By ALI NADERZAD The Cannes Festival is often filled with New York moments. This morning before the screening of Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank,” a young woman appeared on the Lumiere Theatre’s large stage and started vacuuming. Some people started clapping and soon thereafter everyone followed suit. The first screening of the day is often the most boisterous one. Everyone’s back together after last night’s dinners and parties and people are planning their day together, catching up on the previous night’s market gossip, etc.
The half-past eight screening in Lumiere happens to be my favorite one of the day. The 62nd Cannes Festival is off to a good start, I’d say. Yesterday the members of the jury gave their press conference, officially opening the Festival. I saw Isabelle Huppert as she was leaving after the press conference and was astonished by how thin she looked. No an ounce of fat on this jury president.
Last night was the premiere for “Up,” the animated film which opens in the U.S. later this month. I walked on the Croisette and noticed several replicas of the little house from the film and a large, multicolored grape of balloons hanging from it. One of the premiere’s guests was French director Claude Lelouch, who I had spotted earlier that day on my plane flying from Paris to Nice.
Today I went to the screening of the Bahman Ghobadi film about the underground music scene in Tehran. It was hard for me to believe that so much filming could be done in Islamic Iran. Ghobadi went all over Tehran to film his two leads as they alternately try to assemble a band and obtain passports and visas to tour abroad. As is often the case with Persian films, “Noone knows about Persian cats” felt like a documentary at times. Otherwise, the buzz in Cannes is of course the new Gilles Jacob book (see sidebar) which was just released and the fact that this 62nd edition is basically being dedicated to the memory of Fortissimo Films’ head Wouter Barendrecht who died on April 10th in Bangkok of a heart attack. Barendrecht is credited with helping Asian cinema and has worked with Wong Kar Wai.
Tonight I’m going to the screening of “Precious,” at the Olympia Theatre so that I can attend the Lionsgate luncheon tomorrow with Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz. I was also going to attend a yacht party for “Bubblegum Crisis,” an Asian film based on anime but it’s in the next town and will conflict with an early evening screening.
The biggest buzz on the Croisette is about the new Lars Von Trier film “Antichrist.” Von Trier has emerged after suffering a major bout of depression during which he was bed-ridden for months. He was barely able to make the film (he did not touch the camera at all), telling his two leads (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) that he’s operating only at 70%. But more provocative than a director winning the Palme D’or and then entering such a deep depression is the fact that the film itself is apparently very graphic, featuring near-pornographic sexual scenes with Dafoe and Gainsbourg. Should this mere fact be the cause of so much buzz? Of course not, that would be obscene and petty. But it’s noteworthy, since Gainsbourg appears to normally be a very shy individual. What’s buzz-worthy is the fact that Lars Von Trier has reneged his early association to dogma and likely entered a new personal stage of his life. It will take several more days before we can finally see “Antichrist” partake in Lars Von Trier’s triumphant return to the Croisette (or recoil in horror? Who knows?)(pictured: “Fish Tank,” by Andrea Arnold).