There's always a few good Russian films at the Cannes Film Festival every year, but this is one of the best Russian films I've ever seen in the nine years I've been coming here. Leto, which translates to Summer, is the latest feature from Russian filmmaker Kirill Serebrennikov (who is currently under house arrest and unable to attend the festival). The B&W film is a tribute to 80s punk rock and musicians who break the rules and sing songs and make music despite the government saying they can't. I could describe Serebrennikov's Leto as a Soviet, 80s rock version of Inside Llewyn Davis meets Trainspotting, directed by a Russian Edgar Wright. It's awesome. And easily my favorite film at Cannes so far (it's only Day 3). The songs throughout, composed by a Russian band called Zveri, are excellent and I need a copy of this film's soundtrack already.
One of the most anticipated premieres at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival is the first-ever film from Kenya to play in Cannes, titled Rafiki (which translates just to Friend in Swahili). Rafiki is the directorial debut of a Kenyan filmmaker named Wanuri Kahiu, and it tells a simple but sweet story of two young women who fall in love on the streets. The film is already banned in Kenya, because of deep-rooted cynicism about about same sex relationships, but that's why it's an important film. As much as I really wanted to love it, the story is nothing new and alas ultra cliche, but it's still a sweet story about falling in love and remaining in love even when everyone else rejects it, and the two leads are wonderful to watch. There is a genuine attraction.
Another year, another Cannes Film Festival. But this year is different. In 2017, Cannes celebrated its 70th anniversary and things went as they usually do. This year, for the 71st Cannes, they're changing things up. In a statement sent to press in the last few weeks, Cannes director Thierry Frémaux explained: "We want to make the most of this new decade to explore, experiment, question our customs and practices." In March, Cannes announced three major changes and new rules for the festival this year: no selfies on the red carpet, no Netflix films (in connection with French distributors upset because of archaic laws about films required to be in cinemas), and no more press screenings before the "public" (they're not really public anyway) world premieres in the evening. With all of these changes, and more, it's going to be a very, very interesting year. I'm sure some press will be pissed, others unfazed, but most of all - no one knows how it's going to play out.
Every year, cinephiles wake up early to watch the announcement from France of the films playing at the Cannes Film Festival. For the 71st Cannes Film Festival taking place this May, they've thrown a bit of a curveball with an entirely unexpected selection of films playing this year. The selection includes new films from Jafar Panahi (Three Faces), Pawel Pawlikowski (Cold War), Alice Rohrwacher (Lazzaro Felice), Matteo Garrone (Dogman), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), David Robert Mitchell (Under the Silver Lake), along with Jean-Luc Godard, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Jia Zhang-Ke, plus Wim Wenders' Pope documentary. And then there's the Star Wars movie, of course, which kind of makes this a very mixed bag. But there's no Suspiria, or Terry Gilliam, or Lars von Trier? And all the Netflix films are gone. It's a shame, this seems like a very light selection so far. Possibly with a few extra additions coming last minute. See the full list below.
We're now less than a month away from the 71 Cannes Film Festival kicking off, so the festival has revealed their official poster art. I have a tradition of always writing about this here, because they always choosing some very appealing, eye-catching art and this year that is for sure the case. The image use in the poster / official art is from Jean-Luc Godard's Pierrot le fou, which originally premiered at the Venice and London Film Festivals in 1965. The shot shows Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina kissing across two cars, and it's quite lovely and evocative and eye-catching, indeed. Honestly this art is kind of perfect, at least making it feel attractive again. I'm looking forward to the festival, which kicks off early on Tuesday, May 8th this year. Check out the official poster below and stick around for the official selection reveal this week, too.
50 years ago, one movie changed all movies forever. The first movie premiering at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival has been revealed! Cannes has announced they will host the world premiere of an unseen, newly restored 70mm print of Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking science fiction epic, 2001: A Space Odyssey. The screening will be introduced by filmmaker Christopher Nolan, who will be attending the Festival de Cannes for the first time. Nolan will also participate in a Cannes Masterclass, set for Sunday, May 13th, in which he'll discuss Kubrick's films in addition to his own. After this event, Warner Bros will re-release the new 70mm print of 2001: A Space Odyssey in select US theatres starting on May 18th. The Ultimate Trip.