Monitoring @thedailyMUBI, I find it fascinating to see which news items, long reads or quick diversions become, for lack of a handier word, "hits," spreading via retweets like wildfire through the Twitterverse. The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw scored one yesterday with his list of Palme d'Or winners over the past decade, to which he adds "the name of the film that I think should have won" and his "'Palme of Palme' award: the best Palme d'Or winner in the new century." To anyone with an eye on Un Certain Regard: you'll want to check this list as a guide to Bradshaw's tastes — he's a member of the jury, presided over by Emir Kusturica.
Also in the Guardian: "At last year's Cannes film festival, there was an outcry," writes Charlotte Higgins: "there was not a single woman in competition for the Palme d'Or. British director Alicia Duffy screened her debut feature in the Directors' Fortnight strand, and British directors Sophie Fiennes and Lucy Walker both took documentaries, but the main competition was an all-male affair: Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and 17 others. This year — perhaps by chance, perhaps as a corrective measure taken by the selectors — there are four female filmmakers in contention: Lynne Ramsay, the British director of We Need to Talk About Kevin; Australian Julia Leigh; France's Maïwenn Le Besco; and Japan's Naomi Kawase. This is still only four out of 20 directors — depressingly, the largest number of women ever to have competed for the Palme in a single year since the festival began in 1946." She talks with Ramsay, Fiennes, Penny Woolcock, a few other directors and Rachel Millward, director of Birds Eye View, "a British film festival that celebrates filmmaking by women."
The Guardian, by the way, has just switched on its Cannes 2011 live blog. I wonder if this is a first — a 12-day live blog?
At Ioncinema, Yama Rahimi reads the list of filmmakers in all the sections at Cannes and counts 22 women; also, "A Brief History of the Palme d'Or." Placing odds on this year's Palme d'Or: Neil Young, of course, but also Little White Lies and, for the Telegraph, Oliver Parker.
"Cannes likes to consider itself a shrine to 'the seventh art' at its loftiest — and it is. But it's also a magnificent ship of fools (a luxury super-yacht, in fact), rich in bare-faced PR flummery, shameful artistic gaffes, and fits of pique thrown by brattish geniuses (real or would-be)." Jonathan Romney looks back at "some of the marvels and follies I remember from my 18 years' service." Also in the Independent, Adam Welch on Cannes as an annual fashion show. Also looking back: The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy, who's been attending since 1970.
In his preview for MSN Movies, James Rocchi talks with critics and festival programmers about what makes Cannes Cannes. "Industry insiders say film business could be brisk," reports Anthony Kaufman in the Wall Street Journal. Indeed, as Anne Thompson reports, Harvey Weinstein is already itching to spend, with hours to go before the Opening Ceremony.
Listening (8'41"). The Film Society of Lincoln Center's Eugene Hernandez talks with colleagues Richard Peña and Scott Foundas about the "Single Most Important Film Event in the World."
Updates: More in the same vein from Vanity Fair.
And the Guardian posts a gallery of shots from the first day of the festival.
A Festival report on a conference with Bernardo Bertolucci: "A few hours away from receiving his lifetime achievement Palme d'honneur, the Italian director of The Conformist (1970) and Novecento (1976) meets the press to look back on his career, with a few humorous touches thrown in."
And: "Robert De Niro and his jury answer questions from journalists at this afternoon's Feature Film Jury Press Conference." This one's got audio.
"Newly formed distribution house Open Road Films has landed its first feature," reports Anne Thompson: "Killer Elite, directed by Gary McKendry and starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro."
Red Granite Pictures has picked up rights to Jordan Belfort's memoir The Wolf of Wall Street, reports Deadline's Mike Fleming. Leonardo DiCaprio "has long wanted to play Belfort, with directors Martin Scorsese and Ridley Scott among those who's sparked to directing the film. There were reports recently that Scorsese might resurface, but no director is set yet and there isn't a start date."