CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2012 - WRAP
Being there was not enough – Australians had to make the sun shine at this year’s Festival de Cannes, metaphorically as well as literally. Andrew L. Urban reports.
Was it symbolic perhaps that the sun danced on the water below and the assembled Aussies on the penthouse terrace at the Screen Australia welcome party seemed happy and confident? The sun shone for Australia? Because it didn't stay so bright for the next few days.
What added to the sense of success was a muscly business program for producers, with support provided by Screen Australia; as the ever-growing crowd squeezed into the apartment that was turned into a reception room, and as the drinks washed down the finger food, optimism wafted into the long Cannes dusk. Within the next weeks, the full extent of business success for the 300 odd Australians at that crammed party will become clearer.
The air of confidence was driven by the combined buzz of The Sapphires having been slotted for an official slot on Saturday night, the short film, Yardbird in Competition and two Aussie directors in the main Competition, John Hillcoat and Andrew Dominik - the latter’s film starring Brad ever-hot Pitt.
"a muscly business program"
Before long, this positive mood was upgraded to near euphoria when news spread of the extended standing ovation for The Sapphires, and a little later Dominik’s Killing Them Softly was getting rave reviews.
But Cannes isnt just for or just about the Aussies. In fact, the place was crawling with more people than ever. On that sunny first full day of the event, the crowd on the Croisette was so thick it was impossible to walk normally. This must have displeased the weather gods of Cannes because the next few days were cold, very wet and inhospitably grey. Go home, all ye who are here without a purpose other than rubber necking ... The ease of access from anywhere in Europe contributes to this growing Cannes pilgrimage. They came from Scandinavia and the far flung recesses of Eastern Europe, as well as from the Americas, Britain and Asia.
Typically optimistic and naive, one middle aged couple on the train from Holland were looking forward to spotting stars on the Croisette. That hasn't happened for many a long year. Stars are caged inside black limos, which disgorge them on schedule at the start of the red carpet, cordoned off from the paparazzi and the perving crowds, and never seen again in public - except at the press conference, but the press aren’t really the public, are we.
"the worship of cinema continues"
As the 40,000 visitors surge like locusts through the town, devouring the gelato and the seafood, the French fries and the salad Nicoise, the worship of cinema continues as it has for the past 65 years, with the insiders, like the jury, media and invited guests, living in the parallel universe of the Festival itself.
The Competition, like a horse race as our correspondent Nick Roddick has called it, runs its course, with the odds chopping and changing, but the old veterans are always at the front. Michael "this will hurt" Haneke and other dark knights of cinema guaranteed to match this year’s donner und blitzen weather. (The gods, displeasure exhausted after a while and the sun came out, but it left a wet mark on the memory stick of all who attended.) Haneke won the Palme d’Or.
Signs of the changes that are morphing this festival into a new form are everywhere. The Carlton, which used to make $1 million from billboards on its facade alone, sported only a couple, notably the entrance archway decorated with larger than life posters of The Dictator, a somewhat sad sight on a hotel which has more style and class than all the other hotels in town. I take it as a symbol of Cannes dumbing down, when taken with the mass of tourists who flock to Cannes not for the love of cinema but for (largely unsuccessful) celebrity spotting. OK I am a Cannes snob.
The other tragic sign of change is the completion of white marquees covering every single beach restaurant. These structures, to provide rain cover for the cash registers, block out the view of the beach from the Croisette. Or even from the penthouse terrace on the 8th floor, where the view is otherwise splendid. This has completely changed the visual mood of Cannes, and not for the better.
"Cannes is still addictive"
For all these negatives, Cannes is still addictive as the intersection of film art and screen culture with the buzz of big deals and future films. The location is still gorgeous and while the starlet syndrome has waned, the promise of sensory seduction remains.
AMOUR (Love) by Michael HANEKE
REALITY by Matteo GARRONE
Award for Best Director
Carlos REYGADAS for POST TENEBRAS LUX
THE ANGELS’ SHARE by Ken LOACH
Award for Best Actor
Mads MIKKELSEN in JAGTEN (The Hunt) by Thomas VINTERBERG
Award for Best Actress
Cristina FLUTUR & Cosmina STRATAN in DUPĂ DEALURI (Beyond The Hills) byCristian MUNGIU
Award for Best Screenplay
Cristian MUNGIU for pour DUPĂ DEALURI (Beyond The Hills)
SESSIZ-BE DENG (Silent) by L. Rezan YESILBAS
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD by Benh ZEITLIN presented in Un Certain Regard Selection
Published May 31, 2012
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CANNES 2012 PREVIEW
Michael Haneke receives the Palme d'or from Adrien Brody
Killing Them Softly
Mads Mikkelsen for Jagten