Cannes is not just about showing new films – it’s about celebrating cinema’s past as well. In addition to a fully restored, 70mm version of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s 1963 love story Cleopatra, the festival is showcasing a 3-D version of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1987 epic The Last Emperor.
Sunday marks the awarding of the Palme d’Or. Joel and Ethan Coen’s latest, Inside Llewyn Davis, has emerged as the front-runner according to British polls. A Touch of Sin (Tian Zhu Ding) by Jia Zhangke is second.
Speaking of cinema’s past, it’s wonderful to see the triumphant return of Robert Redford to the big screen at age 76. His new new film, All Is Lost, is a one man show, with Redford playing a sailor stranded at sea. The film, by J.C. Chandor, is almost dialogue free. But that hasn’t stopped critics from heaping praising the film, Redford and Chandor. Redford and the film reportedly received a 9-minute ovation at the film’s initial screening.
Alexander Payne’s new film, Nebraska, is getting excellent reviews from critics. The film, about a dysfunctional father/son road trip to a run-down town in the middle of Nebraska, echoes many of the same themes and moods of Payne’s last film, The Descendants. Veteran actor Bruce Dern is getting top notices as the shaggy father who drags his son (Will Forte) across the country. The lack of star power, and the black and white cinematography, will probably limit the film’s potential earnings.
Don’t be surprised if both Redford and Dern are Oscar nominees next year.
Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s fifth film, Grigris, is in the competition for the Palme d’Or. It debuted to mixed reviews from critics. The film is set in Chad, and tells the tale of a young man whose ambition is to be a dancer despite having a paralyzed leg. Critics are praising star Souleymane Deme (and his dancing), but are finding the film meandering and, ultimately, dull.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.