Cannes Opens with Moonrise Kingdom

By Moira Sullivan

What you can hear in the background is the music from a bar in one of the many Cannes parties being given and you can also hear the waves from the Mediterranean washing up on the shore. I was just at a party for one of the publicists, who just had a birthday. This publicist is dealing with several films for the festival including a new film by Jackie Chan. 

For 12 days the city of Cannes is an inferno of media, fans, celebrities and press. It’s hard to believe that over 4000 media can crowd into the facilities at the Palais, but in fact they do, somehow. For some days, some are here and leave, and new ones come.  There is a great line up of films, and I am saving some of my energy for Dario Argento’s Dracula in 3D that will be screened on May 20, a special favorite. But everything has to begin somewhere.

Today I had the privilege of seeing Tilda Swinton. The first day of the Cannes Film Festival featured the opening film Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson. It started off well enough, but the film turned out to be a beautifully cinematographed step-by-step, drag out romp in the nature. Maybe as the Cannes Film Festival's opening film, it was appreciated because of its less than spectacular subject matter and its artistic decor.

It was supposed to have the feel of an ensemble acting theater troupe, that is what Bill Murray said at the press conference at any rate, which works fine on the stage, but not on film.
Two young people, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward are cast in the leads, virtual unknowns and an unlikely couple to fall in love at that.  It’s not clear what they see in each other, but they both are outcasts in their families and beat up their peers when provoked. Suzy Bishop and Sam Shakusky decide to run away and leave their surroundings. For Sam, it’s a scout troop, and for Suz,y it's her family,

In fleshing out the characters, screenwriters Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola did a great job of creating some memorable cinematic moments - like Sam’s parents -Frances McDormand, calling her troops together in their New England home with a megaphone, or Bill Murray taking out his anger on a tree, then falling asleep on the job before putting on the final stroke with his ax.

Director Wes Anderson who has served up delightful farces such as The Royal Tenenbaums and The Fantastic Mr. Fox called back some of his favorite actors to star in this film about youth and dysfunctional families in New England.

Surprisingly enough, not one question was asked about the derivation of Camp Yawgoog, a scout camp for boys on Native American land on Narragansett Bay. The area, which sports historical Native American trails, has more than a postcard function. You have to get past all of that. This historical area is populated by scouts with scoutmasters like Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman and Edward Norton. The island is patrolled by a sheriff, like Bruce Willis. The island social services is headed by Tilda Swinton, looking more like a 50's movie usher in her matching royal blue outfit.

It is understandable that the actors, and storyteller Bob Balaban had a lot of fun making this film. Each scene is set up with impeccable detail. It would have worked far better to not have the usual rising action, falling action, and resolution. It's hard to feel any empathy with the crescendos and the relief is long coming as loose ends are tied up in the aftermass.

For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan, Cannes.
Hope you enjoyed the music and the waves!¨

© 2012 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 05/16/12
Movie Magazine International