After a gluttonous, film- frenzied week at the Cannes Film Festival (May 2015) I posted a mini synopsis of those movies I experienced; repeating again, hoping to inspire those umbilically attached to their couches, to valiantly severe the relationship and venture forth to the darkened, silent anonymity of AMC 21 Theatres. This year’s selection is especially stunning, with over 200 films from 50 countries; eclecticism reigns, there is a feature for all appetites. Here are a few, guaranteed to please, stimulate and excite:
“The Assassin”; Taiwan, China. (Dir. Hou HsiaoHsien). Gloriously filmed and choreographed; visual extravaganza, reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil. Winner of the Director’s Prize at Cannes. Lose yourself in the performances, not the plot, which is stultifying.
“Breakfast at Ina’s”; US. (Dir. Mercedes Kane). Chicagoans love this woman and her “cookin”!
“Brooklyn”; Ireland, UK. (Dir. John Crowley). A crowd favorite at Sundance. Embracing; a love story revolving around choices.
“Carol”; US. (Dir.Todd Haynes). Huge hype for actors Cate Blanchette and Rooney Mara (winner of Palme d’ Or); nontraditional love affair set in New York City, in the 50’s; slick and stylized.
“Dheepan”; France. (Dir.Jacques Audiard). Another winner (best film) at Cannes. Fascinating tale of immigrants challenging the odds and fighting for a better life; very timely considering the multitudes of refugees in today’s headlines.
“Funny Girl”; US. (Dir. William Wyler). Restored 1968 film. Barbra Streisand’s Oscar winning performance still glistens with luminosity.
“Hugo”; US. Here’s an opportunity to see Martin Scorsese’s 2011’s homage to iconic filmmaker Georges Melies (1861-1938).
“Macbeth”; UK, France. (Dir. Justin Kurzel). Michael Fassbender (actor of the hour) gives Shakespeare’s doomed King levels of complexity rarely exhibited; Marion Cotillard’s interpretation of Lady Macbeth is cloudy, confused; possibly Kurzel’s intent.
“Mountains May Depart”; China. (Dir. Jia Zhang-ke). This charming generational tale will satisfy demands and cravings for a satisfying, perfect flick. One of my favorites.
“Son of Saul”; Hungary. (Dir. Laszlo Nemes). A winner at Cannes; one of the most brilliant, brutal depictions of a Jewish (“Saul”) Sonderkommando(Jews forced to participate in the elimination of fellow Jews) in Auschwitz concentration camp, 1944. Extremely difficult, provocative, masterful, unforgettable.
“Youth”; Italy, Switzerland. (Dir. Paolo Sorrentino “The Great Beauty”). Engrossing, stellar performances by Michael Caine, Paul Dano, and primarily Harvey Keitel; all generations are delineated, with their flaws, imperfections, perfections. Plus a musical score that flirts with the sublime.
SKIP: “Valley of Love”; France. (Dir. Guillaume Nicioux). Dull, pathetic attempt of corpulent Gerard Depardieu and emaciated Isabelle Huppert to capitalize on past performances and their magisterial, universal fame, as a divorced couple, instructed by their dead son, to meet in Death Valley. Preposterous, plodding and predictable.
As the Festival progresses, so will my mini-movie musings.