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Lulu Wang(The Farewell)
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May 19 2019

Cannes: Rocketman,Les Miserables,Bacarau,and Red Carpet Men.

Richard,Taron,and Elton at the premiere.

Women get all 98% of the attention on the red carpet but we'll get to the gowns a bit later.For whatever reason,order of programming or specific films,or what not,in the first weekend of the festival the male-centric stuff is what's popping from the French filmLes Miserables(notan adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel or Broadway musical) to the polarizing Brazilian filmBacurau(from the director ofAquarius- yay!) to the Elton John bioRocketman.

Rocketmanhad the glitziest premiere - give or take Jim Jarmusch's opening night screening forDead Don't Die,so today we're gazing at the men in their finery from the first few days of the festival and at the reviews for a few of the early films screened,too. It's all after the jump...

Reviews are in and their flamboyantly positive at least in terms of pullquotes.I'm sensing some hedging in a lot of the reviews (though admittedly I only skim Cannes reviews as 85% of critics in the current marketplace have no qualms about spoilers) in that there's a lot of talking about how audiences might react as opposed to how said critic reacted.Stll the blurbs are great.Vox throws out a few mixed messages but calls it "a frenetic jewel-studded ecstasy of a movie"while Polygon after lots of small complaints calls it "the best musical biopic in ages."Variety is largely mixed and seems disappointed that the surface pleasures are all that's on its mind calling it "a kind of Baz Luhrmann by way of David LaChapelle disco-ball fantasy"Everyone seems taken with Taron Egerton's performance though Variety notes that Jamie Bell sings even more beautifully.For some reason they consider this surprising even though we Jamie Bell fans have known that Hollywood has been wasting him for years.Which only reminds us how badly we wish that someone would produce/fund that Fred Astaire biopic that Jamie Bell still dreams of doing.


Daniel Wu (Into the Badlands) and Dylan Robert (who recently won the César for "Most Promising Actor"in France )

Russia's Kantemir Balagov (who is at the festival with his film "Beanpole") and Belgium's Lukas Dhont (who won the Camera d'Or last year for "Girl")

27 year old Russian filmmaker Kantemir Balagov is making waves at Cannes with his second feature.Vareity calls it "slow,ferocious,and extraordinary."It's a Post World War II drama about a traumatized tall and lanky nurse (hence the title) working in a Leningrad Veteran's hospital.It's grim stuff or as The Hollywood Reporter puts it "Balagov demonstrates blossoming virtuosity in his bold staging and long-take preferences,even if what he is focusing upon usually ranges from the uncomfortable to the ghastly."Screen Daily and IndieWire seem slightly less impressed about the cumulative affect but both rave about the filmmaking in one way or another.

Opening any festival is always a precarious position as its pretty impossible to set any kind of tone that will a) meet everyone's expectations b) while whetting their appetite for what's to come or c) delaying their curiousity/anxiety/excitement about what's to come enough enough to fully engage.Jim Jarmusch's zombie comedy movie got respectful reviews though most don't seem particularly enthralled.Vox spends most of the review discussing zombie lore and how this reflects and departs from other zombie movies andfits with the Trump era.The Film Stage nearly apologizes for not liking it referring to its chuckle-worthy moments and a couple great scenes but admits that it "ultimately stalls."Screen Anarchy loves it,though,saying "Jarmusch has somehow restored originality,social satire,and most excitingly,existentialism back into what's become deeply tired territory."

Divisive Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive,Neon Demon) is back but this time with a 13 hour streaming series,the fourth and fifth episodes of which debuted at Cannes.Collider calls it both ambitious and brilliant but says "It will absolutely test the limits of what even the most artistically open-minded viewers can embrace on the small screen."The Guardian seems to feel its most comparable to Only God Forgives among Refn's work and says it's "every bit as hypnotically horrible and upsetting as you would expect."

DJ and French LGBT celebrityKiddy SmileMiles Teller (Too Old to Die Young),Keiynan Lonsdale (The Flash),and Djebril Zonga (Les Miserables)

Actor Yuan Hong (The Rise of the Phoenixes) and Director Romain Gavras (The World is Yours)

Director Ladj Ly (Les Miserables) and Actor/Legend Udo Kier (Bacurau)

This directorial debut from Ladj Ly is winning raves.IndieWirecurrently thinks it will win the Palme d'Or(though we're early in the festival still).Despite the title this is not another adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel or the British musical.Instead what we have here is a contemporary drama about the tension between French police and the Muslim population of France.

This is one of the two or three Cannes films your host here at TFE is most eager to see.It's from Brazilian filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho who made the brilliantAquariusa couple of years back.His star in that picture,the great Sonia Braga,returns for this ambitious bloody Western about a remote village and a water crisis.Udo Keir is the villain.Critics agree that its very strange and dreamlike but don't agree on how effective it is.Variety isn't thrilled with it describing it as "that rare movie that probably would have been better if it had been dumber,or at least less ambitious"though that blurb makes us want to see it even more to determine if we agree or not.Little White Lies likes it a lot more labelling it "one sublimely unusual beast."

Nick Jonas and Fionn Whitehead (Fionn is representing "Port Authority")Oscar winner Jean Dujardin and French TV personality NaguiHu Ge from "Wild Goose Call"and August Diehl (Terrence Malick's "Hidden Life")

Diao Yinan's  (Black Coal Thin Ice) is back with a visually dazzling gangster noir.Variety admires it's "slick,dark dazzle."The Wrap is slightly more dismissive calling it "indulgent,but fun."

More from Cannes to come...

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Reader Comments (9)

Kiddy Smile looks like he is wearing his grandma's house dress

May 19,2019 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

This men-in-womenswear on red carpets thing is getting tired.If the goal is to make drag so commonplace (and in this case,so lazy and impersonal) that it ceases to feel special or subversive,congrats to everyone?

Give it time.As with the harness,at next year's SAG Awards Michael B.Jordan will be rocking his own unflattering floral tent dress.Progress!

May 19,2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnonnny

Richard Madden and Taron Edgerton are gayer that Gaye Gayerson.Ditto Nick Jonas.The Hollywood closet is sadly alive and well in 2019 for $$$.

May 19,2019 | Unregistered CommenterM.

Jean Dujardin is still dashing.Wow.

What happened to his Hollywood career?Was it the accent?He wouldn't be the first French person to overcome the accent,right?

May 19,2019 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Definitely want to seeToo Old to Die Youngand everything else so far.

Plus,I'm relieved to know thatRocketmanis really good.So now can we blame Bryan Singer for the reasonBohemian Rhapsodywas shit?

May 19,2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Brazilian actor silvero pereira walked the red carpet for "bacurau"in drag,it would be cool to feature him.

he stars in the film and has funded a company for trans and drag performers here in Brazil.

May 19,2019 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

well maybe in the next red carpet post!:)

May 19,2019 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

marcelo -- if i had noticed the photos i totally would have!just looked them up.

May 19,2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Sorry - on the verge of sounding horribly shallow - but looking at these men,nearly everybody made an effort in their own way looking "internationally dashing"- and then my fellow-countryman German actor August Diehl looks like Angela Merkels body double - get a grip boy ;-) nice article btw

May 27,2019 | Unregistered Commentermartin

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