Sunday, May 22, 2016

Andrea Arnold’s American Honey wins Jury Prize at Cannes 69



By Moira Sullivan

Andrea Arnold wins Jury Prize at Cannes for 'American Honey' (Festival de Cannes) 



It’s hard to believe that 11 days of the 69th Cannes Film Festival have come to an end. The event is a whirlwind of activity from the moment I entered the Palais des Festivals on the first day. I can assure you that journalists are taken well care of – the accreditation badge is a door opener to all the facilities on the grounds and even in town the badge is met with respect. It’s impossible to do everything so the object is to dive in and make a splash. There are excellent media facilities on the premises and each accredited journalist has their own login that is kept separate from others. 

For the past three years, Movie Magazine International  has been a blue card journalist with a mailbox - meaning I get in to all of the screenings except for the red carpet events which require an invitation –which I could ask for -  and the press conferences. There are only 50 seats at these and the daily press has first priority.

First of all, the Palme d’or announced by George Miller assisted by 'Mad Max' Mel Gibson went to a deserving film because of its message. The festival doesn’t usually stand for a message but this jury chose a film that is vital and important today. The 80-year-old British filmmaker Ken Loach took home the top honor for I, Daniel Blake, a film about a middle aged carpenter who suffers a heart attack and is ordered to not work by his doctor. During this time, he must report for unemployment insurance and a case worker decides if he’s fit for work even with his doctor’s excuse. Daniel looks for work but can’t accept just anything on doctor’s orders and must put his CV online. Without any computer skills he is at a loss. The inhumanity of social services with a bureaucratic and rigid process of looking for work is not only evident in GB but around the world. In fact, Loach makes the point that it is the disenfranchised who have the most to lose with austerity programs and reported that in GB only 0.5% of the population are on social programs. A larger point of view is that land and housing are being sold and speculated and forcing people out of their homes. In Monaco, which I visited on this trip,  the entire apartment area beneath the Royal Palace is for sale as condos. Loach said at the press conference that the globalization of neoliberal policies has resulted in an impoverished class that allows the far right to take advantage of them as witnessed in France and in GB and in particular with the appeal of a political candidate for president who made it rich on real estate. George Miller and the jury of the 69th Cannes film festival has given us a wonderful gift with this choice. 

Elsewhere to be commended is their selection of Andrea Arnold’s "American Honey" from the UK for the Jury Prize –a film about young people who travel in caravans selling phony magazine subscriptions. The tactile way the film is made with an extraordinary mobile camera capturing the essence of the joy and despair of youth in working class America was my personal favorite. Male critics didn’t like this girl’s journey.

Jean Pierre Léaud was given the 'Palme of Honor' for his life work. I visited the Jean Cocteau museum in Menton as well on this trip and I forget he plays a character in "The Testament of Orpheus". Also noteworthy is his role in Bertolucci's "Last Tango in Paris" as the boyfriend of Maria Schneider who frames everything with his hands as a filmmaker. At this festival he played the Sun King in "The Death of Louis XIV" and the film is one of the great films this year about his death done in a contemplative treatise by Erica Serra.  

Jodie Foster came and went with "Money Monster" that she feels is a thinking sort of film and was the first speaker at the Kering T

alks about women in film. These were also set up with Juliette Binoche, Geena Davis, Salma Hayak and Juliette Binoche. It seems that the same industry that makes money off of women with fashion and makeup is promoting this discussion and their motives are somewhat questionable.

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© 2016 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 05/22/16
Movie Magazine International

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

CANNES REPORT 2016 - "Hollywood is scared to give women directing roles" - Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster strikes a Dorothy Arzner* pose in 1991
(the only women directing in Hollywood in the 1920's, 30's and early 40's)

By Moira Sullivan


The Cannes Film Festival this year features a poster of a man walking up the steps of a building facing the Mediterranean. It is based on stills from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 classic Contempt, starring Jack Palance, a Hollywood producer who hires Fritz Lang to direct an adaptation of The Odyssey. He also hires a screenwriter (Michel Piccoli) to rework the script, but Piccoli’s wife his (Brigitte Bardot) sporting a black wig evoking Godard’s wife Anna Karina starts picking fights with him.
The poster although basking in yellow light lacks the 'personality' of previous festival icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergman. The quotidian—daily schedules - are color schemed in red and gold unlike those of last year that each had a still from one of Bergman’s films.
There are as usual only two women in the official lineup this year—and one of them is Andrea Arnold whose film "American Honey" is the most stunning film I have seen to date at this festival. A caravan of young people travel to wealthy or poor neighborhoods to milk the residents for phony magazine subscriptions. As a sort of Fagan, Jake (Shia LaBeouf) recruits Star, Sasha Lane, a new comer that Arnold approached on her trip to the US, to sell magazine subscriptions. Jake is the current beau of the troop leader Krystal (Riley Keough) and shares her motel room when on the road. Several references to death are kept in regard, such as that "Star" is name for the Death Star in Star wars. The film is extraordinary in its editing and use of camera. The road trip is also a trip for the camera. It is exceedingly well made. The youth are often referred to as "wild" and there are lots of shots of animals in the film, tame yet wild creatures—humans, a brown bear, bees, turtles, and dogs.
Every day the trade magazines rate the new films written by English and French critics – such as Screen and Le Film Français. All of the critics are men, and a film about a young woman’s journey does not seem to appeal to them so far. Fortunately, they do not vote for the Palme d’or.
This year as last there have been several "Kering Talks" arranged by the luxury accessory firm in a small room for maybe 50 people at Hotel Majestic. Jodie Foster was the first who is here in Cannes to promote her out of competition film "Money Monster" starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. Foster calls it a "thinking film" with real content.  She also said at her Kering talk that Hollywood was scared to give women directing roles. It’s all about the money - 'the Money Monster'—and since the 1920s men have seen that money is to be made from film and have kicked out the women strategically working in the industry - as evidenced by a powerful documentary made by Kulberg –And Woman created Hollywood Kuperberg. We learn that Frances Marion trained Charlie Chaplin and that women who worked in Hollywood were chosen because of their seamstress skills and first worked as editors.
There are five days left to the festival and vast amount of films to watch and think about. So far I have seen the film that has made this festival --American Honey.

© Airdate - 2016 - Moira Sullivan- Air Date: 05/17/16
Movie Magazine International