring with respect to Coppola's film, with the beautiful photography very close of Vittorio Storraro's (if I remember well from the mob trilogy) or with the description of a family about to collapse. The is no doubt, "The Yards" is a working-class version of "The Godfather" . And that's one of the best idea of the fillm : trying to give some "aristocracy" in a working-class family. Having chosen James Caan as the father figure is certainly not innocent. When he sits in his big chair, the face half in the shadow, you could think he just took Marlon Brando's seat. A bit like if Gray had decided to give revenge to the Corleone brother murdered in the first "Godfather". The parallel keeps growing when "The Yards" can be seen as a transition between two generations : Mark Wahkberg is definitely a good actor, not overacting, and could be seen as young De Niro; Charlize Theron, at last in a great role, could replace Diane Keaton. But it's mainly Joaquin Phoenix who's amazing, and showing the strenght of a new Pacino. "The Yards" is then a very convincing film from an artistic point of view, Gray being an incredibly good director of actors, and just a good director of a beautifully shot film (thanks also to Harris Savides' photography). The only thing missing in "The Yards" it's a real inspiration; the film seems so controlled, so well directed that it finds itself prisoner of a too known story. "The Yards" could have been a big mob saga from this beginning of the years 2000; but is instead stuck by this comfortable directorial line which defines the all movie (when it should have been free to abandon itself to tragic lyrism). "The yards" is at the same time too ambitious and too classic to be rewarded here in Cannes.

IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE

At the beginning of the screening of the new film from Wong kar Wai, viewers were asked to be indulgent with the film's sound as it was not mixed yet. A certain modesty as the sound was finally really good. Modesty is the feeling that covers "In the mood for love". Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, two neighbours, find out that their respective wife and husband are having an affair. Far from the shining style of his earlier movies, Wong Kar Wai chooses for a delicate and polite kind of cinema, allowing only some "blazingness" in the photography and sets. "In the mood for love" is a song's title for crooner. It sticks perfectly to this film, "nuanced and floating". Cheung are Leung perfect as models of uprightness. Exactly like the film, beautiful jewel case which never forgets to be like a jail (you can't count the many shots of the couple seen through bars). We are here in a glamour from the 60's. It has charm, it has often many ideas (the adultery man and woman are never seen, just heard). But I like more by far the Wong Kar Wai of "Chungking express" or "Fallen Angels", more passionate than here in this nice romantic story.

Some news now to conclude :

*Raoul Ruiz will direct Laetitia Casta in "Une âme forte" (from Giono); the story of a woman who looks for adventure. Shooting starts in October.

*Sarah Levy ("Du bleu jusqu'en Amérique") prepares her second film : a thriller like "Le Limier", so far titled as "Dix p'tits blêmes".

* The new film from Emir Kusturica is a clip for Unza Unza, one of the songs of No Smoking, the rock band Kusturica plays with.

* Victor Nunez ("Ruby in paradise") will adapt "La brava" from a Elmore Leonard novel.

* Steve Buscemi will meet Elizabeth Hurley in "Double whammy", a comedy on the media when a kid finds a gun lost by a cop in a shooting and becomes a national hero. Tom DiCillo directs.

* Cannes superstar. Two films are using the Festival in their story : "Murder at the Cannes film festival" with Bo Derek smells strongly like a "Z" TV film. It was shot for most of it in Vancouver ! And Fréderic Comtet ("Doggy Bag") used the Festival to get some shots for his next film "Rendez-vous au ciel".

And now Eva finished the Cannes Film Festival with a happy ending :

FIVE FEET HIGH AND RISING, the twenty-nine minute short film from writer/director Peter Sollett and producer/editor Eva Vives, has been awarded first place honors at the 53rd Cannes International Film Festival, Cinéfoundation Section. The award, presented by Festival Delegate General Gilles Jacob, includes an invitation for their upcoming feature-length film to screen in Cannes. As announced during the festival last week, FIVE FEET HIGH AND RISING will have it's U.S. television premiere on the Sundance Channel. The film has also been licensed for broadcast by Canal+ France, Canal+ Spain and Channel 4 Television, England.

FIVE FEET HIGH AND RISING chronicles the sexual awakening of a twelve year-old boy growing up on New York City's Lower East Side. Utilizing non-professional actors FIVE FEET HIGH AND RISING takes a cinema verité inspired look at sexual innocence and discovery.

For more information e.mail evavives@yahoo.com or visit www.fivefeethigh.com

Well that's it for Cannes 2000... I promise.. this was our FINAL report on Cannes... Hope next year I can be there myself to get some sun among other things...

Thanks again to all our collaborators who were there and took time for writing us, reviewing films and reporting on the Festival. My apologizes again for the delay of this report...

Edgard

Readers Talkback
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  • May 24, 2000, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Songs from the second chance

    by Shrevie

    Ebert loved Songs From The Second Floor (one of his two favorites from Cannes) and from his description, it sounded fascinating, strange, and funny. I'm still curious. Thanks for the report, though.

  • May 24, 2000, 4:20 p.m. CST

    GORDON WILLIS SHOT GODFATHER TRILOGY, DIPSHIT!

    by kiosk

    If you're going to talk about Vittorio Storaro, don't insult him. Gordon Willis, too. Let me give you a little lesson: Gordon, also known as The Prince of Darkness, shot The Godfather trilogy and Woody's Manhatten. After shooting Godfather II, he changed the way cinematographers thought of period pieces by always using the color yellow in the timing of the prints. Vittorio Storaro is the most spiritual cinematographer you can find. His credits include Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor, The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris and most recently Bulworth. Next time you mention photography, know what the hell you're talking about.

  • May 24, 2000, 7:31 p.m. CST

    Kiosk: n: A light ornamental structure used as a news stand, ban

    by eXcriMENt

    While he is correct, Kiosk is also a bit of an opinionated ass. And while quick with a reference to the IMDB to sound as though he knows a thing or two about cinematography, he shows his colors with the bitterness of a eunuch at the gang-bang. Had you dug deeper and chanced upon the word "cepia" you might have gone unnoticed. You might also have pieced together that Willis' technique involves the EXTRACTION of reds, with an emphasis on browns. Ass. Now sit down.

  • May 25, 2000, 12:31 a.m. CST

    The Yards Review

    by cds

    Haven't seen it. Don't need to. Why? Marky Marky Mark. Exhibit A) A Film By le Auteur Emperor Paul Thomas Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson Presents A Film Written by Paul Thomas Anderson, and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson starring the World-Famous Non-Actor Marky Marky Mark as the World-Famous Non-Actor Porn-Star Marky Marky Mark. Exhibit B) World-Famous Auteur David O. Russell presents World-Famous Non-Actor Marky Marky Mark starrring in a Non-Movie not written by, written by, well, someone other than World Famous Auteur David O. Russell, as an Action-Hero in, Kelly's Heroes. No, wait a minute, that was another movie. A real one. Oh well. Exhibit C) Starring Marky Marky Mark in the Reese Witherspoon movie Fear. No, wait a minute. That wasn't really a movie. Well, what the hell, Charlize Theron is in this movie. Maybe she gets naked. Instead of Marky Marky Mark. We have a winner!

  • May 25, 2000, 1:06 a.m. CST

    Gordon Willis tutorial part III

    by Lazarus Long

    Let's also not forget that Willis has been REPEATEDLY snubbed by the academy (still hasn't won an oscar), and primarily his ASC brethren. Why? Lighting a scene without illuminating the eyes of the actors was (is) considered taboo among cinematographers. Apparently the intention to make the Godfather's dealing so menacing with this effect wasn't ackowledged or appreciated. There's a great little segment on Gordo and his style in the amazing documentary Visions of Light.

  • May 25, 2000, 10:20 a.m. CST

    5 Feet High and Rising?

    by Hero For Hire

    Suddenly, I have an urge to pull my De La Soul albums out of the closet...

  • May 25, 2000, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Cinematography of the 70s 101

    by kiosk

    #1) If you were to time out the reds (and you can't do that with the now out-dated 100 ASA stock Gordon shot on) you would shift the Kodak palette to have an ugly blue-green look. Since I am a cinematographer and have worked in the labs and have talked with Gordo, I would know. #2) Sepia was not what good ol' Gordo used. Sepia is a filter, not a method of timing. It is a color not un-like any other than can be replicated just as Peter Deming replicated "chocolate" for exterior night scenes in Lynch's Lost Highway without using a filter. But Sepia itself is a color-specific filter. Not used much anymore. It also had a one-third stop compensator. Know what that is? It means you lose light. And if you're shooting on a 100 ASA, that's something you don't want to do. #3)Back in the 70s, you had what we called "repeat-ability". Which meant that you could time you're negative any color you wanted to one week. Then come back three weeks later at the same lab and get the exact same thing. Exact. Nowadays, you'd get the excuse "Well, there are so many variables". "The baths were brand new last week and this week Cameron went first, not you." This is why the color of yellow is not as prevelant. Now, we stick to full blue or the dreaded 85 (or LLD filter, other-wise known as Low-Light Density filter which has two-thirds the correction of an 85 -- but even that's dissappearing because it requires the lab to time back the other one-third). #4) Next time, pick a fight with someone you can win with. #5) I'm wanted back on the set. P.S.: Regardless of what color you are taking away, you are essentially adding. There is no true subtraction. Only addition. Energy does not disappear. It just takes another form. How it is actually done in the labs nowadays is a joke compared to the 70s. Its a miracle that Khondji, who heavely relies on the labs, has survived as long as he has. God Bless Him for taking what he learned from Gordon Willis and Vittorio Storaro both, a step further. He made ECN the most sought-after lab approach in many a year. Hell, he made Spielberg envious (who used it in Saving Private Ryan). I'm out. If you really want to have a fight, lets talk super 35 vs. Anamorphic. I'm all ears. Let it rip.

  • May 25, 2000, 6:16 p.m. CST

    Kiass

    by eXcriMENt

    I don't really know anything about cinematography. I just pieced together what I could in response to someone who, despite his extensive knowledge of same, managed to sound like a bitter assistant A.C. in his initial missive. The purpose of my post was to school a complete cock-fan who apparently needs to be attacked to shake the educated change out of his pockets. Get some sleep, bitch. Call time is at seven.

  • May 25, 2000, 8:19 p.m. CST

    Actually, its at 5:45.

    by kiosk

    You know, I just made all that up. You can go back to you're pathetic ignorant existence. I just forgeot to take my lithium.

  • May 25, 2000, 8:32 p.m. CST

    hey, kiosk...

    by tommy five-tone

    you couldn't be much more a pedantic cocksucker, could you? your inane posts unmask you as something of a fuckhead, IMHO.

  • May 25, 2000, 11:20 p.m. CST

    Enough with the "Marky Mark" bashing!

    by marquise

    Aren't people tired of this crap yet? Let me just make it clear, I'm certainly not a "Marky Mark" fan (I didn't even know that much about him in his days as a rapper & CK poster boy, and from what I did know he sounded like an annoying jerk) but I am a Mark Wahlberg fan, ever since "Boogie Nights" (without a quesiton one of the best films of the 90s) ... I also thought he did a great job in "Three Kings," and yes, he was pretty good in "Fear" even though the movie mostly sucked. (The only Wahlberg movie that was totally worthless was "The Big Hit.") I really look forward to "The Yards," and I believe Wahlberg is one of the best young actors working today. I don't expect everyone to agree and I'm happy to listen to criticism of his work. But repeating "Marky Marky Mark" 50 times ain't criticism.

  • May 26, 2000, 8:26 p.m. CST

    5:45

    by eXcriMENt

    I stand corrected. Not an A.C. of any kind. A man with that call-time wears a headset and a radio.