Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
My Palme d'Or
Russian Ark (Russia, dir. Aleksandr Sokurov) - Mammoth yet mercurial pageant of Russian history flashing before Sokurov's dying eyes and his camera's unblinking gaze (full review)
demonlover (France, dir. Olivier Assayas) - Sizzling, sinister Mulholland Drive redux, in which other media evilly outstrip cinema's grotty and voyeuristic thrills
Chihwaseon (South Korea, dir. Im Kwon-taek) - Robust, boldly edited film passing as artist-with-demons biopic. Cuts timed like brush strokes. Ego baffled by history.
Bowling for Columbine (USA, dir. Michael Moore) - Digressive and inconsistently cogent, and yet scores plenty of points. Theme excuses lost-at-sea structure.
The Pianist (France/Germany/UK/Poland, dir. Roman Polanski) - Stiff, stagy first hour; gains in power as dialogue recedes. Finally very moving, despite refusals of sentimentality.
The Man without a Past (Finland, dir. Aki Kaurismäki) -
Irréversible (France, dir. Gaspar Noé) - Asking Noé for ideas like asking Ozu for yuks. Tactile bodies, overzealous despair, virtuosic form more than enough.
Sweet Sixteen (UK, dir. Ken Loach) -
Ten (Iran, dir. Abbas Kiarostami) -
Spider (USA, dir. David Cronenberg) - Sad, atmospheric, but oblique in defiantly unsubtle ways. Tropes, symbols feel enforced on character, not spun out of him.
The Son (Belgium, dirs. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) - As tense as Rosetta, but with less manic energy. Polished, but for my money the Dardennes' bluntest, least rewarding tale.
Punch-Drunk Love (USA, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson) - Mondrian color-blocking, boldly telescoped sound and score are hobbled by barely fertilized story and toxic lead
Divine Intervention (Palestine, dir. Elia Suleiman) - Cheeky, dyspeptic vignettes, varying in humor, fire, eloquence. Bits with Suleiman, ladyfriend fall flattest.
The Uncertainty Principle (Portugal, dir. Manoel de Oliveira) - Oliveira melodrama somewhere between Visconti and Fassbinder, semi-engagingly staged in etherized milieu
24 Hour Party People (UK, dir. Michael Winterbottom) - Treads some water while seeking out tone and stakes, but free-verse sprawl generates a tart, zippy countermyth
All or Nothing (UK, dir. Mike Leigh) - Good work from Manville, Garland. Rich lensing from DP Dick Pope. Still, much lost to overstatement, uneven focus.
About Schmidt (USA, dir. Alexander Payne) - As dotted with tiny victories of insight or humor as it is marred by condescension, mugging, and stilted contrivance
My Jury Votes:
Sidebar Selections I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
Morvern Callar (Directors' Fortnight: UK, dir. Lynne Ramsay) -
Blissfully Yours (Un Certain Regard: Thailand, dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul) -
To Be and To Have (Être et avoir) (Out of Competition: France, dir. Nicholas Philibert) -
Raising Victor Vargas (Un Certain Regard: USA, dir. Peter Sollett) -
Sex Is Comedy (Directors' Fortnight: France, dir. Catherine Breillat) -
City of God (Out of Competition: Brazil, dir. Fernando Meirelles) -
Madame Satã (Un Certain Regard: Brazil, dir. Karim Aïnouz) -
Femme Fatale (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Brian De Palma) -
Laurel Canyon (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Lisa Cholodenko) -
Murder by Numbers (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Barbet Schroeder) -
Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Out of Competition: USA, dir. George Lucas) -
Searching for Debra Winger (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Rosanna Arquette) -
Ararat (Out of Competition: Canada, dir. Atom Egoyan) -
Hollywood Ending (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Woody Allen) - From lighting to scripting to mugging to framing, an exercise in garish self-contempt. Leoni wasted, as so often.
Competition Films I'm Curious to See:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
Unknown Pleasures, China, dir. Jia Zhangke
My Mother's Smile, Italy, dir. Marco Bellocchio
Kedma, Israel, dir. Amos Gitaï
L'Adversaire, France, dir. Nicole Garcia
Marie-Jo and Her Two Lovers, France, dir. Robert Guédiguian
Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
Listed alphabetically; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)