Cannes 2022 week two round: swollen Elvis and brush with size | Cannes 2022

Elvis arrives late at Cannes, introduced by screaming hordes. He says, “My dad is a good man” and “I’ll be fine, Mom.” He sings Hound Dog on stage and all the girls become puddles. The festival initially wanted Baz Luhrmann’s biofilm for the opening night, two Tuesdays ago, but the film is a diva and divas make us wait. Did we swallow enough movies and drink too much rose? Have we reached a state of perfect peak excess? Only then, at last, does the King deign to show.

Like Elvis, this year’s festival kicked off full of vigor, with a spring in the step and a swing in the hips. Now it’s swollen and swollen, it’s just starting to rot. All such events, I suppose, have a natural lifespan, an arc. This one went to Graceland, date line 1977.

Elvis, so, gives us the debauched monarch that deserves the end times of Cannes: greedy and distracted, its heart rate constantly engaged on pills. Luhrmann’s great creative decision here is to frame his story as a sort of Gospel of Judas – Colonel Tom Parker’s self-justifying memoir of how he pulled raw talent from America’s spit-and-sawdust circuit and regularly spun it into gold. . Which is a great idea so far. But the film takes its fascinating ingredients and randomly farms them through Luhrmann’s chemical toilet. This infernal machine has flown away from Fitzgerald’s in the past Great Gatsby and the history of Australia. Poor Elvis Presley barely has a chance.

Indeed, rookie Austin Butler proves to be quite useful as the story’s stupid talent gallop. The real problem is Tom Hanks’ Colonel Parker, who sneaks through the wings like a fat Nosferatu, even crouching at times. “We’re going to Vega!” he roars, thus drawing attention to the neon-washed final act of the film, one terrible last encore before the lights go out for good.

On the ground, on the spot, the 75th Cannes Film Festival was a blast – a jubilant antidote to several years of grief. In the cinemas, however, the atmosphere was calmer, with a decent harvest of contest titles that only rarely touched the realms of the sublime. Chan-wook Park I decide to leave is a sensual, faint Hitchcockian mystery, perfectly played by Tang Wei and Park Hae-il as the cat-and-mouse lovers; That of Tarik Saleh Boy from Heaven a touching story of a state-subsidized skulduggery at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University. I also liked Claire Denis’s damp, messy one Stars at noon, in which the convicted lovers of Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn (she is a journalist; he is a shady oil consultant) come terribly outcast in the Nicaraguan tropics. Filmed during Covid (an 80-year-old novel by the great Denis Johnson), it is a film in which everyone (literally or metaphorically) is disguised.

Director Claire Denis, center, with Stars at Noon actors Joe Alwyn and Margaret Qualley.
Director Claire Denis, center, with Stars at Noon actors Joe Alwyn and Margaret Qualley. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

If the critics do not find a masterpiece, they will be content with a turkey, a kind of disaster to unite them. But the jury is out; we are in a mess. That of Valeria Bruni Tedeschi Always young is unquestionably tiring – a breathless memory of her 80s acting class – but it’s just a little too cheerful to count as a real failure. God forbid anyone suggests that of David Cronenberg Crimes of the Future is not good. It is a brain science fiction about organ harvesting and natural idiots, starring Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux as a performance artist and his surgeon. However, this felt like familiar Cronenberg territory, the equivalent of comfortable food – albeit in the form of hot broth made from body parts.

Criminals say Cannes is an escape route, but that’s only half true. The movies show the world, sometimes the world just outside. The immigrant children in the Dardenne brothers Tori and Located: they are contemporaries of the poor who sleep in many of the shop doors nearby. The cooling Holy Spider, meanwhile, warns of an Iranian killer who preys on sex workers. Ali Abbasi’s thriller is set in the dirtier endings of Mashhad. But this city has its own weak bottom line and its own illegal, exploited workforce, especially active during festival time. Cannes doctor, heal yourself.

Charlbi Dean and Harris Dickinson in Ruben Östland's Triangle of Sadness.
Charlbi Dean and Harris Dickinson in Ruben Östland’s Triangle of Sadness: “the most entertaining film in this year’s competition”. Photo: Plattform-Produktion

Or take Ruben Östlundit’s ridiculous Triangle of Sadness, the most entertaining film in this year’s competition, which turns its satirical gaze to a luxury cruise. It features a class war, vomiting gags, and Woody Harrelson as the self-loathing, drunken captain. After all, some smell that the comedy is over the top and borderline raw, a little more than a medical game of a millionaire hit mole. But this one examined for the elite within the Grand Théâtre Lumière, sandwiched between the oligarchic yachts and the high-end shops. If you think the target is too cheap, most likely the target is you.

By Thursday, the festival is over. Down in the market, most of the sellers have fled. The Cannes film market, which sits at the back of the Palace by the sea, is buzzing with action during opening week. Now it is a mausoleum of abandoned booths and empty desks. I wander past the wreckage of Jackrabbit Media, Aria Animation and TriCoast Worldwide. An envelope left on a table reads: “I’m sorry I missed you!” – but who, if any, will come and get it?

The Closing of Lukas Dhont.
Lukas Dhont’s “Destructive” Close.

Let’s not allow it Elvis the last word here in Cannes. The final stretch of the festival included some more worthy latecomers. That of Saeed Roustayi Leila’s Brothers provides a mountain buffet of family intrigue as Taraneh’s heroine Alidoosti (a deep-covering matriarch in patriarchal Iran) runs herself ragged around her idiotic men. That of Belgian director Lukas Dhont Stop – also in competition – is even better: a devastating story of a boy’s friendship and its eventual ruin. Léo (Eden Dambrine) and Rémi (Gustav De Waele) are 13-year-old soul mates, thrown into a new school and working to adapt. Then Léo rejects Rémi and the decision will haunt him for years. Nearby is sunspot, airy, but there is real human pain at its core. We staggered out of this tear-stained and a little.

And then there is Showingof writer-director Kelly Reichardt, which closed the main competition on a quiet note of astonishment. Michelle Williams plays sad Lizzie Carr, a struggling sculptor on the arts-and-crafts edges of Oregon, glazing sad, twisted dancers for an upcoming show. There is no thunder drama; not much is solved. But what a treasure trove this movie is all about. Reichardt neither invites us to see Lizzie as an unsung, annoyed genius, nor dismisses her as a joke. She is well; she will. Could the show change her wealth? Then again, maybe not.

Michelle Williams in Kelly Reichardt's Show Up.
‘Self Treasure’: Michelle Williams in Kelly Reichardt’s Show Up. Photo: Allyson Riggs / Courtesy of A24

I love the way Reichardt misinterprets art – gently lifting it from its pedestal to view its creation as just another daily task. Sometimes it’s good; for the most part it is a train. But the lonely, stubborn process has value in itself. After all the pomp and ceremony of the past fortnight – the bling, the craze, the ovation, the gongs – that strikes me as a beautiful final message to send. With minimal fuss, the film reminds the Cannes Film Festival of its enduring core principles. It resets the compass and directs us all back to work.

The best of the rest …

Cannes rock documents
Ethan Coen took to the stage to perform Jerry Lee Lewis: A Mind Problem, a softball story about the rock’n’roll pioneer. Brett Morgen arranged a midnight screening of his impressionistic Bowie sensational Moonage Daydream. Coen gave us too little; Morgen probably too. Both, in their own way, came to print the legend.

Moonage Daydream by Brett Morgen.
Moonage Daydream by Brett Morgen.

Home favorites
that of Mark Jenkin Enys Men there was surrounding folk horror set on a frightening Cornish island (tin mines, lichen, standing stones). That of Charlotte Wells After sun spun a light-hearted, heartbreaking story of a dad and daughter vacation, beautifully starring Paul Mescal and Francesca Corio. According to the evidence of this little sample, British cinema seems to be doing well.

Cannes protests
On the red carpet, a dozen women fired grenades to draw attention to the 129 female murders committed in France this past year. Elsewhere, there Three thousand years of longing premiere was interrupted by a naked-breasted gatekeeper protesting against rape crimes in Ukraine. Which inevitably leads us to …

Seeing red ... Ukrainian director Maksym Nakonechnyi, center, and members of the cast and crew of Butterfly Vision at Cannes.
Ukrainian director Maksym Nakonechnyi, center, and members of the cast and crew at the premiere of Butterfly Vision. Photo: Guillaume Horcajuelo / EPA

Ukraine
The war has constantly broken its cover, with a dedicated Ukraine Day on the market and various films on the schedule. Director Maksym Nakonechny called for air raid sirens at the premiere of his Papilia Viziowhile that of Sergei Loznitsa The Natural History of Destruction gave us the story of air bombing during World War II. In March, director Mantas Kvedaravicius was killed by Russian soldiers. His unfinished documentary – Mariuspolice 2 – played in Cannes like a wake-up call.

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