Cannes 2013

Claude Chabrol and friends, Cannes 1978
Tribune reports
part one: the main competition
Hollywood Reporter reviews
– – –
.. Yolande Moreau, Belgium/France [Directors’ Fortnight] 5/10 {13/28}
Norte, The End of History
.. (Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan) Lav Diaz, Philippines [Un Certain Regard] 3/10 {7/28}
On the Job
.. Erik Matti, Philippines [Directors’ Fortnight] 6/10 {17/28}
.. Godard, Greenaway & Pêra [Critics’ Week] 6/10 {17/28}
— P.Greenaway’s Just In Time ***/5 {7/13}
— J-L. Godard’s The Three Disasters *****/5 {12/13}
— E. Pêra’s Cinesapiens – */5 {1/13}

– – –
from Cannes
Bite the Dust
(Otdat Konci) Taisa Igumentseva, Russia [Out of Competition] 5/10 {12/28}
Blind Detective
.. (Man tam) Johnnie To, China (HK) [Out of Competition] 4/10 {9/28}
The Golden Cage
.. (La Jaula de Oro) Diego Quemada-Diez, Mexico [Un Certain Regard] 5/10 {13/28}
The Missing Picture
.. (L’Image manquante) Rithy Panh, France [Un Certain Regard] 5/10 {14/28}
The Selfish Giant
.. Clio Barnard, UK [Directors’ Fortnight] 6/10 {17/28}
.. (L’Escale) Kaveh Bakhtiari, Switzerland/Fr [Directors’ Fortnight] 5/10 {14/28}

.. Amat Escalante, Mexico/Neth/Fr/Ger [Competition] 5/10 {12/28}

Escalante’s plausibly grim vision of contemporary rural Mexico as a police-state ever-trembling on the edge of sickening violence. A forbiddingly brutal prologue sets the scene and the tone, casting ominous shadows over the ensuing scenes that depict the fumblingly tender but clearly ‘unsuitable’ romance between pubescent high-schooler Estela (baby-faced Andrea Vergara) and her 17-year-old boyfriend, a thuggish special-forces police-cadet. The love-birds’ elopement plans, involving the purloinment of cop-confiscated drugs, go catastrophically awry with horrendous consequences for all.

As with his previous picture The Bastards, director Escalante serves up gruellingly nasty sequences – his piece-de-resistance here involves flambéed male genitalia – with a detachment that’s also somehow mildly gloating. But as a atmospherically dystopic indictment of how the “war” on drugs has had a devastating effect south of la frontera, Heli – named after Estela’s brother, the ordinary working Joe who becomes an unlikely angel of vengeance – is clear-eyed and persuasive.

Performances from the almost entirely non-professional cast range from serviceable to stiff, however, in a picture that’s generally a little too muted and inert to ever pack much in the way of genuine emotional impact. And while the final shot delivers some rays of optimism and hard-won transcendence, the conclusion of Heli’s particular tale – with its unambiguous implication that violent masculine action can alleviate bedroom hangups – leaves an unfortunate aftertaste.


Ratings and ranking
1… [19/28] Only Lovers Left Alive [7/10]
2… [19/28] Inside Llewyn Davis
3… [18/28] Borgman [7/10]
4… [18/28] Grigris
5… [18/28] Suzanne
6… [17/28] The Major [6/10]
7… [17/28] The Selfish Giant
8… [17/28] On the Job
9… [17/28] Weekend of a Champion (1971/2012)
10… [17/28] 3x3D
16/28: The Owners [6/10]
16/28: Nebraska
16/28: The Lunchbox

Cannes' Forville market, complete with original clock advertising Claudel cheese

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