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Cannes Virgin Diary #1: Berkeley Grad Hits Critics Week

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! May 18, 2012 at 7:12PM

Cannes is a crazy place for a first-timer. There's the dicey wi-fi to contend with. The 7 AM queues of pushy cinephiles waiting outside the Grand Theatre. The possibility of not getting into a screening because you don't have the clout. The nagging urge to nod off during a film at the behest of jet-lag.
"Rust & Bone" French poster
"Rust & Bone" French poster

Later that day, I attended La Semaine's Opening Night ceremony, a screening of Rufus Norris' "Broken." (I agree with Kevin Jagernauth's review.) I may or may not have nodded off during one of the films so far, and this may or may not be the one.

Today, after a wholesome breakfast of three chocolate croissants (which I will never eat again as long as I live) and four shots of Nespresso (c'est complimentaire! pour-quoi pas?) on the beach, I vibrated over to the Miramar for two more Semaine screenings. First-time director Alejandro Fadel's confidently rendered, mystical "Los Salvajes" is a film about five wayward youths who flee society and take to the wilderness — it's "Moonrise Kingdom"'s dark doppelganger — in Argentina, "Los Salvajes" demonstrates Fadel's preternatural command for mise-en-scene.

He captures nature in such strange and defamiliarizing ways that I can only compare him to Apichatpong Weerasethakul (I'm still amazed I can write that without name-checking) or perhaps a younger Terrence Malick. Moments of sublime beauty are perforated by intense violence, animal killings and the bleat of wild boars. This is the most promising debut in La Semaine so far.

Following Los Salvajes was "Au Galop" by Louis-Do de Lencquesaing (had to name-check that one). He starred in 2009's "Father of My Children," as he does in this film. A French comedy about grief and infidelity, "Au Galop" plays like a modern-day Anton Chekhov, with sharp dialogue and astute observations about the life of a writer.

That's all for now. Another night of back-to-back screenings and jerry-rigging wi-fi connections in public places awaits me.

This article is related to: Cannes Film Festival, Festivals, Festivals

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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.