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General

Clap Happy

media Director Woody Allen arrives with cast members for the screening of Midnight … Reuters/Eric Gaillard

Everyone seemed in a good mood as they sat down on plush chairs in the Debussy theatre here at Cannes to watch Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. As a Woody Allen non-believer, I was not prepared to like the movie, but I laughed along with everyone else.

In the theatre, my new friend and Japanese neighbour Sachiko gave me the lowdown on the Asian movies at the festival.

She mentioned one filmmaker who “does the same old thing every time”, adding that it was “made for foreigners, not for the Japanese public.”

Hmm. She shed some light on Hara-Kiri, a Samurai movie in 3D. “You’ll like it, but I can’t understand why he would make it in 3D. Why? It is a dark Samurai movie. It should be in 2D.” We’ll have to wait and see.

As someone who normally follows and covers current affairs (I would say international politics, but there’s plenty of politics over here on the Croisette), I was surprised to see the journalists clap when Woody Allen and Co. sauntered in to the room for the press conference after the screening.

Wow. Maybe politics would be sexier if journalists clapped when press conferences were given, say, on the economic state of the country, or if Foreign Ministers were treated more like rock stars.

At night, after the buzz of the crowds, journalists headed for Julia Leigh’s Sleeping Beauty. There’s been a lot of buzz about this twisted erotic tale of Lucy, a young, beautiful university student struggling to make ends meet.

She falls into a lucrative job where she’s paid to sleep, naked, in a bed, while elderly male clients can do almost anything to her. The viewer becomes voyeur as she’s insulted, and fondled, while in her drugged sleeping state, by one man per session. It’s sometimes hard to watch, but intriguing all the same.

Add side plots quirky yet troubled best friend who eats cereal with vodka instead of milk and an alcoholic absent mother who runs an astrology call centre. Take thee to a therapist, Sara!

While the journos were ecstatic after Midnight in Paris, they barely applauded for Sleeping Beauty. If I was a clapper, I would have.

Sleeping Beauty’s pace is slow, but when you are dealing with dark and demented subjects, it’s better to take your time.

After the film, at the press centre, my fellow hacks had the bird’s eye view of the jury. Literally, the bird’s eye view from the third floor to watch Uma Thurman, Robert De Niro and Jude Law get into their cars and take off.

I could comment on Jude Law’s receding hairline, but I won’t.

And finally, last but not least: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. She has a bit part as a tour guide in Midnight in Paris, where she gives a tour of Musee Rodin and later translates a part of a diary for Owen Wilson’s character.

The French press had a field day when the movie was being shot, claiming that Carla flubbed her few lines so much they ended up with 35 takes.

“That is not true,” Allen told RFI, adding that he thought it was unfair that they should say things of this vein about France’s First Lady. Allen said Bruni-Sarkozy, a former supermodel, "looked great on film."

She looked like a million euros. A million euros, but no bling-bling, n’est-ce pas?

Cannes blog 2011

 
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