By mattdentler | Matt Dentler's Blog May 18, 2009 at 10:10AM
I've been in Cannes for 48 hours and I've seen a total of one movie, if you count one-half of two films as a whole. And, neither film was in the Festival; they were both Market selections. The reason for my drought in Cannes screening is because of two factors: 1. I'm in meetings more or less all day long and 2. When I do have a spare two hours (usually at nighttime), I'm shut-out due to capacity. The economy may be suffering and attendance here may appear in decline, but you wouldn't know it when the second press screening of Lars Von Trier's Antichrist fills a 350-seat theater within minutes. Or, when the "Day After" screening for Johnnie To's Vengeance fills a similarly sized room 30 minutes before showtime. Maybe there's a herd mentality, and we're all trying to see the same one film each day. That's likely the case, as nothing in the Official Selection has caught fire.
People seem to have enjoyed Jane Campion's Bright Star and Ken Loach's Looking For Eric. Jacques Audiard's A Prophet feels like the unanimous critical hit (with distributors interested, but everyone questioning how marketable a 2.5-hour French prison movie would be in America) and the reviews everywhere else in the festival are mixed. Except for Antichrist, which has become the most (negatively) talked-about selection so far, only fueled by the uproarious Press Conference, in which a clearly kidding Von Trier proclaimed himself the "best director in the world." Anxious to see the film at some point, no matter how big and bad a train wreck it may be. Von Trier may not be the best director in the whole world, but he will always be one of my personal favorites.
Otherwise, the vibe is fairly muted and the parties are either toned down or not happening. A few reliable elements prevail, including evening drinks on the Grand Hotel terrace and amazing Pizza Reine at La Pizza (which is basically the Olive Garden of France, but we don't care). I'll try to take a breath and get back on the blog soon, but you can get more regular updates from me via Twitter.
NOTE: Cinetic is representing three films in the festival - 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,' 'Agora,' and 'Go Get Some Rosemary.' For that reason, I'm not blogging about them at all, but I've seen all three and very much enjoy all three. So there.