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In my last post, I wrote that CAROL was screening again in ten hours and that I was considering getting a spot in line. I was kidding. But only kind of.

I’m placing a moratorium on my grumblings about the long queues vis-à-vis the festival’s badge system because, well, God hates whiners. Especially when they do so from the South of France in May. But I will say that I showed up for the 2:00pm screening in the 400-seat Salle du Soixantieme at 10:45am – literally the first person in line – and almost didn’t get in. (The operative word is “almost” so rest assured this story has a happy ending – an especially happy one when you consider how good CAROL is.) But chew on that for a second. 10:45am for a 2:00pm screening! Three hours and fifteen minutes early! I read Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test while standing in line, and still almost didn’t get in!!

10:45am to 1:29pm was reasonably pleasant. It was only around the 1:30 mark, pushed up against a white plastic divider, watching helplessly as a steady stream of one-fifty…two-fifty…three-fifty VIPs, buyers, and press bypassed the queue and went directly inside, that the specter of oh my god, none of us might get in first arose. Then, all of a sudden, you’re Googling how to say “Hey, crawl out of my ass!” in French (“Ramper hors de mon col,” by the way) as your new friends – the ones you’ve been chatting with the past few hours (like Ashley, the sophomore from Bloomington, who works at the American Pavilion, loved The Lobster, and is meeting up with her parents in Paris after the festival) – morph into these… things that may get your seat. The line is not single file. It’s a crush of people jockeying for position, and when that gate opens, it’s Lord of the Flies in the French Riviera. I’m extremely mild-mannered on my worst day, but after almost 200 minutes, even I’m looking for a big rock to crush Piggy’s skull with. Look, I get that this is a market and there’s a necessity to a priority badge system. A Manohla Dargis or Michael Barker (or even a young John Von Thaden!) shouldn’t be standing around to maybe see a movie. But the CEO of, say, Tri-Media Entertainment out of Boca Raton is not going to buy Carol, and can stand in line with the rest of us.

But like I said, the story ends well. For me, anyway, and Ashley from Bloomington, and the maybe ten people behind us. Because CAROL is the best thing Todd Haynes has ever done.

In other news…

MY GOLDEN DAYS, Arnaud Desplechin’s coming-of-age prequel-of-sorts to MY SEX LIFE (Cannes 1996), is really rather good. A friendly reminder that love is the best, but if/when it goes south, you never really get over it… So there’s that. Awesome. 

Director Nancy Buirski (AFTERNOON OF A FAUN) salvaged previously unaired interviews with the late great Sidney Lumet, and transformed them into, the appropriately titled doc BY SIDNEY LUMET. It’s, for the most part, a chronological account of Lumet’s career. His insights are interesting, his filmography insane (seriously, imagine a career where THE VERDICT is, like, your tenth best movie.) The oft overlooked DANIEL, unseen by me, gets a surprising amount of screen time and Lumet, despite the lukewarm critical response, calls it one of his best films. For me, in case you’re wondering, the conversation begins and ends with RUNNING ON EMPTY, a bona fide masterpiece, as well as an historic record that once there was an absolute force of nature, and that we called it “River Phoenix.”  

The early critical consensus seems to be that INSIDE OUT, the new Pixar film, is great. Like, really really great. This pleases me to no end. I’ll see it when I get home. I can’t help but notice, though, that Peter Debruge, writing in Variety, refers to its “stunningly original concept” while Todd McCarthy, in the Hollywood Reporter, refers to how “the film charts in its highly original way… the competition among the oppositional aspects of human nature.”

So I guess we’re all just pretending that “Herman’s Head” didn’t happen. (From 1991 to 1994, do you think Hank Azaria’s friends would say “Hey it’s Jay!” every time they saw him, followed by saxophone noises? I know I would.)

ACQUISITION NEWS: Variety is reporting that Alchemy is in final negotiations to acquire Yorgos Lanthimos’s THE LOBSTER. This is in addition to another Competition film, Nanni Moretti’s MIA MADRE, which they picked up this morning. And Magnolia secured the rights to Desplechin’s MY GOLDEN DAYS. Strand Releasing has Apitchatpong Weerasethakul’s CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR, and Alice Winocour’s DISORDER (MARYLAND) has gone to Sundance Selects.