Cannes 2013 Blog: Watching Films on the Croisette, Rain or Shine
by Alex Billington
May 20, 2013
Would you wait in line for over an hour in the pouring Mediterranean rain, drenched and dripping by the time the doors open up, just to see the new Coen Brothers film? If you love cinema, the answer to that is an undeniable yes. And yes, me and about two thousand other members of the press huddled underneath umbrellas of all shapes and sizes to wait in a torrential downpour just to catch the very first screening ever of Inside Llweyn Davis. That's Cannes for you. Cinema fiends and movie lovers ignoring the bad weather just to be there for more cinema. Rain or shine, we're all here to see films, all day, every day until the end.
For me, being in Cannes is about getting immersed in cinema. Even if that means experimenting and seeing films from filmmakers I'm unfamiliar with or taking a chance on something I might not like. I don't go to everything (this morning I skipped the new Takashi Miike because I disliked his last Cannes film Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai and later saw scathing reviews after) but I try to see films that interest me, films that I might love, films that might crossover and have appeal outside of the Croisette. Of course there's the Coens and Only God Forgives and Soderbergh, but in the meantime I'm here at the festival for 10 days and have been immersed fully in the international film community that settles down in this quaint town every May.
While I've written a few reviews already (The Bling Ring, The Past, Inside Llweyn Davis), some of the films just aren't that great and I don't feel like writing about them. I'm here to love as many films as possible and if I don't like them, that's only my opinion and writing a personally subjective review isn't going to help it find an audience that could embrace it. That said, I do have an opinion on every film I've seen and the best part about the experience of this festival is discussing films and filmmakers all day long with every friends and colleague here. From the moment I wake up to the moment I sleep, we are discussing/arguing cinema.
The way I capture my experiences in life are through photographs, and Cannes is a beautiful city. I always do my best to snap shots to give a sense of what it's like to be at this particular festival. Every film festival in the world is unique and every one has something different to offer. Cannes is an exuberant international community and half of the focus is on the celebrities and the red carpet, but the other half is on cinema and the filmmakers that drive it. Here are my latest photos from Cannes so far via @abillington on Instagram:
Here's an updated list of all the films I've seen at the 2013 festival so far with a quick reaction for each one.
Alex's Cannes 2013 Films:
1. Heli (dir. Amat Escalante) - Hated It
2. Young & Beautiful (dir. François Ozon) - Liked It
3. The Bling Ring (dir. Sofia Coppola) - Hated It
4. Mood Indigo (dir. Michel Gondry) - Hated It
6. The Past (dir. Asghar Farhadi) - Liked It
7. The Congress (dir. Ari Folman) - Loved It
8. Jimmy P. (dir. Arnaud Desplechin) - Just Okay
9. The Dance of Reality (dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky) - Liked It
10. Inside Llewyn Davis (dir. Coen Brothers) - Loved It
11. Ain't Them Bodies Saints (dir. David Lowery) - Loved It
12. Last Days on Mars (dir. Ruairi Robinson) - Just Okay
13. Seduced & Abandoned (dir. James Toback) - Just Okay
14. Jodorowsky's Dune (dir. Frank Pavich) - Loved It
While we're currently on Day 6 of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, there's still another 6 days to go until it ends. I will still be in town until May 26th, next Sunday, which will be the point where I hit two full weeks of living directly in Cannes. At that point I'll definitely be ready to go home and nowhere else. But in the meantime we still have Steven Soderbergh, Nicolas Winding Refn, Alexander Payne, Jim Jarmusch, Claire Denis, J.C. Chandor and James Franco films coming up. The fest is far from over and while it feels like I'm already exhausted and have been here for a long time, we're barely passing the midway point. But the films that lie ahead are the most exciting. As always, follow my to-the-minute coverage on twitter @firstshowing.