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Cannes Film Festival Update: thieves hit the festival, ‘Fruitvale Station’ shines

Cannes Film Festival Update: thieves hit the festival, ‘Fruitvale Station’ shines

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The big news out of Cannes today was nothing about the movies. Instead, thieves reportedly broke into the hotel room of a Chopard employee, where jewels were being kept in a safe in a hotel room. Chopard is an exclusive Swiss jeweler. The jewels were to be loaned to celebrities who have arrived on the French Riviera for the famous film festival. Reports say the thieves ripped the safe off the wall (read more: $1 Million Jewelry Heist At Cannes During The Bling Ring Premiere).

On to the films.

Le-Passe-PosterCannes saw the the debut of Le Passé (The Past), by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. Farhadi won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film for 2012’s A Separation. Farhadi’s new effort has polarized critics. Some of the superlatives attached to the film have been ‘Brilliant’ and ‘Shattering’. But for every glowing review, there was a negative one. ‘Heavy-handed’ and ‘Huge Disappointment’ are a couple of the comments from critics.

First time director Ryan Coogler has scored a hit with the critics for his film Fruitvale Station. The film details the events leading up to the shooting of Oscar Grant, a 22-year old African-American, who was killed by a transit police officer in 2009 at Fruitvale train station in Oakland, California. The film rewinds Grant’s life 24 hours, and follows him to his tragic end. Fruitvale Station won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Prize at Sundance.

Director Ari Folman’s mix of animation and live-action in his latest film, The Congress, is getting mixed reviews. Critics are applauding the film’s ambition, but are lukewarm to the results. The Congress is a sci-fi drama based on a novel by Stanislaw Lem. Folman had a breakout hit in 2008 with Waltz With Bashir.

People are still buzzing about Mexican director Amat Escalante’s stark, violent drug war drama Heli. The bleak film illustrates the devastation caused by narco-violence on a Mexican family.

In industry news, Primeridian Entertainment has hired Cyrus Nowrasteh to write and direct a film on Soviet dissident and Nobel Prize winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

Peter Webber, who directed Girl with a Pearl Earring and Hannibal Rising, will helm Bedlam Productions’ Happy Camp. Happy Camp is a film noirish story of a former California sheriff who goes looking for his missing daughter.

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