Cannes 2012 - Wednesday 23 May

Posted on May 23, 2012 by Becky Clarke

Categories: Festival Reports

We get up bright and early to try and catch a 9am screening in Director’s fortnight. We manage to make it out of the flat by 7.30am so I’m hoping that will be enough queuing time. After the emotionally draining screening the night before we are hoping for a more light-hearted fare this morning to ease us into the day. And that is exactly what we get, a superb animation called Ernest et Clestine from the makers of A Town Called Panic, about a bear and a mouse who battle the prejudices in their society to become friends. A beautifully drawn animation in a very different style from A Town Called Panic but with a similar sense of humour. In this animated world, bears live above the ground eating sweets and consequently losing their teeth. Whilst the mice live underground, and when the bears are asleep they sneak up to the land above to steal their teeth. There are some great comic moments in the film and I imagine it would be great to watch with children of about 7 or 8 who are just experiencing their first visits from the tooth fairy. A fab way to begin day two.

After Ernest et Clestine, we hot foot it over to the Palais, to see if we can get into Killing Them Softly. We queue for a hour and a quarter and just as we are at the very front of the queue they say “son plein (it’s full!). Just as we were about to turn tail, another usher comes out and says two more, so we get the last seats.

Killing Them Softly is a slick gangster thriller by director Andrew Dominik and this is his second project with Brad Pitt following the critically acclaimed The Assassination of Jesse James

Killing Them Softly by Andrew Dominik
Brad Pitt in Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly.

Although conventional in its story – three crooks knock over a card game of some mafia bosses, which unsurprisingly doesn’t end well – it is the sublime style, clever script and great acting that elevates this film above your normal run-of-the-mill gangster caper. Dominik creates great tension throughout and at the end you are left wanting more.

After a very successful morning we head over to the UK Film Centre to get ready for our drinks reception to celebrate the 2012 edition of the Developing Your Film Festival course, and we’re in luck – the sun has come out and it’s a glorious evening to be sipping rose on a beachfront terrace. With representatives from film festivals across Europe, and a multitude of familiar faces from exhibs and distribs from the UK we have a delightful evening, especially catching up with participants from last year’s DYFF course. As the drinks reception closes we just have enough time to grab some dinner before heading off for the competition screening of Holy Motors.

A couple of people at our drinks reception have warned me to go into Holy Motors with a very open mind as it’s crazy, and they’re right, it’s crazy but it’s great! We follow Mr Oscar as he travels in his limo to nine appointments, at each appointment playing a different role from beggar, to body motion capture artist, to accordion player, with many other wild and wacky characters in between. There is a great cameo from Kylie as another role player, who seems to know Mr Oscar from another life. But it is Denis Lavant’s amazing physical performance as Mr Oscar that steals the show and makes for such compelling viewing, in the imaginative and surreal world that Leos Carax has created.

Holy Motors
Eva Mendes in Holy Motors by Leos Carax.

We come out of Holy Motors on a high, so its a good job we have a party to go to, and what a party! Held in one of the chateaus in the old part of the Cannes with fantastic views looking down over the whole of the town, its to celebrate 7 Days in Havana which is in Un Certain Regard and has been picked up for distribution in the UK by Soda Pictures. The party is fab, very Cuban themed with pretty much any rum based cocktail you can imagine, we dance away the night to some Havana soul till far too early in the morning. We finally hit the hay at about 5am, so the prospect of an 8.30am screening is not looking too appealing.

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