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CANNES 2009

Cannes Fest Wraps; 50 Weeks to Recover for Another

'Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky'

And so it ends again. The Cannes Film Festival wraps tonight following the awards ceremony and a screening of “Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky” which will put a close the two-week marathon affair.

All in all, it was a sort of middling festival. The weather was fabulous (never a certainty), some of the films got people excited, but some not so much and business was pretty so-so.

Is this guy still looking for a film deal?

Is this guy still looking for a film deal?

Highlights this year of course included a rousing reception for Disney/Pixar’s “Up”; Quentin Tarantino’s unveiling of “Inglourious Basterds” (a film which divided critics); Lars Von Trier’s insistence that he is the “world’s greatest director” (an opinion shared by whom? Anyone?…Anyone?) and the 19-year-old hyphenate Xavier Dolanswept prizes in the Fortnight with “I Killed My Mother.” who

Now, critics are bleary-eyed; the trade journalists (myself included) are exhausted from chasing deal stories of which there were too few (a reflection on the times in which we live); filmmakers are either breathing a sigh of relief or cursing the day they allowed themselves to be exposed to the often harsh Cannes audiences; executives are trying to gauge the future of independent film (an eternal question) and celeb-watchers are likely a bit disappointed.

Brangelina

Brangelina and Jim Carrey zipped in and out of town, Robert Pattinson was zealously guarded by guys too big for the NBA and none of the Heath Ledger stand-ins stood up on the red carpet for “Doctor Parnassus.” Honestly, where is George Clooney – or, hell, Sacha Baron Cohen – when you need him?

Speaking of Baron Cohen, festival director Thierry Fremaux told me several weeks ago that he would have been psyched to have the chance to have “Bruno” in Cannes. But, he hadn’t seen the film and as the release date was set for July it wasn’t a possibility.

A couple years ago, Baron Cohen as Borat made a huge splash in Cannes in his famous yellow ‘mankini.’ Bruno’s short shorts slinking down the Croisette would have been just the ticket this year.

I really have nothing to complain about, though. Twelve years on, I’m still like a kid in a candy store during the two weeks I get to spend reconnecting with old friends and colleagues, chasing down scoops, occasionally seeing films, learning about new talent and sipping champagne with the indie and celeb crowd.

And, after all, I have a glorious 50 weeks to recuperate before it all starts again.

Posted by Nancy at 3:24 pm

Tarantino Revives Another Career

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There was a mix of surprise and confirmed predictions at the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival this evening. The event unfurls in a mélange of pageantry, prestige and serious art with many of the winners anticipating their honors (they are told to be present but not for what) and there’s also a sense of un-scriptedness to the proceedings.

Some of the 'Basterds'One of the best moments came when a shocked Christoph Waltz – Quentin Tarantino’s Col. Hans Landa in “Inglorious Basterds” – took the best acting award. In keeping (mercifully only somewhat) with his character, he gave an acceptance speech in French, English and German and thanked Tarantino for reviving his career.

Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon” has won the Palme d’Or for best film in Cannes. The director, who now has three major Cannes prizes under his belt, warmly hugged jury president Isabelle Huppert when he mounted the stage.

The moment also marked the only time Huppert smiled (on camera at least) during the entire ceremony (as I noted in an earlier post, Huppert won her second acting Palme for Haneke’s “La Pianiste” in 2001).

Readying the 'Up' partyCarlton Day 1Carlton Terrace Day 1Champagne on the Majestic BeachCinema de la Plage 8am8:30am press screeningOn the way to 'Basterds'On the 'Basterds' red carpet'Looking for Eric' beach party

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An 'Inglourious' view from the top

Palme d’Or SMS: Whaddya Hear?

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Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon"Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon”

The prizes are starting to roll in for the various Cannes sections while the Croisette sits on tenterhooks in anticipation of tonight’s big awards.

I keep getting text messages from folks with something at stake asking if I know anything about tonight’s potential Palme d’Or outcome. I don’t, at least not anymore than the general consensus that Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet” and Michael Haneke’s “White Ribbon” are strong contenders. Jane Campion’s “Bright Star” could be poised for a recompense as could 87-year-old director Alain Resnais‘ “Wild Grass.”

Just now, I received a text message telling me that Lou Ye’s “Spring Fever” is now a frontrunner. The controversial director was banned from filming in China after his last film, “Summer Palace,” was shown in competition in 2006 without the approval of the Chinese censors. He made “Spring Fever” completely under the radar in the country and is now said to be leaving China for good.

There are always surprises at the final awards ceremony; it’s a given. This year, however, there could be more than usual. Scuttlebutt around town has been that jury president Isabelle Huppert – best known to non-arthouse/non-foreign audiences for a role in David O. Russell’s “I Heart Huckabees” – is a taskmaster of a leader.

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‘Imaginarium’ Fete Not a Total ‘Drag’

mai5

The outrageously gorgeous Villa de Mai was all a twinkle last night for the joint “Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus“/”Drag Me To Hell” party up in the hills above Cannes.

mai3

Although, as predicted, none of the major males from Heath Ledger’s last film were in attendance, director Terry Glliam and star Lily Cole ventured to the soiree while “Hell” director Sam Raimi and his stars Justin Long and Alison Lohman also popped by to sip on Pommery champagne and take in the spectacular vistas.

“Imaginarium” was warmly received by many critics while “Hell” continued to wow. Both films were official selections here in Cannes but are not competition films. (On that front, no one it seems, can stop talking about Jacques Audiard’s “A Prophet” but we have to wait until Sunday night to know the final outcome.)

‘Parnassus’: A Law-less Red Carpet (No Depp or Farrell Either)

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Parnassus

Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” screened for the press this morning to warm reactions. Heath Ledger’s last film famously employed three very famous actors to replace him after his untimely death.

Unfortunately, as of Friday morning in Cannes, none of the trio – Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law – were set to make an appearance on the red carpet for the film’s special screening tonight.

Vampire’s Kiss

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The stars were out in force at last night’s AmFar benefit. From jury member Robin Wright Penn (whose husband Sean Penn just withdrew his petition for separation for the second time), Sharon Stone to Eva Green, Hayden Panettiere, Robert Pattinson and Bill Clinton, folks swanked it up at the charity benefit out in Antibes.

A couple of years ago, George Clooney auctioned off a kiss at the benefit to the girlfriend of a bidder who paid $350,000.

Reports today say that two lucky little girls will get a kiss on the cheek from Robert Pattinson after their parents bid 20,000 euros each for the honor.

I really must get myself on the guest list for this event…

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Brad Rescues Angie and the Crowd Goes ‘Awwww’

You could tell that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle...You could tell that Pierre did truly love the mademoiselle…

Few people do a red carpet quite like Quentin Tarantino. The manic director shimmied with his “Inglourious Basterds” star Melanie Laurent at the bottom of the Palais steps last night as they waited for the rest of their international cast to show up.

All the “Basterds” were there: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Mike Myers and company. Preceding them up the steps were the likes of Robert Pattinson, Sharon Stone (in a headline-grabbing dress) and Dita von Teese.

Stone

Having done my own red carpet stroll a few minutes before the big arrivals, I watched them on a big screen inside the Palais’ Salle Lumiere where the film would be shown.

When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie turned, up the crowd inside the Palais made a collective “ooohhhh.”

Brange

Just before they joined QT, et al, you could read Brad’s lips saying to his partner, “Do you want to sign?” and off they went to sign autographs for the thousands of fans who had been lined up in front of the Palais for days hoping for just such a chance.

Then it was the “Basterds’” turn to pose for the photographers on the red carpet while a forlorn (annoyed? bored?) looking Angelina hung back and waited.

After several minutes of photo ops with the team, Pitt hustled back to the bottom of the carpet and picked up Angie for their spin. The crowd inside the Palais then sighed a collective, “Awwww.”

Before you knew it, everyone was in the house – I was just about 6 rows behind them all in fact – and we settled in for the flick.

Our friend Lisa Nesselson has a great take on QT’s “Basterd” brain without giving too much away.

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