Chinese Cinema at Cannes

By Patrick Z. McGavin

As the world’s most important festival, Cannes is composed in many parts and layers. Yet one inescapable aspect, seemingly more acute with each year, is how much of the programming—thematically, formally—dovetails.

The narrative at the festival follows a fairly predictable trajectory: the festival slots its weaker titles at the start and then, slowly, starts to introduce the stronger material, probably as to not induce people to leave the festival early but also build a certain momentum leading up to the final weekend and the awards.

Two Chinese films meditate on national identity, representation and the moral …

Read more

Looking Forward to Cannes

Only God Forgives

Heading to Cannes tomorrow, and here’s the list of films I’m looking forward to:

Heli (Escalante) Comp
Jimmy P (Desplechin) Comp
Grisgris (Haroun) Comp
A Touch of Sin (Jia) Comp
Like Father, Like Son (Kore-eda) Comp
Blue is the Warmest Color (Kechiche) Comp
Jeune et Jolie (Ozon) Comp
Venus in Fur (Polanski) Comp
Only God Forgives (Refn) Comp
Death March (Alix) UCR
Les Salauds (Denis) UCR
Notre, the End of History (Lav D) UCR
L’inconnu du lac (Guiraudie) UCR
L’image Manquante (Panh) UCR
La Jaula de Oro (Quemada-Diaz) UCR
Manuscripts Don’t Burn (Rasoulof) UCR
My Sweet Pepper

Read more

TCM Classic Film Festival


Try and Get Me (The Sound of Fury) (1951)

It has been about a year since Film Journey has been updated, but I’ve been hard at work publishing a variety of print pieces, particularly for the LA Weekly.  The site is freshly rebooted now, and you can check out some of my writing from the past year on the More Publications page at top.

This past weekend was the fourth annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles. I often remark that I have a love/hate relationship with the Festival.  On the one hand, it’s a pass-driven …

Read more

Post Sarkozy Cannes 8

By Robert Koehler

THE NOT-SO-SWEATY PALMES

Palme d’Or: Amour (Michael Haneke)
Grand Prize: Reality (Matteo Garrone)
Best Director: Carlos Reygadas for Post Tenebras Lux
Jury Prize: The Angels’ Share (Ken Loach)
Best Actor: Mads Mikkelsen for The Hunt
Best Actresses: Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan for Beyond the Hills
Best Screenplay: Cristian Mungiu for Beyond the Hills
Camera d’Or: Beasts of the Southern Wild (Behn Zeitlin)

Michael Haneke can no longer have anything to complain about. Expecting to win the Palme every time he makes a film, Haneke has now broken general patterns and won two Palme d’Ors in four …

Read more

Post Sarkozy Cannes 7

AMOUR (Michael Haneke)

By Robert Koehler

Having just turned 70, Michael Haneke appears to be turning a new leaf in his abrasive view of humanity as being, for all its attempts at civilization, barely out of the jungle. This view might in the end be correct, but Haneke’s particularly insistence on it and his habit for mechanistic and even sadistic methods for dramatizing it can sometimes be the work of an artist who’s effectively pinning down his characters like a butterfly collector secures his possessions to a board. In his displays of complete technical and dramatic control of his materials, …

Read more

Post Sarkozy Cannes 6

THE HUNT (Thomas Vinterberg)

By Robert Koehler

The strange case of Thomas Vinterberg is a model of a director not to follow, lest you fall into the chasm known as Submarino (2010). The case, though, has made a new and unexpected turn. News flash (sort of): The Hunt is a solidly made, consistently coherent and steadily intensifying drama that extols the great Scandanavian theatrical tradition of the idea of a single conscience against the world. In one sense, The Hunt is Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, re-set for our era of fears (real and imagined) of pedophilia. But …

Read more