2006 Cannes Film Festival | Day 9

Pete Timmermann gives you a daily blow-by-blow description of the events at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.


25 May 2006, 2:00 PM

I felt borderline sick during Sway, the Japanese courtroom drama I saw and wrote about yesterday, and also when I was writing my journal entry, but almost as soon as I got up from the computer I felt fine and continued to feel fine for the remainder of the night. Odd, as I didn’t take a nap, and didn’t have anything resembling food at all between the hours of 7 AM and 1 AM.

Anyway, since I felt better, I went ahead and saw Suburban Mayhem, which is a fictional Australian film about a young girl who instigates the murder of her father, among other things. Suburban Mayhem is by no stretch a good movie, but it was thoroughly watchable, and entertaining in a popcorny kind of way, despite its badness. Plus, the girl who played the lead character looks and acts like a young Asia Argento, whom I’ve never really liked, but have to admit is a great screen presence.

Next up was Paolo Sorrentino’s A Friend of the Family. Of all of the competition screenings I’ve seen so far, A Friend in the Family’s response from the audience was probably second only to Volver; it was clapped for for a very long time, and there were lots of bravos and whatnot. This is sort of odd; A Friend of the Family is a very solid movie—it’s well made, written, and acted, is entertaining, and has no easily noticeable flaws—but it is also very slight; it’s a pseudo-thriller that adds nothing new to the genre at all, and it is made in a very generic, Hollywood-by-way-of-Italy way. It’s a good movie, and I think Sorrentino has a long, great career ahead of him (and this coming from me, someone who almost never likes Italian films), but if A Friend of the Family wins much in the way of awards on Sunday night, I’ll be very disappointed.

I had been worrying for days about how I would pull off seeing the totally unmissable screening of The Holy Mountain on the beach—it’s a long story that I won’t get into, but it was playing at a time that made it almost impossible to see the Sorrentino (which I wouldn’t have gotten another chance to see with English subtitles if I missed it last night), and I was generally confused about how the films on the beach worked. Anyway, it worked out fine, so all of my worrying was for nothing. As opposed to El Topo the night before, they actually had a film print of The Holy Mountain, which made the whole experience all the cooler (and Jodorowsky was there, as I assumed). It was actually kind of cold last night, and there were a ton of people talking and just regular street noise and people walking around in front of the screen and stuff, but still, it was absolutely incredible. Also, it was nice to see it with an audience for once (and one that didn’t seem to have seen it before), who reacted as I wanted them to with regards to the scads of penises on display and boiling poop and cows having sex and frogs dressed as conquistadors and everything.

This morning’s competition film was Indigenes, a French/Belgian war drama that stars the mentally handicapped guy from Amelie.  It wasn’t bad, but it is fairly slow paced for a war movie, and being 8:30 in the morning, I had to fight to stay awake the whole time.

You know, last year I was disappointed that the crop of competition films wasn’t as solid as the year before’s (2004 had 2046, Nobody Knows, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Tropical Malady, among others), but now this year, which has ultimately been a better festival than last year’s, last year’s competition films are looking good by comparison. I have not yet seen the equal to Battle in Heaven, Broken Flowers, Cache, or A History of Violence, all of which were in last year’s competition. Oh well. I guess everything just gets worse all the time, right?

The last thing I saw before I came here to write this was an American film down in the Director’s Fortnight, Lying, which is from a first time director and stars Chloe Sevigny, Jena Malone, and Leelee Sobieski (the latter of which has put on some weight, by the way). The film is only 90 minutes long, but it felt absolutely interminable, because it started 25 minutes late, is very slow paced, I was sitting in the front row, and the guy sitting next to me had the most noxious breath I’ve ever smelled in my entire life. Needless to say, I didn’t like the film, but I realize that I didn’t see it under the best of circumstances. Still, it was pretty bad, and I don’t think anyone will much like it, bad breathed guys or not (it got the heartiest round of booing of any film I’ve seen so far this festival).

Lying was my 33rd film of the festival, and if everything goes as planned I’ll see three more films by the end of the night. I’ve got six on the slate tomorrow (two of those are expendable, though, so we’ll see if I actually see all six films). My record for most films seen in a single festival was 44 in the 11 days of Sundance 2005 (my Cannes record is 42 in 12 days in 2004), but I’m on course to break that. If I see everything I want to see and don’t get shut out of anything, I’ll see 46 films in 13 days this year (plus three press conferences; I have only ever been to a maximum of one per festival in the past). Hopefully I’ll be able to pull it off; that 46 number includes the two missable films tomorrow, so we’ll see.

Well, I have 70 minutes before I need to get in line for my next screening (the wait for a computer was mercifully short today), so I’m going to run home and eat something so I can make it through my last three movies without getting all dizzy.

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