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Ghosts, Pornographic Cock Talk, Bitch Switches & Art & Violence As Penetration: Highlights From The ‘Only God Forgives’ Cannes Press Conference

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • May 22, 2013 11:10 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Only God Forgives, Refn, Gosling
“Only God Forgives,” Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest collaboration with Ryan Gosling just let out in Cannes this morning and the conversations on Twitter are heated and polarizing. There’s either love or loathing in the air and not a lot in between. Many are remarking that it’s similar in tone to Refn and Gosling’s last team-up in “Drive.” This stands to reason as Gosling himself told us earlier in the year, “It's very extreme. It's part of the same dream as ‘Drive,’ but it's more of a nightmare than a dream... So that's what happens when you let Nicolas loose in Thailand. There's no one around to put the reins on and he's completely unleashed.”

Cannes Review: 'Only God Forgives' Stretches Refn's Neon-Noir Style Over Too Little Oedipal, Amoral Substance

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 22, 2013 6:48 AM
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  • 87 Comments
Only God Forgives
With the weight of expectation behind it, Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives” was never going to be able to deliver the same neon blue jolt of surprise that thrilled through the 2011 Cannes crowd at the first screening of “Drive.” But the audience in attendance today was prepped and primed, and practically salivating, for something that looked a little like “Drive 2” -- reuniting Refn with star Ryan Gosling in a similarly taciturn role, and also with that reflective black and fizzing blue/red aesthetic that’s as heady and addictive as a drug to the director’s fans (of whom we number ourselves, of course).

Matt Damon’s Brazilian Tan Line & 9 Other Highlights From Cannes 'Behind The Candelabra' Press Conference

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 21, 2013 2:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Soderbergh, Douglas, Cannes, 2013
It was hard to envisage as positive a Cannes response to a U.S. competition film as that which greeted the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” the other day, but if such a thing is possible, it may well have happened today, for Steven Soderbergh’s wonderful Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra” (our review here). Immediately after the press screening stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, writer Richard LaGravanese, Producer Jerry Weintraub and director Steven Soderbergh spoke to press, turning up some choice anecdotes and opinions in the process. Here are our 10 favorite moments.

Cannes Review: Claire Denis Destined To Divide With Disturbing, Salacious 'The Bastards'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 21, 2013 11:59 AM
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  • 7 Comments
The Bastards, Claire Denis
If all art is only ever about sex and death, Claire Denis’ Un Certain Regard film “The Bastards” may be the most "artistic" one we’ve seen in Cannes to date, as it rolls around positively shamelessly in the musk of both. Or it may be a grubby little exercise in exploitation, depending on who you talk to. Whichever magnetic pole your opinion is drawn to (and it seems likely even this early on that very few of the responses to the film will share our relative middle ground -- it's a film that has so far not so much divided as cleaved), what’s for certain is that while in its elliptical, fragmentary, non-linear storytelling it bears the hallmarks of a Claire Denis film, in it the filmmaker strays into territory we’d never normally have associated her with, with peculiar and deeply unsettling effect. Fans of her dreamier, long-take, composed photography will be shocked by the choppy, disorienting close-ups we get here (slow opening scene aside), while those expecting any hint of her recurring post-colonialist themes and extraordinary sense of place will be disappointed by a film that eschews all wider politics and geography in favor of an almost generic psycho-sexual thriller plot, which of course ends up anything but generic in Denis’ hands.

Cannes Review: The Rich Also Cry In Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s 'A Castle In Italy'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 20, 2013 5:22 PM
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  • 2 Comments
It’s hard not to read a degree of self-justification into Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s (mostly) French-language comedy-drama “A Castle In Italy,” so we’re not really going to try. We took notice of the film in advance mainly because it made headlines as the Cannes Competition’s sole entry from a female director but as handsomely shot and occasionally diverting as the film is, it’s also terrifyingly bourgeois. For every moment of comedy that lands or drama that touches a nerve, there are ten of “why the bloody hell should I bloody care?” or “cry me a river, you had to sell your Brueghel.” Bruni-Tedeschi undoubtedly has talent both as an actress (she takes the lead role here) and behind the camera , but we can’t help but feel that her dramatic strengths -- familial relationships, odd romances, religious (specifically Catholic) dilettantism -- could have played in a less rarefied setting to more universal sympathy. As it is, detailing the gradual decline in fortune of a rich European family, her film amounts to little more than an occasionally charming glimpse at people whose life events we might relate to, but whose lifestyle keeps getting in the way.

Cannes 2013: 5 Coen Brothers Motifs That Show Up In The Coen Brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 20, 2013 12:22 PM
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  • 2 Comments
Inside Llewyn Davis
By now, word of the flat-out loveliness of the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” has probably reached your ears -- if not, take a moment to read our Cannes review from Saturday. Amid the peaks and troughs of the Cannes competition line-up, it’s a polished, warmhearted gem displaying all the of the brothers’ trademark intelligence and wit, in a remarkably ungimmicky, classical way. Simply put, it sings.

Cannes Review: ‘Grand Central’ Weaves A Lyrical Tale Of Love And Radiation Around Tahar Rahim & Lea Seydoux

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 19, 2013 1:30 PM
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  • 4 Comments
GRAND CENTRAL BY REBECCA ZLOTOWSKI, Lea Seydoux, Tahar Rahim
Director Rebecca Zlotowski scored big in 2010 when her debut feature “Belle Epine” (aka “Dear Prudence”) won the Prix Louis Delluc for best first film, and snagged star Léa Seydoux a nomination for Most Promising Actress at the Césars. Three years on and Seydoux has certainly made good on that promise, with her profile rising ever higher -- in this year’s Cannes she’s one of a select number of actors to have two films in the Official Selection, one of them being her reteaming with Zlotowski on “Grand Central” with Kechiche’s ”Blue is the Warmest Color” in competition being the other.

Cannes Review: ‘Borgman’ Delivers A Deliciously Dark, Twisted Cannes Competition Treat

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 19, 2013 10:15 AM
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  • 6 Comments
BORGMAN BY ALEX VAN WARMERDAM
Caustic, surreal, creepy, and blackly funny, Dutch polymath Alex van Warmerdam’s “Borgman” is the trickster god in this year’s Cannes competition pantheon. Tonally similar to recent cultish favorites from Yorgos Lanthimos and Ben Wheatley (“Dogtooth” feels like a particularly close and favoured first cousin), there’s also a little Haneke in its chilly dissection of a perfect bourgeois life. But it’s really its own thing, due to the inspired choice to take recognisable archetypes of evil and mischief-making, and let them loose on a crisply contemporary, contained playground in the form of an aspirational, architect-designed modernist house, its gardens, and the lives of the family that lives there.

TCM Classic Film Festival Round-Up: The Film Festival of Film Festivals

  • By Diana Drumm
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  • May 19, 2013 10:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
From Vanity Fair calling it “Comic-Con for the Martini Set” to being dubbed “the Disney World for classic movies,” TCM Classic Film Festival is all of that and so much more. Although both descriptions are fitting, there are so many aspects of cinema and Hollywood at work, more than you’d see at any other film festival this year, that it would be unfair to pigeonhole the event for a certain set or level of cinephile nerd-dom. If you aren’t familiar with TCM, it's a cable station devoted to classic films and, unlike its competitors, has no commercials (maybe a few vintage trailers and programming promos, but nothing too corporate). If you’re one of those people who refuses to watch anything in black-and-white (excuse our death glares), this year’s festival programming proved that TCM is devoted to great cinema and that the term classic can be (and should be) applied to films before, during and after the “more stars than there are in heaven” era of classic Hollywood.

Cannes Review: 'A Touch Of Sin' Sees Jia Zhang-ke Change Things Up, With Peculiar, Bloody Results

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 18, 2013 12:45 PM
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  • 0 Comments
A Touch of Sin,  Jia Zhang-ke.
Ooh-ed and aah-ed over, but largely in more arcane cinephile circles, Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke (Venice winner “Still Life,” Cannes 2012 doc ”I Wish I Knew,” “The World”) has made a name for himself to date with detailed, glacially paced, social realist films, often in the documentary tradition, set against a backdrop of a modern-day China that we rarely see: the China of disenfranchisement, displacement and social unease which comprises the flip side of the globalisation and economic boom times that make more headlines abroad. It provides fascinating, glimpse-behind-the-curtain subject matter, and Jia is nothing if not authentic, but his measured, long-take style can try the patience to the degree that really, the reason that we had this film as one to watch out for on our Cannes Anticipated list was because we’d heard that for the first time, Jia had incorporated elements of genre into his social critique. And we have always believed that just a spoonful of genre can help the dense social commentary go down.

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