No quotes or sourcing, but during last night’s Cannes Film Festival journalist dinner at La Pizza it was sincerely, semi-convincingly asserted that Pete Docter‘s Inside Out (Disney, 6.19) is “almost” Best Picture-level good and an all-but-assured hit. I immediately turn the dial down when I hear something like this because I’m incapable of really loving animation…tough. But I believe the person who passed along the enthusiasm — she really meant it. Two people also discussed Brad Bird‘s Tomorrowland, and one of them gave me one of those looks that said “forget it.” The other wasn’t trying to “defend it,” exactly, but his attitude is/was a little more forgiving or compassionate. So there you have it — Tomorrowland thud, Inside Out ascending.
In the wake of yesterday’s post about Kent Jones‘ Hitchcock/Truffaut, I’ve been thinking about Alfred Hitchcock‘s legendary dismissal of the “plausibles,” and particularly that quote about plausibility in one of his films not being allowed “to rear its ugly head.” I’ve been a hard-core plausible all my life, but I’ll occasionally accept implausibility under one condition — i.e., as long as a scene’s substitute for plausibility is sufficiently attractive or mesmerizing.
Stealth introductions of a lead actor or actress (i.e., a behind-the-head shot or an insert of his/her hands or a shot of walking shoes before allowing the audience a sustained view of his/her face) are a staple of commercial cinema, I noted, “but no one ever kept a star’s face from being shown as long as Alfred Hitchcock did during an early scene in Notorious.
The first two days of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival — Wednesday, 6.13 and Thursday, 6.14 — seem to mainly be about films of a weak, marginal or not-so-much vibe. Tomorrow is Emmanuelle Bercot‘s La Tete Haute, Kore Eda-Hirokaazu‘s Unimachi Diary and Matteo Garrone‘s Tale of Tales (Il Racconto dei Racconti). Thursday’s lineup includes George Miller‘s Mad Max: Fury Road (seen it), Naomi Kawase‘s An (nope). Lazlo Nemes‘ Son of Saul…maybe. By my yardstick Friday is the first day of real intrigue — Yorgos Lanthimos‘s The Lobster (which I’m expecting to be annoyed by if not hate), Woody Allen‘s Irrational Man, Gus Van Sant‘s The Sea of Trees. And then Todd Haynes‘ Carol screens on Saturday.
I awoke in Paris this morning at 4:45 am. My train arrived in Cannes at 12:30 pm. I was unpacked and picking up the pass by 2:30 pm.
There was a producer in his mid 30s standing behind me in the credentials line who was speaking in uptalk. (Uptalk = statements as questions.) Chalk on a blackboard. It’s irritating enough when younger women do this, but guys…forget it. I’ve never uptalked once in my entire life.
Yesterday morning in Paris I attended a screening of Kent Jones‘ edifying Hitchcock/Truffaut, which Jones directed and co-wrote with Cinematheque Francaise director Serge Toubiana. Slated to show on 5.19 at the Cannes Film Festivals, the 80-something-minute doc is a sublime turn-on — a deft educational primer about the work and life of Alfred Hitchcock and, not equally but appreciably, Francois Truffaut. Efficient, well-ordered, devotional.
No, it didn’t tell me anything about Hitchcock or his many films or Truffaut’s renowned “Hitchcock/Truffaut” book (a feature-length q & a interspersed with frame captures from Hitch’s films) that I didn’t already know, but that’s okay — almost every detail of the book’s material was absorbed into my system decades ago.
The bounce, if you will, comes from the talking heads — David Fincher, Martin Scorsese, Olivier Assayas, Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, James Gray, Arnaud Depleschin, one or two others — each enthused and semi-aglow in their own way. Memories, associations, gratitude.
To me Hitchcock/Truffaut seems good and wise enough to seduce the novice as well as the sophisticated cineaste. It’s a fully absorbing, excellent education. As you might expect, it made me want to read the book all over again.
It contains many snippets of interview audio between the two men. My favorite Hitch quotes: (a) “Logic is dull” and (b) “Plausibility was not allowed to rear its ugly head.”
I sat up in my seat when Jones revealed a brief glance at contact sheet images of Hitch shooting the Phoenix hotel room scene (Janet Leigh, John Gavin) in Psycho — images I’d never seen before. I asked Jones if I could somehow post a few of them but he wasn’t encouraging. Apparently they’re under some kind of copyright lock and key. Which of course is nonsensical at this stage.