Monday, May 27, 2013

Cannes Film Festival Roundup

Well folks, the awards have been dispersed, the stars are packing up and heading home, the 2013 Cannes Film Festival is over. As your resident insomniac with too much time on his hands, I have listed the award winners as well as some news that I thought was pretty cool, because boy oh boy did shit go down at this years festival!

Eyes on the prize people.
For those out of the film festival loop (membership requirements: one scarf), the Cannes Film Festival is arguably the most famous of its kind. Along with the Berlin and Venice Film Festivals, Cannes is an important stopping point on the awards circuit for Hollywood and international films. This circuit begins with Berlin, then Cannes, with Venice and Toronto rounding out the year before the world holds its breath at the 2014 Oscars. However Cannes holds a special place in our hearts as the glamorous middle of the circuit, where the stars shine in couture styling and the marketing machines pick up steam for awards glory, in this case the coveted Palme D'or.

How am I doing so far? Sweet.

2013 seemed to want to shake things up a bit. Barely a day into the festival proceedings reports came in of a daring $1 million jewelry heist. Jeweler Chopard, who like many operators loan out jewelry to celebrities for use on the red carpet, had their hotel suite broken into in a daring example of life imitating art.

The 'Bling Ring' strikes again!
If that wasn't enough, a crazed man fired a starting gun at a press conference, a Psy impersonator crashed several events and screenings in full costume, and of course wardrobe malfunctions were a plenty.

Poor Naomi Harris, fooled again!
Well enough with the haps from the festival, what about the films! There are several competitions held during the festival, the Main Competition, Un Certain Regard and several acting, directing and technical awards. I also wanted to quickly highlight the films which I most want to see from the Main Competition, specifically those who I predicted we'll see again at the Oscars next year.


Palme D'or - Blue Is The Warmest Color (France) 

Abdellatif Kechiche took home the top prize with his universally acclaimed queer drama film Blue Is The Warmest Color (La vie d'Adèle). The award was handed to not only the director but the film's two stars, completing a heartfelt journey that swept Cannes by storm. "The film is a great love story that made all of us feel privileged to be a fly on the wall, to see this story of deep love and deep heartbreak evolve from the beginning," said Cannes Jury President Steven Spielberg. "The director didn't put any constraints on the narrative, on the storytelling. He let the scenes play in real life." I'll let my pro American cinema tendencies slide here as I agree with the jury in awarding a positive showcase of gay characters in cinema. Truly brings a tear to my eye/

Oh the feels! Somebody hold me!
Grand Prix - Inside Llewyn Davis (USA)

The Coen Brothers latest effort (currently the highest rated film of 2013) picked up what is regarded as the runners up prize this year. Personally I would have seen this film pick up the top gong, were the subject matter of Kechiche's film not so important. Chronicling the life of a singer-songwriter in New York's 1960s folk scene, one can't help but think of the modern bard Bob Dylan, so I know I will love this film! The film looks to be American cinema's strongest showing this year.

Best Director - Amat Escalante for Heli

Best Actor - Bruce Dern for Nebraska

Bruce Dern with his daughter Laura, such an awesome family!
Best Actress - Bérénice Bejo for The Past

Main Competition Highlights

Only God Forgives - dir. Nicholas Refn

Boy oh boy this film has a rough road ahead of it. Expectations were high after the smashing success of Refn's previous meisterwerk Drive (also with Ryan Gosling), however the reception has been anything but abysmal, like actually awful reviews. There was a chorus of boos at its premiere, and criticism has been levied at its gratuitous violence and 'all style no substance' approach. However it looks simply stunning in a technical sense, and I will see this purely for Kristen Scott Thomas' turn as Mob Wives meets Donatella Versace character.

Behind the Candelabra - dir. Steven Soderbergh

This is going to be somewhat emotional, not for the obviously camp and gay as a door knob subject of the film that is Liberace, but as this is supposedly director Steven Soderbergh's last film. He's become a seminal figure in American film making and will surely go out with a bang! Or an explosion of sequins...winner.

Nebraska - dir. Alexander Payne

Legendary actor Bruce Dern won the Best Actor prize for his role in this film, Payne's follow up to critic favorite The Descendants. Looks to be a stirring and heartfelt film.

Only Lovers Left Alive - dir. Jim Jarmusch

The other 'Only' film at the festival, you have vampires, Loki and Tilda Swinton, what more can you ask for?! Still a better love story than Twilight.

AND THAT'S A WRAP! Let's meet back in August for the 70th Venice Film Festival. Until then party on film lovers!

Asia Argento, my new spirit animal.


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