Cannes (France) (AFP) – It’s been another heady year of giant stars and wooden actors, great films and terrible turkeys at the Cannes Film Festival. Here are the highlights and lowlights from the world’s premier film fest on the French Riviera:
Several films got the crowds blubbing at this year’s festival, especially “Amy”, a documentary about the tragically short life of singer Amy Winehouse, and the moving lesbian love affair at the heart of “Carol” starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Plenty of soggy eyes also emerged from “My Mother” about a female director’s struggles with love and family.
A generous gut proved to be a hit with the critics, with Colin Farrell, Joaquin Phoenix and France’s larger-than-life icon Gerard Depardieu sporting flabby “dad bods” in their well-received films, while movies starring more toned stars such as Matthew McConaughey and French heartthrob Jeremie Elkaim took a mauling in the press.
A social media storm erupted after reports that some women had been turned away from the red carpet for not wearing high heels. Actress Emily Blunt called it “very disappointing”. Her director Denis Villeneuve and co-stars Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin vowed to wear heels to the premiere of their film “Sicario”, though sadly they turned up in flats in the end.
As well as delivering an iconic scene conducting a field of cows in competition entry “Youth”, Michael Caine also stole the show with hilarious comments at the press conference during his first trip to Cannes since “Alfie” was shown here in 1962. “‘Alfie’ won a prize and I didn’t so I never came back. I’m not going all that way for nothing,” he said. Asked about playing roles at the age of 82, he dead-panned: “The only alternative to playing elderly people is playing dead people. So I’m quite smart, I picked elderly people.”
The biggest crowds of the week were seen at the midnight showing of “Love”, a hyper-sexual 3D film which featured dozens of ultra-explicit sex scenes and some wince-inducing close-ups in director Gaspar Noe’s tale of “blood, sperm and tears”. Sadly, critics said the tears were mostly the result of boredom, not controversy.
You’ve seen “Black Swan”, but what about “White Swan”? Or “Darker Shades of Grey”? Or “Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies”? You won’t catch these features at your local movie theatre, but they and other B-grade flicks did booming business in a market that runs parallel with the festival, thanks to rising demand from China and video-on-demand companies.
The seemingly unstoppable “McConnaissance” — the astonishing transformation of Matthew McConaughey from romcom jock to Oscar-winning thespian — hit its first obstacle when his new film “The Sea of Trees” received loud boos and open derision. The story of a man wandering in a Japanese forest where people commit suicide received a slew of one-star reviews. A slightly ashen-looking McConaughey tried to put on a brave face, offering the grammatically questionable: “Anyone has as much right to boo as to they do to ovate.”
What Selfie Ban?
Several stars defied festival director Thierry Fremaux’s ban on “ridiculous and grotesque” selfies. Tom Hardy, pushing his action extravaganza “Mad Max: Fury Road” posed on the red carpet for selfies with fans. Salma Hayek also snapped herself during a press conference for “Tale of Tales”. Lots of other stars whipped out their smartphones, forcing Fremaux to pretend he had never called for a ban in the first place.