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Cannes Virgin Diary 4: Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis," Reygadas' "Post Tenebras Lux"

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! May 26, 2012 at 6:09PM

My trip is winding down to an end, and the festival has ended on such a high note for me. Last night, I tried once again to see Leos Carax's "Holy Motors," but the screening was cancelled. I cried a little, and then ate a Big Mac. But in spite of that disappointment, I've seen some excellent films.
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"Cosmopolis"
"Cosmopolis"

My trip is winding down to an end, and the festival has ended on such a high note for me. Last night, I tried once again to see Leos Carax's "Holy Motors," but the screening was cancelled. I cried a little, and then ate a Big Mac. But in spite of that disappointment, I've seen some excellent films.

Last night I caught a screening of David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis." Until then, can you believe I had never actually seen Robert Pattinson in a movie? I was surprised by his performance — cold, unfeeling, sexy, channeling some Travis Bickle in there. The film bristles with energy, ideas and confidence. The final scene, especially, is one of Cronenberg's best to date. This is his best work since "A History of Violence," and even though I'm guilty of unwavering auteur loyalty here — this guy could shit in a paper bag, and I'd be there — this film exceeded my expectations. 

Earlier in the day, at a nearly empty screening, probably due to bad press, I caught Carlos Reygadas' "Post Tenebras Lux." Like an arthouse home movie or a symbol-laden dream, the film unfurls with syncopated motifs, clever allusions and a non-linear story. There's also a cartoon-animated devil, and a kaleidoscope-like lens effect that Reygadas uses in the Academy ratio (I love any film shot like this, like Xavier Dolan's "Laurence Anyways").

Sunday before I board my train to Paris, where I will spend my last few days in France before coming back to the US, I'm going to try one last time to see "Holy Motors," and Hong Sang-soo's "In Another Country" (got shut out of that screening). Today I plan to take a last look around Cannes, a city that has been a lovely home-away-from-home for me the last two weeks. The energy around here is not what it was last week. People are tired and worn-out. Many of the films have been so slow, but these last two were filled with so much energy, I feel exhilarated and even more hopeful about the forthcoming year in movies.

But what I love about Cannes and this festival is the constant stream of cinephiles surrounding me on all sides. I can't find this at home so much, except maybe with the friends I've indoctrinated in my tastes. People are always willing to talk with me in line about the films they've seen, or want to see, or even films that aren't part of the festival. This is such a wonderful community of moviegoers. In spite of some of my grumbling, I'm going to miss it here.

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


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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.