It's Not A Great Sign When...: ...you announce your revered film festival's lineup and pretty much the first thing everybody on the receiving end says is, "Yeah, but what about this one?..." And this goes across the spectrum of cinephilia. On the one hand, I've heard from friends and Some Came Running commenters who are disappointed that the current Cannes lineup as announced is bereft of new and much-anticipated work from Hou Hsiao-Hsien (The Assassin), Jia Zhangke (Moving the Arts and/or The Age of Tattoo) and—not that the list stops here!—Terrence Malick (Tree of Life). And, on the other hand, you have Jeffrey Wells, who apparently has mistaken Cannes for an offshoot of Spike TV or Starz or something, "requesting" "some kind of...market screening" of...wait for it...Sylvester Stallone's upcoming monkey-gland injection The Expendables. "We're speaking of the ultimate rube social event as well as a possible cinematic revelation. In a highly boisterous, rock-n-roll, animal-house, cheap-whore, anyone-who's-anyone-has-to-be-there sense, The Expendables must be screened on the Cote d'Azur between 5.12 and 5.20." Rube social event, sure thing. In fairness to Wells, he also groused about the Tree of Life omission.
One doesn't know what to say except maybe "it ain't over 'til it's over," because, after all, The Directors' Fortnight has yet to be announced. There's a nifty little feature over at ioncinema speculating on which films could be last-minute additions, and it mentions a few that even some of hardcore film lovers might not have thought of. I myself of course was thinking of the new Bela Tarr, The Turin Horse, whose theme seems beyond perfect for Tarr. I had to laugh at how the ioncinema piece put it: "the the film is freely inspired by an episode that marked the end of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s career." I dunno, I never quite thought of Nietzsche as having a "career." That struck me as funny.
But all right. My questions here are, are the howls of complaint coming up this year louder than they have been in previous years? Are they drowning out the anticipatory enthusiasm the cinephile crowd might have for other films, in or out of the competition? Are there potential attendees out there who are as full of Kiarostami as I am of Iñárritu and Mikhalkov? (I doubt it, and if they are they're silly, but it's a question worth asking, if only to maybe lure silly people out of the woodwork.)
Weirder Things Have Happened. Haven't They?: Yes, it is kind of peculiar that Neil LaBute directed the Chris Rock/Martin Lawrence-starring remake of the 2007 British farce Death At A Funeral. But as I point out in my review of that film for MSN Movies, weirder things have happened. Such as Molly Ringwald showing up in a Godard film. I thought it might be a diverting parlor game, as it were, to open comments up to citations of weirder-still cast/director, writer/director, what have you, matchups, and observations on the quality of the results. For the record, I think one of the most striking things about Ringwald in Godard's King Lear is how he shoots her in just about the way he shot every woman he worked with in that period, and hence, she ends up coming off like a more or less typical Godard lead actress. And hey, how about some love for the fact that a Godard work will be at Cannes...