Cannes Diary 2007 | 5.18.07

cannes2007wide

This is the sort of movie that hardcore, longtime Joy Division fans will probably both love and hate—it’s a great tribute to a great band (and a great film in and of itself), but it’s actually so good that it will likely bring a lot of wienerish masses into getting into Joy Division and acting like they have been all along. Get ready for them to become popular again.

May 18, 2007
5:30 p.m. 

The whole Wong Kar-wai interview thing happened so quickly, unexpectedly, and clandestinely yesterday that I pretty much expected to show up at the meeting place at the designated time only to find out I wasn’t on the list or something. As it turns out, I was on the list, and not only did I get to participate in a roundtable with wkw, but also Norah Jones, as well (which I hadn’t even known was going to happen until about five minutes before it happened—what a weird (and nice) surprise… ). The interview took place at a swanky and exclusive restaurant/bar thing that is literally on the beach—the noise of the waves in the background makes it hard to here what Norah and Wong are saying on my audio recording half the time. Anyway, I don’t mean to spoil the interviews here; when I’m back at home and not faced with a constant stream of stimulation, I’ll sort out the interviews and get a profile up in time for My Blueberry Nights’ U.S. release. One thing I’ll let leak out early, though, because I thought it was great: Wong Kar-wai says that Cat Power’s album The Greatest was the best CD released last year (and, according to Norah, she was the one that turned him onto it).

I got out of the roundtable at 6:40 p.m., and since I was right across the Croisette from the Noga Hilton, I got in the stupidly long line to see Anton Corbijn’s Joy Division movie, Control, assuming that I wouldn’t get in. I didn’t. Too bad, too, because if I had, I could have gotten out in time to see the 10 pm. screening of the in competition Russian film The Banishment, which was directed by the guy who made The Return a few years ago. Since I didn’t, I had to choose between Control and The Banishment, knowing that I likely wouldn’t get another opportunity to catch up with the one that I skipped later on. I picked Control.

I’m not the Joy Division aficionado that I’m sure is out there and ready to correct me, but Contact was really, really good, and the unknown lead, Sam Riley (as Ian Curtis), was incredible. Oddly enough, the film’s only real weak link is the always-great Samantha Morton as Ian’s wife Debbie, and she only didn’t really work because she looks too old for the part. Of course the music plays a large part in the film, and the kids that Corbijn cast as the band actually did the JD covers that are used in the film, and they are spot-on. This is the sort of movie that hardcore, longtime Joy Division fans will probably both love and hate—it’s a great tribute to a great band (and a great film in and of itself), but it’s actually so good that it will likely bring a lot of wienerish masses into getting into Joy Division and acting like they have been all along. Get ready for them to become popular again.

This morning at 8:30 a.m. at Salle Lumiere (the 3000-seat main auditorium here) I saw the French film Love Songs, which is a low-key musical (meaning that it is a musical but the musical numbers aren’t big, gaudy, awfulinsidelove productions like in Moulin Rouge! or Chicago) that stars Louis Garrel and Ludivine Sagnier. I didn’t really expect to like it, and it isn’t entirely great, but it is much better than I expected it to be. The music isn’t awful, the leads are likeable, and, as I said before, it avoids the trappings that make me dislike most Hollywood musicals.

After Love Songs let out I went over the Salle Bazin to see the new Olivier Assayas film (he’s the guy who made demonlover, Irma Vep, Clean, and some others—I have never liked him), Boarding Gate, with Asia Argento (who has still never really done anything good, but who I maintain is interesting somehow anyway) and Michael Madsen. It sucks.

Asia’s a mainstay here in Cannes, for whatever reason. My first time here in 2004 I attended the world premiere of The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, which she directed and starred in. In 2005 she was in Last Days, and last year she was in both Marie Antoinette and Transylvania. This year she’s in both Boarding Gate and Abel Ferrara’s Go Go Tales out of competition, as well as the new Catherine Breillat film (whose name presently escapes me), which is in competition. Asia wins now that Zhang Ziyi is out of the running; I saw her here in 2004 with 2046, in 2005 with Princess Raccoon and House of Flying Daggers, and last year on the jury. As far as I know she’s not in anything here this year, although I did hear that she is in town, so maybe I’ll run into her anyway.

After Boarding Gate I had 40 minutes until the scheduled start time of Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, the new Lloyd Kaufman-directed Troma film which is showing in the market here, so I ran and got a sandwich (they put hardboiled eggs on them here, which is surprisingly good). I got back just in time to grab the second-to-last seat at Poultrygeist. The film, while watchable and often very funny, was really a pretty substantial disappointment. I’m a longtime Troma fan (especially when Uncle Lloyd’s directing), and Poultrygeist just feels a little too lazy and recycled and uninspired. I miss the Tromeo & Juliet and Terror Firmer days. Still, the two leads (whose names are not in front of me) are sweet and cute in the appropriate 80s teen comedy way, and there are enough poop scenes and gruesome murders to have kept me at least pretty entertained. Maybe eating that sandwich immediately before (and quickly, at that) was a bad idea.

One of the six other people on the wkw/Norah Jones roundtable with me was a guy I know from Rotten Tomatoes, and he offered afterwards that the goal at those things is to not come off as the biggest jackass of the group. Luckily, I didn’t—that award went to the lady sitting to my right, who kept hitting “play” instead of “record” on her recorder so it would play loudly and for kind of a long time during the interview. Also, her cell phone rang something like five times (loudly) during the 40 minutes that we spent with Norah and Wong. Where do these people come from?

Up next is the press screening of the Coen brothers’ adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel No Country for Old Men; I don’t know if I should even attempt to get into the 7:15 screening at Salle Debussy, and I’d be willing to bet I wouldn’t get in. It screens again for the press at 10:00 p.m. at Salle Bazin, and I can safely assume that I would get into that one, but that means I’d get a few hours less sleep tonight. Should I cut my losses and go back to my room and take a nap now? I have a lot of caffeine in me, so I’m not sure that that will work. I can see kind of a lot of people lined up outside from NCFOM already, and it is currently 70 minutes before it is set to start. Hmm…│Pete Timmermann

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply