97  65th Festival De Cannes

Cannes Day Four: from “Dracula 3D” to “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (video)

Cannes Day Four: from “Dracula 3D” to “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

PanARMENIAN.Net - May 19, Cannes film Festival Day Four: Jackie Chan, the Hong Kong movie director and kung fu action hero, said his latest action movie, "Chinese Zodiac" - which he launched at the Cannes Film Festival - would be his last.

Jackie Chan's last “Chinese Zodiac”

Chan, 58, said that "Chinese Zodiac" - which he wrote, produced, directed and coordinated fights scenes for - was one of the "most important" films in his career.

In it, his character searches for the 12 bronze heads of the Chinese zodiac.

However, Chan said he felt "too old" for the demanding stunts in action flicks. "I am not young any more. I am really, really tired," he said.

He also said he'd been turned off by the increasing level of violence in films. "The world is too violent right now. It's a dilemma - I love fighting. I like action. but I don't like violence."

Chan said he'd continue to make films, though with more acting than action, citing Robert DeNiro and Clint Eastwood his role models.

Metro quoted him as saying at a Cannes press conference that he wanted to show cinema-goers he could act as well as fight.

"I want the audience to know I'm not just about fighting, also I can act, he reportedly said. "And so, day by day, year by year, I said, 'Right, I'm going to show you the real Jackie Chan.'"

”Workdays” at Cannes

Cannes Day Four featured John Hillcoat's “Lawless,” starring Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska. Set in the Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, the film follows a bootlegging gang threatened by authorities who want a cut of their profits.

Another competition film was Cristian Mungiu's “Beyond the Hills” drama centering on the friendship between two young women who grew up in the same orphanage; one has found refuge at a convent in Romania and refuses to leave with her friend, who now lives in Germany.

Purgatory for the “Lawless”

After previous trips to the festival with blockbusters "Transformers" and "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," LaBeouf is at Cannes with his first film in competition, the Prohibition-era "Lawless."

"Lawless," adapted by Australian musician Nick Cave from Matt Bondurant's 2008 historical novel, "The Wettest County in the World," was in Hollywood purgatory for two years after losing studio backing, a period through which LaBeouf remained committed to the film.

The attraction, LaBeouf says, was Hillcoat, whose 2005 Australian western "The Proposition" - for which Cave composed the soundtrack - he admires.

Romanian love “Beyond the Hills”

Both boos and applause greeted Cristian Mungiu's latest film at Cannes. "Beyond the Hills," in which love and faith collide with fateful inevitability, was inspired by the true 2005 case of a young woman who died during an attempted exorcism at a remote monastery.

Some Cannes viewers failed to warm to the 2 1/2-hour film's wintry setting and deliberate pace, or wished for more overt condemnation of religious dogma. By contrast in Romania, the director said, it was hard to make the film because of the power of the Orthodox Church.

But Mungiu says it's "a very good thing" if the film polarizes audiences.

The film focuses on feisty but fragile Alina (Cristina Flutur), who has returned from Germany to visit childhood friend Voichita (Cosmina Stratan). The pair were once intimate, but now Voichita has joined a strict religious community with a severe view of sin.

Alina enters into a life-threatening battle of wills with a charismatic priest and a band of devout nuns, but Mungiu says he did not set out to knock religion. He is more interested in the forces that brought the characters to the crisis that unfolds on-screen.

Two decades after the fall of communism, the film shows a Romania still struggling to build up strong social institutions. Police, government officials and doctors all appear in the film - all equally ineffectual.

"All the films that I do are finally about society, or how the society behind influences the choices of the main characters," Mungiu said.

The two central characters grew up in one of the notorious orphanages set up under dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, and Mungiu said that as well as exploring "different kinds of love and what people do in the name of love," the film is also about abandonment.

”Dracula” for night owls

Horror came to the Cannes Film Festival this week, courtesy of Italian cult director Dario Argento.

3D technology will make Dracula "even scarier" because it makes the action "more convincing," said Argento.

Argento said the film is also intended to coincide with the centenary of the death of Irish author Bram Stoker, whose 1897 novel "Dracula" told the story of the vampire's attempt to move from Transylvania to Britain.

The film is shot in a mediaeval village in the Piedmont region and a castle in the Val D'Aosta region in the Alps in northwest Italy, and not in Transylvania where he said finding a location would have been tricky.

Wayne Blair's “Sapphire”-strewn 60s

Wayne Blair was at the Cannes Film Festival two years ago trying to raise money to make a film about a 1960s Aboriginal girl group who entertain the allied troops in Vietnam. The film would be Australia's answer to the Supremes, with girls doing the Pony, frocks and a potentially dazzling soundtrack. But it was still difficult to make the money stack up.

Now, the film director is back in Cannes with The Sapphires, 200 auditions and a couple of investors later, having been given a plum slot in the biggest film festival in the world. The Weinstein Company has already picked up the film and is selling it to the world.

"The last 12 months have been a roller-coaster," Blair said, "and it started in a rehearsal room in Melbourne Theatre Company!"

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” at Cannes

This year's Sundance sensation “Beasts of the Southern Wild” was screened in Cannes' Un Certain Regard sidebar as a "Republican fantasy."

The movie tells the coming-of-age story of a girl named Hushpuppy (newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis) who lives in a Gulf Coast community known as the Bathtub. After the "waters rise," Bathtub residents have to band together and rebuild. As scripted, Beasts of the Southern Wild allegorizes the George W. Bush version of Hurricane Katrina. The black characters are seen as isolated, mysterious and fundamentally unknowable. They're often alcoholic. When the government arrives with help, the aide workers can't get the community to cooperate - many Bathtub residents are eager to escape the hospital. And while the film is seen through a child's eyes, the final lesson is as much the movie's as it is hers: Disdaining friendship, Hushpuppy announces that she's "gotta take care of mine."

In staging a whimsical version of a national disaster, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” sentimentalizes a tragedy and hand-waves the government's failed response.

Cannes Day Five

Cannes Day Five will feature Michael Haneke's new film “Amour”(Love): “a pair of cultivated, retired music teachers, George and Anne and their daughter, who is also a musician, and lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack, after which the couple's bond of love is severely tested.”

Another competition film is Danish helmer Thomas Vinterberg's “The Hunt.” In the drama follows a man falsely accused by his local community who has to fight to get his old life back.

Marina Ananikyan / PanARMENIAN News
28  17.05.12 - 65th Festival De Cannes. Day 1
25  18.05.12 - 65th Festival De Cannes. Day 2
31  19.05.12 - 65th Festival De Cannes. Day 3
24  20.05.12 - 65th Festival De Cannes. Day 4
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