Todd McCarthy And Pete Hammond On The Hits, Misses And Joys Of The 74th Cannes Film Festival

"There is much to decode regarding birth, maternity, independence, sexual preference, unconscious bias. Titane is ambitious, and not quite in Raw’s league, but it’s never dull. Ducournau has revved up the Cannes competition with an intriguing entry into the race," she wrote. But Deadline contributor Anna Smith did, and in her review for Deadline, she quite liked it. While Titane is not as overtly feminist as Raw, having a central female character who is so hard to access — or even like — might be part of the agenda. Like you, Todd, I did not get a chance to see the film that won the Palme d'Or, Titane.
There were far fewer of the usual suspects among the press in attendance, and not nearly as many occasions to meet with film folk and guests of any persuasion. So, despite the every-other-day Covid-19 tests and mandated mask-wearing and diminished partying and hordes of non-film business tourists traipsing up and down the Croisette, did the films at Cannes 2021 make it worth the trip? The Palais seemed empty other than for those quickly going to or coming from screenings—the missing press boxes took care of that–and this was the first year I didn’t even set foot in the Directors Fortnight or the Critics Week.
On the other hand, one of Cannes’ luvvies, Apichatpong Weerasethakl, showed up in the company of leading lady Tilda Swinton with Memoria, a contemplative consideration of the unknown that, for me, irrevocably slipped over the line to become parody of a high art film.
Todd McCarthy
But every moment was compelling. Hamaguchi, who won a prize earlier this year at Berlin for yet another film, is certainly a prodigious talent to watch. Yes, it was a movie that took its time (the title credit doesn't appear until 40 minutes into it).
But as you point out this year, particularly considering the challenges of just getting films made in the past year and a half, Cannes undeniably had its pleasures.
You concentrated on the films in competition, and of those that I saw, I really admired Ryusuke Hamaguchi's Drive My Car, which, at three hours, was the longest film competing, but one that actually just flew by for me, largely because of an exceptionally fine cast and a screenplay ( which won that prize at Cannes yesterday) with great insights on the human condition.
It really is fascinating stuff, stunning behind the scenes footage, as well as poignant new moments. Moreau, is worth the price of admission all on its own. A fierce encounter he captures on tape with director John Frankenheimer on the set of the ill-fated Marlon Brando film in which Kilmer co-stars, The Island Of Dr.
Festival director Thierry Fremaux had a larger than usual pool of films to fish in, and came up with a list that featured only a few flops. Of the 24 films in the competition, which is where I concentrated my attention this year more than ever before, at least 18 or so of them were very good or better, and absolutely worth seeing.
The festival requires something like an asterisk for its special status, the foreigners all deserve brownie points for having made the trip, and, one hopes, the international cinema and all who participate in it will next year be back in full force.
Looking in the rearview mirror, here are some wrap-up musings on how it all went down in what was certainly a historic and memorable Cannes. The 74th annual Cannes Film Festival is now behind us, and covering it all for Deadline were esteemed veterans in the critics community Todd McCarthy, Anna Smith and Deadline Awards Columnist and Chief Film Critic Pete Hammond.
Time, Covid-19, and the economy will answer that question. In the meantime, all you can say about Cannes 2021 is that it’s been a very strange year, beginning with last year’s cancellation and concluding with Spike Lee’s astonishingly goofy conduct presiding over the awards ceremony that proved contagious to many of the other guests who appeared onstage.
I also caught Ari Folman's latest animated gem, Where Is Anne Frank? which brings to life the fictional person, Kitty, that Anne Frank addressed in her diary, as she goes on a quest to learn what happened to her.
Will the many international buyers, distributors, producers, party animals, journalists and flim-flammers who didn’t come this year eagerly return after two years away from the Riviera to revive their old ways, or will they decide they can save their money and stay home? Will the international film industry be ready for the next Cannes Film Festival a mere ten months from now, assuming the event will return to its usual May date again in 2022? Will COVID be sufficiently snuffed out by then to ensure that the full load of usual suspects will return to the south of France?
Hopefully, it gets a strong distribution deal that covers the globe. Spanning modern day and Frank's life in hiding in the 40's and afterwards, this is a film that not only is exceptionally well-made (Folman did the Oscar nominated Waltz With Bashir among others), but with rising Nazi sympathizers and anti-semitism across the world, it is an important movie that can reach young people in a way even Anne Frank's inspirational story never has before.
This return to Iranian cinema for the master is bracing as a very human story, but also an eye-opening view of life in that country at the present time, at least the life of its main character, Rahim, in a great performance from Amir Jadidi. On Friday, I caught up with Farhadi's terrific new film, A Hero, and I share your enthusiasm.
And I don't think the 2021 Cannes could even come close to the 2019 double feature that premiered on the same May 21 night when Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood and Bong Joon Ho's Parasite both struck Cannes like a rocket (going on to a combined 16 Oscar nominations and 6 wins between them). As I pointed out yesterday in assessing the potential impact of this year's long-delayed Cannes edition on the upcoming 94th Annual Academy Awards, I don't think it will come close in terms of what the last live Cannes Fest in 2019 did with films that eventually earned 22 Oscar nominations debuting on the Croisette, including eventual Palme d'Or and Best Picture Oscar winner Parasite, the first and only time that has happened since Marty in 1955. Thanks, Todd.
Despite its title, which might indicate it is all about Oklahoma, actually 95% of it takes place in Marseille, as Damon plays a man trying to free his estranged daughter, who was convicted of murdering her roommate and has spent five years in a French prison. It also happens to be a smart piece of adult entertainment, coming in a summer full of studio tentpoles like F9 that got its own Cannes spotlight at a beach screening one night. The setting made it a perfect choice for a prime Cannes slot that would guarantee a little star power, as well on the red carpet. It opens in the US on July 30.
Only Ten Months Until the Next Cannes.
Very much mixed bags were French veteran Jacques Audiard’s black-and-white look at mixed-up young Parisians in Paris 13th District, a considerably more dynamic look at Paris life on the brink in Catherine Corsini’s hectic hospital drama The Divide, and Kirill Serebrennikov’s exhaustingly chaotic and mad conjuring of Russian life in Petrov's Flu.
I knew nothing about Sparks and the brothers Ron and Russell Mael, who front it and are responsible for the screenplay and songs of Annette. They have thrived for over 50 years with a devoted following of fans in and out of the industry, and its nice to see them get their due. I gather you didn't like Sean Penn's Flag Day as much as I did, but no matter what anyone thinks of the film, you have to admit that Dylan Penn, the daughter of Sean Penn and Robin Wright, has certainly caught the talent of her parents.
The problem is that even the greatest filmmakers have their off-days. Cannes always shows loyalty to its darlings, directors who, once annointed, are almost automatically guaranteed admission with future films.
The film that shared the Grand Prix (second place) with A Hero, Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen’s Compartment No. 6, is a very, very small piece that keenly tracks the opening of a relationship between a young woman and a truculent man thrown together in a compartment on a long train trip to the Arctic Circle in Russia. It’s quite good, but Palme worthy? I’d consider it more promising than a completely achieved work.
And I really recommend Val, which will open stateside later this week and is a comprehensive look at the life and career of actor Val Kilmer, but does so largely through his own lens (he is credited as cinematographer) as he has chronicled his life with a video camera for the past 40 years or so, right up to his devastating battle with throat cancer. Todd Haynes makes a promising debut as a documentary filmmaker to add to his other cinematic laurels with this fascinating look at the power and social influence of the 60's punk/rock band Velvet Underground, with such legendary musicians as Lou Reed and John Cale, a group essentially "managed" by none other than Andy Warhol. I saw a couple of excellent documentaries on commanding entertainment figures as well that premiered in Cannes.
And now I must admit that, after Raw five years ago, I deliberately skipped Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or-winning Titane, already dubbed as the sex-with-a-car movie. We’ll all have to catch up with it now, of course.
But I did see most of the competition—except for the winner!—and there I found plenty of interest, but not too much that might be considered great or close to it.
Among these would be Asghar Farhadi’s tragi-comedy A Hero from Iran, Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s embracing, three-hour odyssey, Drive My Car, Francois Ozon’s conventionally satisfying family drama of old age, Everything Went Fine, Norwegian director Joachim Trier’s vibrant look at fleeting youth in The Worst Person In The World, and, on a more modest level, from Chad, Mahamet-Saleh Haroun’s Linqui, The Sacred Bonds, about a mother’s effort to secure an abortion for her teenage daughter in an Islamic society.
She is luminous in this, and so, quite frankly, is young newcomer Lilou Siauvaud, a scene stealer as her daughter Maya. Tom McCarthy's new film, Stillwater, played out of competition and features some career-best work from Matt Damon, plus a wonderful turn by the great French actress Camille Cottin, and fans of my favorite TV series, Call My Agent (check it out on Netflix) will instantly recognize her.
And here is Pete Hammond's take:
I was fascinated by the latest compilation of films by Mark Cousins that provided a soft opening for Cannes earlier on the first day. For me, some of the great pleasures of Cannes are catching films not in the competition, which doesn't always live up to the promise of the announcement when everything seems so new and fresh. The Story Of Film: A New Generation was a mesmerizing study of world cinema in the past decade, as well as a hopeful and optimistic tone poem for the future of cinema and movie theaters themselves, post-Covid-19. It is well worth checking out, and at two hours and forty minutes, certainly more easily digestible that his magnificent 2011 fifteen hour panorama, The Story Of Film.
It was striking how many films from all around the world got made over the past year and change, given that the vast majority of them had to have been made under very strict health safety mandates. There can be no doubt that the international filmmaking population is a resourceful and resilient band of brothers and sisters.
And so that it a wrap. I will see you in Telluride, and hopefully in just 10 months, when Cannes rolls around again for its diamond anniversary in May 2022, pandemics permitting.” />
A number of the goodies came from the usual suspects, distinguished auteurs who delivered once again with smart, classy, imaginative films that will be seen in the coming year by those who care about what we very broadly call art cinema.
First up, here are some thoughts from McCarthy, who has been traveling to the South of France for this annual rite of cinema for decades.
On the next level of very good films you should check out if you ever get the chance, I would forward Belgian director Joachim Lafosse’s up-close study of a bi-polar dynamo, The Restless; Justin Kurzel’s sharply observed study of a mass-murderer-to-be, Nitram, with a disturbing best actor performance by Caleb Landry Jones; and three high-profile films by top directors that delivered strong pleasure, but nonetheless fell a bit short of hopes—Leos Carax’s emotionally tumultuous musical Annette, Wes Anderson’s endlessly twee The French Dispatch, and Paul Verhoeven’s medieval sexual hen-house melodrama Benedetta.
I also am glad I saw the wonderful Edgar Wright documentary, The Sparks Brothers, a few weeks before digesting Annette. I think that shows that the originality of this piece, maybe an acquired taste for some, stands out. I also had a very good time with the fest opener, Annette, but was a little surprised the jury gave the Best Director prize to Leos Carax, since opening night films are usually forgotten. I think it is Farhadi's best since A Separation.
With a cast including Colin Firth, Olivia Colman, and a couple of uninhibited and sometimes unclothed young stars, Josh O'Connor and Odessa Young, it is what I would call Merchant Ivory with an edge. But for me its prime joy, however fleeting, was to see Glenda Jackson in a return to the screen after pausing her film career for more than two decades to serve in the British Parliament. The British film Mothering Sunday brought filmmaker Eva Husson back to Cannes in the new Cannes Premieres section, and is well worth seeing whenever Sony Classics decides to send it out there.
Films that really shouldn’t have been in Cannes but were because of their directors’ status included Nadav Lapid’s frustrating Ahed's Knee from Israel, Mia Hansen-Love’s vacant Bergman's Island, Sean Penn’s tedious Flag Day, Italian veteran Nanni Moretti’s seriously under-cooked Three Floors, and two more French entries, Bruno Dumont’s France, and Ildiko Enyedi’s seriously overcooked three-hour The Story Of My Wife
Then come the more controversial heavy-hitters. My personal favorite was Sean Baker’s wild, impudent and atmosphere-soaked would-be redemption comedy, Red Rocket, although this account of a rambunctious porn star who returns penniless to his native Texas won’t be to all tastes.

Broadway Box Office Finds Pre-Tony Groove At $35M; ‘Tootsie’, ‘Cher Show’ & ‘Hadestown’ Score $1M+

In all, the 37 productions took in $35.1 million for the 2018-19 season's Week 51, a small 5% dip from the previous week. Total attendance was 310,574, a 2% drop. Broadway settled into its pre-Tony wait-and-see groove last week, with box office for most shows hovering just above, below or on par with the previous week.
Reporting a negligible slip was Temptations jukeboxer Ain't Too Proud, still a virtual sellout with 99.8% of seats at the Imperial taken and a gross of $1,46 million at 101% of potential. Other season newcomers passing the weekly million-dollar mark were Hadestown at the Walter Kerr ($1.13 million, the third consecutive week of besting itself), Network at the Belasco ($1,02 million for seven performances), The Cher Show at the Neil Simon ($1.01 million), To Kill a Mockingbird at the Shubert ($1.61 million), and Tootsie at the Marquis ($1.31 million).
Attendance of 14.45 million was up 10% over last year at this time. Season to date, Broadway has grossed $1.79 billion, about 11% better year to year.
Also contributing to the week's slip: Burn This, starring Keri Russell and Adam Driver, played only six performances (two fewer than usual) to accommodate Driver's trip to the Cannes Film Festival to promote his upcoming film The Dead Don't Die. The play grossed $177,919 less than the previous week, coming in at $676,047. The Hudson Theatre was 96% full for those six shows, though.
The week's sellouts — or close enough, with attendance at 98% of capacity or more — were Ain't Too Proud, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Hadestown, Hamilton, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Kiss Me Kate, Network, Oklahoma!, The Book of Mormon, The Lion King, To Kill a Mockingbird, What The Constitution Means to Me and Wicked. Aladdin came so close, at 97.2% capacity.
All figures courtesy of the trade group Broadway League.” />
The previous week, not so incidentally, had one additional production on the boards – Morrissey's $1.9 million seven-night residency at the Lunt-Fontanne – which certainly accounts for a hefty chunk of last week's $1.8 million drop in overall box office.
Frankie and Johnny inthe Clair de Lune, opening May 30 at the Broadhurst and so the first play eligible for next year's Tony Awards, was up slightly — playing eight previews versus the previous week's seven — but didn't pull big numbers. The gross of $302,408 was about 26% of potential. The Terrence McNally revival starring Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon filled about 61% of seats, with an average ticket price of $53. Competing against this year's well-publicized Tony nominees can't be easy.

Ari Aster’s ‘Midsommar’ Moves To Midsummer – CinemaCon

Aster wrote the pic which is produced by Lars Knudsen and Patrik Andersoon. Nancy and Andreas recently wrote that there's a very good probability if you're at the Cannes Film Festival, you'll get to see Midsommar before U.S. The latter pic scored Film Independent Spirit noms for Toni Colette as Female Lead, and for Best First Feature. Like Hereditary, Midsommar, plans to go wide. auds.
For those who haven't seen the trailer, here it is again.” />
EXCLUSIVE: Ari Aster's follow-up movie to Hereditary, Midsommar from A24, is moving up from its Aug. 9 release date to the Independence Day frame of July 3, which has been a prime counter-programming launch pad for horror pics, i.e. last year's The First Purge ($69.4M) and 2016's The Purge: Election Year ($79.2M).
Will Poulter also stars. This emotional build-up happens to be occurring as both are headed to a crazy 9-day festival, which only happens every 90 years, a Swedish-puritan type celebration of love and glee — with some horrific results. The trailer dropped a month ago and has clocked over 1.5M on YouTube. We hear that the cult-themed movie is really intriguing, following a teenage guy (Jack Reynor) who wants to break up with his girlfriend (Florence Pugh), however, holds off after a personal tragedy.

Chloë Sevigny Signs With Circle of Confusion

Other credits include Hit & Miss, Portlandia, American Horror Story: Asylum, AHS: Hotel, and Bloodline. In television, Sevigny wona Golden Globe for HBO's Big Love.
Sevigny also has written and directed two shorts: Kitty (based on the Paul Bowles story, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016) and Carmen (which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2017).
Sevigny landed an Oscar nomination and won LA Film Critics Award and Independent Spirit Award, for Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry. Recent films include Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete, Miguel Arteta’s Beatriz at Dinner, Alex Ross Perry’s Golden Exits, and Oren Moverman’s The Dinner.
Oscar nominee Chloë Sevigny has signed with Circle of Confusion for management.
She continues to be repped by WME.” />
She will next be seen in the title role of infamous accused murderess Lizzie Borden (opposite Kristen Stewart) in the upcoming Roadside Attractions September release Lizzie, with she also developed and produced. Sevigny has just wrapped filming a starring role with Bill Murray, Adam Driver, and Tilda Swinton in Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die for Focus Features and Universal Pictures International.

CAA Signs ‘Terminator’ Co-Star Natalia Reyes

EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed Natalia Reyes, the Colombian-born actress poised to make her breakout in the U.S.
The actress stars in the upcoming Tim Miller-directed and James Cameron-produced Terminator for Skydance and Paramount.
Reyes also stars in the Christina Gallego & Ciro Guerra-directed Birds Of Passage, which  premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year as an official Director’s Fortnight selection. The Orchard acquired the film’s North American distribution rights.
Reyes continues to be represented by Vision Entertainment, Colombia-based MCL Talent, and Hansen Jacobson.” />

‘BlacKkKlansman’ Trailer: First Look At Spike Lee’s Cannes Film From ‘Get Out’ Producers

The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream. The based-on-a-true-story logline: It’s the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Laura Harrier and Topher Grace co-star.
The film is produced by Sean McKittrick and Raymond Mansfield for QC Entertainment, Blum for Blumhouse, Peele for Monkeypaw, as well as Lee, and Shaun Redick. will serve as executive produce. Hamm Jr. QC’s Edward H.
Have a look at the trailer — with its period-specific music, font and, of course, hair and clothes — and tell us what you think.” /> Focus Features opens BlacKkKlansman on August 10.
Here is the first trailer for Spike Lee's latest joint, which he produced along with the Get Out team that includes Jordan Peele and Jason Blum. shut your mouth! But I'm talkin' 'bout BlacKkKlansman. The film is in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, where it premiered tonight. They say that cat Stallworth is a bad mutha … Then we can dig it.

Peter Bart: Fifty Years In, Three Directors Continue To Build Their Legacies

The new version was supposed to be shown as a major event at this month’s Cannes Film Festival, but that plan was canceled because of the Netflix-Cannes battles — the French demand theatrical distribution from the streaming service. A longtime admirer of that filmmaker, Bogdanovich and his associates have re-edited and restored Wind based on Welles’ notes and assembled film, and Netflix is committed to releasing it in the fall. Bogdanovich, on the other hand, is completing work on a famously incomplete project: Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind. Bogdanovich also is completing a documentary about Buster Keaton, but not for Netflix.
At the time the Directors Company was developed, all three had made their breakthrough films. Bogdanovich’s was The Last Picture Show (1971), Friedkin’s was The French Connection (1971) and Coppola’s first film was The Rain People (1969). Their basic precept in forming their company at Paramount was to afford filmmakers the autonomy to develop and green light their own projects, provided budgets were $3 million or under (a healthy sum at that time). It seems appropriate that all three filmmakers are consumed both with present and past, since all were involved in an innovative company, conceived 50 years ago, that was intended both to innovate and re-create. Further, each director was obliged to mentor both younger and senior directors, guiding their work on future projects.
Today, they seem as passionate as ever to build on the past, not reject it. Given this realization, I decided to seek out three proud '60s survivors who not only defied the fates but actually managed to build on the frenzy of the times: Francis Coppola, Billy Friedkin and Peter Bogdanovich. Their careers were just starting to burgeon in 1968.
Each of the filmmakers went their separate ways, taking their lumps along the way — some projects dazzled, other imploded. It soon became clear, however, that some top corporate executives bridled at the autonomy afforded the filmmakers; Frank Yablans, the president, was especially distrustful. During its initial years, the Directors Company produced Paper Moon, The Conversation and Daisy Miller and plans were afoot to expand the slate — part of my job at Paramount at that time was to be the studio supervisor for the company. Yet all three remain at work today, with each endeavor paying homage to the past as well as seeking new ground.” /> Within four years the company was disbanded.
A checklist:
It’s been 45 years since the release of Friedkin’s award-winning thriller The Exorcist, which featured a staged exorcism. Friedkin, meanwhile, has been busily promoting his new film The Devil and Father Amorth. The riveting documentary takes the audience through an actual real-life exorcism, with important scholars analyzing the psychological and religious repercussions of these fierce interactions. He also will direct several major operas in various capitals of the world, as he has done for several years, and is prepping other features.
Bogdanovich announced that he would foster the future work of Welles, not exactly a youthful protégé but nonetheless a filmmaker who urgently needed both capital and discipline. It would take Bogdanovich 50 years to fulfill his mission.
Coppola is often on the Paramount lot these days, staging a succession of readings of a major film which he will shoot in 2019 – a multi-generational saga of an Italian American family. Distributors are now bidding on the project. The new version incorporates five big musical numbers that brighten and enhance the period gangster movie. Coppola has also devoted much of his time and resources (to wit, $500,000) to create Cotton Club Encore, an expansion and re-edit of his 1984 film. Coppola, of course, continues to expand his other various businesses — hotels, wine and food – entities, which, in his mind, further represent the art of storytelling. Coppola has visited this terrain before, of course, but his focus this time will not be on the crimes and thuggery of his The Godfather films but rather on the creative destiny of the family.
Game-changing ideas crashed and burned, taking promising careers down with them. The convulsions of five decades ago, to be sure, did not have the enduring impact that many had imagined. Indeed, it became cool in the '60s to carefully study the rituals of survival rather than the keys to success.
Regimes were collapsing on this date 50 years ago, protesters jammed the streets, and the worlds of music and film were being re-imagined. Even the tightly regimented Cannes Film Festival exploded in a noisy chaos of demonstrations. As several excellent books and articles are reminding us, 1968 was a year of tumult.