Cannes Diary 2007 | 5.22.07

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Outside on the Croisette right now is the gala premiere of Death Proof. They were blaring “Little Green Bag” a minute ago. I’m sure “Misirlou” will be played in short order.

deathproof

 

May 22, 2007
10:30 p.m.
 

Man, I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to make it here to the press room today. There’s usually a day or two during Cannes and Sundance when I don’t get to write the online festival diary, because I see too many movies or something. Today I only scheduled four (I’ve seen as many as seven in a day, and it usually takes at least six to keep me from writing this), but all four were comparatively long, and two of the four started substantially past their scheduled start time. I made it into the press room briefly once earlier, but didn’t have much time and wound up with one of the computers with a French keyboard. Now it’s 10:30 p.m. and I’m here, and I think they close this room up at 11. We’ll have to wait and see.

After leaving the press room yesterday I went down and saw Ploy in the Director’s Fortnight. It’s the new film from Pen-ek Ratanaruang, one of the predominant members of New Thai Cinema (he’s most famous for making Last Life in the Universe a few years ago, but has also found success with Monrak Transistor, 6ixtynin9, and Invisible Waves). Ploy concerns a married couple who are constantly arguing, and when the husband meets a 19-year-old girl and brings her back to the couple’s hotel room (while the wife is there—she needs a place to stay while waiting for her mom, who is supposed to pick her up in a few hours). The film looks great (I didn’t catch who the cinematographer was, but I know it wasn’t Chris Doyle, who shot Pen-ek’s last two films), and there are some really nice moments (there was one lovely scene of dialogue between Ploy (that’s the name of the young girl), and the husband regarding why the husband and the wife fight so much. Still, despite how often it is good, it is bad just as often, playing the stupid “it was all a dream” game a couple of times, and taking some pretty nonsensical plot turns.

Outside on the Croisette right now is the gala premiere of Death Proof. They were blaring “Little Green Bag” a minute ago. I’m sure “Misirlou” will be played in short order.

After Ploy let out I went to Salle Bunuel for the first time this year to see the press screening of the new Abelgogo Ferarra movie, Go Go Tales. I didn’t necessarily want to see another Abel Ferarra movie (or another Asia Argento movie, who has a role in Go Go, after having seen her in Boarding Gate, which has so far been the worst movie of the festival), but I did anyway. It sucked, as I expected. It stars Willem Dafoe as a strip club entrepreneur who has an addiction to the Lotto. The highlight of the film is when Asia French kisses a dog. Seriously. You shouldn’t be surprised that this sucked.

Go Go Tales was supposed to get out at 7:06 p.m., which would have left me enough time to see if I could get into the 7:15 Death Proof at Debussy, but instead it let out at 7:15 (I guess the listed running time was a little off), so I got to Debussy just in time to see that it was full. I did get into the 10:00 p.m. screening at Bazin, though. The film isn’t 45 minutes longer than the Grindhouse cut, as I originally thought based on the film’s reported running time in its Cannes cut; it is more like 30 minutes longer, tops, and most of that comes from two scenes that aren’t in the Grindhouse version—one in which the second group of girls go shopping for fashion magazines, and also the much-missed lapdance given by Vanessa Ferlito to Kurt Russell (you might remember it as the “missing reel”). The magazine scene is thoroughly inconsequential, as it sounds, and the lap dance scene is likely to leave the people who were disappointed by its absence disappointed again, as it is still pretty brief and choppy and ends abruptly. By and large, the new cut of the film plays the same as the old cut—the new footage doesn’t add to or subtract from what was already there. The film isn’t quite as fun the second time around, what with the element of surprise gone, but still, it’s a good time.

The employees of the press room are saying that it is going to close in ten minutes. I guess I’ll wrap this up for now, and try to make it in tomorrow to get caught up on the films that I saw today (Julian Schnabel’s The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly, Carlos Reygadas’ Silent Light, Harmony Korine’s Mister Lonely, and Bela Tarr’s The Man From London). Hopefully tomorrow’s schedule will go a little smoother, and allow for more time for me to write this.│Pete Timmermann

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