Cannes 2018 - The Beginning

Five Go To Cannes

Greetings from the Cote d’Azur, the French Riviera, the 71-years-old-this-week Cannes Film Festival and the most vibrant square 2km for film fans on the planet right now. 

(If you prefer to receive your Cannes news in podcast form, jump to the bottom of the page for episode 1 of Our Man in Cannes.)

Welcome to fighting your way through mobs of tourists and ticket beggars (with names of films, not loose change, on their cardboard signs). Welcome to running between screening rooms across town in which over 40 films are playing at any given time. Welcome to queues, more queues, so many queues. Welcome to queue jumpers (and jumping, one develops a talent for it - the Curzon team could queue jump for Britain. In fact we kind of are, as Cannes is pretty much the World Cup of queue-jumping). Welcome to spirit-crushing disappointment when you wait in line for 30 minutes only to slope away to the words “ç'est complét!” Welcome to an adrenalin-fuelled, sleep deprived, magical week of movie-watching of the greatest cinema imaginable from all over the world. We all groan and complain, but we all love it; and, if you’re a regular, not being here would feel like being locked in a cupboard in your house, as you listen to your friends have a party on the other side of the door.

Check in here for posts direct from Cannes from the Curzon team, picking out the best films and festival stories to share with you. If any of us fall asleep halfway through a post, can someone call Curzon HQ, who’ll give them a nudge?

And So It Begins

A favourite with our members and the winner of last year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar for The Salesman (a Curzon release, we’re so proud!), Asghar Farhadi is back in Cannes and opened the festival with his kidnap drama Everybody Knows. For those of us yet to make our first feature in our mother tongue, consider this Spanish film is Farhadi’s 2nd non-Persian language outing (The Past, in French, was the other). The cast is an Avengers-level team of the biggest Spanish-speaking stars alive: Javier Bardem, Penny Cruz and Argentine legend Ricardo Darín, a deft move of casting that should guarantee a popular run at your local Curzon Cinema.

Everybody Knows

Prodigal daughter Cruz returns from abroad to her home village in Spain for her sister’s wedding. When her daughter is kidnapped, selected it would seem because of the apparent wealth of her Argentine father (Darín, with natty beard), family and close friends try to manage the problem internally, without involving the police - and before long old feuds and new suspicions start to appear like cracks in a crumbling wall.

Carrying the weight of the past and the pressure of the present, Bardem steals the show as Cruz’s meritorious old lover and the fulcrum of the effort to return the young girl safely. It’s a film that engrosses rather than dazzles, which is why the reviews have been a little soft (although Peter Bradshaw awarded it 4 stars in The Guardian, commending the “overpowering force” of its storytelling); and I can’t help that high expectations for any Farhadi film haven’t helped. I personally think it’s a grower, a thoroughly entertaining watch that builds intrigue and mystery through strong performances and Farhadi’s immaculate attention to detail as a filmmaker.

Attention, people... Martin Scorsese is in the house.

Martin Scorsese

Yep, okay, he looks like a ghost. That's more to do with the photography skills on show than Marty's skincare regime. You'll have to trust us, that is the real Martin Scorsese and he actually looks pretty healthy. Marty was in Cannes this week to launch the 50th Director's Fortnight. The warmth from the audience and the room was palpable. THIS is a Cannes moment.

He spoke passionately about cinema and, talking about the breadth of films in this year's Director's Fortnight, said: 

‘I dont like the word challenging - let’s say ‘strong’ films. Not to everybody’s taste. Maybe you can acquire taste. Maybe you can learn patience. Patience to recognise the films that speak to you’

It's too long for a tattoo, but would if we could.

The opening ceremony was followed by Birds of Paradise from the team behind 2016's Embrace of the Serpent. A Colombian crime saga, combined with a traditional authenticity, that puts a matriarch at the heart of the story. Or, as co-director Cristina Gallego said, the film is 'Recovering the voice of women who have been erased'. My kind of woman then. And the film is terrific.

Hearts Will Break

On Thursday night, the Cannes hosted the premiere of Paweł Pawlikowski’s glorious new film, Cold War. The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw called it a "mysterious, musically glorious and visually ravishing film" and we couldn't agree more. The central romance is a passionate and heartbreaking love affair, at the mercy of a towering and all-consuming regime, an impossible love story in impossible times. 

Cold War

In 2015, Pawlikowski’s Ida won the Oscar and BAFTA for Best Foreign Language Film, and Cold War could well follow suit. It is a truly magnificent film. Curzon Artificial Eye will bring the film to screens in the UK and Ireland later this year.

Cannes We Be Real

Cannes gets a lot of hot press about how glam and super it is but, you know, it's not all stars and boat parties around here. No idea what's up with the lip heads.

Cannes we be real
Cannes we be real
Cannes we be real

[Words by Damian Spandley, Curzon's Director of Programme, and Kate Gerova, Curzon's Director of Marketing, Exhibition and Digital]

Our Man in Cannes #1

The world's greatest film festival is in full swing and our man in Cannes, Director of Programming, Damian 'Damo' Spandley is here to guide us through the programme. Over a few micro-podcast episodes, he'll be revealing his most anticipated films and highlights so far as well (including Asghar Farhadi's Everybody Knows and Pawel Pawlikowski's Cold War) trying to explain just what a programmer does.

Follow the team on Twitter:

Damian 'Damo' Spandley @damospandley

Jake Cunningham @jakehcunningham

Produced and edited by Jake Cunningham

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