This day was one of the best at the festival. The Pavilion wasn’t open, so we didn’t have to work. We had free reign to see whatever films we’d like. We got the schedule last night and I picked out the four that I wanted to see. I chose Melancholia over Sleeping Beauty. I wanted to see both, but Melancholia got much better reviews. Genevieve and I woke up early and got to the line about an hour ahead of time. The film started at 9am. I don’t know if you guys have heard about the director Lars Von Trier, but he’s the one that called himself a Nazi during a press conference and said that he sympathized with Hitler. For that, he’s been banned from Cannes forever. The film, however, is explained as “a beautiful film about the end of the world.” It really is just that. I didn’t stay awake for the whole thing unfortunately. I probably was awake for a little more than half of it (it’s longer than two hours). The opening scene was phenomenal as everyone said and the plot was fantastic. The cinematography is beautiful and I loved the music. Also the ending was perfect. I definitely want to see it when it comes out in the United States.
Right after that film ended, we jumped back in line for the same theater that was showing Tree of Life at 11:45am. We didn’t have to wait long until they let people into the theater. This was another long film (more than two hours). It’s coming out soon in the United States, but I never have any time to see movies over the summer, so I wanted to see it while I was here. It’s been getting mixed reviews. At the first press screening of the day, the audience booed. Some critics hate it, some love it. Most of the interns despised it. I just wanted to get my own opinion on it. I stayed awake the whole time too! It’s not as awful as everyone says, but I would not recommend this film to an average movie-goer. It’s very, very deep and challenging to sit through… especially since about 45 minutes of it looks like a screen saver. The film revolves around a family in the Midwest with three boys. We learn in the beginning that one of them passes away, but a flashback shows us the beginnings of the family and childhood of specifically the oldest son, who’s played by Sean Penn in the present day. The part of the film that revolved around the family was basically one giant montage. There were bits of dialogue, but mostly it was just images of the family with music and some of the family member’s nondiagetic whispers that didn’t have any motivation to what was happening on screen. The creation scene was long and it also included dinosaurs. If it was going to include the dinosaurs, I just wish the CGI would have been better. They could have cut the film off by a half hour too. The last half hour dragged on forever and just seemed pointless to me. Also, Sean Penn is barely in the film, at all. So, since it’s coming out soon, I’ll give my recommendation. I liked it. I didn’t love it, for all the reasons mentioned above. If you appreciate visual film, give it a try. If you are looking to be entertained, I’d pass. This is not a popcorn film.
I got a crepe from a stand before heading back inside for my third film. I waited over an hour for this one just to be safe. The next film was The Skin I Live In, a Spanish film starring Antonio Bandares. I’ve heard GREAT things about it and it was one of the films here I was most looking forward to seeing, so I was pretty excited. It definitely lived up to my expectations and like all of the director’s films, it was definitely crazy, out there, weird, insane, etc. The plot twist in this was incredible and kind of disgusting at the same time, but it made for an entertaining thriller. You were always on the edge of your seat in this one. I don’t want to talk about the plot because I don’t want to give it away, but it’s absolutely crazy and I highly recommend this film as well. I think it opens fairly soon too.
The last film I saw, and I contemplated not going, but I heard such good things, was Drive. It’s the new Ryan Gosling film starring Carey Muligan and Christina Hendricks as well. Of course, Ryan looked gorgeous as always, especially in this film. Before we watched it, one of the girls I was with told me that she heard it was very gory, like Terrantino gory. I didn’t think that was possible unless you were actually Terrantino, but, wow, it is. It was not a typical Ryan Gosling film and the blood and body count was immense, but it was a very entertaining film to watch. I thought it was great. It didn’t seem like it fit into the rest of the competition films because it felt so Hollywood compared to the others. We talked about the film afterward and all agreed that they’re going to edit it before it comes into theaters in September to make it even more appealing to a Hollywood film audience. You know, play up the romance… play down the gore. The music in it was great and overall, it was just an entertaining film and even though it was Hollywood, it was a nice change and a nice finish overall to the Festival. The last time I watched the opening sequence to the Festival before Drive started (it’s a segment they play before every film, and they also play the music from it at the red carpet when the stars arrive), I wanted to cry! I successfully saw four films on the last day and thirteen films total at the Festival. That averages out to more than one a day. I’m not ready to go back to America where I have to pay $10 to see a movie that’s probably not going to be good. The artists who produced the work will not be sitting in the same room as me. No one will clap at each name and company that appears in the opening credits. No one will clap at the end. People won’t walk out if the film happens to be terrible. As much as I love previews, I really got used to not seeing them. Now I’m going to be impatient in movie theaters. It’ll be like watching the stars take forever walking up the red carpet: let’s get to the movie already! So basically, I’m sad.
Emily, Genevieve, Emily, and I all skipped the final student party at the Pavilion to see Drive. I think we made the better decision. We stopped by for the last ten minutes, but they were already kicking the students out. Every single one of them that came out was stumbling and smelled of alcohol. Apparently, they were just getting rid of all their alcohol so everyone went a little heavy on the wine and beer. Even though the four of us were saying hi to some people who were behind the bar, we got yelled at because we hadn’t left yet and we were hovering over the alcohol. It was a little annoying and not the best way to end our time with the program, but we got over it and walked out of the Pavilion toward the main part of Cannes to get some dinner. We wandered around the streets to try to find something affordable for our last night, but it really is hard to do in Cannes. Eventually we found a restaurant on a back street and stopped there to eat. Since Emily ordered a delicious omelet the other day for dinner, I knew I had to do it this time. It was a mushroom and cheese omelet that came with fries and salad, and it was so delicious. It amazes me how flavorful they are and how little grease there is. After dinner, we ventured to a dessert shop around the corner and picked up a few things. I ended up spending more on dessert than I did at dinner, but it was worth it. I got a cupcake, chocolate-covered apple, and a chocolate-chip cookie. I ate the apple right away and it was delicious! I saved the other two for tomorrow to share with Katherine. Before going back to La Bocca, we stopped at the Palais to pick up the sheet that announces the winners of the Awards. The winners were more than disappointing. Tree of Life won, which I think is ridiculous. I mean, it was the only film here to get booed. The Artist got a ten-minute standing ovation. Obviously, I would have loved to see We Need to Talk About Kevin win, but every article I read leading up to the awards ceremony said it wouldn’t win because Tilda Swinton was a shoe-in for Best Actress and they like to spread the awards around amongst the films. However, Kirsten Dunst won for Melancholia. All she did was lie around naked in the film! The only award I was really happy with was Best Actor which went to the Gene Kelly look alike in The Artist. Oh well, I can’t complain about it forever, but I definitely still disagree.
The plan was to go to the beach when we got back to our hotel, but I needed to pack and we were all so tired. After I finished packing, I tried to skype my mother, but failed. I went to bed fairly early so I could easily wake up and make it to Nice smoothly.