The fifth feature from Sofia Coppola, The Bling Ring once more sees the director looking at the vapid excesses of the comfortable-off, and like her 2006 film Marie Antoinette succumbs to the vacuous nature of its subject matter. Based on the real-life ‘Bling Ring’, a gang of rebellious upper-middle class LA teens whose obsession with the celebrity lifestyle led them to start burglarising A-listers’ homes when gossip websites reported they were out of town, the film attempts to deconstruct concepts of fame and its pursuit.
Author David Neary
I know what you’re thinking: “Did the world really need another vampire movie?” The answer is assuredly no. But then, did the world need a vampire movie directed by Jim Jarmusch? Certainly not! Are we better off that we now have one? Actually, yeah, a little. Jarmusch, one of American cinema’s greatest eccentrics, has dabbled with genre pictures before; his last movie before this was 2009’s esoteric hitman thriller The Limits of Control. Here once more he takes a done-to-death (pun unintended) genre and makes it distinctly Jarmuschian—more so, even, in that Only Lovers Left Alive seems to be repeatedly referencing the auteur’s filmography. There are tinges of Broken Flowers in the reunions of old friends and lovers, and a number of extended night-time driving scenes conjure memories of Night on Earth.
Argentinian filmmaker Lucía Puenzo’s Wakolda, competing in Un Certain Regard, starts out like any other coming-of-age period drama, before taking the darkest of turns into decidedly creepy territory. It’s 1960 and Eva and Enzo are driving their family across Argentina to open a hotel they have inherited. En route they meet a handsome, charismatic veterinarian who is headed for the same town as them. The vet registers as the hotel’s first guest and quickly becomes close to the family, even investing in toymaker Enzo’s doll-manufacturing business. But he takes a particular interest in the daughter, 12-year-old Lilith, whose growth has been stunted due to her premature birth, leaving her looking little older than 8 or 9. The vet begins prescribing growth hormones for Lilith, and she starts to look upon him as a saviour who can help her overcome her body’s limitations and schoolyard bullies.
Paolo Sorrentino is a bit of a darling of the Cannes Film Festival. The Italian exhibitionist’s last four films have all screened in competition, with his phenomenal political drama/pop music video Il Divotaking the Jury Prize in 2008. While 2006’s The Family Friend was a disappointment, it was 2011’s This Must Be the Place that earned Sorrentino a dressing down; out of his comfort zone and mother tongue, shooting in Ireland and the United States, he made a meandering and convoluted film that never came together.
What previous Coens ventures to compare Inside Llewyn Davis to? It has the heart of True Grit, the eccentricity of Lebowski and the themes of A Serious Man. It shows the exquisite feel for its period that Miller’s Crossing demonstrated. It shares the ability to craft worlds through music with O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and even revisits its classical inspirations. There is never a doubt that you are watching a Coen brothers production, and that is both the strongest and weakest factor of this film.
Based on the real-life ‘Bling Ring’, a gang of rebellious upper-middle class LA teens whose obsession with the celebrity lifestyle led them to start burglarising A-listers’ homes when gossip websites reported they were out of town, the film attempts to deconstruct concepts of fame and its pursuit.
There’s a sudden strong possibility that 2013 could be Hirokazu Kore-eda’s year at Cannes. His 2004 film Nobody Knows lost out to Fahrenheit 9/11 for the Palm D’Or, while taking home the Best Actor award for 12-year-old Yûya Yagira. This year Steven Spielberg heads the jury, and if there’s any director who has demonstrated more skill at harnessing the remarkable depths of child actors than the director of ET, it’s Kore-eda. It’s unlikely his film will walk away empty-handed.
The directorial debut of Valeria Golino, best known outside of Italy for roles in Rain Man and the Hot Shots! movies, Miele should prove to be one of the biggest surprises of Un Certain Regard.
An Official Selection of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Stop the Pounding Heart is Italian director Roberto Minervini’s third feature made in Texas. A social study of Christian America, Minervini’s film contrasts a family of home-schooling goat farmers with a roughneck family of rodeo-riding horse wranglers.
At the centre of the film is Sara (Sara Carlson), a teenager and the eldest of 12 children, whose life revolves around tending to her goats and assisting her parents in the schooling of her siblings. When she meets bull-riding neighbour Colby (Colby Trichell), there is an instant, if deeply awkward attraction between the two. His family fire handguns and buckaroo on the backs of kicking beasts; hers make cheese and pray.
Opening with an image of distress – a young man’s badly beaten face held down on the floor of a pick-up truck by an unseen aggressor’s boot – Heli is not a film that pulls its punches. In fact, by the end of the first scene director Amat Escalante’s camera has lingered hauntingly on an image far more disturbing, and lasting, than the first. The camera pulls away as the horror drifts into the background and then out of sight. Heli is about how turning away from violence never makes it go away.