Cannes 2010: Part Three

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Today brought a spot of cold weather, something very rare during the festival, and it rained for a couple of hours. Luckily, there was a lot fun to be had indoors. Im Sang-soo remade the Korean classic Hanyo (The Housemaid), adding more plot twists to an already flamboyant, over-the-top story of a young woman who becomes the maid of a stupidly wealthy family and soon starts an affair with the man of the house. It is an expensive, glossy telenovela, but it has a certain transgressive spirit and it’s certainly a lot of fun to watch.

Veteran Mike Leigh, who won the top prize in 1996 with Secrets and Lies, gave Cannes its first great movie. Another Year is another portrait of contemporary London, shot after extensive rehearsals with the performers but without an actual screenplay, working from a basic story written by Leigh. Gerri and her husband Tom are a lovely couple of seniors, obviously in love and still enjoying each other’s company. Life is not so bright for those around them, especially for their friend Mary (a fantastic Lesley Manville), who needs to be the center of attention and is constantly looking for the right man. The film follows them over the course of four seasons; at times is exceptionally funny, others quietly devastating, overall a great film.

Since there was so much buzz about Rubber, the story of an killer tire directed by French DJ, artist and comic book author Quentin Dupieux (aka Mr. Oizo), it was impossible to get in. Here’s the preview.

Then the day took an unfortunate turn, with the latest offerings by Gregg Araki and Xavier Dolan, both films that feel like forgettable, overlong, misogynistic, exceptionally well-crafted student films, based on people that can only exist in the imagination of a very horny gay teenager (both films quote the Kinsey scale arguing that deep down everyone is a little bit gay). At least Araki had the advantage of not taking himself too seriously and seems to have had fun making Kaboom. It follows a confused film student, who is about to turn 19 and start having strange nightmares that might be more than bad dreams. The plot gets weirder and sillier by the minute, and it involves masked men, secret societies, incest, witchcraft and the end of the world. Araki’s fans will love it, everyone else should stay away.

I’m still trying to figure out why everyone went crazy last year over Xavier Dolan’s Jai tué ma mere (I Killed My Mother). A teenage boy who feels misunderstood by his mother? Really? This time around, Les Amours Imaginaires (or Heartbeats), Dolan plays a young man who is told by everyone that he’s very cute and very sensitive. He gets smitten by Nicolas, a new kid in town, much to the annoyance of his friend Marie, who also fancies the new guy. For some reason that’s never clear, Nicolas flirts with both… and that’s about it. All three characters are so annoying that it is really heard to relate to anyone of them (not that they would even exist in real life). Besides, the film is full of every art-house cliché in the book, slow-motion, staged tableau-like sex scenes and  docu-style interludes and a lot of shots stolen from In the Mood for Love. But then again, it might turn out to be a hit. You never know.

Eduardo Lucatero

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