DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: Cannes 2009 Scorecard - Day 7

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Cannes 2009 Scorecard - Day 7

BROKEN EMBRACES(Spain) dir. Pedro Almodovar
Almodovar's ode to 40's noir, a love triangle story between a filmmaker/novelist, Penelope Cruz and domineering millionaire.

David Gritten, Guardian UK, writes, "Broken Embraces parades his many virtues, it treads water rather than breaks new ground...This premise is too convoluted for its own good, a charge that could also be leveled at Almodovar’s last disappointing film, 2004’s Bad Education. He seems so intent on jamming as many elements as possible into his story that his characters lack dimension."

Jonathan Holland, Variety, writes, "Partly a film about films and partly a film about love, Pedro Almodovar’s “Broken Embraces” can’t quite decide where its allegiances lie. A restless, rangy and frankly enjoyable genre-juggler that combines melodrama, comedy and more noir-hued darkness than ever before, the pic is held together by the extraordinary force of Almodovar’s cinematic personality."

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian UK, loves it, "a richly enjoyable piece of work, slick and sleek, with a sensuous feel for the cinematic surfaces of things and, as ever, self-reflexively infatuated with the business of cinema itself."

VINCERE (Italy) dir. Marco Bellocchio
Italian master Bellocchio returns to Cannes with a historical drama of Benito Mussolini's influence relationship with the woman who helped him rise to power.

Natasha Senjanovic of The Hollywood Reporter writes "Throughout the film, Bellocchio intersperses black-and-white archival footage, fascist-era graphics and close-ups of women whose identities are explained much later in the film, to good artistic effect. He creates an intimate mood while alluding to the general feel of the highly chronicled era without going too far over the top or reconstructing elaborate sets."

Jay Weissberg, Variety, writes, "Momentous events require suitably powerful storytelling, which vet helmer Marco Bellocchio delivers in "Vincere," the little-known story of Benito Mussolini's ill-fated first wife and son. Conceived as grand opera set inside delineated space, it's a thrilling, at times brilliant piece of staging that never forgets the emotional pull of either the tragic personal tale or the ramifications of history."

Lee Marshall, Screendaily, writes, "It’s a curious but rousingly cinematic work that for all its flashy stylistic quirks is at heart as old-fashioned as its surging orchestral score. As a study of the personal tensions behind Italian history’s grand events, Vincere lacks the sensitivity of the director’s Aldo Moro kidnapping drama Buongiorno Notte; but as a stirring portrait of a woman wronged, it delivers the emotional goods."

AMINTIRI DIN EPOCA DE AUR (aka Tales from the Golden Age) (Romania) dir. Hanno Höfer, Razvan
(En Certain Regard) Marculescu, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu, Ioana Uricaru
A Romanian compilation film directed by five of its bright cinematic stars, an unconventional personal history of the late communist period in Romania, told through its urban myths from the perspective of ordinary people. Comic, bizarre, surprising, these myths drew on the often surreal events of everyday life under the communist regime.

Mike Goodridge, Screendaily, writes, "another notch in the country’s film-making renaissance which focuses on day-to-day life ...t will be a crowd pleasing festival title around the world and could well stir up strong theatrical business in all the former Soviet nations"

DEMAIN DÈS L'AUBE aka Tomorrow at Dawn) (France) dir. Denis Dercourt
(En Certain Regard) From the director of 'The Page Turner' comes a film about the relationship between two brothers, the younger of whom is so enthralled by historical battles that he has lost touch with reality. At his mother’s request, Mathieu, the older brother, tries to free his kid brother Paul from his addiction...

Lisa Nesselson, Screendaily, writes, "Those who assume classical musicians are sissies may have to adjust their thinking after Tomorrow At Dawn, in which classical music meets historical battle re-enactments to excellent effect. ...The viewer can sense that bad things will happen without ever knowing when or in what form, and the punchline of this tale is a satisfying surprise."

Eric Kohn, Indiewire, Twittered this, "While no masterpiece, TOMORROW AT DAWN is very invigorating, suggests what ROLE MODELS would be like as a thriller."

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