At Cannes, Talk of 'Money' And Of 'Stranger' Things Film critic Kenneth Turan reports in as the annual swirl of celebs, sand and cinema wraps up in the South of France. On Turan's list of notable premieres: Oliver Stone's Wall Street sequel, Woody Allen's latest downer and a perceptive, moving relationship portrait from the redoubtable director Mike Leigh.
NPR logo

At Cannes, Talk of 'Money' And Of 'Stranger' Things

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
At Cannes, Talk of 'Money' And Of 'Stranger' Things

At Cannes, Talk of 'Money' And Of 'Stranger' Things

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


The Cannes Film Festival, that bastion of sand and cinema, draws to a close this weekend. Critic Kenneth Turan has been in the South of France taking in all the movies. He's on the line from Cannes to talk about this year's festival.

Hi, Ken.

KENNETH TURAN: How are you doing?

NEARY: I'm good. And I bet you're having a good time.

TURAN: The weather's good. When the weather's good, you can't complain.

NEARY: Well, let's start by talking about one of Cannes' more mainstream offerings this year - director Oliver Stone's sequel to his 1980s film "Wall Street." Was "Wall Street" worth revisiting?

TURAN: Well, they've put a new title on it. It's called�"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." And it was okay. You know, I mean, there are so many arty films here that to have one of these big juicy Hollywood movies here, where everyone's kind of licking their chops and bad guys are being evil was kind of refreshing in some way.

NEARY: Now, I know both Woody Allen and British director Mike Leigh had films at Cannes this year. And from what I've read, they weren't exactly uplifting movies.

TURAN: Well, I think that's true, especially with the Woody Allen film, which is called "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" and it follows several couples in London who are unhappy in their marriages and their relationships and things just go from bad to worse with them. And it's really not a very happy film in any sense of the word.

The Mike Leigh film, though, is really something else. Mike Leigh is a director who works in kind of a very singular, unusual way. His last film was "Happy-Go-Lucky." But he's probably best known for "Secrets and Lies." And he goes very deeply into character. You see people on screen being alive and human in ways that no other director can really manage.

And he follows really a couple here, and a friend of theirs, through the course of a year. And you just see kind of what life does to them, what happens to them, how they react to life circumstances. And it's a very rich, very involving film - very, very moving, actually.

NEARY: What other feature films should we be watching for coming out of Cannes?

TURAN: "Fair Game" is one of the more interesting films here. It stars Sean Penn and Naomi Watts. And this is Doug Liman's film, telling the story, you know, ripped from, you know, not today's headlines, but kind of yesterday's headlines, the story of�Valerie Plame Wilson�and Joe Wilson, who got involved in the buildup to Iraq. And you know, her career as a CIA agent was outed for political reasons.

And it stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. And it's a very involving film. It's a very - it's not just a political film, it's a film that's kind of engaging about relationships, about the marriage between these two people and what getting caught up in the Bush White House shenanigans really did to them.

NEARY: Now, I know documentaries were also being shown in Cannes this year. What documentaries should we be aware of?

TURAN: Well, I think the best one here, I think most people would agree, is called "Inside Job." It's made by a man named Charles Ferguson, who did a film a couple years ago that was Oscar-nominated called�"No End In Sight,"�which was a look at not why we invaded Iraq, but what went wrong once we got to Iraq.

So he's very good at analyzing things that have fallen apart. And he's a PhD in political science. He's an academic. He's not the usual filmmaker, and in this film - in "Inside Job" - he looks at the financial collapse, at what went wrong with all the stuff that happened over the past couple of years.

And for people who don't think they've really been able to understand it, don't really know what happened, don't really know who's to blame, this film really lays it out in really good detail. And it's quite fascinating, quite astonishing, and really, I think, it's as riveting as kind of documentary work gets.

NEARY: Any idea who's going to get the awards when they're given out this weekend?

TURAN: Boy, it's hard to know, you know. I mean, awards are - unlike the Oscars, where the same people vote every year, every jury is different. It would be foolhardy to guess. People guess every year and they're always wrong.

NEARY: And Tim Burton's heading the jury this year, is that right?

TURAN: Tim Burton is heading the jury this year, and you know, he's in general a person that's not easy to figure out. So what he's going to go for and what he's going to lead the jury to are really hard to say.

NEARY: All right. Well, thanks, Ken.

TURAN: Thank you, Lynn.

NEARY: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.