Cannes 2012 - Sunday 27 May

Posted on May 27, 2012 by Catharine Des Forges

Categories: Festival Reports

It’s Sunday and time for the repeats. They are all lined up like superheroes, Loach vs Salles, Audiard vs Haneke. It’s quite difficult to decide what to watch and I keep changing my mind. You also have to take into consideration the timings – get it wrong and you have blown the rest of the day or rather you might have backed the wrong horse. For this reason my first choice is the Loach, The Angels’ Share, because it’s the shortest and means I can see everything else in my masterplan. This is out fairly soon in the UK which is why I wouldn’t normally have chosen to see it here but Loach is a filmmaker who never disappoints (me anyway).  This was engaging and genuinely funny, has the spirit of Gregory’s Girl and is amazingly, unequivocably feelgood which should ensure it does well at the box office.

Next is Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly, which has all the violence of Chopper but is not quite up there with the sublime The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.  Nevertheless, I thought this was great filmmaking – an exceptionally well-written sharp script starring Brad Pitt as a hitman called on to exercise retribution on the small time hoods who rob an illegal craps game. Its scope is much greater than this however, as it uses the 2008 Bush/Obama government change as its backdrop and ultimately the land of the mobsters, as analogous to the rest of the world hit by spiralling recession, financial meltdown and mismanagement. It’s thoroughly engrossing and very witty with some great performances and reminiscent of The Sopranos, Mamet’s Heist and more.

Back to the Palais for Haneke’s Amour, widely touted as the best film in the competition. I have to agree in general terms (although I haven’t seen them all). Haneke is a filmmaker at the height of his powers, such a master that everyone else must want to give up and go home. This is fantastic – emotional, bleak, and like all of his films somewhat minimalist, seemingly pared to the bone but scoring a huge emotional punch by the end. Essentially a love story and an examination of old age and the ravages of time, it reminded me of Bergman and classics such as Winter Light, examinations of a loss of faith and meditations on mortality.

Amour by Michael Haneke
Amour by Michael Haneke.

For my final film of the festival, I am torn but eventually go with the Reygada’s Post Tenebras Lux,  mostly because Simon is such a fan and also because it seems to have divided critics and hardcore cinephile’s. Ever since Japon, Reygada’s has had some very dedicated champions and he is certainly a filmmaker of originality and distinction. I don’t really understand why it has attracted some of its vitriol – it’s such confident, ambitious filmmaking beautifully made and deeply resonant. I can only assume it’s because of its more anti-realist or should I say more bonkers moments? It reminds me of Latin American traditions of magical realism – I think you just have to go with it ultimately but it’s a very beautiful film.

I manage to get to the airport early which may be a first for me and take my leave of Cannes which seems to end as it started, with a huge thunderstorm and torrential rain. Now I see why everyone seemed a little glum in the first week.

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