No rest for the over-stimulated
Well, it’s only Saturday afternoon, but it’s been a pretty interesting weekend already, so there’s time for a quick post.
Call me lacking in spontaneity, but today began as the previous Cannes mornings, with a pre-7am wake-up, coffee and a pastry for breakfast, then a speedy march along the waterfront to La Croisette, to climb the red stairs you’ve heard so much about. Incidentally, needless to say I am in flat shoes all day, but I learned that only heels are allowed on the tapis rouge for the evening premieres. One chap (an executive producer of Almodovar’s film, no less) got turned away last year because his shoes weren’t shiny enough! And when they say black tie, they mean dickie bow, not Reservoir Dogs; apparently there is a little man selling them for €20 at the edge of the carpet, where pressure dictates you won’t argue about the rip-off. I am thinking of setting up a shoe-shine stall next to him.
Anyway, thanks to the blue pass I made it into a screening of John Hillcoat’s (The Proposition) latest from the pen of Nick Cave, Lawless. There is plenty that’s real nice about this Prohibition-era story of three outlaw brothers doin’ a lot of bootleggin’ and killin’. Tom Hardy and Shia Laboeuf play the faces we recognise, with Jessica Chastain (sheesh, isn’t that woman getting tired yet??) and Mia Wasikowska as the womenfolk. Throw in some Gary Oldman and a terrifically creepy Guy Pearce as baddies (like, actual baddies, not the good-baddies that the brothers are) and you got y’self quite a cast there. It is actually potentially one of the film’s downfalls, so distracted are we by the star-spotting and comparisons with roles they’ve done before. That said, all are excellent, and though the story is a fairly standard and unsurprising Western tale, and Cave’s script is full of obvious cues (“You better be back here by eleven.” “Have I ever let you down?”…) it is well-told and engaging. Incredibly violent and downright gruesome (think Ryan Gosling in a lift and show that sort of thing several times over). But I liked it, and despite its lack of innovation, I think non-Cannes audiences will, too.
All of the above turned up for the press conference immediately after, all long hair and beards (the men), but I didn’t catch any startling insights, except Nick Cave argued with a journalist about its not being a western. Hmm, clinically I rather think it is, Nick. Anyway, nice to see people make the effort to come promote their film at Cannes! Speaking of which: last night there was a screening of the newly restored Once Upon a Time in America and someone I spoke to was sitting along the row from Robert De Niro, Ennio Morricone and Wes Anderson! You don’t get that down at Sylvia Park.
After a spot of lunch with two friends of a UK-based friend, the blue pass really proved its worth as I was herded past a long expectant queue into Alexandre Desplat’s music lecture. As I previously mentioned, Desplat (pronounced Dez-plat, we were told) is all over the soundtracks in this Cannes line-up. Instead of discussing his own oeuvre, however, he humbly talked us through his favourite examples of film music, showing clips from Chinatown, La Peau Douce, Cape Fear, and even Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, among others. I didn’t realise it would be in French and didn’t grab any earphones for interpretation, but concentrated hard and got most (well, enough) of it. He then took questions in French and English, but my waving hand was overlooked by the mediator. Not to worry. Someone French had quite possibly already made my point for me, I couldn’t be sure.
After an early dinner I will try to see Thomas Vinterburg’s The Hunt, mainly for Mads Mikkelsen, and then that will do for Saturday night unless I want to stick around for Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral (gosh, doesn’t sound like he’s at all influenced by his father’s work, does it?). Otherwise, we will be doing it all again tomorrow, anyway.