Thursday, February 23, 2017

NOT MUCH BUZZ AT CANNES, BUT A LOT OF HO-HUMS

May 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Several past favorites of Cannes’ selection committee have returned this year, but their films, while earning respectable and respectful notices have failed to generate the kind of acclaim that many of their previous works had earned. Jeff Nichols, whose 2012 film Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey, was cheered when it debuted at Cannes in 2012, was invited back this year to compete with his film Loving, about the 1967 landmark Supreme Court case of the interracial couple who successfully challenged the state of Virginia’s laws banning interracial marriage — and won. The film received generally positive reviews, but clearly critics liked Mud better. Jim Jarmusch, a frequent Cannes visitor who won the runner-up Grand Prix here in 2005 for Broken Flowers was invited back this year to screen Paterson, starring Adam Driver, who plays a Paterson, New Jersey bus driver named Paterson. (Driver, driver? Paterson, Paterson?) It’s a pleasant enough film about another interracial couple, but there is no significant conflict in it at all. The couple simply love one another, and he writes free-verse poems while she decorates their home and bakes cupcakes. Critics at Cannes admired the movie, but it’s not likely to take home a top prize. Pedro Almodóvar, who has won four top awards at Cannes during the past 10 years, but has not won the Palme, won’t be taking it home this year, either if the critical reaction to his latest film, Julietta, is any indication. Indiewire.com’s Erik Cohen summed up the prevailing opinion of the movie among his fellow critics. The movie, he wrote, “isn’t terrible, but he’s done much better.” Then there are the Dardennes brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc, who not only have won the Palme d’Or in the past, but have won it twice. Several critics remarked in their reviews that the brothers are unlikely to win it a third time for their latest film, The Unknown Girl. Not much wrong with this film, either, according to the critics, who mostly agreed with a writer for a French website who simply called it “unexceptional.”