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Cannes 2010. Stragglers Roundup

David Hudson

Cannes 2010

There are more reviews and interviews still to come, but the coverage-of-the-coverage phase wraps up right here with a last round on films that screened at this year's Cannes Film Festival but didn't quite drum up enough reviews to warrant full-blown entries. Updates to previous entries on individual films will carry on being updated, of course, along with the index, currently gathering wrap-ups and commentary.

"There's plenty to like about Blue Valentine, a dissolving-marriage drama starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams," writes Matt Noller at the House Next Door, "but nearly everything that's good in the film is counterbalanced by its flaws — the obvious, cheap, precious aspects that position it, mostly for the worst, as a prototypical Sundance movie." Which, of course, it is, having premiered in Park City before its Un Certain Regard screening. Guy Lodge at In Contention found it "impressive" and was not alone: "Fully grown men were sheepishly wiping away tears at the press screening." Four stars from the Telegraph's Sukhdev Sandhu; at Little White Lies, Matt Bochenski warns that it's a "savage anti-rom-com. You'd be advised to give it a miss if you've just gone through a break-up." Middle-range grades at Letras de Cine. Page at Cannes.

On the film from which that still up there is taken: "A tearjerking tale of triumph over adversity, Udaan is corny, conventional but also filled with the potential to become an unsophisticated crowd-pleaser," writes Allan Hunter for Screen. "The story of a young man locked in conflict with his stern disciplinarian father is unlikely to secure widespread critical support but it does milk the situation for all its worth." Mira Advani Honeycutt met with director Vikramaditya Motwane for the Hollywood Reporter. More from Roger Ebert. Low grades, with one exception, at Letras de Cine. Page at Cannes.


David Verbeek's R U There "is most obviously a culture-shocked contemplation of identity, relationships, antiquity and modernity," blogs Matt Bochenski for Little White Lies. "It's about the opportunities and dangers poised by a newly flowering digital landscape to explore and redefine ourselves as we wish to be. But these points are never made with great passion or commitment." It's "a gentle and narratively paper-thin two-hander," agrees Jonathan Romney in Screen. More from Wesley Morris (Boston Globe), Bénédicte Prot (Cineuropa) and Natasha Senjanovic (Hollywood Reporter). Grades range from 2 to 7 at Letras de Cine. Cannes.



"During Julie Bertuccelli's The Tree, closing this year's Cannes Film Festival out of competition," begins James Rocchi for IFC.com, "I started mentally tracing back the chain of decisions that landed the film on-screen before me — in no small part because that process was far more engaging and diverting than anything playing out on-screen in Bertuccelli's maudlin, mawkish pagan-pastoral grief-and-growth melodrama." The film "offers audiences a mix of syrupy sentiment and high-fiber sensitivity, squandering Charlotte Gainsbourg's rough, ragged and real charisma on a familiar plot line dragged down by even more familiar soft-soap cliches and entirely predictable plot turns."


More from Ray Bennett (Hollywood Reporter), Dan Fainaru (Screen), Aaron Hillis (Moving Pictures), Kevin Jagernauth (Playlist) and Fabien Lemercier (Cineuropa). Joan Dupont talks with Bertuccelli for the New York Times. Page at Cannes. Audio from the press conference.



Ray Bennett in the Hollywood Reporter on 5 x Favela: Now by Ourselves: "Five short films set in the hillside slums of Rio de Janeiro and directed by young filmmakers who live there make up a film that renews faith in the kind of moviemaking that lives and breathes, and reflects the human spirit in all its colors." Page at Cannes.


"Nostalgia for the Light continues [Patricio] Guzmán's long effort to chronicle Chile after the coup d'etat that killed Salvador Allende in 1973," blogs Thom Powers. "The filmmaker's work began with the epic The Battle of Chile that belongs in the documentary canon and continued through films such as Obstinate Memory and Salvador Allende." Here, "Guzmán finds a novel approach by training his eye on Chile's Atacama desert where astronomers come to 'touch the stars' thanks to unique conditions that make it an ideal place for a telescope.... Outside the observatories in the desert, a different search for the past is conducted as a group of older women who dig for bodies of 'the disappeared' from Pinochet's regime. Guzmán skillfully weaves these two threads together, particularly in a wordless scene near the end that welled up my jaded eyes." More from Deborah Young in the Hollywood Reporter. Quite decent grades at Letras de Cine. Page at Cannes. More.

Diego Luna's Abel premiered at Sundance, but Rachel Abramowitz spoke with the actor-turned-director for the Los Angeles Times when the film screened in Cannes.



Lily Sometimes, "Fabienne Berthaud's second feature, adapted by the director (with Pascal Arnold) from her eponymous novel, tells the story of city-dwelling lawyer and big sister Clara (a very fresh performance by Diane Kruger, who also starred in Berthaud's debut film, Frankie), who has to look after her whimsical country-dwelling little sister Lily (played by a Ludivine Sagnier who has rarely shown her maturity as an actress with such vitality) after the sudden death of their mother." Bénédicte Prot at Cineuropa: "Full of splendid settings and costumes, Lily Sometimes is a feast which... has that perfect look everyone dreamed of at the time of hippie communes. Perhaps they had the right idea after all." Winner of the Art Cinema Award. Page at Quinzaine.

"Hastily labelled 'the next Lars von Trier' after the Golden Camera and the Prix Regards Jeune for best first feature went to his Reconstruction at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, Danish filmmaker Christoffer Boe decidedly underwhelmed critics and audiences with his next efforts Allegro and Offscreen, compared to the little gem he made 7 years ago." Camillo de Marco for Cineuropa: "Perhaps this explains why the lead character of Everything Will Be Fine, selected for the Directors' Fortnight..., is rather ironically a director and screenwriter obsessed with his own oeuvre and unable to finish his script for a war film. The 36-year-old Boe relishes probing an individual's mental processes and exploring the inner workings of the human soul; and his new film, starting with the title itself, seems to play on Boe's status as a promising young talent who has yet to prove his maturity as a filmmaker to the world." For Natasha Senjanovic, writing in the Hollywood Reporter, the "stylish film looks great, only once the dots are connected we are left with little more than a well-crafted, well-acted melodrama." Quinzaine.


"Emo/Goth culture and its attendant melancholia come to French art cinema in Young Girls in Black, Jean-Paul Civeyrac's languorous but distinctive study of teenage ennui," writes Jonathan Romney in Screen. "Civeyrac – whose films include Through the Forest and All These Fine Promises - has a cult following among the aesthete hardcore of French cinephiles, but is yet to make a splash internationally. Young Girls certainly won't break him big-time, but it could give his reputation a discreet nudge." In Cineuropa, Bénédicte Prot sees the characters "mourning their lost faith in life in a world full of unemployment, exploitation and loneliness; they're mourning themselves, for they are haunted by the idea of death as an answer to the fact they no longer 'want anything.'" More from Natasha Senjanovic in the Hollywood Reporter. Grades range from 5 to 7 at Letras de Cine. Quinzaine.


Jorge Michel Grau's We Are What We Are is a "soberly told story of a family of hapless cannibals," notes Deborah Young in the Hollywood Reporter. "Toying with gruesome violence and sexual taboos, the film is an interesting fusion of horror and psychodrama, buoyed by a striking teen cast filled with brooding hunger." At Twitch, Todd Brown confirms that it remains his favorite film of the year so far. Grades are all over the place at Letras de Cine. Quinzaine.

"At 78 minutes, [Alistair Banks Griffin's] Two Gates of Sleep may be the longest film at this festival," writes Duane Byrge in the Hollywood Reporter. "With literary pinions — Heart of Darkness, As I Lay Dying — it's a metaphysical trek through swampy Mississippi that is, nevertheless, a filmic wash-out." More from David Gritten (Telegraph) and Eric Kohn (indieWIRE), who writes: "Jody Lee Lipes's cinematography captures the landscape of the distended journey with an advanced color palette that turns nature into as much of a character as the people seen wandering through it. But where Malick's movies merge lush imagery with equally profound storylines, Sleep only has the former in check." Quinzaine.

"The debut film of 28-year-old director Philip Koch, Picco relies heavily on the conventions of the prison movie genre," writes Peter Brunette in the Hollywood Reporter. "The principal initial difference is that this jail is a kind of 'youth prison' for teenage boys, rather than the penitentiary for hardened criminals that usually serves as the location of most examples of the genre. The other difference, which is major, and majorly off-putting, is that the level of violence depicted in this film is so intense that it makes a Michael Haneke movie like Funny Games look like a benign little fairy tale." More from Bénédicte Prot at Cineuropa. Quinzaine.

Natasha Senjanovic in the Hollywood Reporter: "The Light Thief by Aktan Arym Kubat is a bumpy mix of poetry, naivete and documentary (for what it shows us of the little-known Kyrgyzstan and its customs) that works thanks to the director-actor's profound humanity, which permeates throughout — even when the story falls into one of many narrative holes, or subplots and images recur or disappear without explanation." Quinzaine.

"A repressed young woman enforces discipline in a rigid upper-crust school in Buenos Aires, at the same time Argentines are taking to the street to bring down the military dictatorship." Deborah Young in the Hollywood Reporter: "Set in 1982 around the time of the Falklands war, The Invisible Eye directed by Diego Lerman (Suddenly, Meanwhile) re-creates the foreboding, oppressive atmosphere of the historical moment without going very deeply into its causes or effects." At Cineuropa, Vitor Pinto finds it "quite accomplished." Decent grades at Letras de Cine. Quinzaine.


"First-time director Katell Quillévéré's beguiling Love Like Poison is the best film I have seen showing in the Directors' Fortnight," wrote the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw a few days into the festival. "It is sexually frank, yet has a wonderful innocence and charm. Clara Augarde is Anna, a pious 14-year-old preparing for her confirmation, and plagued with uncertainties after falling in love; she develops the rather 19th-century habit of fainting in public. What a treat this is: why wasn't it screened in the main competition?" More from Fabien Lemercier (Cineuropa) and Jonathan Romney (Screen). Mid-range grades at Letras de Cine. Quinzaine.


Año Bisiesto from Quinzaine / Directors' Fortnight on Vimeo.

"A fearless and haunting performance from relative newcomer Mónica Del Carmen distinguishes Leap Year, the portrait of 29 days in the dispiriting existence of a young Mexican woman who seems to have little control over her life, yet perversely — emphasis on perverse — calls all the shots." Lisa Nesselson for Screen: "Set entirely in the small apartment of freelance journalist Laura Lopez, this first film by writer-director Michael Rowe, an Australian playwright, poet and screenwriter who lives and works in Mexico, will be off-putting to some but makes the most of its basic ingredients in searing increments." Winner of the Camera d'Or. Mid-range grades at Letras de Cine. Quinzaine.

"A rarity in the context of the insistently explicit Israeli cinema, Avishai Sivan's secretive debut feature, bordering on the experimental, is the kind of film usually restricted to selective art houses at best," writes Dan Fainaru for Screen. "With its fixed, immobile camera set-ups, frozen facial expressions, anonymous performers, minimalist dialogue and grim demeanor, this is a coming-of-age tale in the Orthodox community, couched in a thick layer of guilt and refusing to deliver any particulars on its characters beyond the bare necessities of a sketchy plot." For Peter Brunette, writing in the Hollywood Reporter, Le Vagabond (The Wanderer) is "an excruciating exercise in boredom." Quinzaine.

"Gust Van den Berghe's beautifully shot black-and-white re-imaging of the story of the baby Jesus and the three wise men — itself based on Felix Timmermans's work — is an engaging oddity," writes Mark Adams, reviewing Little Baby Jesus of Flandr for Screen. Natasha Senjanovic for the Hollywood Reporter: "A cast made up almost entirely of actors with Down Syndrome, a Latina devil, a singing transvestite and a black midget musician are just some of the elements critics and cineastes can lap up in the film." More from Vitor Pinto in Cineuropa. Just a few low, low grades at Letras de Cine. Quinzaine.

Cannes 2010: Coverage of the coverage index.


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