Cannes 2014: Jonny's blog (part 2)

Posted on May 27, 2014 by Jonny Courtney

Categories: Festival Reports

Cannes is gorgeous at the best of times, but at 7:30am it has something extra special about it. With fewer people around and a cool air blowing, it has a rare sense of calm, as if the town is braced for the wave of excitement and madness the day will inevitably bring. I amble over to the Palais for the 8:30am screening of Ken Loach’s final film, Jimmy’s Hall. Having not yet seen the Lumiere, the sheer scale of the auditorium is staggering, resembling an arena as much as a cinema. I’m right up near the back in the cheap seats, I feel Ken would be proud…

Jimmy's Hall
Ken Loach’s reported last film, Jimmy’s Hall

The film is exactly what I expect; well-made, crowd-pleasing fare but it lacks the energy of Loach’s earlier work. It still has a bit of fight, but it feels like quite an old-fashioned film. That said, the crowd love it, even clapping along to the Irish jig on the credits, and it will surely play well to its intended audience.

It’s slightly disappointing that my iPhone weather app couldn’t accurately predict the biblical downpour two hours after I checked it in the morning, so I’m trapped for a while in the Palais sans umbrella (despite Simon telling me to bring one a number of times!). Sarah saves the day though, offering me her own flowery umbrella to keep me dry. Ever the gentleman I gladly accept (she is already soaked after all…) and experience the joy of queuing in the rain with Selina for Asia Argento’s new film Incompresa (Misunderstood) which I know little about, but turns out to be a funny and bizarre little film with a great punky spirit. A fantastic central performance from young Giulia Salerno helps balance the film, which often intentionally veers towards the ridiculous to show the heightened reality of this strange,celebrity world (more than likely based on some of Argento’s own experiences growing up).

Incompresa
Asia Argento’s Incompresa

We’re excited about seeing Sergei Parajanov’s 1969 film The Colour of Pomegranate next, and end up with a couple of seats right at the back. I’ve never seen the film but have always read good things, so I’m looking forward to it until Selina realises we’re sat in the wrong screening…and obviously being English we’re far too polite to get up and leave during the introduction. Our disappointment is fully realised when we learn it’s the two-hour portmanteau feature Bridges of Sarajevo, which is admirable in its intent, but struggles to keep our attention despite the calibre of its directors, which includes Godard and Cristi Puu.

Luckily, I have a ticket for the 00:30 showing of Korean director Chang’s action flick Pyo Jeok (The Target), but also have tickets fora beach party later on. It’s a tough decision, but I want to make the most of the films (and have also recently been to a party in 2008), so I’m in the queue once more (and in the rain again!). There’s a real party atmosphere as a few people have been out earlier, and with the music blasting out it’s more akin to a music festival at the moment. As it’s the European premiere of the film, Chang and the cast are in attendance and my first real experience on the red carpet is something I’ll remember, not least as I managed not to fall up the stairs as my sabotaging mind kept telling me I would!

The Target
Pyo Jeok (The Target)

The film is ridiculous, but in a good way! It is based on Fred Cavay’s recent Point Blank, and much like a Cavay film it is trashy and tense, but also dials up the action tenfold; exactly what’s needed to keep me awake when it starts at 1:00am. The screening has the most raucous crowd I’ve seen at Cannes, clapping, whooping and generally breaching Mark Kermode’s cinema code of conduct, but it actually added value to my last Cannes experience rather than making me hateful (my usual response to this kind of behaviour). It’s a great way to finish my Cannes screenings, and as I head back to the ICO apartment (via the robot shop for some vending machine goodness) I decide I could definitely do this again next year…

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