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Cannes Film Festival

Speak of Korean cinema outside art-house circles, and the conversation will inevitably revolve around the kooky, provocatively intelligent genre-benders from the likes of Park Chan-wook and Bong Joon-ho. The more humble and unsuspecting cinema of Hong Sang-soo is an entirely different experience, and throughout his prolific career, and 20+ years of directing, he has amassed a collective of ardent art film fans. Through methodical pace and rhythm, quotidian storylines entrenched in Korean traditions, and translucent warmth for his characters, Hong has developed his own brand of sensitive and thoughtful cinema and, in his own right, added a unique voice to contemporary Korean film. Continue reading Hong Sang-soo’s ‘The Day After’ Is A Soundful & Profound Cinematic Serenade [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

It’s a virulently lilac three-storey motel called The Magic Castle, complete with fake crenellations, and it’s nobody’s idea of a paradise. Well, nobody over the age of 10, maybe. To the rambunctious, irrepressible, mischievous 6-year-old Moonee (instant tiny superstar Brooklynn Prince) and her friends Scooty (Christopher Rivera) and Jancey (Valeria Cotto), the juvenile leads of Sean Baker‘s bristling and delightful “The Florida Project,” it’s a domain of endless possibility and adventure. Continue reading ‘Tangerine’ Director Sean Baker’s Boisterous & Heartbreaking ‘The Florida Project’ [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

CANNES – Her fourth Oscar nomination this past January somehow an afterthought, Nicole Kidman has arrived on la croisette as, arguably, the queen of the 70th Cannes Film Festival. That may give Isabelle Huppert stans heart palpitations, but after nearly universal acclaim and an Emmy nomination in sight for her work on HBO’s “Big Little Lies” Kidman has not one, not two, but four different projects screening during the fest. Continue reading Nicole Kidman Resurgence Hits Cannes: ‘I Don’t Have To Work. I Work Because It’s My Passion’ at The Playlist.

Fourteen years after Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy” took the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, South Korean cinema still represents the vanguard of action cinema. It is not surprising, then, that with each edition the festival looks to the Korean peninsula to get things rowdy. Consequently, the country has been represented among Cannes’ Midnight selections for the last four years running. 2016 selection “Train to Busan” proved to be a watershed moment, going on to become a box-office hit internationally as well as in its home market. Continue reading ‘The Villainess’ Brings Terrific Action, But Muddled Storytelling [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

A hodgepodge of genres is splattered all over John Cameron Mitchell’s ludicrous (and ludicrously-titled) “How To Talk to Girls at Parties,” making for an incredibly brazen, outlandish, and totally bananas time at the movies. The creative collision of author Neil Gaiman and the director of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” is a match made in bizarro world heaven as ‘Girls’ thrusts a conventional coming-of-age premise into a romance-horror-comedy-sci-fi blender with the top off, twists the knob to max-level, and blasts the angriest Sex Pistols song you’ve ever heard in your life. Continue reading ‘How To Talk To Girls At Parties’ With Elle Fanning & Nicole Kidman Is Gloriously Bananas [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

Maybe the second or third shot in Yorgos Lanthimos‘ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is of a hospital waste bin, over which Colin Farrell, as heart surgeon Steven Murphy, peels off his bloodied latex gloves post-surgery. Now, if you hold simultaneously in your head the established ideas of the surgeon-as-God and the director-as-God, then that suggests the surgeon equates to the director, and gives us a neat metaphor: “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is Lanthimos with the gloves off, and it makes the absurd, amazing “The Lobster” seem like a warm and cuddly experience by comparison. Continue reading Yorgos Lanthimos’ Ice-Blooded, Brilliant ‘The Killing Of A Sacred Deer’ With Colin Farrell & Nicole Kidman [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

Shutting the blinds on the warmth that shined through his previous critically-lauded opus “Amour,” Austrian arthouse maestro Michael Haneke is back to doing what he does best: peeling the decadent, bourgeois layers off the European upper class to uncover its festering core full of lies, deceit and misery. The director’s immaculate compositions and sui generis brand of thematic depth suspend “Happy End” with the violent undertones of a high-strung piano wire, creating a nourishing cerebral treat that will nestles itself in the back of the mind to grow forevermore as yet another brilliant entry filmmaker’s intimidating catalog. Continue reading Michael Haneke’s ‘Happy End’ Is Austere, Darkly Comic & Stunning Cinema [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

Michel Hazanavicius (director of the breezy, Best Picture winner “The Artist”) returns to Cannes and takes on legendary French New Wave film icon Jean-Luc Godard in his latest film, “Redoubtable.” Bold move. Especially after his previous film, “The Search,” bombed badly at the festival, and didn’t even earn a stateside release. But Godard-worshipers and Hazanavicius-skeptics should keep a couple of things in mind before sharpening their pitchforks. Continue reading Michel Hazanavicius’ Jean-Luc Godard Pic ‘Redoubtable’ Is A Harmless, Mostly Charming Comedy For Film Geeks [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

To paraphrase John Carpenter, “In France, I’m an auteur, in the USA, I’m a bum.” The same can surely be said of Abel Ferrara, a veteran filmmaker who at this point in his career is more likely to bank on Gallic financiers than stateside money. Love him or hate him, you can always count on Ferrara — a true enfant terrible of American cinema — to bring something interesting to the table. Continue reading ‘Alive In France’ Is A Curio For Abel Ferrara Fans, But Not Much Else [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.

For ardent Hong Sang-soo fans, 2017 couldn’t be a more rewarding year. Not just because the South Korean filmmaker has three new films ready — the first, “On the Beach Alone at Night,” launched in Berlin — or even because two of those features are on offer at the Cannes Film Festival (“Claire’s Camera” and “The Day After”). No, it’s because a fascinating new frontier has been opened up for this prolific filmmaker: international locations in “On the Beach” and even more prominently, “Claire’s Camera.” Oh, and Isabelle Huppert is back in Hong’s orbit for the first time since 2012’s “In Another Country” (also the director’s last Cannes Competition entry). Continue reading Hong Sang-soo Pays Homage To Cannes With The Rewarding ‘Claire’s Camera’ [Cannes Review] at The Playlist.