Cannes: Where is everyone?
I am in Cannes, and it feels like I’m the only one here.
The rest of the assembled press, celebrities and cineastes are watching the opening night gala, Fernando Meirelles’s Blindness, so the Croisette is eerily silent. This is kind of cool, actually, since the film’s last movement includes a long sequence in which Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Alice Braga and Danny Glover, among others, wander through a cityscape similarly emptied of people.
I have been awake now for 34 hours.
I’m not complaining. That’s just the price of crossing the Atlantic from west to east. But most of the time, when one does that, one doesn’t have to immediately stumble out of the massive Palais des Festivals complex – where, I might add, one has never been before in one’s life – onto a standing interview set and talk to CBC Newsworld about how great it is that Canada has a couple of dogs in this year’s Palme d’Or fight.
Do we, though? Is Blindness a contender, with its moody artistry tangled up in a metaphor that’s ultimately unfilmable? And does anyone short of Atom Egoyan’s publicist really think Adoration has a shot?
People don’t want to hear that stuff, though. So I bring up the issue of the strong American competition – Eastwood! Soderbergh! James Gray’s Two Lovers! Um, that Barry Levinson movie nobody liked at Sundance! – and that seems to mollify my interviewer.
There are lots of American films vying for the Palme this year, and notable American Sean Penn is the president of the jury. Therefore, if the Canadian films don’t win anything, it’s obviously a nationalistic snub. Unless a French film wins, in which case it’s a different kind of nationalistic snub.
Right. Whatever. Meanwhile, Blindness – which I think works really well for about half its running time, before it turns into a grotty, grown-up riff on Lord Of The Flies with a dollop of 28 Days Later – just got slammed in today’s Variety, which will probably work against its chances. Adoration doesn’t screen until next Thursday, after most of the other heavy hitters, so maybe Egoyan’s characteristic minimalism will seem like a breath of fresh air.
Basically, nobody knows anything. Just like the start of every other film festival I’ve ever attended, except this one has Cate Blanchett in the audience. And she’s gorgeous.
Cannes fun fact of the day: Werner Herzog has just announced plans to remake Abel Ferrara’s sleaze-tastic Catholic psychodrama Bad Lieutenant, with Nicolas Cage in the role previously essayed by a literally balls-out Harvey Keitel. I’m hallucinating, right? That can’t be real.