May 20, 2013: As Sunday ended with a Midnight Screening that didn’t end until almost 3am Monday morning (and an after-Andy Lau high that probably didn’t end until 5am), the next day would inevitably be less lively.
So of course, no better way to start off a “less lively” day than seeing back-to-back films about Cambodian genocide and the Bataan death march after World War II.
Rithy Panh’s The Missing Picture is based on the Cambodian filmmaker’s own experience during the Khmer Rouge regime, when Panh lost all his family before escaping to Thailand in 1975. He decides to tell his own story through hundreds of clay figures that are not animated, but strung together like a photo slideshow, interspersed with archival footage from the regime’s own propaganda files — some of which had appeared in Panh’s earlier acclaimed work. An interview with the director can be found at Asia Pacific Arts.
May 19, 2013: The sun came out on Sunday, and so did… every single Asian film that I wanted to see.
What I got used to very quickly as a first time Cannes attendee (with a low-priority press badge) is that every single day, I’d look through the list of hundreds of press screenings, competition screenings, and market screenings; plan my day in at least three different formations amidst much confusion and indecision; and then when I finally decided on my schedule, at least a third of it would fall through for some reason or another (screening full, interview ran late, starving and took too long to find your third £5 tomato/ham/mozzarella baguette sandwich of the day; heard someone yell “Marion Cotillard!” and found yourself zombie-walking into the paparazzi crowd instead of power walking away); and I’d end up just improvising my way through the day.
It’s what keeps the festival exciting. And normally, it’s smart to pace yourself, but Sunday’s lineup was out of control. Too many good things to see in too little time.
After getting a quick glimpse of the beautiful beach weather that Cannes is known for on Friday, Saturday was full of storms and winds. But that didn’t stop crowds from lining up outside the theaters with their umbrellas to wait for today’s lineup of films. Perhaps the rain actually increased the popularity of the screenings, as festivalgoers preferred ducking in to theaters for shelter, as opposed to ducking into overpriced restaurants.
The day started promisingly with the premiere of Bends, a debut film from Hong Kong’s Flora Lau. The quiet drama starring Carina Lau as a wealthy Hong Kong socialite and Chen Kun as her mainland Chinese chauffeur with a pregnant wife was a nice surprise, but perhaps the quality of the film shouldn’t have been so surprising, because it was clearly accepted into Cannes without the boost of a known auteur at the helm.
May 17, 2013: A dramatic day for Cannes today, including gunshots and a jewelry heist. An employee for the luxury jeweler Chopard found that a safe holding $1.4 million dollars worth of jewelry had been stolen from the four-star hotel room the night before. Ironically, Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, about teenagers who steal possessions from celebrities, had just premiered the day before.
Later in the day, a mentally unstable man with a gun fired blanks into the air near a French television interview featuring jury members Christoph Waltz and Daniel Auteuil. Attendees fled the scene, but no one was hurt, and the man was arrested.
But the show went on, regardless. Today was the premiere of Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin:
As well as the premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly. He was honored with the French honour Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters for his efforts in the promotion of Indian cinema across the globe.
It was also the premiere of Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, his much anticipated follow up to his 2011 Oscar-winning film, A Separation. This time, an Iranian man’s trip back to France to sign divorce papers causes him to get re-entangled into personal complications of his soon-to-be ex-wife, played by Bérénice Bejo (The Artist). Family drama has never kept me literally on the edge of my seat.
The night ends with a Tony Leung and Carina Lau spotting at the gala screening of Jia Zhangke’s Touch of Sin. Carina Lau stars in Hong Kong director Flora Lau’s first feature Bends, which will be premiering tomorrow as part of Un Certain Regard….
May 16, 2013: It’s my first time at the Cannes Film Festival, attending as a writer/editor on behalf of Asia Pacific Arts and Audrey Magazine. I’ve been told to expect a crazy circus — as there are hundreds of screenings for both the official Film Festival and the simultaneous Film Market — and I can’t wait.
The day before, Baz Luhrman, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Amitabh Bachchan walked the red carpet for the Opening Night film, The Great Gatsby. Also in attendance was the superstar jury, headed this year by Steven Spielberg, which include Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman, Lynne Ramsay, Christoph Waltz, Cristian Mungiu, Naomi Kawase, Daniel Auteuil, and Vidya Balan.
Audrey Magazine is an award-winning national publication that covers the Asian experience from the perspective of Asian American women. Audrey covers the latest talent and trends in entertainment, fashion, beauty and lifestyle.