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Thompson on Hollywood

Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds Plays Cannes

Nowhere but Cannes would 2500 media urgently assemble in one place to see a movie at 8:30 AM. As Quentin Tarantino himself said at the jam-packed Inglourious Basterds press conference, "There's no place like Cannes for filmmakers on the face of the earth. It's Cinema Nirvana during this time here on the Riviera. Cinema matters. It's important. Even when people boo --out of passion--it's not just images glazing over you. All the world film press on the planet earth, America, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, even Canada--that's a country--something about them all being here, you drop the movie--bam!--at once everyone weighs in at the same time...I'm not an American filmmaker, I make movies for the planet earth and Cannes represents that."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 20, 2009 9:29 AM
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Cannes Watch: IFC Buys Antichrist, Looking for Eric

Continuing their buying jag, IFC acquired Lars von Trier's Antichrist, which made quite a splash at Cannes, sparking controversy and debate. UPDATE: IFC had told me the director was willing to make trims on the film. IFC confirms that they are going to review the film again, but that the plan leaving Cannes was to show the uncut version in theaters (there are very few that can/will play it) and Trier's "Catholic" version on VOD. (See this story and this one. IFC, which is owned by publicly held Rainbow Media, has the option of going unrated.) IFC released Trier's last two films.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 20, 2009 9:24 AM
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Cannes: Von Trier's Antichrist is Arthouse Horror

Antichrist is a shocker, no question. It's powerful filmmaking. Danish bad boy Lars von Trier set out to make moviegoers gasp. It's unreleasable as is in many countries--insertion shot, bloody hand job, female genital self-mutilation and all.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 18, 2009 9:38 AM
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Cannes Press Conference Erupts Over Trier's Antichrist

The Monday press conference for Lars von Trier's Antichrist was packed. Right out of the gate, The London Daily Mail's Baz Bamigboye demanded that Trier justify his film. This immediately threw the filmmaker off, and he refused to expound on his thinking. "I don't have to justify," he said, his hand trembling.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 18, 2009 9:34 AM
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Cannes Day Three: Bright Star, Taking Woodstock

The new Bob Berney/Bill Pohlad combine scored quite a coup by pre-buying, sight unseen, off a set visit and a script, the new Jane Campion film Bright Star, which screened well Friday morning for the press corps. I caught Berney and Pohlad on the Croisette Friday, beaming over the favorable early reaction. They're opening the film on September 18. "Toronto will be the launch of the campaign," said Berney. Awards season is in their sights, but the prime target audience will be teenage girls, says Berney. Pohlad and Berney still haven't cleared the name of their company, which was hard to choose. "We have to live with it for a while," says Berney, who saw Bright Star two weeks ago.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 15, 2009 9:45 AM
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Cannes Day Two: Fassbender Pops, Gallo doesn't

What a difference casting makes. Thursday's competition film from Andrea Arnold, her second feature Fish Tank, features a break-out performance from Irish actor Michael Fassbender, who made a mark as a starving IRA prisoner in Hunger, and who also stars in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. Often shirtless in Fish Tank, Fassbender had women buzzing after the picture. The movie played well for critics but will likely be a hurry-up-and-wait buy for an IFC, Magnolia or Sony Classics.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 14, 2009 9:50 AM
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Sony Hearts Chanel and Auteurs Haneke, Almodovar

At a time when other distribs are treading cautiously, steady Cannes buyer Sony Pictures Classics bets on their own taste and gut instinct for what they can achieve in the marketplace. They don't always wait to see how a film will play at a festival, and try not to overpay (although they get clipped every now and then). They're still betting on theatrical releases like the James Toback doc Tyson, which they bought out of Cannes last year, and the Israeli animated Oscar-contender Waltz with Bashir. "We're thinking long-term," says co-president Michael Barker, who came into Cannes with Pedro Almodovar's Broken Embraces, which is set for a pre-Thanksgiving November release. "It's the fifth one we committed to at the script stage. There are fewer quality films, so it's in our interest to get involved early. It's harder to find films at these festivals than it used to be."
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 13, 2009 4:23 AM
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Cannes Day One: Up Up and Away

Cannes master promoter Thierry Fremaux knows what he is doing: the photo taken from the Debussy stage of the Cannes press corps wearing 3-D glasses will be seen everywhere. (They had to be returned.) I started out the morning in tears during Up , which as Disney chairman Dick Cook puts it, is Pixar's "most emotional film." Co-writers Bob Peterson and Pete Docter took the idea of an old guy who travels in a house carried aloft by balloons to find a lost South American paradise, and worked it over for a good two years before it passed enough muster to go into voice casting and animation.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 13, 2009 4:19 AM
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Cannes: The Night Before

One tried-and-true Cannes ritual is the Tuesday night dinner at La Pizza. With many travelers admonished by their bosses to watch their expenses this year, La Pizza is a relatively inexpensive option. Hollywood Elsewhere's Jeff Wells rounded up a gaggle of writers, some print (like The Washington Post's Ann Hornaday) and online (MSN and AMC's James Rocchi) as well as IndieWire stalwarts Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks. Julian Sancton will be blogging Cannes for the first time for VanityFair.com. Lionsgate, Fox Searchlight and Jere Hausfater were in the house, as well as the Alamo Drafthouse's Tim League.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 12, 2009 4:28 AM
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Cannes Gets Started with Up, Fish Tank

I've packed too much, as usual, for my ten-day sojourn in Europe. (No paying for bags on international flights.) I fly overnight to London arriving Monday, hang with some friends on jet-lag night (I packed my Tylenol PM) and head for Nice Tuesday morning.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • May 10, 2009 4:32 AM
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