This year at the Festival de Cannes I wanted to start a project that would appear concurrently with my daily reviewing, something with different content and texture. What I conceptualized was the "Notebook Cannes Notebook"—I would hand out single sheets of notepaper to friends and colleagues on the Croisette and ask them to use one side of it in any way they saw fit as an immediate response to a film. This would be in tune with the festival's proclivity to render all passing dialog a series of good/bad judgments and witty quips, yet at the same time require a transformation of this spur-of-the-moment responses into a physical object created through a considered action (writing, drawing) that might make one think a bit more just by doing it. Also, to create a concrete, material record of this kind of criticism, and then transpose it to a digital-virtual form.
Alas, this year while I handed out nearly a dozen sheets I only received two in response—a sign, perhaps, of the overall weakness of the festival this year but no doubt also due to the vagueness of the assignment, which I initially thought was the fun of the challenge (the freedom of the blank page, its single face the sole restriction). That being said, the two responses I got back made me very happy and I will try to continue this tradition at the next festival I'm attending.
Here is the page given to me by Alexander Horwath, Director of the Austrian Film Museum:
"Through the looking-glass with Holy Motors: a palpable sense of life and air an invention returning to the festival, filling the room, making everything light again. Stepping through a wall, pushing a curtain to the side, entering a cinema (from behind). Not knowing if you are in the presence of a great film - but, finally, being in the presence of something that dares speak the name of the game.