Cannes 2012 - Monday 21 May

Posted on May 21, 2012 by Becky Clarke

Categories: Festival Reports

I feel deeply guilty for complaining about a little rain during the next film. La Pirogue is a hard-hitting story about people from Senegal who try their luck crossing the seas to Spain in a rudimentary wooden fishing boat. As expected, much peril awaits. The men (and one woman) are well aware of the dangers but determined to make it to the paradise they believe to be Europe. Nothing formally striking to speak of, but the film serves its purpose to portray the hardships of such a journey.

La Pirogue
La Pirogue by Moussa Tour.

In desperate need for something a little less heavy, I queue in the rain for Room 237, a brilliantly conceived documentary about far-fetched fan theories on the deep and hidden meanings in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, unquestionable after the literal and metaphorical death of the author. This is a wonderfully entertaining film for and about film buffs, composed of audio interviews with fans and visual clips mainly from Kubrick movies.

Did you know The Shining is about the plight of Native Americans? Or was it actually an outlet for Kubrick to confess his responsibility for faking the footage of the Apollo moon landings? The theories become increasingly absurd and hilarious but the film is not just about poking fun at the theorists (although it is a little). The repetition of key scenes, analysis of details in the mise-en-scene and survey of the architecture of the set guides you deeper and deeper into a hypnotic cinematic vortex. Personally I emerged with the theory that Room 237 itself has a far deeper meaning than it may at first seem, a tract on how art and its audience attempt to negotiate the horrors of humankind’s violent past. Or something.

Room 237 by Rodney Ascher
Room 237 by Rodney Ascher.

I revive myself with a coffee with my pal Anna Higg’s from Film 4.0 who, with back-to-back meetings on her agenda, is jealous of all the films I’ve seen. But I’m not destined to watch any more that day, as I waste two hours queuing for Rust and Bone and don’t get in. The night is not lost, however, as I meet up with Sally Griffith from Chapter and go to the Little White Lies party. Fantastic night catching up with old colleagues, making new friends, dancing to The Boss and generally making merry. My ICO colleagues Becky and Sarah arrive later, and after the after-party at the Grand Hotel the night ends with 3am crepes. (Note: I’ve just read Becky’s blog post which refers to this as an early night – I feel so old!)

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