It's the beginning of the summer, which means it's time for Hollywood's biggest and brightest stars to make their way to the French Riviera for the Cannes Film Festival, while the rest of us look on with jealousy. But just because you didn't snag a ticket to the most glamorous film event of the year, that doesn't mean you can't keep up with all of the big films premiering over the next two weeks. To help you stay on top of things, we're running down the biggest films that premiered in competition at the festival, including Michel Hazanavicius' gritty follow up to The Artist, a strange, metaphorical film from Jean-Luc Godard, and a possible Palme D'Or winner.
Two Days, One Night The latest film from Cannes fixtures Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Two Days, One Night stars Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard as a woman who has one weekend to convince her co-workers to give up their annual bonuses so that she can keep her job. Assisted by her husband, played by Fabrizio Rongione, she must find someone to help her convince her boss to reconsider, and to give her another chance despite the time she had to take off for depression. The film premiered to positive reviews, and it's considered one of the frontrunners for the Palme D'Or.
"Cotillard's best work since La Vie En Rose unquestionably ranks as her most credible turn, as the actress demonstrates a fragility that never veers into the realm of overstatement. Despite its basic trajectory, her actions are littered with surprising moments, and each new co-worker she encounters adds another layer of texture to this delicate portrait of personal and professional priorities clashing with awkward results." - Eric Kohn, Variety
"The Dardennes have made a brilliant social-realist drama with a real narrative tension which is something of a novelty in their work. [...] As for this solar-panel company, it appears to have a union in that a vote has been forced which the management will abide by, but it is a union which manages and regulates the decisions of those above them, and they are certainly not united enough to reject out of hand the insidious Bonus/Sandra choice. Yet movingly, solidarity is what the film is about; solidarity is what Sandra is trying to achieve as her emotional state comes to pieces, through a majority vote in a democratic election." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
The SearchAfter winning a Best Picture Oscar for The Artist, director Michel Hazanavicius went in a different direction for his follow-up, The Search. Set during the Second Chechnyan War, an NGO worker (played by Berenice Bejo) cares for an orphan boy, Hadji, who refuses to speak or open up to her in any way. Hazanavicius describes his film, which is based on the 1948 movie with Montgomery Clift, as a "picture of dignity" and "a true canvas of the suffering of humanity.”
"It’s ambitious of Hazanavicius to cram so many of war’s horrors into one film, but it makes that film a slow-moving, bloated one. And once you’ve got used to the way he cuts between three different strands, it becomes apparent that not much is actually happening in any of them. There are shockingly credible depictions of firefights and bombings, and there are more shots of corpses than you’d see in a typical zombie movie. [...] For a war movie, The Search is curiously short of conflict." - Nicholas Barber, BBC Culture
"Coincidentally quite timely in the wake of recent Russian moves on its neighbors, the writer-director’s first full-on drama attempts to present a mosaic portrait of the suffering in a region little-known or understood by the world, hence the perceived lack of concern. The result is vivid when focusing on those directly involved in the war but laborious when devoted to the fretful hand-wringing of do-gooder outsider characters, which is a lot of the time." - Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
Joss Barratt/Sixteen Films
Jimmy's Hall Irish director Ken Loach's latest film tells the story of activist Jimmy Gralton, who was deported from the country during the Red Scare of the 1930s. Gralton was the founder of the Pearse-Connolly community hall, where people from the town gathered to learn about art, music, and literature. However, his actions upset the Catholic priests and town leaders, who opposed to his teachings and practices.
"Ken Loach has taken a despicable episode of modern Irish history — the 1933 deportation without trial of one of its own citizens, James Gralton — and made a surprisingly lovely, heartfelt film from it with Jimmy’s Hall. A thematic sequel of sorts to his Cannes-winning The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Loach’s 24th fiction feature finds the activist-minded director trafficking in familiar themes of individual liberties, institutional oppression and the power of collective organizing, here infused with a gentle romanticism that buoys the film without cheapening the gravity of its subject." - Scott Foundas, Variety
"Loach has made a sumptuous period piece, beautifully photographed by Robbie Ryan, using many local people in the crowd scenes, wearing wonderful tweeds, slipovers and wrap dresses, riding on antique bikes and in donkey-drawn carts through the green hills and boggy valleys, dancing merrily. It all looks great, a dream of Ireland before the blissful bungalows. The characterful faces are a treat too, above all that of Jimmy’s aged mum (Aileen Henry, new to acting)." - David Sexton, London Evening Standard
Goodbye To Language 3D Legendary director Jean-Luc Godard's newest project takes a relatively straightforward story - a couple reflect on their relationship, life and the world around them - and through the use of voice-over, imagery and non-linear storylines, turns it into a confusing, entrancing "film essay." Starring Heloise Godet and Kamel Abdeli, the film has been described as everything from "hilarious" to "frustrating."
"Goodbye to Language" is in 3D, and a very challenging 3D at that. The film is structured in numbered sections that repeat themselves with different or overlapping content, and there are brain-scrambling superimpositions, texts, clips from old films, solarized images, and footage shot with low-res cameras. There’s even a costume-drama sequence depicting Mary Shelley and Lord Byron. The sense of experimentation is extravagant, and the 3D effect achieves such notable depth of field that this little movie puts mainstream mega-bucks productions like "The Great Gatsby" to shame." - Barbara Scharres, Roger Ebert.com
"To some degree, the overwhelming montage taps into the over-saturation of today's media climate, a point that Godard makes explicit several times: the recurring shot of a flat-screen television broadcasting static speaks for itself, as does a more comical bit in which two strangers continually tap away on their iPhones and exchange them, repeating the action. [...] It doesn't take a lot of analysis to determine Godard's intentions: He portrays the information age as the dying breath of consciousness before intellectual thought becomes homogenized by digital advancements." - Eric Kohn, IndieWire
Pussy Riot star Maria Alyokhina has condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for sending armed troops to the troubled Crimea region of the Ukraine, comparing his actions to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The outspoken punk rocker, who was freed from prison in December (13) after serving time for performing a protest song against Putin, has penned an opinion piece in The New Republic, urging Russian citizens to take a stand against the government in a bid to encourage politicians to do the right thing.
Alyokhina is convinced that if nothing is done to put a stop to the military intervention in Crimea, which has been denounced by political leaders in Europe and the U.S., Putin will be allowed to take control of the former Soviet Union country and quash Ukrainians' calls for political change and alignment with the European Union.
She writes, "Those who have accepted the verdict to live their lives in passive oblivion will repeat history and its mistakes. In this way, standing at the brink of war under banners of a struggle for peace, Russia is repeating 1968."
Slamming Putin and his government's apparent tactics to divide and conquer, Alyokhina adds, "The difference between Russia and a penal colony is that in a penal colony your sentence is decided upon by the state, but in Russia we should decide how long we will live like this. Otherwise, the world will watch as the Kremlin will increasingly resemble a prison watch tower, which, on behalf of the Russian Federation, will issue commands, commands to send in the troops."
The invasion of the former Czechoslovakia occurred months after the Prague Spring, a brief period of political reform during which the nation was led by the liberal Alexander Dubcek, who wanted to democratise the nation.
Tammy Tousignant and her husband Tom allege the news organisations, including the National Enquirer and Gawker.com, defamed them by making the false claims, which began in 2003 and were repeated earlier this year (11) when the actor-turned-politician confessed he had fathered a lovechild over a decade ago in May (11).
The documents, filed in Los Angeles at the end of last month (Jul11), state, "Tanner Tousignant is not the illegitimate son of Arnold Schwarzenegger... The reports regarding the Tousignants are entirely false."
The National Enquirer was one of the first outlets to publish articles suggesting Tammy, who worked as Schwarzenegger's private plane stewardess, had romanced the former California Governor and the affair resulted in the birth of her son, Tanner.
When Schwarzenegger came clean about his infidelity in May, several news groups speculated that Tanner may have been the child of the union. It has since become public knowledge that the woman who had a child with the Terminator star was the star's former housekeeper Mildred Baena.
The defamation documents filed by the Tousignants read, "Freedom of the press is a valuable right but it is not a license for gossipy tabloids to tar and feather innocent citizens and destroy their reputations for the rags' profit."
The couple is seeking an undetermined amount of compensation for damages it believes to be "in excess of $10 million (£6.25 million)".
The veteran star took a break from his current Waiting for Godot tour to join the gathering outside Melbourne's State Library, which was organised to raise awareness for International Day Against Homophobia on Monday (17May10).
The British actor argued the right to marry would "change lives" of gay couples who want to make their union official - and would also boost the country's image.
He said, "Establishing the rights for gay people to be married would cost the Australian government nothing financially and would gain for you worldwide respect from people like us and of course would change lives enormously - the lives of gay people and of their friends and of their families and therefore of Australia as a whole.
"It's all done on the simple principle that gay people are all born unique but we are all born equal with the rest of the people and the law simply must not discriminate."
Pregnant pop star Dannii Minogue also voiced her support for the cause, adding, "Our government continues to ban same-sex marriages and gay, lesbian and transgender communities remain second-class citizens. I think the next generation will look back on this issue and wonder what all the fuss is about.''
Using documentary reports, town hall meetings and small discussion groups, segments striving to encourage Americans to participate in the political process include: an exploration of why people leave urban America and the desire to re-establish family values; a look at the daily life of the working poor in America; an examination of the "sandwich" generation -- people in their 40s and 50s who are contending with the dual challenges of caring for aging parents and supporting their children; and profiles of a teenager and his gang in Tacoma, Washington.