Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2022 3:55 pm 
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Here I'll begin to transfer some of the more important "notes" on Cannes 75 from my day-by-day Filmleaf thread. It's already day 9. Culled from all over the Internet. There are a lot of running English-language reviews. From days 1 to 4. The whole original Filmleaf thread begins HERE.

JAMES GRAY'S AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL 'ARMAGEDDON TIME', ON WHICH CRITICS DIFFER

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JAYLIN WEBB AND MICHAEL BANKS REPETA IN ARMAGEDDON TIME

ARMAGEDDON TIME (James Gray).
Cannes in Competition. This for a long time was the top rated Competition film on the Screen Jury Grid. But Bradshaw panned it with a 2/5 star rating: "A middle-class boy capitalizes on his privilege in Reagan-era New York in James Gray’s uncharacteristically syrupy movie" set in Eighties Queens that is "weighed down with a sentimental and self-regarding staginess." A coming of age tale where an artistic boy has to negotiate the temptations of a posh, racist, Trump-involved school and his black public school buddy falls by the wayside. "Armageddon" is a word used by Presidential candidate Reagan. Metacritic rating: 73% shows most critics don't share Bradshaw's low opinion, but there's no raft of raves either. Owen Gleiberman's very fine Variety review better delineates this film's considerable charms - and its ultimate faults. May be more appreciated by the French than the Academy, observes Scott Feinberg in his Hollywood Reporter review, which notes the "strong performances." (Gray has never had an Oscar nomination.)

Fine the press conference for ARMAGEDDON TIME HERE. James Gray makes it sound like his film is a powerful attack on capitalism.

THE ADVENTURES OF A MULE (IN COMPETITION FOR THE PALME D'OR)

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EO (Jerzy Skolimowski) .
Cannes, in Competition. Jordan Mintzer of Hollywood Reporter warrants it merits "the Palme d'Eyore." This free-spirited mule has an adventure traveling from Poland to Italy so this is a road movie, I guess. The director had played Naomi Watts' racist uncle in EASTERN PROMISES, and his FOUR NIGHTS WITH ANNA I reviewed as part of the 2008 NYFF -a literally very dark drama of a strange man who becomes falsely accused of rape. The director was then seventy and now is eight-four. A Beckettian tale with an added sweetness, I observed. Unlike Bresson's AU HAZARD BALHAZAR, Mintzer observes, Skolimowski adopts "a directly experimental approach, filling his movie with breathtaking imagery and a daunting soundscape atop a minimalist narrative." This looked like a joke to me, but it turned out to be the second-most-admired Competition film for a while, after James Gray's ARMAGEDDON TIME.

Cannes tends to get more exciting as it goes along. This is just day 3.

May 20. DAY 4. THE GOOD ONES ARE COMING. Mia Hansen-Løve - a Cannes winner.

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PASCAL GREGGORY, LEA SEYDOUX IN UN BEAU MATIN

ONE FINE MORNING/UN BEAU MATIN (Mia Hansen-Løve)
Cannes Directors Fortnight. Bradshaw gives this French film 4/5 stars and compliments its "briskly and urbanely photographed Paris." The ubiquitous Léa Seydoux appears in short hair and jeans in this humdrum, pleasingly mainstream romance about a young mother who raises her daughter alone while seeking help for her sick father (Pascal Greggory). While this is happening, Sandra (Seydoux) reconnects with Clément (Melvil Poupaud), a friend not seen in a while and, though he is married, a passionate relationship begins. Jon Frosch in Hollywood Reporter calls the film "quietly miraculous" and says it "make[s] the old feel new again." The director, who for 15 years was partners with Olivier Assayas, has made ten films 90% of which have been critical successes, and her last, BERGMAN ISLAND, did unusually well in the US. ONE FINE MORNING has been nabbed by Sony Pictures Classics.

CORSAGE (Marie Kreutzer)
Cannes Un Certain Regard. Reviews are uniformly enthusiastic for this film where Vicky Krieps "gives an exhilaratingly fierce, uningratiating performance" as the 19th-century Empress Elizabeth of Austria-Hungary, says Bradshaw, who gives it 4/5 stars. Adam Solomans of IndieWire calls this film "fierce, revisionist history." Variety calls it "sneaky and terrific" and Krieps "superb." Kreutzer's Metascore, by the way, is 83%, though this film is not included on that site yet. In many ways this is "a study in anger," Bradshaw says, and "an austere and angular picture," but the critics love it, and it seems a triumph for the multilingual Luxembourgish actress Vicky Krieps, who has been emerging lately as a more and more important international star.

ENYS MAN (Mark Jenkin).
Cannes Directors Fortnight. A second 4/5 stars from Bradshaw for what he calls "another eerie prose-poem of a film, about a isolated woman lost inside her own mind" and "a supremely disquieting study of solitude" from the British director of the 2019 BAIT. Laila Latif in IndieWire calls it an "experimental tale of loss" and "an artfully constructed folk horror film" about "never-ending grief."

BOY FROM HEAVEN (Tarik Saleh)
Cannes. In Competition. Another 4/5 stars review from Bradshaw: "Egypt’s religious and secular institutions both breed mistrust in Tarik Saleh’s superbly realized paranoid nightmare." It's about a rural fisherman's son with a prestigious fellowship to study at Al Azhar, the ancient Islamic university in Cairo, who gets somehow embroiled in a power struggle between religious and political force when the grand imam dies; Bradshaw is reminded of John Le Carré by this undercover spy movie from the maker of 2017'S THE NILE HILTON INCIDENT. Jordan Mintzer in Hollywood Reporter notes that it's a conventional thriller but in a "thrillingly unconventional setting." Filmed in Turkey and Sweden.

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TAWFEEK BARHOUM IN BOY FROM HEAVEN

MAY 20 additions.

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MELVIL POUPAUD, MARION COTILLARD IN BROTHER AND SISTER

BROTHER AND SISTER/FRÈRE ET SOEUR (Arnaud Deplechin).
Cannes, in Competition. This film starring Melvil Poupaud and Marion Cotillard, already widely reviewed, is about long estranged siblings who're reunited due to their parents' demise. IndieWire says it's a "greatest hits retread" and thus a "lesser effort" from the French auteur. Variety calls it an "overwrought melodrama" explaining the attention-getting violent events it begins with. It has elements in common with Desplechin's excellent A Christmas Tale while lacking any of its richness and charm, Variety concludes. Bradshaw, who pungently summarizes the film's plot, gives it 2/5 stars and says it "has plenty of filmmaking élan but not one line of plausible dialogue." Desplechin's auteur reputation, Cotillard's international fame, and Poupaud's suave charm will still draw French film fans. See the AlloCiné critic rating: 4.0, 80% (though the spectator rating is 2.5).

PLAN 75 (Chie Hayakawa)
Cannes, Un Certain Regard. This "Speculative sci fi" film that adds a "social realist treatment" in this Japanese international coproduction about a future time when the government routinely widely euthanizes the elderly via a voluntary program. There has been a lot of interest in the provocative subject. The Hollywood Reporter review just describes, doesn't assess, this unusual film that responds to hardened attitudes in Japan the first-time director says she encountered after ten years of living in New York, plus the fact that Japan has by far the world's oldest population and that puts a clearly perceived growing burden on the social system.

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