IFC Films has acquired U.S. distrib rights to Cristian Mungiu‘s Tales From The Golden Age, an omnibus film which wil show in Cannes this week in the Un Certain Regard section. Pic is “a collection of Romanian urban legends from the communist era,” written by Mungiu and co-directed by Ioana Uricaru, Hanno Hofer, Razvan Marculescu, Constantin Popescu and Mungiu. IFC previously distributed Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, which won the Palmes d’Or only to be shat upon the Academy’s foreign-language film committee when they declined to shortlist it. Golden Age won’t see the light of a U.S. projector lamp until 2010.
Indiewire’s Eugene Hernandez posted a piece last night that asks this question and offers answers in the form of quotes from Emerging Pictures Ira Deutchman, Sony Classics’ Tom Bernard, MCN’s David Poland (a longtime Cannes non-attender), the Sarasota Film Festival’s Tom Hall, an anonymous insider who hasn’t returned this year out of annoyance and frustration, and myself.
“One tried-and-true Cannes ritual is the Tuesday night dinner at La Pizza,” Variety‘s Anne Thompson wrote last night. “With many travelers admonished by their bosses to watch their expenses this year, La Pizza is a relatively inexpensive option. Hollywood Elsewhere‘s Jeff Wells rounded up a gaggle of writers, some print (like the Washington Post‘s Ann Hornaday) and online (MSN and AMC’s James Rocchi) as well as IndieWire stalwarts Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks. Julian Sancton will be blogging Cannes for the first time for VanityFair.com. Lionsgate, Fox Searchlight and Jere Hausfater were in the house, as well as the Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim League.”
A few years back Soshana Bush, the 20 year-old blonde female lead in Damien Wayans‘ Dance Flick (Paramount, 5.22), attended Redwood High School in Larkspur, just north of San Francisco, in the same class as my son Jett. They didn’t run with the same crowd, Jett says, but they half knew each other. So it seems appropriate that Jett should catch a screening of Dance Flick in Manhattan this week and review it for Hollywood Elsewhere.
I’m not sure about my ability to sit down and really watch Watchmen again when it comes out on DVD and Bluray a little more than two months hence. With my full undivided attention, I mean. I suppose I could half-watch it — i.e., write the column while running it in the adjacent living room as a kind of white-noise distraction, eyeballing it from time to time. But I do that all the time anyway.
The Bluray Director’s Cut edition (out 7.21) contains an extra 25 minutes of footage (including “more Rorschach” and “a scene of Hollis Mason‘s death”) for a grand total of 186 minutes. But the big attraction is an expanded capability sidelight called Warner Bros. Maximum Movie Mode along with a live Bluray/Facebook hookup that I don’t want to know about.
The MMM thing, however, includes (a) director walk-ons (i.e., Zack Snyder) with scene analysis, (b) picture-in-picture video from the cast and crew, (c) side-by-side comparisons of the graphic novel and the film; (d) timeline comparisons of our world events to those from Watchmen; plus (e) intersting docs and photo galleries. At least it’s a full-load package. Not bad for $36 and change.
(I would have included art of the Watchmen Bluray, but the wifi in the apartment is so weak and crappy that file transfers don’t work.)
My first day in Cannes turned into a wifi nightmare on two fronts. The apartment’s wifi is so awful that there’s no choice but to demand a refund, and the air at the legendary Orange Cafe inside the Palais — one of the fastest and most reliable wireless environments in years past — has been flaky and twitchy. In and out, working and then not working, etc. This sounds like petty carping but it’s not. There’s nothing worse than bad air. It messes up everything.
One of the tech guys said they had to install a brand new hard wire yesterday and that they’ve been trying to tweak it correctly today with limited success. At least tomorrow morning’s Up screening isn’t happening until 10 am, which means a bit more time to sleep.
“Despite the sheer volume of incident and action required of any film that includes young kids as a major portion of its target audience, Up is an exceptionally refined picture,” Variety‘s Todd McCarthy posted early this morning. “Unlike so many animated films, it’s not all about sensory bombardment and volume. As Pixar’s process is increasingly analyzed, the more one appreciates the care that goes into the writing. The underlying carpentry here is so strong, it seems it would be hard to go too far wrong in the execution.
“Although the cliffhanger effects are augmented by 3-D projection, never do co-directors Pete Docter and Bob Peterson shove anything in the viewer’s face just because of its 3-D potential. In fact, the film’s overall loveliness presents a conceivable argument in favor of seeing it in 2-D: Even with the strongest possible projector bulbs, the 3-D glasses reduce the image’s brightness by 20%. At the very least, the incentive for seeing Up in 3-D would seem less powerful than it is for other films.”
Obviously this “tale of an unlikely journey to uncharted geographic and emotional territory by an old codger and a young explorer could have been cloying, but instead proves disarming in its deep reserves of narrative imagination and surprise, as well as its poignant thematic balance of dreams deferred and dreams fulfilled. A lack of overtly fantastical elements might endow Up with a somewhat lower initial must-see factor than some summer releases. But like all of Pixar’s features, this one will enjoy a rewardingly long ride in all venues and formats.”
“The Hollywood trades have ruled at Cannes and other film markets [in the past],” reports former Variety guy Rex Weiner, “but their dominion has dissipated with the advent of the Internet, and the proliferation of online sources of business information, including leagues of bloggers.
“Cannes advertising revenues for the trades this year are down as much as 20-30%, according to sources at both papers. Between Cannes and the awards season, this downward trend has hit The Hollywood Reporter and Variety hard, and layoffs over the past year decimated the editorial and sales forces on both sides of the street.
One result, Weiner reports, is that Variety “will for the first time in more than a decade be producing its daily Cannes edition entirely from its LA offices, cutting costs by paying overtime to a skeleton crew in LA working a two-week nightshift from opening night to the May 24th Palme d’Or awards ceremonies.
Another is that “of the 15 people the Hollywood Reporter has registered with the festival press office, only four are reporters and two are film reviewers, with editor-in-chief Elizabeth Guider holding down the fort in LA where half the show-daily will be produced.”
“The fact that the venerable entertainment industry trades are sending fewer reporters to Cannes marks the end of one of the juicier assignments in the field of journalism. As this former Variety reporter can assure you, reporting on Cannes from a cubicle on Wilshire Boulevard just won’t be the same as sitting poolside at the Hotel du Cap with a notepad in one hand, a gin-and-tonic in the other, listening to Harvey making deals from the next lounge chair, and watching the latest box-office hottie just over there smoothing on sunblock.”