Cannes Film Festival Report 2

Nicole Kidman plays 'Grace of Monaco'
The 2014 Palme d'Or went to "Winter Sleep" by Nuri Bilge Ceylan on May 24. Ceylan is a veteran who has received other runner up prizes. The universal appeal of "Winter Storm" with many philosophical comments about life spoke to the jury headed by Jane Campion. The presenters of the top award, Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman, were in Cannes for the "Cinema de La Plage" (cinema on the beach) screening of "Pulp Fiction". "Pulp Fiction" was a milestone in film history, but the night belonged to Ceylan whose film is a 210 minute morality tale about a former actor who runs a hotel in remote Anatolia. As winter approaches, he is alone with his young wife and her sister going through a divorce. The cold weather makes the hotel not only a shelter but a site where the three must confront their feelings.

There were critics who would have preferred that the Palme d’Or went to Xavier Dolan from Canada who seemed likely to become the youngest Palme d'Or recipient at age 25. Had he won with his latest film "Mommy", he would have beat Steven Soderbergh's record for being the youngest recipient to win this top award. At age 26 Soderberg won the Palme d'Or for "Sex, Lies and Videotapes"(1989). His candid portrait changed the way that films were made by demonstrating that you could make a film with a low budget and realistic dialogue of high quality. The same is now being said about "Mommy" and its innovative film language. Dolan saluted Jane Campion when accepting his award: "You have written magnificent roles for women, with a soul, neither victims nor objects", and he hopes in turn to create open female characters.

"Mommy", like the films of Jean Luc Godard, has broken ground, and ironically Dolan shared the jury prize with the French New Wave director with the daring hand held camera and jump cuts. Godard's film "Adieu au Langage" (Goodbye to Language) in the official competition uses partially colorized scenes and fragmentation in a rather well shaped non-linear narrative. Godard seems to be keeping up with innovation, and recently announced that he was working on colorizing "Breathless" (1960), his first feature made when he was 30, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg.

Dolan's "Mommy" represents a paradigm shift for cinematic language. Defying established aspect ratios, Dolan and his DOP (director of photography) André Turpin used a perfectly square 1.1 scope instead of today's widescreen formats. "Mommy" shot on 35mm explores futuristic Canada with new mental-health laws in this film about a mother with a violent son.

Olivier Dahan took a beating with his opening film "Grace of Monaco". The film takes place at the time when Grace Kelly was thinking of returning to Hollywood to star in Marnie directed by Alfred Hitchcock. At the time she was inundated with the responsibilities of being a monarch and her growing homesickness for America. Dahan’s film is a moving story of how France tried to take over Monaco in 1963 with the help of Prince Rainer’s sister. Through Grace Kelley's efforts in her work with the Red Cross, Charles De Gaulle was swayed to leave Monaco alone. The Royal Family of Monaco boycotted Cannes and issued a statement that it "was not a biopic". Nicole Kidman who plays Grace does an excellent job and issued a statement that she can understand that Prince Rainer’s and Grace Kelley’s children would have issues with a film about their mother. Dahan on his behalf said that the film that was finished was Harvey Weinstein’s idea who wanted a commercial film and that many of his artistic touches were taken out. Weinstein has announced that Grace of Monaco won’t open in the US.

Next week more from the Cannes Film Festival from Movie Magazine International. MMI was one of 4000 journalists at the Cannes Film Festival that was held May 15 to May24.

For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan 


© 2014 Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 05/21/14

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