Last Updated: May 16, 2009By

By ALI NADERZAD The first screening of the day, which takes place in the Theatre Lumiere, was Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet,” presented in competition. It’s about a Moroccan man (played by Tahar Rahim) imprisoned in France who goes to work for the Corsican mafia and slowly comes to dominate inside and outside the prison world. A very strong film which thankfully avoids the usual jailhouse cliches but which at over one hundred-twenty minutes is just too long. Like most movies in Cannes it could use a little paring down.Very few stories, I believe, deserve to last this long (pictured: press conference for “A Prophet,” L-R lead actor Tahar Rahim, Jacques Audiard, Niels Arestrup and producer Marco Cherqui).

This afternoon went to see “Mother,” by the director Bong Joon Ho. Very Korean-centric. The humor, the way of thinking, all are staples of Korean culture and I just don’t get it at all. Tonight I will get to see the Philipines “Kinatay” by Brillante Mendoza. I enjoyed his film “Serbis” which competed here last year. Filipino is getting some real exposure this year again; let’s see if Mendoza goes home with an award this time.
The buzz everywhere is about the new Lars Von Trier. I feel apprehensive about watching that film. Von Trier has repeatedly bemoaned his fragile spirits and how he decided to try and make a film to come out of his profound depression. And I heard the film is very graphic, the lovemaking scenes between Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe bordering on pornography, apparently. Am I a gossip-monger? I think not. Others have said this before me, and it’s been alluded to in interviews with Von Trier-he himself was heard wondering aloud about this, but mostly as he was repeating an interviewer’s insinuation. Even for a Gaspar Noe fan such as myself, all this dark of “darkness” does not augur well. And yet, I look forward to the visual and the esthetic of the film, especially that Dod Mantle did the photography on this. Look him up, he’s one of the best DP around, born and bred English but living in Denmark, if I’m not mistaken. He’s basically worked with every Danish directors in the last few years.

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