Normally, by the time I’m about to leave a film festival, I’m ready to go home. I’ve always had fun, always loved the experience, but usually I am craving my own bed, my sleep, my standard routine. But, as I opened my eyes on my final full day in Cannes, this time I feel sad. “I don’t wanna gooooo…” I whined to Nadia, my Cannes roommate.
Alas, I have commitments in LA, and have been away for almost three weeks, so I can’t possibly stay. Next year, I vowed as I got out of bed, I will stay the entire run of the festival. The final weekend especially, because that’s when they repeat all the competition films back-to-back.
My first film of the day was not in competition, so no jury members (aka Jake) present, but I was excited to see it nonetheless. Every year certain studio films are allowed to screen in Cannes, handpicked by the festival. ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ was at the start of the fest, and today, Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ had its turn. Pixar films over the past few years have been mixed between the good (Toy Story 3) and the bad (Cars 2) but ‘Inside Out’ appears to be a true return to form.
The really sweet story centers on an 11 year old girl, Riley, the emotions inside her head – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust – and how they all work together. It’s a very clever film, which you can watch on two levels. On the surface, it’s a journey story as Joy and Sadness have to find their way back to Headquarters to restore the balance. But deeper, it’s a fun study on psychology, and many aspects are looked at – long term memories, which traits make up a personality, and how you may need to feel a tough emotion in order to move on. Funnily enough, all the emotions represented in the film are what you will experience while watching ‘Inside Out’, as Pixar knows just how to push all your buttons.
The animation looks beautiful of course, and there are plenty of star voices, but I liked how non-distracting they were. Each voice suited the character, so you forgot about the name behind the voice, rather than spending the whole time trying to figure out who it is.
Deciding to squeeze another film in at lunchtime, I went to see ‘Amnesia’, by Barbet Schroeder, an Iranian filmmaker. The film was set in Ibiza, Spain, in the early 90s and focused on Martha (Marthe Keller) an older lady trying to escape the horrors of her childhood in Germany. When she meets a young, hot German DJ, Jo (Max Riemelt), she finally has to confront what she has been running from. ‘Amnesia’ looks gorgeous, thanks to its sumptuous seaside setting, and I enjoyed watching Marthe Keller on screen. But, perhaps because much of the film was in English rather than their native tongue, the acting seemed stiff and some of the dialogue was completely unrealistic. The relationship built between the two characters happened quite quickly, and I never truly bought the love between them.
The final film for the day was the french movie ‘Marguerite & Julien’, by Valerie Donzelli, one of the few female filmmakers in competition. This film was based in part on a real story, a period piece, about the love between a brother and a sister. Yep. we’re talking incest. The film was shot beautifully, with plenty of energy in the camerawork to make it feel contemporary. But, with a subject matter that icky, you have to tread lightly, and REALLY feel for the characters to go along with it. And I just didn’t. I didn’t feel like this was a love that had to happen against all odds and I wasn’t cheering them on to be together. Inside my head, my emotions were saying, “Surely you can love another guy out there who is NOT your brother?” Plus the fact that Julien looked like he was 30, and Marguerite 20, did not help at all (In reality she’s 26 and he’s 37)
But now, as I sit here in a cafe, post-film, scribbling in my notebook… with a glass of rose and watching the glamorous and black-tied people pass by… I can’t help but feel incredibly lucky to be here. Well, maybe lucky is the wrong word, given that I willed and worked and hustled my career into existence. I think grateful is a better word. I’m so grateful I have the means to come to France and watch weird and wonderful films. Films which people put their heart and soul into making. And to sit with like-minded people who care as much as me about original movies. And am I feeling grateful for my leg injury, for forcing me out of my comfort zone to deal with something in a foreign place? Nah, that’s the wine talking. But I AM grateful it’s getting better and that I can walk most of the time, and very much grateful for my pain medication.
So until next time Cannes… merci beaucoup pour les souvenirs. A bientôt!
Here’s a list of everything I watched & the order I would rank them:
2) The Lobster
4) Inside Out
5) Mia Madre
6) Louder Than Bombs
7) Irrational Man
8) A Tale of Tales
9) The Sea Of Trees
10) Marguerite & Julien
(and I’ll squeeze in Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Sicario’ before my flight tomorrow morning!)