Archive for May 15, 2008

‘Blindness,’ spectacle as Cannes opens

Posted in Movie events with tags , on May 15, 2008 by funofmovie

CANNES — The Festival de Cannes fixed its gaze on the world premiere of Fernando Meirelles’ “Blindness” on Wednesday night as Sean Penn led his jury into the Palais des Festivals.

While a plague of blindness hits an unnamed city in Mereilles’ thriller, the Palais red carpet was seeing stars as the film’s talent — Julianne Moore, Danny Glover and Gael Garcia Bernal — gave festgoers quite the sight for sore eyes. Cate Blanchett, Eva Longoria and Faye Dunaway added Hollywood glam to the black-tie evening.
Although the official lineup was announced fashionably late this year, the opening ceremony, broadcast live by Gallic pay TV channel Canal Plus, started on time. French funnyman Edouard Baer animated the evening with references to Dany Boon’s record-breaking boxoffice hit “Welcome to the Land of the ‘Shtis” and a warm welcome in English, telling the crowd in a thick French accent: “My heart is full of love and emotion.”
Fest toppers Gilles Jacob and Thierry Fremaux put the Cannes lineup on a diet this year with fewer films in the official selection than usual, and the opening-night festivities were equally trimmed down compared to last year’s 60th anniversary hoopla. Opening-night guests were given a taste of the films to come with a sampling of clips from the films in Official Selection screened for the audience.

The low-key ceremony stuck to tradition as the Sean Penn-led jury — Israeli/American actress Natalie Portman, Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron, French director Rachid Bouchareb, German actress Alexandra Maria Lara, Italian actor-director Sergio Castellitto, Iranian director Marjane Satrapi, French actress Jeanne Balibar and Thai helmer Apichatpong Weerasethaku — took their seats onstage.
As the lights went out in the Palais theater, Penn talked about his vision for this year’s fest: “We’re going to be sending love letters to some movies. Those who don’t get them, don’t be discouraged,” Penn said, adding, “I’m making a plea to those distributors who don’t get awards: Stand behind your films as you are now. We’re going to do our best,” the actor-director said.
A montage of Penn’s career was followed by a live musical interlude courtesy of 1960s rock-folk star Richie Havens. Penn tapped his foot to the beat of Havens’ “Freedom” as the singer chanted “Freedom, clap your hands,” and they did.
Prolific Gallic director Claude Lanzmann then headed into the spotlight to declare the 61st edition of the fest officially open, but not before a lengthy speech that seemed to run almost as long as his nine-hour documentary “Shoah.”
After the screening of “Blindness,” guests headed to the Carlton Hotel for an official dinner presided by French Cultural Minister Christine Albanel and fest president Jacob.
Despite a modest start, the opening-night energy and plethora of talent set to head to in town for the event look to add weight to the fest as days go by.

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Cannes ’08: Jack Black unleashes plushie furry ‘Panda’ fury

Posted in Cartoon news, Movie events with tags , , on May 15, 2008 by funofmovie

Only plushophiles busy “yiffing” and “scritching” could have missed Jack Black delivering a low roundhouse kick before a pack of 40-50 burly extras in panda suits at the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday.

The not-so-high kicks and sloppy karate chops were delivered during a well-attended press-op to notify the world of the international premiere of “Kung Fu Panda.”

“And now I will teach you kung fu,” Jack told the crowd of assembled paparazzi and video crews.

Black gives voice to the “Kung Fu Panda” hero Po, following in the animated footsteps of Jerry Seinfeld, who last year donned a bee costume to publicize DreamWorks’ “Bee Movie.”

See all the kung fu inaction and White’s resort wear-inspired white pants in the clip below.
And how could we forget? Black also used his day in the sun to spill the beans on “Kung Fu Panda” co-star Angelina Jolie’s growing international brood.

Cannes Film Festival 2008

Posted in Movie events with tags , on May 15, 2008 by funofmovie

The Cannes International Film Festival, the most glamorous event on the festival calendar, returns to celebrate its 61st year from May 14 to 25. Keep visiting our Cannes 2008 page for updates on all this year’s films and of course all the latest news and gossip from the star-studded parties and premieres.

The Cannes film festival has opened with Brazillian director Fernando Meirelles’s apocalyptic thriller ‘Blindness’. Telegraph Film Critic Sukhdev Sandhu discusses how it kicks the proceedings off with a bang.

CANNES — An odd movie to open the fest? Even the director and star of “Blindness” suggested Wednesday that their movie seemed a surprising choice to kick off the 61st Festival de Cannes.

Speaking at the opening-day press conference, helmer Fernando Meirelles and actress Julianne Moore mused about how hard it might be for the gala crowd Wednesday evening to chow down in their finery after seeing this bleak allegory about the collapse of civilization.

“It’s a big honor, and it’s big pressure — but not perhaps the best film to open a festival with,” Meirelles said when asked by a reporter how he felt about being In Competition.

However, given all the disasters around the world that have piled up pell-mell since Portuguese novelist Jorge Saramago penned his masterpiece in 1995 — SARS, tsunamis, Katrina, Myanmar — a movie about the fragility of our civilization might not be that odd a subject and might indeed set the tone for what is shaping up to be a relatively sober Cannes, “Indiana Jones” notwithstanding.

Most of the discussion at the press conference revolved around the topical and political themes implicit in this unsettling tale about people who inexplicably lose their sight, then become institutionalized and neglected by the government. They have to rebuild society from scratch, and doing so reveals the brutish and redeeming features of humanity.

Several folks leaving the first screening dubbed it ” ‘Lord of the Flies’ for adults.’ ”

“There are many layers to the film beyond the obvious,” the Brazilian Meirelles said about the discoveries he made on each reading of the book. Aside from the undignified aspects of humanity that the film reveals, he said there is plenty of black humor, mostly at the expense of government politicos and policies.

“It’s happening now. Make the movie now,” recalled screenwriter Don McKellar, referring to friends who rang him in the wake of Hurricane Katrina urging him to get on with the script. Although he and Meirelles insisted that the movie does reflect the zeitgeist of the moment — we’re living in very fractious times globally — but not any one disaster, country or politician.