Lumiere. Miramar. Star 3. Theatre Croisette. Palais B, C, D, E, F and J. Lerins. Riviera 1, 2, 3, Arcades 2 are the theatres screening films throughout with premieres from every imaginable place and where international filmmaker names start becoming familiar. Having a festival pass allows you to obtain tickets for the screenings and at the time, I had seen films such as Waltz With Bashir, Three Monkeys and Lorna’s Silence with an international audience.
This week, Romanian director Cristian Mungiu having won the Palme d’Or in 2007 with 4 Weeks, 3 Days and 2 Days is back in competition with Beyond the Hills produced by Jean-Pierre Dardenne. The film was inspired by a true story of a young woman who died during an attempted exorcism in a remote monastery that brought a mixed reception of boos and applause at its premiere.
Of course, there’s the USA film in competition, a thriller (yawn) Killing Them Softly, placed at last year’s Cannes market as a debut, in the lineup at Toronto and AFM and this year with full blown promotion by the Weinstein Company. What for? The film is a no brainer with 18 distributors lined up. The stars include celebrity Brad Pitt (also a producer), Ray Liotta, Richard jenkins, James Gandolfini. This obviously is one of those films the Cannes submission committee can safely uphold as one based on merit alone for the competition. Logline for this one? The Mob calls in enforcer Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) to restore order in the criminal economy. (Yawn)
Jennifer Gargano from the U.S. has her film 8:45 scheduled for several screenings. It has no recognizable named actors and the film is not in competition. The log line reads: a glimpse into the lives of an ensemble cast of characters leading up to the fateful moment on 9/11. Okay, there are certain events that are timeless and people cannot get enough of the subject.
Another American film story that distributors are lining up for is On The Road, promoted as the first adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s cult novel. Cast includes Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men), Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen. The film was made in 2010, had a debut in 2011 at Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, directed by Walter Salles (Motorcycle Diaries, Paris, Je T’Aime) and in competition for the big prize.
Interesting films will come out of nowhere such as the one from Ukraine by Mykhailo Illienko. Firecrosser is based on true events where a WWII soldier, Ivan Datsenko, freed from a Nazi prison, then charged with treason by the Soviets, escapes from a Siberian labor camp, emigrates to North America and becomes an Indian Chief. An action movie coming from a worldwide history that always finds an audience.
Crowds of onlookers and paparazzi are drawn to the celebrities to watch them walk the red carpet and see what they are wearing during the premieres. Thy often miss out completely on the slew of films scheduled in local screening venues some in the old part of town (a wonderful labyrinth of cobblestone streets and private alleyways). Really, the best thing to do is score the tickets, see the films that sound almost too absurd to be true and there’s always the rush lines where people are much nicer than some Americans I ran into on the red carpet.
While standing in the queue for the Indiana Jones premiere, a loudmouth woman from LA tried to bully her way past us calling us old grandmas that should stay home in our rockers and threatening to hit me over the head with her telephone if I didn’t get out of her way. She demanded my friend Adriana and I let her by since she makes more money than we will ever dream of and that we were currently in a free country – America. That’s when the polite young man in a tuxedo turned and reminded her that we were in France.