I’ve got 40 minutes before Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral begins at 2 pm. It’s about “biological communion” with celebrities, as somebody tweeted a day or two ago. Or more precisely about an employee at a clinic that sells injections of live viruses harvested from sick celebrities to obsessed fans. I have a funny feeling about this but better to encounter and respond than sit here in the Orange press longe, tapping out pissy little paragraphs.

I saw John Hilcoat‘s Lawless this morning — a bootlegging movie about backwoods macho bludgeoning, stabbing, gouging, shooting, throat-slitting, shotgunning and all that good exploitation yeehaw crap. It’s a better acted, more finely photographed and much more violent upgrade of an early ’70s Roger Corman film. So why did they screen it here? It’s a drive-in movie for rednecks, and I’m sitting in Grand Palais on the Cote d’Azur watching this flotsam?

It’s set in 1931, the height of the Depression, and I guess I wanted something classy and fabled like Phillip BorsosThe Grey Fox…no such luck with Hillcoat. Tom Hardy plays a time-travelling robot with a hick accent who can’t be killed with a throat-slashing or with two or three shots to the chest…he jes keeps on a’comin.

As far as I’m concerned Hillcoat is no longer someone to watch. He’s a thick-fingered plebe. The Proposition, for me, was crude, sadistic, high-style hash about amber lighting and grubbily dressed actors whose faces were smeared with chicken grease. The Road, his post-apocalyptic father-son movie, was half-decent but was mostly about compositions filled with grayness and ash and waste of one kind or another. And now this sludge.

“Two good things about Lawless,” I tweeted. “(1) Guy Pearce‘s ultra-venal, almost Dracula-like villain, and (2) a nice nude scene featuring Jessica Chastain.”

I got into an 11:30 am market screening of Pablo Lorrain‘s No, which has more heat than any festival selection so far. It’s about an advertising campaign in Chile, largely sculpted by an ad man played by Gael Garcia Bernal, that led to the unseating of the fascist thug Augusto Pinochet in a 1988 plebiscite election, and the introduction of democracy.

Unfortunately the print shown had only French subtitles, and the film is naturally in Spanish. I was able to understand some of it but not enough, and I finally split after 45 minutes or so. I’d naturally like to catch an English-subtitled version. The film is shot in 1.33 with what looks like a 1980s video camera, so it looks like a period piece — an odd term for a film set 24 years ago but whatever.