Cannes Film Festival
Things just got very exciting. Cannes has just made some eye-catching additions to its 2018 lineup including Lars von Triers The House That Jack Built, Kevin Macdonalds Whitney Houston doc Whitney, Terry Gilliams long-gestating The Man Who Killed Don Quixote and Fahrenheit 451 by Ramin Bahrani.
Competition additions include Un Couteau Dans Le Cœur (Knife + Heart) by French filmmaker Yann Gonzalez and starring Vanessa Paradis and Ayka by Kazakh Sergey Dvortsevoy, director of Tulpan andwinner of the Un Certain Regard Prize in 2008. The duo join an already healthy group of Competition debutants. As previously expected, also joining the Competition is Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylans Ahlat Agaci (The Wild Pear Tree / Le Poirier sauvage). Arthouse heavyweight Ceylon won the Palme dor in 2014 for Winter Sleep. The Competition looks to be complete now and will comprise 21 films, only three of which come from women filmmakers.
The only Out of Competition addition announced today comes in the shape of Von Triers The House That Jack Built starring Matt Dillon and Uma Thurman, while new films announced today for Un Certain Regard are Muere, Monstruo, Muere (Meurs, Monstre, Meurs) by Argentinean Alejandro Fadel; Chuva E Cantoria Na Aldeia Dos Mortos (The Dead And The Others / Les Morts Et Les Autres) by Portugese director João Salaviza and Brazilian Renée Nader Messora; and Donbass by Ukranian Sergey Loznitsa, which will open the strand on Wednesday May 9.
Expect standing room only at the press conference for von Triers serial killer movie, which marks the directors return to the Croisette after being declared persona non grata in 2011. The feted and controversial filmmaker, a former Palme dOr winner, will likely be one of the festivals biggest talking points and festival head Thierry Frémaux had teased his inclusion in recent days. The Out of Competition slot is intriguing in itself given that von Trier has been a Competition regular. He is also sure to be asked about #MeToo comments made by his Dancer In The Dark star Bjork.
Buzzy Midnight Screenings additions comprise documentary Whitney, by Oscar-winner Kevin Macdonald, about the life of icon singer Whitney Houston [expect tears and rapture in equal measure, and songs getting stuck in heads], and HBO sci-fi Fahrenheit 451 by Ramin Bahrani with Sofia Boutella, Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon. Set in a carefree future, Creed and Black Panther actor Michael B. Jordan stars in the latter as a man whose job as a fireman is to burn all books. However, he begins to questions his actions after meeting a young girl who sparks his rebellion. The Ray Bradbury novel was previously made into a movie by Francois Truffaut.
The festival has also revealed its closing film to be Terry Gilliams long-gestating The Man Who Killed Don Quixote with Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce and Olga Kurylenko. The film has been caught in legal mire in recent times but would now seem free enough to take part. The screening will take place on Saturday May 19 after the closing ceremony and the film will be released in France on the same day. The project has been an epic labor of love for Gilliam — its journey to screen has been a fascinating one. Media will no doubt also want to ask the auteur director about #MeToo and Harvey Weinstein after comments he made earlier this year stoked ire among some actors and campaigners.
Cannes runs May 8-19.
‘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.