Buzz Movies at the Cannes Film Festival
ALEX CHADWICK, host:
This is DAY TO DAY from NPR News.
In a sunny seaside town in the south of France, we will soon hear a verdict from a jury that is definitely not of your peers. These are movie stars and writers and intellectuals at the Cannes Film Festival, about to select this year's favorite film for the Golden Palm award. Liam Lacey writes about film for The Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada.
Liam, welcome to the show. And just give us a smattering; who's on this jury?
Mr. LIAM LACEY (The Globe and Mail): Well, we have five directors and one actor, two actresses and a writer that include the actress Salma Hayek, the Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, Hong Kong action director John Woo and the woman who's known as the mother of the French New Wave, Agnes Varda.
CHADWICK: Who are the favorites to win the Golden Palm? I know Woody Allen has a film there, "Match Point," and people are talking about that. Is that--could that be a winner?
Mr. LACEY: Well, no, because it's in the official selection, but it's not in competition.
Mr. LACEY: So he's brought it here to launch, but it's not up for any prizes. He doesn't particularly like that, prizes.
CHADWICK: He doesn't like prizes?
Mr. LACEY: No. You know, he was reluctant to visit the Oscars in the past.
Mr. LACEY: But at this point I would--favorites look to be--and it's just our guess, because we're not inside that jury room--Michael Haneke's "Hidden," which is a thriller about a French couple who are terrorized by someone sending them surveillance tapes; Jim Jarmusch, New York director's "Broken Flowers," starring Bill Murray in a very charming off-center comedy; David Cronenberg with a film called "A History of Violence" about a Midwest family in which Dad may not be exactly who he says he is; Lars von Trier, the Danish director's "Manderlay," which is a provocation about American race relations. The director often does films about America, but he refuses to visit the place. Gus Van Sant, who won for "Elephant" a couple of years ago, has another really good film based on the last days--loosely based on the last days of a rock star somewhat like Kurt Cobain.
CHADWICK: And is there a general summation that you can make about the quality of the films or the ideas in films that you see at Cannes this year? How's it look?
Mr. LACEY: Well, one pattern clearly is that that they've gone--after trying a deviation last year of bringing in, you know, more documentaries like "Fahrenheit 9/11" and cartoons like "Shrek 2," they've gone back to sort of midcareer auteurs; these are seasoned directors internationally. And the results, I think, are pretty good. I think that most people feel there aren't too many films out there that are much better than what we're seeing around the world.
And some of these directors are really doing some fine stuff. Jim Jarmusch, you know, early 50s; David Cronenberg, around 60. And in that sense, the--Hou Hsiao Hsien is another one, the Taiwan director whose film "Three Times" is excellent. And I think we're seeing that many of these people are still coming up with great work. Woody Allen, almost 70, is not, you know, in the competition, but again, you know, there's definitely second life in a lot of these directors.
There's several films that involve broken father-son relationships. There's a lot to do with children; the search for unknown offspring comes up in two films, "Broken Flowers" and "Don't Come Knocking." People who've done things in their past that catch up with them is the theme with both "Hidden" and "A History of Violence." So we often see personal stories--they're not as politically obvious as some films in the past, but they are as personal stories, but through them you pick up a political backdrop.
CHADWICK: Liam Lacey, film critic for The Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada, at the Cannes Film Festival this weekend in France.
Liam, have a good time at the movies today.
Mr. LACEY: Thank you very much.