DAY EIGHT - For anyone looking for comments about a certain film I raved about in my last Postcard, you should be aware that the sales agents in question asked for it to be removed. Apparently distributors who had bought the movie for certain territories complained about my way-too-early 'review'. Only in Cannes would a few fabulous words about a great genre movie be seen as a review and also be seen as detrimental. LA Americans, don't you just love them, making a storm in a teacup seem like the apocalypse. Guys it's only a movie and the director loved what I said, so there.
Apart from that blip, this has been an interesting Cannes all round. Obviously the fantastic weather has helped, and although some have hated the new ticketing system for the competition movies, I got everything I wanted and actually going into the Palais screenings has been a far more relaxing experience. My only complaint is not allowing water to be taken into the auditorium especially when it's so hot and you have to sit there for at least an hour sometimes before the movie starts.
I noticed with amusement the many lengths to which people have circumvented this by wrapping bottles in foil to fool the scanners and in one case a collapsible container contoured to the bottom of a handbag. Forced to smuggle in water, come on Cannes officials, stop this ridiculous rule right now.
Nothing could stop Todd Haynes' superb lesbian romance CAROL from hitting the emotional spot though with Cate Blanchett delivering another sparkling and riveting turn, Pixar's INSIDE OUT working its effortless charm, or Denis Villeneuve's Mexican drug cartel thriller SICARIO exerting a powerful grip. Benicio del Toro gives a stunningly controlled performance in the latter, think SALVADOR, making him a surefire contender for Oscar attention.
From Argentine parties on the beach for the 'Blood Window' genre strand and the Film4 villa get-together to the Fantasy Festival karaoke and director Howard Ford's NEVER LET GO cocktail bash, there have been at least three events every evening to attend if so inclined. But last night's Night Visions one on the terrace at the Scandinavian HQ next to the Carlton Hotel has been my favourite. The Helsinki based festival hosted a Morricone/Goblin disco, with nice canapés and everyone you liked from every Euro Fest was all there in one place, from SCHERZO DIABOLICO director Adrian Garcia Bogliano and his lovely wife Andrea to Michael Favelle from the Odin's Eye sale agency, one of FrightFest's oldest supporters.
SCHERZO DIABOLICO is a devious shocker in the Hitchcock tradition and I had already seen it last year at Ventana Sur in Buenos Aires, so it was terrific to sit down with Adrian and tell him face-to-face why I liked it so much. THE CORPSE OF ANNA FRITZ is another crowd-pleaser from the Blood Window selection put together by my good friend Javier Fernandez, but the biggest surprise was Valentin Javier Diment's THE ROTTEN LINK, an off-the-wall and very provocative revenge thriller about a mentally handicapped lumberjack, his senile witch doctor mother and his prostitute sister. I will say no more about this Argentine eye-opener except it creates a warped world, stays true to its deranged universe and delivers one of the bloodiest climaxes seen this year. Diment is clearly an Argento fan and all I can say at the moment is watch this space.
Such is the growing power of Film4 FrightFest that in the last couple of days we were contacted by the agent of a couple of producers, invited to see a private screening of a new under-the-radar shocker, and told if we liked it we could add it to our August line-up because they wanted key genre festival exposure. I can't reveal the title just yet obviously - suffice to say the creators are talking about a major Hollywood star remake already - but we liked it a lot and we confirmed its inclusion yesterday. Even the Sitges guys didn't get the heads up on this one! Heh, heh!
The main talk of the market has been Jeremy Saulnier's GREEN ROOM, which has had all the buyers in a bidding frenzy. I wasn't a huge fan of BLUE RUIN but I thought this slice of genre pulp fiction was better in so many technical and creative respects. You probably all know by now it concerns a fading punk band playing a desperate Oregon gig in front of skinhead white supremacists led by Patrick Stewart, who witness a murder and lock themselves in the venue's Green Room. Can they escape and will the Doc Marten squad let them? Incredible gore effects are the icing on the ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 style cake here and every day the movie's reputation grows and every day the mop-up screenings get longer.
Today I have to see a few more August contenders and then I must meet up with the BFI to discuss the launch of my book with Nicolas Winding Refn, 'The Act of Seeing'. We launch at the BFI London on September 1 with an onstage presentation by Nicolas and myself before embarking on a global festival tour taking in Fantastic Fest, Sitges and Lumiere in France for the French edition. Exciting times ahead for us all.
Until next time.
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