Independent Cinema Office Blog

News and views on the world of independent film

Posts from May 2009

Cannes 2009 - Wednesday 20 May

Posted Wednesday 20 May 2009 by Tilly Walnes in Festival Reports

Tilly's blog

On my last morning in Cannes I stumble upon a treasure trove in the Palais serving a million different types of coffee, all free of charge. Why wasn't I informed earlier?! No wonder everyone else seems so bright eyed.

I go to see La Terre de la folie, the eccentric Luc Moullet's documentary examining the high incidence of psychotic behaviour in the Southern Alps. It's made in an entertainingly offbeat style, but I can't help feeling uneasy as the audience roars with laughter at accounts of mental illness, rape and murder.

I can't cope with anymore French comedies, so for my last film I opt for Eyes Wide Open, a drama about blossoming love and lust between two Orthodox Jewish men in a close-knit community in Jerusalem. I'm expecting a cliché-ridden melodrama but am pleasantly surprised by a bold, accomplished and genuinely affecting film, the movie that will probably stay with me the longest as I embark on my journey home.

Cannes 2009 - Tuesday 19 May

Posted Tuesday 19 May 2009 by Becky Clarke in Festival Reports

Becky's blog

It seems like a fairly leisurely morning, I don't have to be in a queue by 8am, so the 9am bus to the airport feels like a real treat. Although it's sad to leave the brilliant sunshine and the hundreds of films that will be screening over the next week.

Cannes 2009 - Tuesday 19 May

Posted Tuesday 19 May 2009 by Tilly Walnes in Festival Reports

Tilly's blog

Three hours later I'm off to watch La Pivellina (The Little One) on the recommendation of Frances from Soda Pictures. Filmed in naturalistic style, this is a warm, simple tale about a circus performer and her family who take in an abandoned two-year-old girl.

Next up is Looking for Eric, Ken Loach's Manchester-set fairytale about a postman trying to get his life into shape, with the help of his proverb-spouting imaginary friend, Eric Cantona. Despite a foot-stomping reception at its gala screening, I'm left under whelmed. There are a few nice scenes featuring the protagonist's postman pals, but overall it's an unimaginative effort and seems little more than an ego project for Cantona, who also produced.

I much prefer the next film, Pedro Almodóvar's noirish melodrama, Broken Embraces. Although a bit too long and structurally not as strong as Volver, nevertheless it's a luscious treat for anyone who likes their movies self-reflexive, with nods to Sirk, Hitchcock and others (even early Almodóvar himself) abounding.

I was particularly looking forward to L'Enfer d'Henri-Georges Clouzot, what looks like a stunning reconstruction of the (other) master of suspense's unfinished film, but I'm stuck at the end of the queue and don't manage to get in. That'll teach me to stop for lunch – what was I thinking?

I have more luck with Demain dès l'aube (Tomorrow at Dawn), another slow-burning tale of a pianist's revenge from the writer-director of The Page Turner. Its protagonist, facing an existential crisis, becomes involved in his brother's world of historical battle reenactments, and before long is caught up in a matter of honour. The odd laugh resulting from anachronisms provides welcome respite from a tense tale that leaves you agape.

On the way home I meet Sally from Chapter who excitedly informs me that I'm wearing the same dress as Charlotte Gainsbourg in Antichrist, the tough, grim and most talked about film screened that day, which explains the funny looks I've been getting. It's from H&M, by the way.

Cannes 2009 - Monday 18 May

Posted Monday 18 May 2009 by Becky Clarke in Festival Reports

Becky's blog

Bright and early I make it into the 8.30am screening of Adieu Gary (Farewell Gary). The film focuses on the father and son relationship between Francis and Samir. Samir has just been released from prison and is returning to his home town and his father's house to try and find work. Unfortunately the only factory in the town has closed and effectively destroyed the local economy. This is a nice film to start the day with, heart warming and mildly comedic, Jean-Pierre Bacri is endearing as Francis, although I doubt it will make it into the UK market.

Luckily the next film on my list to see is only one floor down so I manage to get into the screening fairly easily. It is a French film by Mia Hansen-Løve, Le Père De Mes Enfants (Father of My Children). Grégoire Canvel is an independent film producer, he has a beautiful family and spends his weekends at an idyllic farmhouse in the country. But Grégoire’s production company is in dire straits, it has run up huge debts and has failed to pay suppliers. Grégoire refuses to sell the company’s catalogue of films and tries to plough on with the productions regardless. Eventually he is overwhelmed by the problems and can no longer run from them. Although not an instantly eye-grabbing storyline, this film was so endearing, mainly down to the excellent performances by Louis-Do de Lencquesaing as the charismatic lead and the young actresses that play his daughters. A really touching family drama that moved most of the audience to tears.

Having only just worked out the reservation system for tickets I manage to get a ticket for a competition screening. The ticket is for Ken Loach's Looking for Eric, this feels a bit like a guilty pleasure as I know the film will be released soon in the UK, but I'm so thrilled to be able to get a ticket and not to have to queue that I can't resist. Eric is a postman whose reached middle age and despairs of his life. He lives with his two step sons who treat his home like a doss house and cannot bring himself to deal with the loss of his only true love, Lily, who he abandoned over 30 years ago. As Eric reaches the depths of despair and turns to cannabis for some sought after relief, a guardian angel appears to him in the form of Eric Cantona, who encourages Eric to deal with his past and to take control of his life. Although not as gritty and thought provoking as some of other Loach's films you can't help but enjoy it. Cantona is enigmatic as Eric's spiritual coach and there are some moments of superb comedy. The film got the most enthusiastic round of applause out of all the other screenings I had watched in the festival, so I sense it will be an audience pleaser.

I get out of the screening at 5pm so miss the 4.30pm round of screenings, so decide to grab some dinner and then go to a late night screening to get my fill of films before returning to the office the next day. I meet up with Emma Sullivan who has a short film in competition After Tomorrow and she manages to smuggle me into the filmmakers terrace for a quick glass of champagne. After a some dinner I head to the 10.30pm screening of Mal Dia Para Pescar (Bad Day To Go Fishing), with Anna and Tilly. Unfortunately I only make it past the short and the opening credits before my eyes start to get heavy and after 15mins of snoozing we decide to leave. Looking forward to getting into bed we get slightly waylaid by the Nordic Film Market party on the beach. After some enthusiastic dancing to KLF and some weary head bobbing to Guns n' Roses, I finally make it home to bed.


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