Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cannes 1995: Day 7: May 23

Nasty Love, Italy, dir. Mario Martone

It is on to-day, honey. The hits keep getting bigger!  Four of the Competition titles from the last 48 hours have handily eclipsed the rest of the field, but today's discoveries are invigorating in a different way than yesterday's because they were so much less heralded. Mario Martone, highly regarded in Italy but barely known outside of it—he's competed for the Golden Lion four times, and swept the Donatello awards a few years back with his prestige literary adaptation We Believed—wowed me more or less from out of nowhere with the directorial verve of Nasty Love, simultaneously steely and luscious, sexy and sad. Many of the most conspicuous directorial signatures of Cannes '95 have been high-handed or humorless; Martone figures out how to impress and entertain at once. No slight on sobriety, though, when it's done with the odd, immaculate mannerism of Terence Davies's The Neon Bible, though I'm suspicious I may have responded better to this one than at least a couple of my peers. All that, plus L'enfant noir is an uncommonly beautiful West African coming-of-age tale, and Safe is one of the definitive movies of the decade. Hard to swing a better day at a festival than this.

Nasty Love
(Main Competition: Italy, dir. Mario Martone)

My Response: "A Volver I can get behind, as middle-aged woman probes circumstances of mother's murder. Haunting, perverse, and witty ..." Grade: A–

Ivan Albertson's Review: "Nasty Love is hard to get a handle on, resisting the urge to be any single thing for more than a few minutes at a time ... The tricky part lies in sorting out which misdirections benefit its endgame, and which hamper it." Rating: ★★★

Tim Brayton's Review: "... Even if it grows somewhat less evocatively deranged as it moves along, and its climactic reveals have a certain 'ho-hum, people are depraved the world over' feeling, it's always a pretty unique, even oddball trek through the realms of bleak family drama and increasingly unresolved murder mystery ... " Rating: 8/10

Amir Soltani's Review: "Martone's film is visually captivating, with several individual shots that linger on far longer than the film. Yet, the sense of mystery in Nasty Love doesn't fully translate to suspense before the loose knots are tied in the end ... " Grade: B

The Neon Bible
(Main Competition: USA, dir. Terence Davies)

My Response: "Mannerisms can get the best of it, but nobody animates and deoxygenates memories at the same time like Davies does ..." Grade: B+

Ivan Albertson's Review: "After a good while of failing to connect with The Neon Bible, despite being very similar in style to Davies’s wonderful previous films, it became more interesting to suss out why it wasn’t working than try to forge a bond ... " Rating: ★★½

Tim Brayton's Review: "... It's hard not to regard this as the reigning low point of Davies's otherwise unblemished career. Which isn't the same as dismissing it as totally without its own merits ... " Rating: 6/10

Amir Soltani's Review: "A gripping experience that incisively charts the roots and consequences of religious oppression and sociocultural monotony in white Middle America on a grand scale, but also finds moments of bitter, moving truth in each individual person it keenly observes ... " Grade: B

L'enfant noir
(Directors' Fortnight: France/Guinea, dir. Laurent Chevallier)

My Response: "Honors and updates seminal novel, preserving complex tugs toward city and village, childhood and maturity. Gorgeous ... " Grade: A–

Kiss of Death
(Out of Competition: USA, dir. Barbet Schroeder)

My Response: "NYC crime thriller oddly lit and styled like Wild Things-level Florida noir. Needs more grit or more Cagey coloring ..." Grade: C+

Tim Brayton's Review: " ... It feels like dropping a vanilla everyman into a cage of cartoon zoo animals, and damned if it doesn't give the film a tension that manages to justify its existence in an overpopulated genre." Rating: 6/10

(Un Certain Regard: Canada, dir. Clement Virgo)

My Response: "Eventually outstays its welcome, and never balances three main threads. Still, bold gestures here in sound, color, and mood ... " Grade: B–

Tim Brayton's Review: " ... One of the film's three plotlines—a newly-released convict trying to find a way back to his son's life—is as piercing and well-observed as the other two are generic and underfelt." Rating: 6/10

(Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Todd Haynes)

My Response: "Impeccable images, soundtrack, structure, and performance convey unsettling theses about a woman, a region, and a whole world ..." Grade: A

Tim Brayton's Review: " ... Its dissection of material society, spirituality, self-definition, and the disempowerment of women at first looks barbarically simple in its 'allergic to the environment' metaphor, only becoming more fluid, nuanced, and unnervingly applicable to seemingly every aspect of modern life as you try to reduce it to its essentials ..." Rating: 10/10

Coming tomorrow: Theo Angelopoulos and Zhang Yimou breathe deep, tighten their fists, and clobber us with the sheer force of Art. Mileage will vary for different viewers.

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


Post a Comment

<< Home