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May 20 2017

Cannes Days 2-4: "Wonderstruck"and More

by Nathaniel R

One of our all time favorite movie couples reunited: Julianne Moore and Todd Haynes

After the fiasco ofthat opening press conferenceand the typical "underwhelmed"response to the opening night film,happier news.The first full day of screenings brought us news of Todd HaynesWonderstruckwhich reunites one of the world's greatest auteurs with his earliest muse Julianne Moore,and other reportedly fine films.Read on for more!

Julianne portrait from Cannes 70's opening night - C'MON PERFECTION

Millicent Simmonds is winning rave reviews for her performance

Wonderstruck(opening October 20th in limited release)
Todd Haynes new film,which is about two deaf children in two different time periods,is your early Oscar leader forBest Original Score(at least according to Cannes buzz before we've seen any other Oscar contenders).Carter Burwell,who received his first nomination for Carol,gets even more of a showcase in this film since it's not movie star face or dialogue heavy.Much of the film is apparently silent but for Burwell's score.If you believe THRit's an Oscar contender across the boardactually,despite some mixed reviews.That tracks since the reaction to Todd Haynes films is always predictable and Wonderstruck proves it yet again: There's the people who fall madly deeply in love and others who feel there's a barrier between them and the screen --they might admire it but nothing more (sounds typical,right?!)

Palme Contender?PERHAPS (if they feel bad aboutCarolnot winning as big as it should have...and Cannes does have the same thing as Oscar in terms of the "it's your turn"dynamic...regardless of the films in question and the shifting juries)
Reviews:IndieWire,Variety,Vulture,Slant,The Hollywood Reporter

Andrey Zvyagintsev,who last directed the Oscar & BAFTA nomineeLeviathan,returns with a bleak study of human detachment in Russia,in which an unhappy couple's son goes missing.

Palme Contender: MOST DEFINITELY (especially if the jury is feeling nihilistic...some people seem to dislike this with others calling it a knockout but I've learned over the years that bleaker-than-bleak stuff has better shot at festival awards than it appears to from a distance)
Reviews:Little White Lies,The Film Stage,The Telegraph

The all-star cutesy monster movie from the great Bong Joon-Ho,was called "uneven"but its peaks are apparently dizzying.And visual!This is both great news and bad news since Netflix has the movie and will probably only do a perfunctory theatrical release in a few markets but will mostly just send it straight to streaming.From the early reactions,and this won't be a surprise if you've seen any of Bong Joon-Ho's movies,it benefits from a giant screen.Jake Gyllenhaal's over-the-topness is getting quite a reaction,too.

Palme Contender?MAYBE LEANING NO
Reviews:Collider,The Guardian,Vanity Fair

Jupiter Moon
Kornel Mundruczo's allegorical drama kicks off with a Syrian refugee surviving three gunshots to the chest.Instead of dying he begins to levitate.It morphs into a chase movie at some point?I haven't read any reviews in full because it sounds like a "you had to be there"genre mish-mash where the details are best left discovered onscreen but people seem tonotlove it.Even the ones who like it.The Hungarian director previously had a big hit at Cannes withWhite God.

Palme Contender: NO
Reviews:The Playlist,Flickering Myth,Screen Int'l

BPM (Beats Per Minute)
This French film about a group of Act-Up AIDS activists in Paris in the early 90s joins the recent rich wave of new acclaimed Queer cinema (so nice that it's suddenly back!).Director Robin Campillo,who was just such an activist in his youth,previously made the gay dramaEastern Boys(available to stream on Netflix) and was a co-writer on the brilliant French Oscar nomineeThe Classabout a high school teacher and his students which won the Palme d'Or in 2008.Critics loveBPMfor its vital absorbing drama but also say it's long and erotic How is Will Smith going to handle watching all that gay sex from the jury?

Palme contender?MOST DEFINITELY
Reviews:Variety,Vanity Fair,The Playlist

The Square
Ruben Östlund returns to the festival but in competition this time after his jury prize in the Un Certain Regard sidebar withForce Majeureand again skewers the bourgeoisie but this time,rather than gender politics via a husband and a wife on a ski trip,he's satirizing the art world.A lot of Cannes attendees are calling in 'this year'sToni Erdmann'because it's reportedly both very long and very funny.Though the length doesn't seem to be getting a free pass from reviewers as it did withToni Erdmann.I love this quote from Owen Glieberman who gets at Östlund's particular brilliance:

Ostlund creates suspense the old-fashioned way,setting up scenes that make the audience go:What in God's name is going to happen next?But he also creates suspense in a new-fangled way,turning the space between people into an alarming existential battleground.He's like Hitchcock infused with the spirit of mid-period Bergman.

Palme contender?MAYBE LEANING NO
Reviews:Variety,The Hollywood Reporter,The Guardian

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Reader Comments (27)

Jake Gyllenhaal's over-the-topness is getting quite a reaction,too.

This is a nice way to say.He's getting really terrible reactions for his performance.When a critic said Sascha Baron Cohen/Sharlto Copley can play better your role,beware.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered Commenterleon

Also,the first word of Hazanavicius' is really positive (With some detractors from the Godard's guard,but that was expected).including a full frontal nude by Louis Garrel :P

May 20,2017 | Unregistered Commenterleon

Why everyone assumes Will Smith is an old-fashioned moron?Just because he is a blockbuster leading black man,does not mean he can't appreciate queer cinema.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterTheBoyFromBrazil

@TheBoyFromBrazil I believe the origin of that Will Smith-queer cinema joke is his (in)famous decision to not kiss his male co-star when he was filming SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION.A couple of years later he said he regretted that decision,saying that such decision came from a younger less enlightened actor.

While we are talking about Will Smith I do hope some folks in the media shut up anout HOW ODD it is to see him in this kind of environment.Like let's just let the man do his job.Who knows maybe this leads him to be in the he'll be in the next t Bong Joon-Ho film (fingers crossed)

The Square seems to be a nice follow up to Force Majeure.Can't wait to see it.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterCalvin R.

@TheBoyFromBrazil: Exactly.I was told I had a "racially based agenda"for calling out Greta Gerwig's lack of talent (which I can judge from watching her "acting"on screen).He's just assuming stuffs about a black guy who doesn't even know.Ridiculous.Take off YOUR blinders,Nathaniel.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

I'm concerned about "Wonderstruck"after the early reviews,clip,and poster.Making a movie about museums isn't going to help shake Haynes' films' reputation of intellectual remove."Carol"already felt like a diorama under thick,thick glass,so that teaser clip of still-life museum exhibits wasn't encouraging.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

The Boy From Brazil -- yeah,what Calvin said.In the 90s he made some comments indicating he was not really down with the LGBT so it's natural to assume queer cinema wouldn't be his favorite thing.

May 20,2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Me34 -- sorry but it's not an assumption drawn from racial bias -- i feel much much worse andused to repeatedly call about Mel Gibson's anti-gay problems for instance..Will Smith made those comments in the 90s.I'm not just making stuff up about his discomfort (unless he was lying at the time).

I think his excuse,in addition to discomfort was he didnn't want his family to see it (if i remember correctly).Actors who can't handle roles should not take them.I'm allowed to think it's terribly unprofessional to take a role that you can't fully commit to due to your prejudices.

May 20,2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

@Nathaniel: Didn't you were defending Charlotte Rampling after her racist rampage in the middle of her Oscar campaign?You did this while it was happening IN REAL TIME.Will Smith did this a while ago and he apologized (even more sincerely than she did).It feels as if you think we,people of color,don't want to have to do anything with the LGBT community (left alone if we're even allies) and it's showing your awful prejudice.You know what?I'm out,it's useless to discuss this.It's like talking to a wall.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

Completely agree with you Nat.The black community has a long sad history with homophobia,but fortunately in recent years people like Kid Cudi in JAMES WHITE have showed that idiotic small minded behaviors like those of Will in 6DOS are not something younger black actors of today endorse.That said it does matter that he apologized later on,and showed remorse and some kind of shame.Don't you agree?Yes I would have liked to see him do another film where he plays a lgbtq character and/or endorse and support films like Moonlight......but I'm not his agent.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterSarah M.

Nathaniel,i didnt know he made this comments in the 90s.And I did not want to acuse you of racism.Sorry if read like that.

But I am really tired of the way the media treats the Smith family,always assuming they are shitheads,from Jared,to Will,Jada...

So..your cannes coverage is great btw

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterTheBoyFromBrazil

Those reviews for Wonderstruck are VERY mixed.After the awesome 1-2 punch of Still Alice and Maps to the Stars in 2014,I was hoping to see Julianne in another killer role.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

I'm concerned about Wonderstuck.They keep comparing it to Hugo and Michelle has a tiny role.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

What were the Act-Up guys doing in Paris?There's Universal Health Coverage in France.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I can't imagine Todd Haynes has made anything close to Hugo.I think Almodovar's jury will be make selections heavy on the queer and the female.And it s just the way it is.I think Wonderstruck may win something smaller.But 120 BPM seems like the favorite so far.Also really looking forward for the reception for The Killing of a Sacred Deer.Everything about it seems very very exciting.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterTony T

Nat: I'll probably at least like Wonderstruck (Haynes hasn't made a BAD movie yet),but to anyone saying "this reminds me of Hugo"?Well,it's adapting a book by the same author.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia


The Will Smith incident was over 2 decades ago.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

Nikki: Exactly.If you think he still is the guy he was then?No.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

@Sarah M

What a gross thing to say.Homophobia is a global issue.Don't ever use black people as a scapegoat.

May 20,2017 | Unregistered CommenterJessie

Me34 -- if you feel like you're talking to a brick wall i think that might be because online conversations are burdened with a lot of dead space into which we all project things.Like with Charlotte Rampling.I did not defend her comments that season but you may have construed my lack of condemnation about it (i chose not to talk about it) and support for her Oscar nomination (i was thrilled she was nominated because she's fucking brilliant in that movie) as support of whatever she said.But support of performances is totally different than support of celebrity comments.(for the record I think Will Smith is a good actor,loved him in Ali and I Am Legend in particular)

But it's like people expecting me to condemn Kidman when she made that dumb Trump comment that everyone was making when they were interviewed about him around that time.I don't like shaming celebrities for making stupid errors that they might not have made at a different moment just because everyone else loves shame culture.I dont so i'm not likely to jump on actresses for dumb comments.

I'll admit that i can see why that might sound a llittle hypocritical given the Will Smith thing from the 90s but I was just coming out around that time when he said those things and so it was a very raw moment for baby gay me..I guess I held a bit of a grudge.

May 21,2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Let's not forget that Will Smith has TWO children who identify as part of the LGBT community (I know that it's still acceptable in the wider world to dismiss anything Jaden or Willow do as "worthless nepotism"but my god,they both show real promise as avant-garde pop stars).

Secondly,his wife has always been frank about her own same-sex relationships before meeting Will.

I think we should all move on (especially as I seem to recall the main reason Will didn't kiss his co-star was on the advice of Denzel Washington,who told him that it would alienate a fledgling fanbase and that he should wait until later in his career before doing it - a political/PR decision,not a personal "distaste")

May 21,2017 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

I think Almodovar explicitly said he wouldn't be considering any streaming films for the Palme d'Or Bong Joon-ho and Noah Baumbach's are out of the question.I'm just glad I'll get to see OKJA at the Sydney Film Festival.

May 21,2017 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Glenn -- i didn't interpret Pedro's comments at the press conference in *that* definitive of terms (though the media headlines definitiely did).It sounded to me like he was just having trouble reconciling 'give the palme d'or to something that is not showing at the movies?' question/equation since the palme d'Or is for movies.and i don't blame him.

Kermit -- point taken (even if I think you're just shifting all the blame to Denzel.Will was a grown man!).It has been a long time and you're right so moving on!

May 21,2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

No,Nath.Almodovar actually reaffirmed his stance with streaming films in other mediums.Okja and Baumbach films are out of Palme d'Or.

May 21,2017 | Unregistered Commenterleon

Well,the discussion had a positive outcome,bravo for all involved =)

May 21,2017 | Unregistered CommenterTheBoyFromBrazil

To be fair,I think Will Smith made those comments more due to culture at the time than his actual personal feelings,and I don't think he still thinks the same way.His kids are some of the most progressive,forward-thinking young stars today.

May 22,2017 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I agree with Nathaniel that if Will couldn't handle the role he shouldn't have taken it.Sadly,in the early 90s for a young actor looking to breakout as a movie star particularly in the action genre,doing that scene probably would have had a negative impact on his career.

May 22,2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike Troutman

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