ARCHIVES

CANNES FESTIVAL – A so-so “Frankie” gets elevated by a great performance by Isabelle Huppert

"Frankie" is in the running for a Palme D'Or

An exotic locale in beautiful Portugal, an unaffected and powerful performance by a star actress and existential worriment. This is what you can expect from “Frankie,” an ensemble film directed by Ira Sachs that’s asthmatic and lacks energy but fascinated me, nevertheless, because of its main actress Isabelle Huppert and her incredible on-screen presence. Huppert is one of France’s ... more >

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CANNES FESTIVAL – “Young Ahmed,” a story of mental bondage

This film is competing for a Palme D'Or

It’d be understandable to want to interpret the new Dardenne Brothers movie as finger-pointing at the insidious and virulent strain of religiosity that’s going around the world right now, that is, Islamism. But enslavement, of the mind (to someone else’s viewpoint, a submission to a code of beliefs that’s toxic, that will make you do irrational things, like commit murder) and, more to the point, ... more >

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CANNES FESTIVAL – “A hidden life,” a Terrence Malick film in Cannes

This film is competing for the Palme D'Or

Terrence Malick has directed “A Hidden Life,” a very enjoyable contemplation on World War II, on freedom, on good and evil, and on God. His film asks, where was God during WWII? Radegund, a beautiful village in the Austrian Alps. Franz Jägerstätter, a conscientious objector, refuses to fight for the Nazis or pledge allegiance to them. Franz has a farm in these beautiful mountains that he tends ... more >

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CANNES FESTIVAL – Moving and magical PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE

This film is competing for a Palme D'Or

The year is 1770. Marianne (Noémie Merlant), the daughter of a renowned painter and a painter herself travels to an island off the coast of Brittany, tasked with painting the portrait of a noblewoman, Héloïse (Adèle Haenel). Héloïse has recently left the convent where she led a life of seclusion because of a family tragedy: Her sister has met a tragic end on the verge of marrying a Milanese ... more >

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CANNES FESTIVAL – Diao Yinan’s WILD GOOSE LAKE

"Wild Goose Lake" is competing for the Palme D'Or

A gang leader on the lam in search of redemption. A prostitute eager to gain her freedom back. Together they will decide to play one last gamble with their fate, the proverbial last big hit. Within this narrative proposition, a discrete romantic plot that will come to fit within the film’s dramatic structure. This is “Wild Goose Lake,” by Chinese director Yi'nan Diao, a film that’s inferior to his ... more >

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CANNES FESTIVAL – Cornel Porumboiu’s “La Gomera” (“The Whistlers”)

This film is competing for the Palme D'Or

Despite its non-chronological narrative and slightly-convoluted plot Corneliu Porumboiu’s new film “La Gomera” is a winner. It’s a film noir with a femme fatale, murders and a morally-questionable hero. “Gomera” references “The Maltese Falcon,” and has one scene that looks like a first take from “Psycho.” Add to this a mattress full of cash, a pious mother and scenes from the Singapore's Garden ... more >

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CANNES FESTIVAL – BULL (Annie Silverstein NAILED IT)

How screwed up is America? In Annie Silverstein’s “Bull,” when young Kris (Amber Havard) gets arrested for breaking and entering and she’s offered a deal, she replies, “can’t you just send me to juvie?” The level of resignation that Kris, or other people like her in real life, must feel, is both baffling and dismaying. In Trump’s America, people like her who go through difficulties just shrug it ... more >