1. “Joel and Ethan Coen to preside over the Jury of the 68th Festival de Cannes.” The director-writers of Inside Llewyn Davis, Fargo, True Grit and others will head up the festival that has rewarded them multiple times in the past.
“’We look forward to returning to Cannes this year’, Joel and Ethan Coen said from the Hail Caesar! film shoot with George Clooney, Christophe Lambert, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Josh Brolin and Channing Tatum. ’We welcome as always the opportunity to watch movies there from all over the world. Cannes is a festival that has been important to us since the very beginning of our career. Presiding over the Jury is a special honour, since we have never heretofore been president of anything. We will issue further proclamations at the appropriate time.’”
2. ”Inherent Vice and the Modern Audience’s Ambiguity Problem.” Vulture’s Kevin Lincoln embraces the way the Paul Thomas Anderson film resembles reality.
“Reality doesn’t work like this. In reality, the amount we do not understand, and aren’t aware of, is so overwhelmingly larger than the amount we can grasp that, as proto-civilizations, we had to fabricate stories to help ourselves mentally exist. We kept doing this—telling stories—but in many cases, we didn’t change the way we told them, even though the amount of information we had about the world continued to grow. The way we tell these stories still works, of course, particularly in the pursuit of drama and comedy, theatrical concepts that have been more or less understood since Aristotle. But Pynchon and Anderson are after something a little different. They certainly aren’t alone in this, but considering their status in their respective fields, their search for it is notable. They’re trying to understand the unknown, and that requires a different kind of narrative.”
3. “The True Tragedy of American Sniper.” What America’s most popular war movie says about our nation’s continued alienation from the front lines.
“I didn’t cry during American Sniper. I felt anxiety and fear, the way that narrative wanted me to, and elation when Kyle made his way into that truck and, ultimately, home. I felt desire for the build of Bradley Cooper, the thickness of it, the way he tucked his polo shirt into his pants, and the sullied baseball cap, because it reminded me of how Luke was built and dressed the same. But Sniper was, at end, a superhero movie. Any frustration I might have felt after the coda was immediately dissipated by a hard cut to actual footage of Kyle’s Cowboy Stadium memorial, set to a melodramatic score, flags billowing mighty and high.”
4. “The Passion of Marion Cotillard.” J. Hoberman on the actress’s performance in Two Days, One Night.
“Tense and bowed down, her voice and expressions strained, Cotillard carries the weight of the story (as well as the movie) on slender, slightly hunched shoulders. Her character, who had been hospitalized for depression, is all nerves. When, in one moment of despair, Sandra cries that she feels as though she doesn’t exist and is “nothing at all,” she articulates some deeper truth about workers in the ruthless new economy—what the sociologist-philosopher Pierre Bourdieu saw as the unnerving erosion of personal dignity in the absence of job security. (Indeed, according to the Dardennes, Two Days, One Night was inspired by a case study found in Bourdieu’s The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society.)”
5. “Interview: Peter Strickland.” Graham Fuller chats with The Duke of Burgundy filmmaker.
“I’m not a psychologist and I haven’t seen it covered much in film, but I assume Evelyn’s brand of masochism, where she’s the one calling the shots, does exist. I wanted something that started off like a lot of those Franco films did, where a fantasy is embodied. I’m not trying to put those films down because they have some remarkable moments, but what I wanted to do was puncture the fantasy and show the dominant woman in her pajamas. She’s not someone who goes to bed in her stilettos. You see her miss her cues and you see her out of character. It’s something you would never see in the average sexploitation film. Franco was inventive, but some of the more traditional sexploitation directors would have to obey the producer’s commands to get the audience off. I’m hoping this film does the opposite. I’m not saying it’s anti-erotic and I don’t want to say ’How dare you get off on this film!’ but I’m trying to unpeel different layers, hopefully without passing any kind of judgment.”
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