Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Jacques Audiard Wants Magic, Not Realism, in His César Nominee 'Dheepan' Jacques Audiard Wants Magic, Not Realism, in His César Nominee 'Dheepan' How John Ridley and Company Create the Emotional Resonance of 'American Crime' How John Ridley and Company Create the Emotional Resonance of 'American Crime' WATCH: Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' Has a Darkly Comic New Trailer (Review & Roundup) WATCH: Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' Has a Darkly Comic New Trailer (Review & Roundup) Top 10 Takeaways:  'Hail, Caesar!' Leads Three New Releases—Which Barely Total $20 Million Top 10 Takeaways: 'Hail, Caesar!' Leads Three New Releases—Which Barely Total $20 Million Screen Talk: Sundance Wrap — and How the SAG Awards Shape the Oscar Race Screen Talk: Sundance Wrap — and How the SAG Awards Shape the Oscar Race Why 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Should Win the VFX Oscar Why 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Should Win the VFX Oscar How Sony Pictures Classics Picked Up Four Pictures at Sundance How Sony Pictures Classics Picked Up Four Pictures at Sundance Jacques Rivette, Master of the French New Wave, Dies at 87 Jacques Rivette, Master of the French New Wave, Dies at 87 Sundance: Wall Street Movie 'Equity' Starring Anna Gunn Was Made by Women for Women Sundance: Wall Street Movie 'Equity' Starring Anna Gunn Was Made by Women for Women How They Edited the Oscar-Nominated 'Mad Max: Fury Road' How They Edited the Oscar-Nominated 'Mad Max: Fury Road' 'Anomalisa' Filmmakers on Animated Sex, Their 'Impossibly Low' Budget, and the Sad Impatience of the Studio System 'Anomalisa' Filmmakers on Animated Sex, Their 'Impossibly Low' Budget, and the Sad Impatience of the Studio System Alejandro G. Iñárritu on Leading Oscar Nominee 'The Revenant': "This was a film that easily could kill you" Alejandro G. Iñárritu on Leading Oscar Nominee 'The Revenant': "This was a film that easily could kill you" WATCH: Oscar Nominee Tom Hardy Explains Why Shooting 'The Revenant' Was So Bloody Hard (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) WATCH: Oscar Nominee Tom Hardy Explains Why Shooting 'The Revenant' Was So Bloody Hard (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) Why 'The Revenant' Was Not Eligible to Compete for the Oscar for Original Score Why 'The Revenant' Was Not Eligible to Compete for the Oscar for Original Score Maya Forbes Stands by Her Dad in Directorial Debut 'Infinitely Polar Bear’ Maya Forbes Stands by Her Dad in Directorial Debut 'Infinitely Polar Bear’ Nicolas Cage Boards Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' Nicolas Cage Boards Oliver Stone's 'Snowden' Ten Hot Movie Pairings to Look Forward to in 2015 (Trailers) Ten Hot Movie Pairings to Look Forward to in 2015 (Trailers) Why Ten Years Later, Jonathan Glazer's 'Birth' Is Still a Masterpiece Why Ten Years Later, Jonathan Glazer's 'Birth' Is Still a Masterpiece Stream 'Blue Is The Warmest Color' on Netflix Instant Now Stream 'Blue Is The Warmest Color' on Netflix Instant Now Paul Dano On Nailing Nasty Roles in '12 Years a Slave' and 'Prisoners': "You Nut Up" Paul Dano On Nailing Nasty Roles in '12 Years a Slave' and 'Prisoners': "You Nut Up"

Cannes Film Festival Diary: Le Dernier Jour

Photo of Tom Christie By Tom Christie | Thompson on Hollywood May 23, 2013 at 1:18PM

“Carey Mulligan is an oyster.” So said a French photographer outside a cafe on the rue Hoch. Five of us were sitting around, with Christine in the middle, which is to say that everyone knew her; the photographer was a colleague from Paris, and was just coming from the red carpet at the Palais. He shoots conflict zones normally, but the red carpet pays, especially in Cannes. The photographer was particularly happy about a shot he got of Nicole Kidman french-kissing her husband Keith Urban. Someone asked him if he yells at the celebrities the way some photographers do. “Sometimes you have to,” he said. “ It’s so that they look at you.” Much more saleable. And that’s where Carey Mulligan came in. “She’s an oyster, she gives you nothing.” He makes a face, to give an idea of what Carey Mulligan looks like as an oyster. She is not smiling; she is impassive; she is closed. In fact she looks a little like her character in “Inside Llewyn Davis.”
1
Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan on the Cannes red carpet
Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan on the Cannes red carpet

“Carey Mulligan is an oyster.” So said a French photographer outside a cafe on the rue Hoch. Five of us were sitting around, with Christine in the middle, which is to say that everyone knew her; the photographer was a colleague from Paris, and was just coming from the red carpet at the Palais. He shoots conflict zones normally, but the red carpet pays, especially in Cannes.

The photographer was particularly happy about a shot he got of Nicole Kidman french-kissing her husband Keith Urban. Someone asked him if he yells at the celebrities the way some photographers do. “Sometimes you have to,” he said. “ It’s so that they look at you.” Much more saleable.

And that’s where Carey Mulligan came in. “She’s an oyster, she gives you nothing.” He makes a face, to give an idea of what Carey Mulligan looks like as an oyster.  She is not smiling; she is impassive; she is closed. In fact she looks a little like her character in “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

I asked him if he felt she owed the photographers something. “No,” he said, “but yes, she’s participating in a photo shoot at Cannes; if she didn’t want to, that would be one thing.” Perhaps she simply doesn’t have the personality for it, I suggested. 

The others were waiting on an invite to the Weinstein party, but I had to go back to my room and write.  Not to be completely out-partied, I said, “I’m going to have my own party,” and pulled the slip of paper out of my jacket pocket. It had been put under my door earlier in the day, when I was lying on my bed; I didn’t get up at the time because I assumed it was a receipt from my landlady, whom I’d paid earlier. But when I left to meet the group for dinner, I picked it up and read: “Room 8170A. Open the door.”

“That’s hot!” said Julia. Indeed, I had had all sorts of lurid thoughts of someone waiting for me in some form of readiness...for some form of activity. But what, exactly? Now all I could think of was Carey Mulligan as an oyster.

***

By this point in the festival, the morning screenings are beginning to look like a George Romero casting call. After four hours of sleep, I settled into my seat at the Lumiere hoping that the blood about to flow in Takashi Miike’s “Shield of Straw” would provide a boost along the lines of Lance Armstrong preparing for the Tour de France. And to a certain extent, it did. This über-moralizing tale follows a small group of police officers assigned to protect an alleged killer of a young girl as he is moved from one part of the country to Tokyo. The twist is that the girl’s billionaire grandfather on his death bed offers a prize of 1 billion yen to kill the suspect. Even those who try and fail will be paid 1 million. This causes untold people to go absolutely bonkers in an attempt to kill the young man, who turns out to be an actual perverted lunatic. (When he breaks free momentarily, he happens to see the legs of a young girl sleeping and goes for it.) But nothing perverts like money, and cops are just as susceptible, so things get interesting. Massive vehicular chase scenes, examples of betrayal and honesty and integrity and bravery, personal tragedies, sappiness and more moralizing than you can shake a samurai sword at, “Shield of Straw” would be welcome respite on a long flight or at home in flu season. Worth schlepping to after four hours of sleep? Perhaps, if only to see the way, in Miike’s world, people go from perfectly, normally calm to shrieking, can’t-put-the-huge-butcher-knife-down FRENZY in one second flat. Corny as all of this is, I didn’t fall asleep.

***

Best restaurant name in Cannes: Wasabi d’Azur.

***

According to the City of Cannes, during its twelve days the festival generates 200 million euros worth of business, 3,160 jobs, and 88,342 overnight stays in hotels (15% of annual hotel stays). These figures probably do not reflect private-home rentals, which are booming.

***

The sea-life toilet seat
The sea-life toilet seat

Alas, my time in Cannes was over. I tidied up the room, took one last look at the sea-life toilet seat, closed the door and began to put the key’s in Madame C’s mailbox, when I realized that I needed the magnetic key thing to get out of the main gate. So I called her phone, and she said she’d be right down.

While walking me to the gate, she said, “Didn’t you get my note?”

I was just about to say, “Madame C! That was you?” when she added, “with the code to the gate?”

“Ah,” I said, a bit crestfallen, “you mean the code 8170A?” She nodded, smiling. “Ah,” I said again. “I thought it was a woman, you know, in chains or something...”

As I pulled my suitcase down the Boulevard Strasbourg, I thought I could hear Madame C still cackling. Either that or it was a seagull.

This article is related to: Festivals, Cannes Film Festival, Inside Llewyn Davis, Carey Mulligan, Reviews


E-Mail Updates






Festivals on TOH



Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.