Our stalwart Cannes critics Jason Gorber and Ben Croll have already given us reviews at numerous exciting films that will, hopefully, be rolling out world-wide in the near future. But lest you forget, Cannes is also a film market rife with announcements of new projects in various stages of development that are also of interest. So, after you've caught up with the reviews of all the premieres this year, start getting pumped now for these European projects which were announced in the last few weeks.
- Catherine Breillat (Fat Girl, The Last Mistress) will direct her first English Language film, Bridge of Floating Dreams, which is set in Japan. The screenplay, which was written by Brian Jones, concerns a young Australian backpacker in 1960's Japan.
- Shooting has begun on Tale of Tales, the new film from Italian director Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah, Reality). The film will be in English and stars Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel and John C. Reilly. The film is said to be based loosely on the same-titled work by Giambattista Basile and is described as "a giant fresco of the baroque period, told through stories of three sovereigns ruling under different dynasties."
-Stellan Skarsgard has signed on to play the lead in a big-budget Viking movie based on the 1945 novel The Long Ships.
- While it's not a European production, Brazilian director Carlos Diegues' upcoming film The Great Mystical Circus will star French actors Vincent Cassel and Catherine Mouchette, and it sounds very intriguing. "A road-movie/dramedy, Diegues’ seventeenth feature spans a century from 1910, charting the fortunes, misfortunes, loves, passions, perversions and circus shows of five generations of Knieps, a Brazilian circus owner dynasty."
- Speaking of French Stars, two of the biggest ones are set to team up in a new film by Guillaume Nicloux (The Nun), Valley of Love. Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert will play (gasp!) two famous actors. The two reunite when a son they had 25 years ago dies and sends them a letter inviting them to Death Valley in order to see him "reappear."
It surprised no one that the renowned and reclusive director Jean-Luc Godard did not show up at Cannes for the premiere of his new 3-D opus Goodbye to Language. However, to mark the occasion, he made a short film, or, "Letter in Motion" as he describes it, which is totally stylistically consistent with his recent films. The translated dialogue is below (courtesy of Indiewire, followed by the video which features Godard's dog, Alphaville clips, word play and Leonard Cohen. It's slow going at the beginning, but worth riding out for the final explosion of color, music and light, among other treats.
My dear President, dear festival director and dear colleagues,
Once again, I thank you for inviting me to the festival, but you know I haven't taken part in film distribution for a long time, and I'm not where you think I am. Actually, I'm following another path. I've been inhabiting other worlds, sometimes for years, or for a few seconds, under the protection of film enthusiasts; I've gone and stayed.
[Cut to a scene of Eddie Constantine as Lemmy Caution in "Alphaville"]
Eddie Constantine/Lemmy Caution: "I don't feel comfortable in this environment anymore. It's no longer 1923, and I'm not longer the man who fought through the police barricades, the man who fought behind the scenes with a gun in my hand. Feeling alive was more important than Stalin and the Revolution."
The risk of solitude is the risk of losing oneself, assumes the philosopher because he assumes the truth is to wonder about metaphysical questions, which are actually the only ones the everyone's asking. The philosopher's logic is to ask whether there's any way to hold back "the other;" this is what we call "Logic."
[Scene from Godard's "King Lear" with Burgess Meredith and Molly Ringwald, in English]
Molly Ringwald/Cordelia to King Lear: "I don't have my heart in my mouth." (in English)
[Cut to Godard speaking in present day]
I don't have my heart in my mouth anymore, either.
So, I'm going where the wind blows me, (still of Francois Truffaut with a camera) just like autumn leaves as they blow away.
Last year for example, I took the tramway, which is a metaphor, the metaphor and...
[White words on black screen: CUBA, yes]
[La Havane bar in Paris in a black and white film]
....to return, to return to pay my tab from 1968 at the Havana Bar...and now, I believe that the possibility of explaining things is the only excuse to fight with language...as always, I believe it's not possible...this 21st May...this is no longer a film, but a simple waltz, my president, [Leonard Cohen, "Take this Waltz" sample along with a brief clip of Bob Dylan's voice sampled] to find the true balance with one’s near destiny.
And now, the latest on Czech Republic and Slovakia courtesy of Martin Kudlac:
The Transylvania International Film Festival will present several films from Slovakia and Czech Republic. While the last edition focused more on Slovak cinema with one title even in competition, this year´s edition will put more Czech offerings on the table.
The Czech slate includes the award-winning miniseries The Burning Bush, which follows an infamous act of self-immolation by a student, Jan Palach, in the protest against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1969. The film focuses on events following the desperate self-martyrdom through the lens of an attorney, Dagmar Burešová, on her quest to redeem the name of Jan Palach and his family. Then there's Alice Nellis' comeback rock comedy Revival, about a faded band from Communist regime dubbed as Czech Rolling Stones. The comedy compares the life in 1972 with present and comments on the changes such as tabloid and the use of PR stunts in order to boost the attention.
The screens in Transylvania will also welcome latest film by Jan Hřebejk, one the most Czech prolific directors. In Honeymoon, an uninvited guest shows up on the titular vacation to unveil sins from the past. The Story of Godfather uses the local mafioso environment to comment on the predatory nature of free market economies in its story of how one digital watch seller becomes a political puppet-master.
Documentaries weren´t omitted in the programming, as they make up an integral part of Czech cinema. Among documentary pics are those co-produced by Czech Republic and directed by Slovak filmmakers. The Normalization by Róbert Kirchhoff was voted the best documentary in 2013 by Slovak Film and Television Academy. Even after 40 years, the case of rape and murder of young medic student Ľudmila Cervanová isn´t solved, and seven innocent men have been jailed in the meantime. Kirchhoff gathers crumbs of evidence pointing towards political manipulation, scapegoating and bizarre circumstances. Also, Slovak terrorists will invade Romanian screen in Berlinale-awarded Velvet Terrorist directed by trio of Slovak filmmakers. The document focuses on three "terrorists” in a reflection of Communist regime and the present. While the three of them were sentenced for paragraph 93 – terror – they would hardly harm a fly (one of them wanted to blow up the tribune yet winded up drunk and sleeping with bag stuffed with explosives).
The Czech focus is capped off by a series of Czech classics. Milos Forman´s unforgettable comedy The Firemen´s Ball and what is hailed the best Czech film ever made, Markéta Lazarová, by František Vláčik, will both screen.
A mini retrospective will be dedicated to prominent Slovak director Peter Solan, who passed away last year. Solan studied at Prague´s FAMU and started his professional career in 50´s as a documentary director. His first feature, The Devil Never Sleeps, was made in collaboration with František Žáček in 1956 after being transferred to the Atelier of features. In 1962, he made his most famous film, The Boxer and Death based on a short story of Polish writer Józef Hen. The story of a struggle for life inside boxing ring in a concentration camp is a cunning character study of both incarcerator and prisoner. The director went on making other significant film in 60´s such as Dialogue 20-40-60, a film anthology made with Zbyněk Brynych and Jerzy Skolimowski and Until This Night is Over which was premiered in digitalized version during 48th edition of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
Godzilla attacked Europe last week and left no survivors! Belgium! Czech Republic! Denmark! France! Germany! Greece! Italy! Spain! U.K.! All destroyed by the giant, very profitable lizard monster, along with any other country you could name in Europe…
…Unless you named Poland. In Poland, Rio 2 managed a slightly higher gross its second week out than Godzilla did on its first. Search me. Also, while the mighty monster knocked Spain’s Box Office Darling Ocho apellidos vascos to number two, that film now stands at $73.6 million after nine weeks at the top, a number which Godzilla won’t even approach, given its $1.2 million opening in the country.