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The Playlist

Cannes: New Clip From ‘The Immigrant’; James Gray Talks Title Changes, Working With Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard & More

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • May 24, 2013 10:35 AM
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  • 6 Comments
James Gray, Marion Cotillard, Cannes
James Gray’s long-awaited period drama, “The Immigrant,” finally screened in Cannes early this morning. Starring the excellent cast of Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner, “The Immigrant” centers on a conniving pimp (Phoenix) who manipulates a destitute Polish immigrant (Cotillard) into a life of prostitution. Saddled with a sick sister, she works to pay for her medicine and her dismal life seems hopeless until a curious magician (Renner) enters her life.

Cannes Review: James Gray’s Careful, Poised 'The Immigrant' Builds Slowly To A Resonant Climax

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 24, 2013 6:46 AM
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  • 18 Comments
A strangely chimeric movie, that only reveals its truest colors in its closing moments, James Gray’s “The Immigrant” which screened In Competition this morning in Cannes is a meticulous reframing of the director’s familiar themes and concerns that mostly lived up to our high expectations, while never bursting their bounds the way we might have dared to hope. It’s a beautifully shot film marked by deeply felt performances from its leads, that will play to those attuned to the loveliness of Gray’s minor-key redemption stories, but is unlikely to win new converts among the impatient or those whose expectation of a period drama is something more traditionally epic and grandiose.

Cannes Review: Cannibal Tale ‘We Are What We Are’ Threatens To Give Horror Remakes A Good Name

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 22, 2013 12:55 PM
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  • 1 Comment
“When I saw his movie,” said director Jim Mickle in his opening thank you to Jorge Michel Grau, the director of “Somos Lo Que Hay,” “I was jealous of everything: the idea, the plot, the style, and jealous that it was playing at Cannes in Director’s Week.” And so Mickle went about securing the rights to remake the hit Mexican film, co-opting the idea, the plot and elements of the style for his English-language “We Are What We Are,” which played yesterday in Cannes, as part of, oh yes, Director’s Week. It’s a nice narrative to have surround your picture, and the admiration between the directors is mutual, as we reported recently, with Grau giving Mickle’s take fulsome, glowing praise, even calling it “an improvement of my story.” We admired the original, so could that dirtiest of concepts, the US remake, possibly live up to all the excited chatter? Happily, it does, pulling off the rare trick of remaking a strong original into a strong new version that honors the story but provides a different slant on it that feels as authentic to its transposed environment as the original did to its setting. It does a “Let Me In,” shall we say, rather than a Platinum Dunes.

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.

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