Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cannes 1995: Day 3: May 19

Beyond Rangoon, UK/USA, dir. John Boorman

1995 boasted the largest roster of Competition titles in recent Cannes history—which is all the more surprising given that some of these entries, like Angels and Insects, would have played equally well in the sidebars, and others, like Beyond Rangoon, could have been skipped altogether. But if the Palme contenders hadn't yet yielded much excitement, the sidebars were starting to pop with buzzy titles, hailing from Tinseltown and Tehran...

Updated: For even richer thoughts on many of the films listed below, head over to the first Jury Roundtable, where we all go into more detail about our reactions.

Beyond Rangoon
(Main Competition: UK/USA, dir. John Boorman)

My Response: "Egregious first hour, even more in slipshod execution than Eurocentric conception. Improves, if only by comparison ..." Grade: D+

Ivan Albertson's Review: "A disaster on every level, all the more irksome for being well-intentioned. It may be unreasonable to expect that the one Hollywood movie about the Burmese Democracy Movement would not turn out to be about a white person's salvation, but this one is especially egregious ..." Rating: ★½

Tim Brayton's Review: "Hypnotically clumsy editing and a lead performance that finds Patricia Arquette looking as glazed as a porcelain cat are the most overt problems with this message movie about the 1988 democratic uprisings in Burma ..." Rating: 3/10

Amir Soltani's Review: "It's hard to think a film can simplify its politics to the extent that Rangoon does and still qualify for a competition slot at Cannes ..." Grade: D

Angels and Insects
(Main Competition: UK, dir. Philip Haas)

My Response: "Hammers home some familiar theses about aristocratic perversion but view of family wealth is memorably gangrenous ..." Grade: B

Ivan Albertson's Review: "Depicts desire as something that dictates life’s course while clouding all judgment—an boldly deterministic outlook which applies just as much to our protagonist as to the shallow aristocracy. If there’s any hope in this world, it lies not in the transcendence of desire but in its chance alignment with intellect ..." Rating: ★★★½

Tim Brayton's Review: "... For all its icy formalism, a ragged, sometimes ugly humanity forces its way up to the fore, as the film depicts the various stages of sexual desire in a repressive culture with sympathy and unblinking fleshiness ..." Rating: 8/10

Amir Soltani's Review: "... Bursts into life with the revelation of that relationship, and with it so does Rylance's performance, offering gut-wrenching sincerity. Kristin Scott Thomas's work is exemplary, too ..." Grade: C+

And, more briefly...

Shadows of the Rainbow
(Un Certain Regard: India, dir. Susant Misra)

My Response: "Slow, occasionally even sluggish, but its patience becomes a virtue. Mature studies of region and character ..." Grade: B–

Tim Brayton's Review: "... Misra and cinematographer Jugal Debata never run out of new ways to present their locations with an overdose of physical texture, evocative camera movement in three-dimensional space, and a hard contrast between the two main settings ..." Rating: 8/10

Unstrung Heroes
(Un Certain Regard: USA, dir. Diane Keaton)

My Response: "Too much polish or not enough? Aura of the quirky collectible: a limit but also a source of appeal. Moving finish ..." Grade: B–

Tim Brayton's Review: "A story of the fluidity of mid-century Jewish-American identity that finds Diane Keaton directing Andie MacDowell in the top-billed role: but I promise, it's not nearly as terrible as it has every reason to be ..." Rating: 6/10

The Usual Suspects
(Out of Competition: USA, dir. Bryan Singer)

My Response: "Neat structure but the mystery isn't hard to crack. Worse, I never sense it matters. Spacey not too convincing ..." Grade: C+

Tim Brayton's Review: "Screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie's chronological hopscotching showcases an admirable degree of difficulty executed with flair, but even in the moment of watching it, I've never managed to convince myself that structural card tricks are enough ..." Rating: 6/10

The White Balloon
(Directors' Fortnight: Iran, dir. Jafar Panahi)

My Response: "Simple, tender storytelling reveals careful facets; like the goldfish, it dances while seeming to stay in place ..." Grade: B+

Ivan Albertson's Review: "... Without upping the stakes or shifting focus, Panahi reveals a bustling Tehran full of people just trying to get through the day. His light touch is crucial, spinning a web of clashing priorities without arguing for the great import of any one ..." Rating: ★★★½

Amir Soltani's Review: "... An exercise in deceptive simplicity. A rich, delightful combination of Kiarostami's sparse, observational writing and Panahi's verve on his first try behind the camera ..." Grade: A

Coming tomorrow: Nick Nolte as Thomas Jefferson, Nicole Kidman as we'd never seen her, and Wim Wenders bidding farewell to a famous friend...

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home