All that waiting, and the opening night film of the Cannes Film Festival was a bust. Directed by the Brazilian Fernando Meirelles and with an excellent cast that includes Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, “Blindness” nevertheless proved to be a drawn out, lackluster affair. It starts with one person and then the whole world starts going blind with the unexplained exception of Julianne Moore who plays the Doctor’s Wife. The blind lead the blind (Allegory Alert!) and –who would have thought?–civilization descends into barbarity. People are really mean to each other but, in the end, Love prevails. There you have it. Although Julianne Moore worked hard, her character was thinly written but, then again, characters don’t count in this movie. It’s the Big Idea that counts. … Continue reading →
The 61st Cannes Film Festival, led by jury president Sean Penn, is starting to shape up. Does it seem very last minute for a festival starting in three weeks? It is. This year more than any other was marked by last minute crises over if and when certain films would be finished. Clint Eastwood and Steven Soderbergh contributed to the suspense; their entries were confirmed only hours before the announcement yesterday. And we still don’t know which films will be opening and closing the festival! Here’s the list of the films in competition: “Uç Maymun” (The Three Monkeys): Turkey: Nuri Bilge Ceylan “Le silence de Lorna”: Belgium: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne “Changeling”: USA: Clint Eastwood “Un Conte de Noel”: France: Arnaud Desplechin “Adoration”: Canada: Atom Egoyan “Waltz with Bashir”/ Israel: Ari Folman “La Frontiere de l’Aube”: France: Philippe Garrel “Gomorra”: Italy: Matteo Garrone “24 City”: China: Jia Zhangke “Synecdoche, New York”: USA: Charlie Kaufman “My Magic”: Singapore: Eric Khoo “L Mujer sin Cabeza”: Argentina: Lucrecia Martel “Serbis”: Philippines: Brillante Mendoza “Delta”: Hungary: Kornel Mundruczo Linha de Passe”: Brazil: Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas “Che”: USA: Steven Soderbergh Il Divo” : Italy: Paolo Sorrentino “Leonera”: Argentina: Pablo Trapero “The Palermo Shooting”: Germany: Wim Wenders Stay tuned for more news about the festival including my secret advice for seeing festival films without a badge. And it’s legal! See more about visiting Cannes, France.
Even when you live in what is arguable the most heavenly place in Europe, sometimes you just gotta getaway. And so we took a little break this week in the Var, a region I don’t know terribly well. OK, I visited St Tropez once about five years ago as part of a guidebook update but, as usual, was too frazzled to enjoy it. This time we did. Just heading aimlessly west, we found ourselves in a little village called La Plan de la Tour (le what de la what?). It’s a tiny stone village buried in the Maures mountains inland from the Golfe de Saint Tropez. We headed to the tourist office and started calling around for accommodation. What luck! We settled on La Bergerie a couple of kilometres outside the village. It’s a typical mas de Provence with a sprawling terrain that includes a swimming pool, vineyards, boules court and outdoor terrace. The room was cheery and the Carantas couldn’t have been more welcoming. This delightful, outgoing couple provided a wealth of local info and conjured up amazing breakfasts. St Tropez is, as always, an island of pastel houses and boutiques amid an ocean of cars. For a midweek afternoon in April, the traffic getting into and out of town was truly stupifying. I can only imagine the summer gridlock and imagining it is as close as we intend to get to St Tropez in the summer. It wasn’t really beach weather but I really wanted to check out … Continue reading →