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    Cannes 2015: “La Loi du Marché” – the most stringently cinéma-vérité film competing for the Palme d’Or

    The second of no less than five French competition entries, La Loi du Marché is so far the most stringently cinéma-vérité film competing for the Palme d’Or. It is a fine piece of social drama in the French tradition of cinéma engagé (socially conscious cinema) with prominent touches of Dogme 95-style naturalism. I had seen and loved two of Stéphane Brizé’s previous works, Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé (Not Here to Be Loved, 2005) and Mademoiselle Chambon (2009) but never realised they were directed by the author of La Loi du Marché so I went in slightly irritated with the French press already lionising director Brizé’s favourite lead Vincent Lindon’s performance as “on track for the best actor prize” as I already had my firm favourite in the shape of larger-than-life Géza Röhrig (and it’s still the case because despite Lindon’s exquisitely calibrated, textbook-worthy, perfect but not innovative incarnation, the spell of the sweat and madness of Röhrig’s performance still holds.) More

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    Cannes 2015: ‘Mia Madre (My Mother)’ – When cinema is your day job

    I went into the Mia Madre screening hoping for a witty, ironic, sensitive and emotionally substantial piece of cinema and came out thinking the Cannes selection does not pretend to be a meritocracy. Nanni Moretti is one of the big Cannes brand names, a few lucky ‘subscribers’ quasi certain of a slot in the festival, the mediocrity of some of their fare notwithstanding. More

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    Cannes 2015: “The Lobster”: comedy of the absurd, short on laughs

    The much anticipated fourth film in competition, Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster follows in the footsteps of Garrone’s Tale of Tales and Sorrentino’s Youth – Southern European auteurs of noteworthy beginnings migrating to English-language international co-productions and big-name casts. So far the ‘show-me-the-money’ transplant, (Lanthimos stated during the press conference that while funding was easier to assemble internationally, he moved to the UK because he wanted to work in English anyway), has yielded mixed results: it seems that once the big money and names are there, the genuine irreverence and wildness we first loved gives way to forced weirdness overkill and uninspired attempts at outdoing oneself (while probably being intimately aware that casting a pretty Hollywood-approved lead because the budget is there does not guarantee great art). Though to be fair, by day four at Cannes 2015, it seems quite a few films get made because, well, someone secured a budget to make a film (Iceland entry to Un Certain Regard Rams about sheep and grass and sheep and snow, I am thinking of you)… More

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