Anything exciting happen while we were gone?
So everyone’s talking about John Anderson‘s piece in yesterday’s New York Times about the tough time winners of film’s most prestigious festival award have had in the US, more specifically last year’s Palme d’Or recipient, "L’Enfant." In fact, solely "L’Enfant," which prompts David Poland at The Hot Blog to dig up numbers for past, more successful Palme d’Or winners and Anthony Kaufman to write:
"L’enfant," the Dardenne brothers’ marvelous morality fable and winner of last year’s Palme, may have not made $2 million at the box office, but that’s because it’s in French and focuses on the dour conditions of the under-class. And as has been written about extensively before, there are several changing factors in the U.S. market that make it harder and harder for foreign-language art-films to perform here. (And with box office receipts nearing $500,000, "L’enfant" is a hit — for what it is. What’s the point of comparing it to MI:3? Just silly.)
Arguing over the Palme d’Or’s relative bankability seems silly, but there’s that undercurrent that any year now it’ll become fashionable to write Cannes off as a wizened old gal who wears too much bronzer and not enough clothing for her age. Feh! Cannes means as much as it ever did, to the relatively small group of people who care about such things. If anything has put pressure on "L’Enfant" (which, seriously, no one is expecting to rake in $20 million on a holiday weekend anyway), it’s the fact that there are so many films competing for limited arthouse theater space that even a fairly big arthouse title like the Dardenne’s will get pushed out without constant, solid crowds.
Elsewhere: Hollywood Elsewhere‘s Jeffrey Wells reports that "Clerks II" will premiere out of competition at the fest this year, and has an interview with Alejandro GonzÃ¡lez IÃ±Ã¡rritu, whose "Babel" will be premiere in competition. The Guardian has a report on how "Donnie Darko"‘s Richard Kelly, whose "Southland Tales" is in competition, has had his passport held up "under review" by the US government, because "According to the Department of Homeland Security he is a suspected terrorist who may now be prevented from traveling to Cannes next week." Also in the Guardian, Whit Stillman ‘fesses up to what he’s been doing all this time, shares that he’ll be at Cannes with a new project (a screenplay), and offers the following advice:
Silence is one of the greatest and least used weapons in the film
business arsenal. The best rule seems to be: when a project is
completed or nearly so, don’t shut up about it. But when it’s still in
its early stages, don’t say a word. That rule will be massively
violated next week when the annual Cannes non-existent-film festival
gets under way. This event, running parallel to the actual film
festival – or the festival of actual films – features the trumpeting of
entire slates of films that will never be made, at least not by the
people announcing them.
Via CRI, Feng Xiaogang is apparently arriving at Cannes with plans to burn through 4 million yuan promoting fantasy-martial arts epic (and "Hamlet" adaptation?!) "The Banquet." Lavish, though last year Chen Kaige‘s backers reportedly spent over twice that promoting "The Promise" at the festival, and clearly that was was totally worth it. And we’d read that "Summer Palace," partially set during the troubled Tienanmen protests, had yet, as of a week ago, to clear Chinese censors.
At The Age, Stephanie Bunbury writes that "This year, as the Australian Film Commission is shouting from the housetops, is Australia’s biggest at the Cannes Film Festival in the last two decades." Jason Solomons at the Observer predicts that the winner will be "Babel": "the combination of IÃ±Ã¡rritu, [writer Guillermo] Arriaga and [star Brad] Pitt, a mix of thrills, philosophy and glamour, three key ingredients to a great Cannes."
At the Toronto Star, Geoff Pevere tries to explicate Cannes’ inexplicable aura "of, well â€” and apologies for indulging in such an obvious but unavoidable clichÃ© â€” of je ne sais quois."
And of course there’s The Da Vinci Premiere, which is tied up in the general fervor over the film (which we must confess to be completely uninterested in â€” who needs a tepid "Indiana Jones" ripoff mixed with bludgeoning religious provocation? Give us sex ‘n’ violence any day), which in his Cannes preview the Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips refers to as "an obscure experimental Icelandic short subject still looking for a distributor" (hee!). And Alan Riding at the New York Times chats with screenwriter Akiva Goldsman about adapting such a beloved book for the screen.
We’re not going to Cannes this year (and, we hate to say it, but thank God), but IFC News will be offering a live, 24-hour-a-day webcam of the red carpet for the duration of the festival here, starting, knock on wood, tomorrow, barring however many 3am tech support phone calls we’ll doubtless be making to the south of France.
+ Cannes Gold Tarnishes in U.S. (NY Times)
+ Cannes Winners At The Box Office (The Hot Blog)
+ What Cannes Really Means — And How the Times Gets It Wrong (Anthony Kaufman’s Blog)
+ Clerks II at Cannes (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ Bullet Time (Hollywood Elsewhere)
+ Donnie Darko director investigated for terrorist links (Guardian)
+ Confessions of a serial drifter (Guardian)
+ "The Banquet" to Spend 4 Million at Cannes (CRI)
+ Hope Remains for Lou Ye’s SUMMER PALACE (MonkeyPeaches)
+ Are we back in the swim at Cannes? (The Age)
+ The stars who will shine over Cannes (Observer)
+ Code red carpet: Mixture of promise, prestige, premieres (Chicago Tribune)
+ Mystery of the ‘Da Vinci Code’ Film: Will We Love It? (NY Times)