Cannes 2011

The second film of the day, and one of the reasons why I so enjoy the Un Certain Regard section of this festival: for among the intentional oddities, and the boring experiments there are usually a number of gems that fit the competition’s manifesto of presenting films that are “worth a look” extremely well, Miss Bala is an incredibly terse, and successfully tense situational horror/thriller. The film begins conventionally enough, with Laura (Stephanie Sigman), attempting to enter the Miss Baja California with her friend Suzu, and then joining her at a club with its own police-devoted VIP section (or so it seems), in order to – as Suzu suggests – get in with some powerful men who can help them win the contest. Following an altercation with one of said policemen, Laura finds herself in the toilet, surrounded by armed gang members, who shoot the place up, leaving Laura to survive, but to fret over her friend’s fate. Attempting to track down what happened to her, Laura ends up being delivered to the same cartel, after approaching the wrong policeman, and becomes embroiled in an endlessly progressing spiral of events alongside the charismatically malignant cartel leader. Miss Bala presents a Mexico that is rotting from the inside: corruption runs rampant to the extent that no one is to be trusted, regardless of what their badge might suggest, drug trafficking and running gun battles are an everyday occurrence, and the value of human life is far less than the appeal of power […]

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With a little less than a week to go until I land at Nice Airport and get the hugely unglamorous Hack Bus into Cannes along with my boys from ObsessedWithFilm.com to begin FSR’s official Cannes film festival 2011 coverage, now is surely a prudent time to offer my thoughts on the biggest and brightest films showing on the Croisette this year. You already know what films are showing, so I won’t exhaustively trawl back through the list, but I wanted to take the opportunity to announce what I am particularly excited about. This also gives me the opportunity post-festival to look back at happier, simpler times when my optimism at seeing four films a day wasn’t yet destroyed by watching three incredibly boring flicks in a row, followed by a blockbuster during which I fell asleep (as happened in 2009). Anyway, lesson learned, and this year I’ll be packing as many natural amphetamines as possible. If you’re heading out there look for me, I’ll be the guy with the grinding jaw, the sallow eyes and the notepad full of doodles/plans to change the future of cinema. So anyway, here’s what I’m looking forward to most.

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The Cannes Film Festival is about far more than just the Competition titles, and the Cannes Classics line-up allows those willing to broaden their focus to experience often seminal works on the big-screen for the first time. Last year, I nearly got to see The African Queen for instance, but was sadly unable thanks to a clash in the chaotic screening schedule. This year, I’m determined to see at least one of the just-announced films in the line-up, and I shall not be thwarted. Unless there’s something, like really good on at the same time… Anyway, the official Cannes site has today released the Classics, and features some of the most important films in cinematic history, including the restored color version of Georges Méliès’ A Trip To The Moon, beefed up with a brand new soundtrack from French hipsters AIR, plus restored prints of A Clockwork Orange and special screenings of Bertolucci’s The Conformist and De Niro’s A Bronx Tale. That’s some line-up for what is usually considered only a tertiary concern out on the Croisette. The full line-up is as follows:

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published: 12.23.2014
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