Thursday, July 07, 2011

Cannes 1986: First Quarter

Of the first six Palme contenders to screen at Cannes in 1986, two of them have proved resolutely unavailable (Poor Butterfly, The Last Image). The other four I have now re-screened, in the case of Mona Lisa, or screened for the first time, in the cases of Love Me Forever or Never, Altman's better-than-expected Fool for Love, and Scorsese's disappointing After Hours. All four of those links will take you to my new reviews of those films. (If you're wondering why I'm even talking about these movies and this 25-year-old festival, check this out.)

If I'd really been on that long-ago Croisette and possessed of a crystal ball, I'd have known that, among these early titles, I had already seen winners for Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Actor, even though the last two prizes resulted in ties. I frankly think I would have been dismayed to know this, especially since the Actress winner was Fernanda Torres and not Kim Basinger. Even the stronger movies are totally sturdy, steadily insinuating films but not quite the "wow" moments you hope for from a genuine Palme competitor.

To that end, next on my itinerary is a return trip to Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice, which famously lost the Palme but still feels like the Movie of the Festival anyway, the same way All About My Mother did in 1999 or Dogville in 2003, despite not coming out on top. I know I'm looking forward to it, as much as you can to a long, slow, stately rehearsal of the apocalypse.

P.S.: Oops. Scheduling data had been ambiguous about Bertrand Blier's Ménage, aka Tenue de soirée, because it was already playing commercially in France by the time it premiered in competition at Cannes. Turns out that was on the first day of regular programming, following the Opening Night showing of Polanki's Pirates. So before posting a Sacrifice review, I'll have to play the shame-faced journo who missed Ménage at its official screening and had to catch it at the 'plex. (Michel Blanc eventually shared Best Actor with Bob Hoskins, so this front-loading of prizewinners is totally out of control.)

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Blogger James T said...

Your semi-(or full?)comeback is very much appreciated.
Lovely reviews so far!

9:01 PM, July 07, 2011  
Blogger Lev Lewis said...


A pleasure to hear thoughts on Fool For Love, which seems sorely overlooked.

11:37 PM, July 07, 2011  
Blogger NicksFlickPicks said...

Thanks, you two! Hearing back from folks like you is its own incentive to be back at "work" on this blog.

12:00 AM, July 08, 2011  
Blogger Tim said...

I'll confess to enjoying After Hours if only as a genre exercise: Scorsese's attempt to do one of them '80s comedies about a hapless dude in over his head, but in a far more self-consciously absurd mode - in my most enthusiastic moments of extravagance, I might call it cartoon surrealism hidden inside a minor-key live action. Certainly not worthy of a Cannes award, but I get a kick out of it that I don't get from some of his much more accomplished, mature works.

Anyway, glad like everybody else that you're writing again, and with such a crazy-ass ambitious project, too!

1:13 AM, July 08, 2011  

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