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Cannes 2009: Favorite Moments, Days 4 & 5

In Vengeance: the small and the large: how to unlock a hotel door that is chained shut, and the "that must have been Wai Ka Fai's idea"  shootout using giant compressed squares of trash on an empty field as rolling shields for the gangsters to hide behind.
In Redes: the only shot in the film that outdoes Stromboli's mid-film documentary on fishing, the glorious heaving of the catch of the day out of the men's boats, but all we see is giant fish flying through the air.

In Antichrist: ah, a column of its own should be dedicated to the myriad of pleasures in the von Trier!  How about the only serious shot in the film, the Dreyer-esque funeral of Dafoe and Gainsbourg's son, shot through the window of the hearse, with the water drops on the glass producing immense, kaleidoscopic pixels?  We'll leave the "Fear Pyramid" ("Nature," "Satan," "Me"! ) for another time, along with the best line in the film, "That's not a real constellation!"  It's like Looney Tunes, a gag a minute!

In The Father of My Children: two moments out of the drama, more beautiful than anything in Cannes thus far: one daughter swimming alone in a milky spring on the family's vacation, absorbed in herself and the world; and, later, the older daughter in a brief moment out on a Parisian balcony during a party, the light from the street catching the back of her hair, the second Dietrich-Sternberg moment of the fest (see Costa's Ne change rien).

In A Brighter Summer Day: choosing one moment from a four hour film where every shot is it's own story, like a film constructed of nothing but beautifully rich short films, is a difficult, but the most unexpected and perhaps the most joyful moment in this movie is the revelation of teenage Taiwanese singing gorgeous covers of early 1960s American rock n' roll—and singing it really really well.

In Senso:  the world's quickest conviction and execution (goodbye Farley Granger!), in a final act that shows Visconti finally letting his mise-en-scene catch up with the neurotic melodrama of Alida Valli's irritating, deranged collaborator.  Would this film have been better if it were set during World War 2, as is implied?

In Vincere: Benito Mussollini fucking, forehead and eyes thrust forward, looking not at his love, but outward, towards the glorious future, like a statue in motion.
I am quite envious about all of these, but maybe most so about that A Brighter Summer Day restoration! I was lucky enough to see an unrestored 35mm print over a year ago and that amazed me unlike much else (despite having seen the film previously).

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