DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: Cannes 2010 Scorecard - Day 5

Monday 17 May 2010

Cannes 2010 Scorecard - Day 5

THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER (France) dir. Bernard Tavernier
France, 1562. The wars of religion between Catholics and Protestants rage against a backdrop of intrigue and shifting alliances.

Kirk Honeycutt (The Hollywood Reporter) writes, "With this film, Tavernier pokes a real hole in costumed romance. Everything feels all too real here. There is little room for grand gestures or noble sentiments. Combat is nasty and obscene. A wife cheating on her husband is sordid. And when a man truly loves and respects a young woman, that love is not returned. Despite this -- or perhaps because of it -- "The Princess of Montpensier" is one of the finest costume dramas in a long while."

Leslie Felperin (Variety) writes, "Like its heroine, helmer Bertrand Tavernier's visitation to 16th-century France has both beauty and brains, and offers a portrait of renaissance life -- complete with ethics now utterly alien to a contempo mindset -- leagues more accurate than the most historical epics. In commercial terms, that will probably be pic's fatal flaw: It's simply too intellectual to cross over to the masses beyond Gaul, where the name cast and helmer's rep should ensure considerable royalties.

A SCREAMING MAN (France, Belgium, Chad) dir. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Present-day Chad. Adam, sixty something, a former swimming champion, is pool attendant at a smart N’Djamena hotel. When the hotel gets taken over by new Chinese owners, he is forced to give up his job to his son Abdel. Terribly resentful, he feels socially humiliated. The country is in the throes of a civil war. Rebel forces are attacking the government. The authorities demand that the population contribute to the "war effort", giving money or volunteers old enough to fight off the assailants. The District Chief constantly harasses Adam for his contribution. But Adam is penniless; he only has his son....

Peter Brunette (The Hollywood Reporter) writes, "The heartfelt yet very modest film "A Screaming Man" (Un Homme qui crie), set in perennially war-torn Chad, probably doesn't really belong in the Cannes competition, but it's good to see it there anyway"

Lee Marshall (Screen Daily) writes, "A disappointment after Dry Season, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s latest reflection on the troubled history of his Chadian homeland unfolds a poorly developed story about a senior pool attendant’s rivalry with his son and co-worker against the background of the country’s ongoing civil war."

ADRIAN PAL (Hungary, Netherlands, Austria, France) dir. Anges Kocsis
En Certain Regard
Piroska is an overweight, alienated nurse who can’t resist cream-filled pastries. She works in the terminal ward of a hospital; her life is surrounded by death. One day she sets off to find her long-lost childhood friend. While tracing her recollections, she embarks on a paradox-filled voyage within her own memory and the memory of those she encounters.

Howard Feinstein (Screen Daily) writes, "The concept of childhood, according to the late French historian Philippe Aries in his seminal study, Centuries of Childhood, did not exist prior to the Middle Ages, and once in did, it was strictly for the upper classes until the 1900s. Until then, kids were merely little adults"

Boyd Van Hoeij (Variety) writes, "In Agnes Kocsis' sophomore feature "Adrienn Pal," an obese nurse's search for a long-lost friend from primary school is, well, long and, if not exactly lost, at least pretty vague about where it wants to go. The dreary retro-chic visuals and offbeat humor of the Magyar helmer's debut film, "Fresh Air," are again present here, though because of a weak screenplay, the film struggles to sustain interest for its supersized two-hour-plus running time. "Adrienn" will pal around with some fests that showcased "Air," though the item will remain fresh for a much shorter time than its predecessor."

R U THERE (Netherlands, France, Taiwan) dir. David Verbeek
En Certain Regard
Jitze, a young Dutch professional gamer, travels the world to compete in video game tournaments. During a stay in Taipei his arm starts to hurt and he?s forced to take a few days rest. A night in his hotel, Jitze meets a girl and starts realizing what it means to be human in the age of the virtual worlds.

Natasha Senjanovic (The Hollywood Reporter) writes, "David Verbeek's "R U There" feel like a great short stretched into a feature that cannot sustain the tension for which it so earnestly strives. The best target audience for this film about a young gaming champ should be the enormous gaming/"Second Life" community. Yet gamers, for one, inhabit virtual worlds that are far faster and far more action-filled than the slow-paced, moody "R U There." Ominous music throughout sets up a thriller, but it's actually a "boy meets girl but does better with her avatar" story."

Charles Ealy (Austin 360) saw it, and says, "Verbeek handles this tale of becoming human again with compassion and nuances"

I WISH I KNEW (China) Jia Zhangke
En Certain Regard
Shanghai, a fast-changing metropolis, a port city where people come and go. Shanghai has hosted all kinds of people – revolutionaries, capitalists, politicians, soldiers, artists, and gangsters. Shanghai has also hosted revolutions, assassinations, love stories. After the Chinese Communists' victory in 1949, thousands of Shanghaiers left for Hong Kong and Taiwan. To leave meant being separated from home for thirty years; to stay meant suffering through the Cultural Revolution and China's other political disasters.

Wesley Morris (Boston Globe) writes, "Jia Zhangke is a master at taking his non-narrative time. "I Wish I Knew" continues, more or less, where last year's "24 City" left off, contemplating the personal side effects of modern China. The new film considers Cultural Revolution-era Shanghai and its survivors and devastated diaspora. The movie is lush and, at times, moving, catching up with filmmakers (hey, its Hou Hsiao-hsien!) and offspring of assassinated officials, collapsing fiction and documentary, although with less mesmerizing flair than in "24 City."

David Cox (Film 4) writes, "Stories, characters, reminiscences and powerful images accumulate gracefully, with Jia's eye ensuring that each interview is something distinct and special to behold in its own right. Although inexplicably not in the Competition (it's actually in Un Certain Regard, which so far is shaping up as the stronger section), I Wish I Knew is by some distance the film of the festival so far and further confirmation that Jia Zhang-ke, who's rise to prominence over the last ten years, is now one of the greatest filmmakers working today.

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