The juicy biz announcement du jour: via Gregg Kilday at Hollywood Reporter, "Bob and Harvey Weinstein unveiled a new label Tuesday called Dragon Dynasty, under which the Weinstein Co. will release Asian films." Given the Weinsteins’ track record releasing Asian films through Miramax, this announcement has probably sent fans shrieking in fear off into the distance (and straight to the bootleg import DVD store)…but don’t worry, all, Quentin Tarantino has been called in to advise on the new label, which will span DVDs and some theatrical releases.
At least this explains the fate lying in store for the various titles the Weinsteins have acquired over the months. "Ong Bak 2," "Tom Yum Goong" and "Seven Swords" are among the planned releases, along with 50 films from the Shaw Brothers collection.
Elsewhere, "Babel" seems to be gaining steam, at least in the press, as the film to beat for the Palme d’Or. At Time‘s Big Picture blog, Richard and Mary Corliss have a back-and-forth on the film, with Mary pulling for the film and Richard less impressed. At the New York Times, A. O. Scott notes that fucking-with-chronology-friendly Alejandro GonzÃ¡lez IÃ±Ã¡rritu was treated to an unexpected plot leap himself at the film’s first screening, when the reels were mixed up:
A glitch like this is every director’s worst nightmare, literally so in Mr. GonzÃ¡lez IÃ±Ã¡rritu’s case. "I had this dream three days ago that exactly this kind of thing had happened," he said in an interview later on Tuesday. "I called my friend Guillermo del Toro" â€” whose own Cannes competition entry, "Pan’s Labyrinth," is to be shown on Saturday â€” "and he said he’d had the same dream." When Mr. GonzÃ¡lez IÃ±Ã¡rritu mentioned his premonitions at a technical check the day before the screening, he said that the projectionists assured him that such a mishap was impossible. "They acted like I was insulting them by bringing it up."
At indieWIRE, Eugene Hernandez, Brian Brooks and Kristina Woo report on some of the deals made over at the Market: Sony Pictures Classics will release "Persepolis," based on Marjane Satrapi’s best-selling graphic novel autobiography) in North America. Satrapi co-wrote and is co-directing the project with Vincent Paronnaud. And IFC Entertainment picks up "Destricted," a "concept for an ongoing franchise of erotic short films by well-known auteur directors, fashion designers, photographers, artists and actors." The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year.
And a few bits and pieces: At the LA Times, Robert W. Welkos interviews Peter Hoffman (in his yacht, natch). Hoffman, once president of the late Carolco Pictures, "helped throw a soiree that some say still ranks as the single most extravagant and star-studded event in the festival’s history." These days, he says Cannes is "less important" and too crowded.
Matt Dentler turns up for a mysterious "surprise screening" â€” the film turns out to be "Borat," the film based on Sacha Baron Cohen‘s character of the same name. "The film we saw seemed fairly complete, and I hope that it is, because it was damn near perfect. Funny, offensive, and timely, ‘Borat’ could become the kind of college-campus classic that speaks to the tasteless teenager in us all."
At the Washington Post, William Booth discusses Pedro AlmodÃ³var‘s "Volver" (another one being seen as a top Palme d’Or candidate), the party that followed, and the prosthetic ass PenÃ©lope Cruz had to wear for her role. Money quote:
Critics are saying it is the best role of Cruz’s career. She’s saying Almodovar has changed her life: "My life has more color because of him." That is the kind of thing that actresses say at Cannes.
Almodovar confesses the same. He tells us that, as we probably knew, he’s gay, and that his last heterosexual love affair was in 1984. "But with Penelope, I felt again desire. I was completely hooked on her body." He says: "I was horny." That’s very Cannes, too.
And, sending in a Cannes dispatch for IFC News, Mark Rabinowitz shares an anecdote about the charms of the international press junkets:
[M]y favorite was the Chilean journalist who, at the "X-Men: The Last Stand" press conference, stood up and began by telling Halle Berry how long he had to travel from Chile and how he had gotten hemorrhoids from sitting so long on the plane. "Too much information," was Berry’s response. The questioner then went on to tell how famous the X-Men films and comics were in Chile (I found it odd that he had a Russian accent, though) and that "little children play your character, Storm, in the streets." He then went back to his hemorrhoids, explaining how painful it was for him to sit down and how hard it was for him to find cream in Cannes, due to the language difference. This went on for three to four minutes before any hint of a question appeared. Finally he asked Berry the following brilliant nugget: "Do you like acting?"
+ Tarantino to advise Weinstein Asian label (HR)
+ One Auteur’s Bumpy Trajectory Through a Decade of Cannes Festivals (NY Times)
+ CANNES ’06 MARKET DAILY: Sony Classics to Release Satrapi’s "Persepolis" Memoir; IFC Picks Up "Destricted;" Wong Kar Wai’s New Film; and More (indieWIRE)
+ Remembering when he was on top (LA Times)
+ Cannes 2006.9: ‘Borat’ Screens. I Like. (Matt Dentler’s Blog)
+ Pedro Almodovar, Rounding Out Cruz’s, Um, Career (Washington Post)
+ CANNES DISPATCH: #2 – On The Third Day Fast Food Took A Hit (IFC News)