Some critics have accused Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or winner ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ of being ‘voyeuristic’ and pornographic. Not so, writes Richard Porton.
On Sunday, right-wing and Catholic protesters took to the streets in Paris to demonstrate against France’s recent decision to legalize gay marriage. On Sunday evening, the Cannes Competition jury announced that it was giving its top prize, the Palme d’Or, to Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is the Warmest Color, a 2-hour-and-59-minute lesbian romance that has, by now, become famous for several protracted sex scenes. (In addition, in an unprecedented move, the jury headed by Steven Spielberg insisted that the movie’s two remarkable stars—Léa Seydoux and Adéle Exarchopoulos—be included as recipients of the coveted Palme.)
Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux in “Blue is the Warmest Color.” (Cineart/Quat'sous Films)
James Gray’s searing portrait of disillusionment, ‘The Immigrant,’ starring Marion Cotillard, has emerged as one of the strongest films in this year’s festival Competition.
While waiting in one of the many interminable lines at the Cannes Film Festival, I struck up a conversation with a contributor to Cahiers du cinéma, France’s best-known film magazine. “I’m particularly looking forward to James Gray’s The Immigrant, ” he remarked. Rather self-deprecatingly, he added, “But then, of course, I’m French.”
Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard in "The Immigrant". (Anne Joyce)
Richard Porton on Nicolas Winding Refn’s Cannes snoozer, ‘Only God Forgives,’ starring Ryan Gosling, which received the ‘heartiest boos so far’ at the festival, and ‘Nebraska.’
If protracted eye-gouging, torture facilitated by steel chopsticks, the brutal and thoroughly gratuitous murder of prostitutes, ponderous camera movements and a semi-catatonic performance by Ryan Gosling sound like fun, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives might be the movie you’ve been waiting for.
Ryan Gosling in "Only God Forgives". (via Cannes Film Festival)
Watch a scene ‘Only God Forgives,’ in which Ryan Gosling’s character’s manhood is mocked by his vicious mother, played by Kristin Scott Thomas… NSFW!
One of the most hotly anticipated films at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, running from May 15-26 in the south of France, is Only God Forgives. The crime-thriller reteams Drive director Nicholas Winding Refn with his star, Ryan Gosling, and is Gosling’s last film before his self-imposed hiatus from acting.
Ryan Gosling in "Only God Forgives." (Cannes Film Festival)
Soderbergh’s new Liberace biopic carefully navigates the campy joy of the pianist’s persona with the hard edges of his personality, finding an important niche in America’s conversation about gay rights.
If you Google Liberace, the word “flamboyant” turns up repeatedly. A double-edged epithet, “flamboyant” has long been a common euphemism for a campy gay sensibility and also aptly defines the career of a crowd-pleasing pianist who, almost despite himself, ended up having an enormous influence on American popular culture. Sporting an impeccably coiffed pompadour (simulated, in later years, by well-positioned wigs) Liberace performed in gold lamé suits and sequins for largely conservative, heterosexual audiences. During the 1950s, his television program introduced millions of viewers to classical music through virtuosic, if gimmicky, interpretations of Chopin and Liszt.
Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Bling Ring,’ screened last week at the Cannes Film Festival. Tricia Romano tracks down the real-life members of the notorious Hollywood theft ring.
Sofia Coppola’s upcoming movie, Bling Ring, is based on a real group of teens and 20-something friends and acquaintances who began robbing the rich and famous in 2008. Over the course of the following year, they stole from Orlando Bloom, Audrina Patridge, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Brian Austin Green, and Megan Fox, and raided Paris Hilton’s house five (!) times (She helpfully left a key under the mat.)
A still from Sofia Coppola’s “Bling Ring.” (Merrick Morton/Cannes Film Festival)
Cannes Film Festival's latest flicks: Coen brothers' 'Inside Llewyn Davis' and James Toback’s 'Seduced and Abandoned.'
During a career of making films that are neither full-fledged satires nor sentimental exercises in nostalgia, Joel and Ethan Coen have perfected a genre that might be termed smartass nostalgia. For better or worse, a certain strain of cruelty often permeates the Coen Brothers’ distinctive brand of tragicomedy. Take, for example, Barton Fink, which won the Palme d’or, as well as a Best Director award for the Coens and an acting prize for star John Turturro, at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991.The eponymous character, a poor schlemiel apparently modeled after the Depression-era playwright Clifford Odets, never has a chance at triumphing in Hollywood and becomes one of the Coens’ most abject losers.
Left: Inside Llewyn Davis; Right: Seduced and Abandoned (Cannes Film Festival)
A hotel-room safe full of jewelry, stolen right under Hollywood’s nose. Was it the Pink Panthers, Colombians, an inside job? Dana Kennedy on the Riviera mystery.
Clutching umbrellas and shivering, Hollywood heavyweights like Nicole Kidman, Harvey Weinstein, Colin Firth, Rooney Mara, Sofia Coppola, and Emma Watson braved the rain and unseasonable cold Thursday night at A-list parties ranging from a rooftop soiree sponsored by Bulgari to a beachside bash held by Calvin Klein at the far end of the Croisette.
Cary Grant stars in the 1955 movie "To Catch a Thief". (Everett)
The director’s new film about social inequities in China is tragic, absurd, and a must-see at this year’s festival. Could it win the coveted Palme d’Or?
Long a favorite on the festival circuit, the Chinese director Jia Zhang-Ke is poised to make a splash with his powerful chronicle of social inequities in contemporary China, A Touch of Sin. Towards the end of Jia’s film (which premiered Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival and is one of the surest bets to win the Palme d’or), workers at a sex club are taught to proclaim: “Distinguished Guests: Welcome to the Golden Age.” This 133-minute howl of despair confirms, with a mixture of absurdist humor and events appropriated from notorious actual incidents, that, instead of enjoying a Golden Age, Chinese society is plagued by random violence, sexual assault, and the rage of millions of disgruntled workers.
ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP
Chopard baubles meant for celebs.
A-listers walking the red carpet in Cannes this week will be excused for not accessorizing their gowns with the usual bling. More than $1 million in jewelry was stolen from a Cannes hotel room where an employee of jewelry maker Chopard was staying. The thief reportedly ripped the room’s safe out of the wall of the employee’s Novotel hotel room, making off with baubles meant for celebrities to wear to the film festival’s glitzy parties and premiere events. Cannes jewel robberies are a bit of a tradition at this point: $8 million worth was stolen in one 2009 incident, while a group of thieves during that same festival rode away with $21 million in Cartier bling.
‘Jeune et jolie, which opened at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, stars former Yves Saint Laurent model Marine Vacth as a 17-year-old prostitute.
At 23, Marine Vacth is already a veteran model. Spotted by a scout at the age of 15, she became the face of Yves Saint Laurent’s “Parisienne” fragrance in 2011, a job previously held by Kate Moss. After small roles in films by Cédric Klapisch and Alexandre Arcady, Vacth will doubtless receive more attention after the release of François Ozon’s Jeune et jolie (Young and Beautiful), which premiered on Thursday as part of the Cannes Film Festival’s Official Competition.
Ozon’s film is considerably less straightforward, and more puzzling, than Vacth’s seemingly smooth career trajectory. Yet by the end of the film, it’s abundantly clear why the director (whose films range from the frothy 8 Women to thrillers like Swimming Pool) wanted her for the central role of a morose teen prostitute. Instead of the usual case study of a good girl gone bad, a genre long cherished by Hollywood, Young and Beautiful is a thoroughly nonmoralistic, rather clinical, film about the opaque Isabelle, a 17-year-old from a well-heeled family who becomes a part-time hooker for pleasure instead of money. Perhaps the most radical—and most disturbing—aspect of the film is Ozon’s refusal to give the audience access to Isabelle’s interior life; this is not a character study in which a protagonist’s behavior is explained with the help of psychological talking points.