I didn’t stay up until 3 am to file my reactions to the announcement of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival slate because (a) I was presuming that no wowser surprises would be included (this has turned out to be correct) and (b) there’s an apparent downside factor attached to…well, a good percentage of the films announced this morning. I’m not exactly “blue” in the Billie Holiday sense, but the Cannes turn-on factor is down this year. When the stars are aligned above the right kind of Cannes slate I’ll feel an 8 or an 8.5 warm gutty-wut in my soul. My bones and inner organs tend to vibrate. This one feels like a 6 or a 6.5. Okay, a 7.
Agreed, none of the announced films are radiating “please, God…no!” vibes except for the out-of-competition slot given to Steven Spielberg‘s The BFG, but very few seem (emphasis on the “s” word) to possess that special X-factor anticipation tingle-vibe that you can always somehow sense from a distance. And so my insides aren’t humming. The little pleasure light that hangs near the bow of my Cannes-bound ship won’t illuminate no matter how many times I unscrew and re-screw the bulb.
This is a good attitude to have, by the way, because when and if something really pops I’ll be all the more startled and thankful.
At least there’s (a) Baccalaureat, the competition film from Romania’s Cristian Mungiu, who can do no wrong in my eyes; (b) Cristi Puiu‘s Sierra-Nevada, about a demimonde of prickly Romanian family members who’ve assembled to raise a glass for a deceased patriarch; and (c) Julieta, about a character played in younger-older stages of her life by Adriana Ugarte and Emma Suarez, from the almost entirely faultless Pedro Almodovar. (If anyone can tell me why Pedro made I’m So Excited, I’m all ears.)
I’d like to express my deep, heartfelt gratitude to Thierry Fremaux or God or fate for the wonderful, glorious absence of Terrence Malick‘s Voyage of Time, the IMAX film that Mr. Wackadoodle has been fiddling with for the last four or five years, and which had been mentioned here and there as a possible out-of-competition inclusion.
Woody Allen‘s Cafe Society will open the festival, but opening-nighters are often chosen because they’re relatively mild or unchallenging or even toothless. Do the math.
Director Andrea Arnold seemed to have some kind of lightning in her bottle when she made Red Road and Fish Tank but American Honey, described as a portrait of “a group of young people who travel the country selling magazine subscriptions and making trouble,” sounds fucking dreadful. Magazine subscriptions? Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough costar. (Competition)
I’m enormously grateful, by the way, that Derek Cianfrance‘s The Light Between the Oceans wasn’t chosen. The prospect of watching Fassbender-Vikander engaging in a form of delusional child-rearing on an isolated island…forget it, leave it there. And thank our Almighty and Merciful God that James Gray‘s The Lost City of Z wasn’t chosen for whatever reason.