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Cannes 2009: Favorite Moments, Days 6 & 7

In Dogtooth:  the two girls dancing.  What is it about dancing in cinema?  I think it operates under the same principle as showing people hanging out at cafes or getting drunk, there’s just something so wonderful and true about filming such things that the spontaneity and beauty of such sequences can easily surpass the shortcomings of an entire film.
In Independencia: I was planning on saying the nefarious moustache of the American soldier, but thinking back on it, I really liked the opening scene—a prelude to the mother and son’s flight into the forest—that is a group of people in the street singing, dancing, and hanging out (note the axiom above for Dogtooth) moments before the Americans invade.
In Wild Grass:  As with Antichrist, it seems hard to choose one amongst so many!  But the strangest shot in the film is of André Dussollier creepily thrusting his head into the shadows of Emmanuelle Devos’ car window, and then reaching across her body to unbuckle her before planting a deep kiss on her mouth.  They also both seem drunk.  Weird, wild stuff.
In Inglourious Basterds: Brad Pitt’s caricatured performance standing alone in the world without an equivalent, a bizarre, mostly funny idea crowbarred into a lonely, empty film.  His random idiosyncrasy places him outside the film, and turns him into an even lonelier figure.
In Nymph:  Many filmmakers shoot driving scenes outside the car, with little attention paid to the reflection of the landscape against the glass of the windows.  Some give this its due (last I can recall is Chabrol’s Flower of Evil), and some, like Ratanaruang in this film, really run with the idea and turn the collage of images—inside and out, human and landscape—into something special
In White Ribbon:  Haneke’s decision to shoot a film that takes place in 1914 in digital, which will go hand-in-hand in the future with Michael Mann’s decision to shot his 1930s film, Public Enemies, also on this plastic, artificial format.  I’m still pondering what it means to restage history digitally, but my instinct tells me the results are intuitively uncanny.
I have the same feelings about dancing in film, especially when it’s not a picture exclusively about the trials and tribulations of becoming a dancer….hence, my excitement about teenage angst dancing in Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank. One of my favs: the white trash groupie dancing to Roy Orbisons’ “In Dreams” on top of a car while Kyle MacLachlan is being beaten to a pulp. And I second your observation about shooting historical period dramas in HD, I find it both uncanny and incredible, making us re-evaluate how we’ve have easily taken for granted the medium and it’s projected content, everything is quite arbitrary since film grain doesn’t necessarily have any inherent index to the “time” within the film. It’s about our relationship to conventions and how alternative conventions are created in their midst. Hooray for Mann and Haneke.
Whatever happened to the review you guys ran for Inglorious Basterds? It was up for a while and then it was gone.
YES!! What IS it about dancing in general that entrances spectators? It IS like watching drunkards & cafe-goers; the audience isn’t sure where they’ll move next. Daniel Kasman, that observation blew my mind! 8D also, Haneke’s always pretty counter-intuitive, but in that i can totally understand how “instinct tells me the results are intuitively uncanny.” Very well put. I can imagine it now.
Haneke’s film is actually shot on film (Kodak), but in Cannes it was projected digitally. The fact that on the Films du Losange website it also says HD is adding to the confusion, but a gentleman from Kodak was kind enough to clear things up.
Thanks for the clarification Audiris, I was having a devil of a time figuring out if it was film or digital…

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