Yesterday, or two days ago (it’s all blurring together already), I stepped out of line for a movie to protect myself from being shut out of the next one. The identical situation presented itself on Saturday night, only this time, I rolled the dice… and was indeed turned away. The plan was to spend the evening at the Bunuel with a 6:00pm screening of STEVE MCQUEEN: THE MAN & THE MANS followed by an 8:45pm of Orson Welles’s THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI, both playing in the Cannes Classics section. With nearly an hour between shows, I was hopeful. The McQueen doc started late, though, and by the time the end credits started rolling, the lobby of the 300 seat theatre was teeming, and I was headed back to my hotel. And as I excuse me/pardon moi’d my way through the crush toward the exit, it wasn’t lost on me that a newly restored LADY FROM SHANGHAI, on the big screen in Cannes, may have been something to look back upon fondly one day. It was a festival miss. Even with Steve’s son and Cobra Kai alumnus Chad McQueen in attendance, as the old knight said to Indy, I “chose poorly.”
The line situation continues to be a bit of an annoyance. I’ve seen eight films and been turned away from six – including Laszlo Nemes’s SON OF SAUL twice. I was even turned away from Gus Van Sant’s THE SEA OF TREES despite the fact that nobody on the planet seems to like it. Things got scary at a “Buyers Only” screening of Guillaume Nicloux’s VALLEY OF LOVE at the Star 1 when the “Buyers Only” part neglected to make its way into any of the printed festival guides. If you want to see rage in its purest form, just watch a lobby full of Frenchmen after being denied access to an Isabelle Huppert-Gerard Depardieu film. Think the ending to Frankenstein, only replace the pitchforks with baguettes. Mon dieu!
Which is not to say that good things don’t come to those who wait (and wait, and wait.) Kent Jones’s HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT is terrifically entertaining and a movie lover’s wet dream. Philippe Garrel’s IN THE SHADOW OF WOMEN is smart, sexy, and funny, wrapped in a tight 73-minute package. (My Festworks colleague, Robert Koehler was so enthusiastic about this one, he described it to me with one of those weird European fingertip kiss moves which I had never before seen someone do unironically.) Asif Kapadia’s Amy Winehouse doc is very, very good. The portrait of addiction soars way above the “Behind the Music” nature of its narrative, and reinforces its maker and late subject as true masters of their respective crafts.
Todd Haynes’s CAROL screens again in ten hours and I’m thinking of getting on-line now.
ACQUISITION NEWS: Sony Pictures Classics picked up N. American rights for SON OF SAUL, their second buy of the festival.