European cinemas ultimate enfant terrible Lars von Trier looks set to return to the Croisette following comments from Cannes Film Festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux today. During an interview with French radio station Europe 1, Frémaux said Cannes President Pierre Lesucure “has really worked over the past few days to remove this persona non grata status which he (Lars) received seven years ago, thinking that its maybe time to give him a spot again as a filmmaker.”
When the hosts asked Frémaux directly about von Triers inclusion in the lineup, the festival head said, “There will maybe be an announcement…” They responded, “You dont want to do the announcement this morning here?” and he replied, smiling, “Well I sort of just did a little.” Frémaux said at the lineup press conference last Thursday that there would be additions to the competition over the coming weeks.
Von Triers new movie The House That Jack Built is set in Washington State and covers the life and crimes of a serial killer over a 12-year period. Matt Dillon, Riley Keough, Bruno Ganz and Uma Thurman star. IFC acquired U.S. rights to the film in Cannes last May.
Heres a reminder of the Lars snafu from 2011 when the arch provocateur landed himself in hot water during a surreal press conference for movie Melancholia, making ill-judged comments about Hitler and his own Nazi sympathies. A media storm ensued and Cannes responded by famously declaring the Croisette regular persona non grata. However, Frémaux subsequently clarified that the festival expulsion was not an indefinite sentence.
The Dogville director won the Palme dOr in 2011 for Dancer In The Dark. The movies star, Icelandic singer Bjork, has subsequently claimed she was sexually harassed by an unnamed Danish director prompting von Trier to deny his involvement in such an episode.
In the same radio interview today, Frémaux also confirmed that Cannes competition regular Andrey Zvyagintsev, who won the Jury Prize for Loveless last year, would be in the jury presided over by Cate Blanchett. The rest of the jury has yet to be announced.
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.