Highlights of 58th Cannes Film Festival

L.A Times critic Kenneth Turan talks about notable films at the 58th Cannes Film Festival — including Woody Allen's first feature filmed outside New York City. But Turan notes that despite the quality of this year's offerings, no one movie is causing a stir.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The Cannes Film Festival continues this week on the French Riviera and as always, Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan is there.

Good morning, Ken

KENNETH TURAN reporting:

Good morning.

MONTAGNE: It would seem that the big buzz at Cannes this week is that there is no big buzz.

TURAN: Yes. Unfortunately that's true. I mean, there have been some solid films, some good films, but the people who come to Cannes regularly are used to kind of getting a jolt of energy from a really provocative film that really wakes everybody up, and that hasn't happened yet.

MONTAGNE: OK. So no jolt of energy but surely movies that look interesting.

TURAN: Oh, absolutely. There have been some good films. I mean, one of the ones I think of immediately is David Cronenberg's film "A History of Violence," which is kind of a departure for him. It's based around--you know, he usually makes kind of really strange films; he made "Naked Lunch." And this one is really based around the family. It's about what happens when the husband, played by Viggo Mortensen, his cafe gets robbed and in the course of the robbery, he kills these two bad guys who, you know, were trying to take over his place, and it's about what that act of violence ended up doing to his life. It's a very quietly provocative film, I think, really, you know, one of the best films here.

MONTAGNE: Any more?

TURAN: Well, the other film from a European director that people like is a film called "Hidden." It's by Austrian director named Michael Haneke, who works in French. It stars Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche. And it's sort of a modern nightmare, is the way it starts out. A man who's a television personality starts getting tapes where it's clear that someone is clandestinely videoing his own life, and it's about trying to find out why that is happening and kind of what the background of that is. It's a very disturbing film, kind of unnerving, kind of a modern horror story.

MONTAGNE: And Woody Allen has a film there that was shot outside of Manhattan. That's a big shock.

TURAN: Yes, it shocked kind of everybody. It's called "Match Point." It's shot in London. He said that he loved shooting in London because the weather was cloudy and it was like paradise for him. It's a very unusual film for him. It's kind of like a thriller. It's kind of like a Patricia Highsmith novel. It almost, you know, reminds you of "Ripley's Game." It's not a comedy at all. It's about a social-climbing young man and what happens when he tries to climb higher and higher in London. It's a dark film, and it's the most energetic film he's really made in many years.

MONTAGNE: And everyone is getting a chance to see a movie that hasn't been seen in 80 years and has never been heard.

TURAN: Yes, very nicely put. It's a film called "Beyond the Rocks." This is a silent film starring two of the great stars of silent film, Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson. You know, it was lost really for 80 years and has been rediscovered, found, I think, in Amsterdam in an archive. Cannes has also become a place over the years, especially recently, where they show a lot of old films, where they bring back old films in good prints. This year you can see "Ride the High Country," you're going to be able to see "Two-Lane Blacktop," you're going to be able to see this film, "Beyond the Rocks." Really looking forward to it.

MONTAGNE: And we can look forward to some of these films coming to the US.

TURAN: Absolutely. The good ones will get here by and large, and the bad ones will just float away down, you know, the cinematic River Styx.

MONTAGNE: Ken, thanks very much.

TURAN: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: Speaking to us from the Cannes Film Festival, Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan.

You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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