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The Playlist

Watch: Nicolas Winding Refn Introduces Restored 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' At Cannes

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • June 3, 2014 10:21 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Nicolas Winding Refn Texas Chainsaw Massacre
We might already be in June, with the red carpets at Cannes rolled up, and put into storage for next year, but it seems there are a few odds and ends to tie up from the festival. Indeed, even with three people on the ground, we couldn't cover everything and one event we missed has now partially made its way online.

Cannes Review: Prize-Winning Survivalist Love Story ‘Les Combattants’

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 28, 2014 5:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
So we’re electing to go with the French title of this film (which translates to “The Fighters”) rather than the mooted English language versio — “Love at First Fight”— because we’re quite fond of the English language and also of this little film, and slight as it is, it doesn’t deserve to be lumbered with such an offputting pun. Triple winner of the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight sidebar (which is actually non-competitive but certain independent bodies elect to award prizes, all three of which “Les Combattants” won) we have to say that in a very strong year for that particular section, we were maybe expecting a little more from the film, which beat out the likes of “Whiplash,” “Tu Dors Nicole,” “A Hard Day,” “Cold in July” “National Gallery” and “Girlhood,” among others.

Cannes Review: Studio Ghibli's 'The Tale Of Princess Kaguya' Is An Artful Return For Isao Takahata

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 26, 2014 10:02 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Studio Ghibli is at a real crossroads in its history. The legendary Japanese animation studio has become a respected name even in the West, thanks to a string of classics that trump even Pixar, but last year, the legendary Hayao Miyazaki debuted "The Wind Rises," the film he claims will be his final one (and certainly feels like it's putting a period at the end of a career).

Cannes: Bruno Dumont Fascinates With Ambitious 3 ½-Hour Comedy Series ‘P’Tit Quinquin’

  • By Nikola Grozdanovic
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  • May 23, 2014 1:05 PM
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  • 0 Comments
P'tit Quinquin
Mental disorder, disease, murder, and confounding evil. Not exactly the makings of a slapstick comedy, but this is Bruno Dumont we’re talking about. Known, by the few who dare to know him, as a seriously depressing and morose filmmaker, Dumont is so fascinated by the grotesque side of human nature, he can’t even make a comedy without putting the subject front and center. Dumont is back in television format with the mini-series “P’tit Quinquin.”

Cannes Review: John Boorman's 'Queen And Country,' A Solid Sequel To Oscar-Nominee 'Hope & Glory'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 23, 2014 12:29 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Queen And Country
Of all the many, many sequels to land in theaters this year, by far the most unexpected is "Queen And Country." It follows up a film released 27 years ago, and which was never more than a modest hit. It doesn't have superheroes or dragons or aging action heroes. It's an autobiographical period piece set in 1950s England. And we'd wager that it will end up being better than most of the more cynically-planned sequels that are coming down the pipe. It's flawed, but has enough worthwhile in it to make it a very welcome return for John Boorman.

Cannes Review: Stéphane Lafleur's Delightful Québécois Comedy 'Tu Dors Nicole' Is The Hidden Gem Of The Festival

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 22, 2014 2:32 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Tu Dors Nicole
Even more so than the hotly-tipped, much anticipated big-ticket movies, one of the true delights of a film festival is rolling the dice and seeing something you know nothing about. Going to see a picture that's under the radar, that doesn't yet have buzz, and you don't even know the logline for, and could really be anything. Sure, sometimes you'll end up with a borderline unwatchable, relentlessly grim disaster. But sometimes you'll stumble across something wonderful. And so it was a couple of nights ago with "Tu Dors, Nicole" (or "You're Sleeping, Nicole"), the new film from Québécois helmer Stéphane Lafleur, who's directed two previous, relatively little-seen features, but is probably best known as the editor behind 2011's Oscar-nominated "Monsieur Lazhar."

Cannes Review: Frederick Wiseman's Heady, Nourishing Art Doc 'National Gallery'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 19, 2014 3:42 PM
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  • 0 Comments
National Gallery
Frederick Wiseman has always been interested, above and beyond anything else, in institutions. The veteran documentarian has, in his nearly 50-year career, pointed his lens at all kinds of social microcosms, from ballet companies and strip clubs, to high schools and the state legislature. Now, hot on the heels of last year's masterpiece "At Berkeley," Wiseman is taking a look at the art world with his latest, "National Gallery."

Cannes Review: Twisty, Inventive, Hilarious Korean Cop Thriller ‘A Hard Day’ Is A Total Blast

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 18, 2014 8:16 AM
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  • 2 Comments
A Hard Day
The relationship of Cannes to genre cinema is a slightly thorny and contradictory one: while critics exhausted by trying to draw Shakespearean parallels from the latest three-hour long auteurist magnum opus retreat thankfully into the few straight-up thrillers and horrors that get their time on the Croisette, there is a faint but unmistakable shamefacedness--we all kind of believe we should be seeing something more worthwhile. But then we get to see something like “A Hard Day” which makes a brilliantly entertaining case for being perhaps the most necessary Cannes 2014 film to date: its cheerfully nutso inventiveness, the ballsy cycling of ramped-up tension with cathartic release, and not least the many, many deep belly laughs it elicits. Bring it on, we say, because the exhilaration of “A Hard Day” is working even better than the Cannes-standard four espressos to make us think we can withstand anything now.

Cannes Review: Daniel Wolfe's Gorgeous But Unsatisfying Thriller/Social Realism Hybrid 'Catch Me Daddy'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 16, 2014 12:27 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Catch Me Daddy
Though appearances in main Competition tend to be restricted to the Loaches and Leighs of the world, the British film industry has done well by the sidebars at Cannes in recent years. Films like "Hunger," "Sightseers" and "The Selfish Giant" all premiered in Un Certain Regard or Directors' Fortnight, and number among the very best films to come out of the U.K. in recent years.

Cannes Review: Celine Sciamma's ‘Girlhood’ Shines Bright Like A Diamond

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • May 15, 2014 3:22 PM
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  • 3 Comments
Bursting onto the screen in a blast of buzzing power pop, “Girlhood,” the Cannes Directors' Fortnight opening film from Celine Sciamma (“Water Lilies,” “Tomboy”), is marked from the outset by its energetic embrace of the complexity and contradictions of underprivileged, urban teenage life. An (American) football game is in progress, but the players beneath the pads are all female, mostly black, and speak a slangy colloquial French: they are, as the French title has it, a “Bande des Filles,” a gang of girls from the same notorious Parisian suburbs that spawned “La Haine.”

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