My Cannes 2020 At-House Expertise: Catching Up with Terrific Movies

by Alex Billington
Could 26, 2020

Cannes At-Home

Even with out Cannes this yr, we Cannes nonetheless have our personal competition anyway. Even with out movie festivals, we will nonetheless expertise the joy of cinema watching movies at dwelling. The 2020 Cannes Movie Competition was alleged to happen from Could 12th to Could 23rd, and this might’ve been my 11th yr attending. However the competition has “postponed”, though it looks like it is cancelled for 2020, as a result of coronavirus pandemic. They determined to not host a digital competition and as a substitute are contemplating some type of on-line providing and/or a partnership with one other competition within the fall. So what else is there to do throughout these 11 days in Could? Watch extra movies anyway! I would not need to be wherever else moreover in Cannes anyway, so within the spirit of the competition, I made a decision to host my very own model at dwelling and watched 15 extraordinary movies during the last 11 days.

Impressed by the Norwegian movie journal Montages’ idea for a “Movie Lover’s Different Cannes Competition (At a Distance)“, I made a decision to program my very own “Cannes At-House” competition for 2020 and nonetheless spend all 11 days (that I might’ve been in Cannes anyway) watching extra nice movies. As a result of why not? I even topped it off with just a few pasta meals (in honor of the Italian eating places La Piazza / La Pizza being my standard mainstays in Cannes) and some midnight screenings (exhaustion is a part of the competition expertise!). I have been watching not less than one movie I have not seen each single day for the reason that lockdowns started again in March, so it was simple to transition into Cannes mode. I will not write about each final movie I watched (see my fast ideas on every on Letterboxd) however I do need to spotlight a few of my favorites. Particularly as a result of I selected a bunch of extremely acclaimed, prestigious movies and not less than three turned prompt favorites. Masterpieces that I now adore, too.

Right here is my choice of 15 movies that I watched (they did not all play in Cannes, however they need to’ve): William Dieterle’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) – the opening evening movie of the very first ever Cannes in 1939 (which was then cancelled the very subsequent day as a result of begin of WWII), Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo (1982), Agnieszka Smoczynska’s The Lure (2015), Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992), Jules Dassin’s Topkapi (1962), Edward Yang’s Yi Yi (2000), Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957) – it performed in Cannes, too!, Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale (2000), Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011), Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Asako I & II (2018), Jûzô Itami’s Tampopo (1985), Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up (1966), Steven Soderbergh’s Intercourse, Lies & Videotape (1989) – winner of the Palme d’Or, Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing (1956), and Jules Dassin’s Rififi (1955). Out of all of those, the one one I had seen earlier than was Drive, which I rewatched as a result of it was such an unforgettable expertise seeing it in Cannes in 2011 (this is my evaluate).


Tampopo (dir. Jûzô Itami) – That is, undoubtedly, probably the greatest meals motion pictures ever made. And it is simply one of the best ramen film ever made, that is for positive. This one has been on my radar ever since they re-released it again in 2016 to have a good time the Criterion 4K launch. However I solely lastly watched it this yr. It is heaven. It is excellent. Plenty of movie followers already name this of their all-time favorites, and I will fortunately be a part of that membership, as a result of it is foodie bliss. I watched this one at dwelling with a take-home order of ramen (they offer the noodles / soup separate to mix when you’re at dwelling) and it was your best option. An not possible movie to look at with out some type of meals, as a result of half of it’s actually concerning the amazingness of meals – making ready and consuming it. And the remainder of it’s nearly Japan and the way a lot they love ramen and the way onerous it’s to make the right bowl of ramen – it is not just a few noodles and soup, nope. This movie is a cheerful, joyous, scrumptious style of cinema.

The movie’s premise is a part of what makes it so superior – two Japanese cowboy truck drivers assist a single mom excellent her ramen and enliven her ramen store. However there’s additionally a serving to of erotic foodie vignettes inbetween the principle story, too. They actually pack in every kind of taste and elements into this whammy of a Japanese story. And better of all, it is a feel-good, eat-ramen-happy movie that may depart you grinning on the finish.

Yi Yi

Yi Yi (dir. Edward Yang) – Winner of Greatest Director on the 2000 Cannes Movie Competition. Many critics already speak about this movie as considered one of their all-time favorites, however I nonetheless needed to offer it a glance myself. The nearly-three-hour operating time appears daunting, however when you get into it, the time flies by. It’s actually magnificent – a bonafide masterpiece. A breathtakingly stunning movie that captures the grandeur of life, as not possible as that’s, in a shocking 173 minutes of cinema bliss. It is onerous to understand in only one viewing how wealthy and layered and insightful each final scene is. It is so refreshing to look at one thing that feels prefer it’s immediately working its uplifting magic on you with each pleasant second. Even the unhappy moments are a reminder that each single considered one of us experiences hardships and challenges in life. It gave me that feeling of lightness that I crave with heartier cinema as a result of it makes even three hour movies totally participating to look at. And rewatch. A couple of snigger out loud moments additionally gave me that candy pang of pure pleasure. And the cinematography and composition is among the finest I’ve ever seen in any movie. I already really feel like rewinding it and beginning this yet again.

Indiewire’s David Ehrlich additionally wrote a tribute to Yi Yi – a should learn essay. “Repeatedly, via dying and even homicide, this intricate ensemble story returns to the identical concept: If individuals might see every thing for themselves, there can be nothing for us to indicate one another. Reminding us of that may be the one most useful factor that motion pictures can do, and no film has ever performed it higher than Yi Yi.” Yep – agreed. He goes on to eloquently clarify why the movie is an eternal work of life-affirming, affecting cinema. “There isn’t any finish of issues to see in Yang’s magnum opus… What makes Yi Yi particular is that it restores our sight.”

The Lure

The Lure (dir. Agnieszka Smoczynska) – This can be a kinky, amusing Polish mermaid musical horror comedy thriller and it is AMAZING. That is one other movie I’ve heard a lot about already, however nonetheless had by no means seen it till now. Sensational! I did not understand it was going to be THIS wonderful, however it completely is. Completely cherished it, one other prompt favourite. I significantly loved each tune on this, though I did not perceive any of the Polish singing (the subtitles had been a bit shaky). It is an prompt traditional horror musical (which is not simple to drag off to start with) that’s supremely entertaining. And kinky. It strikes at a swift tempo, breaks out into tune typically, and is filled with type and spunk. I actually consider Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczynska went all out with an bold, one-of-a-kind idea that should not work as nicely at it does – however it does. She took an enormous danger with each final element (and tune) on this, and ended up making one thing actually superb. She made a movie that can be talked about ceaselessly, and it may be found by increasingly more individuals each week.

I’ve seen that a whole lot of movie web sites and movie critics have been honoring Cannes in their very own approach during the last two weeks. And it is thrilling to see! We is probably not united in our experiences collectively, however we’re united in our love for cinema. Many have put collectively their very own mini movie festivals and guides to Cannes. Others have written lists of their favourite Cannes movies (see the NY Instances’ eight Cannes Movie Competition Prizewinners We Love [and 3 We Don’t]). Picturehouse Cinemas within the UK has printed a each day advice of Cannes favorites beneath the hashtag #CannesWatchAtHome (organized by @PaulRidd). Australian critic Stephanie Bunbury wrote a enjoyable “Having fun with the glamour of cancelled Cannes – at dwelling” article. It is reassuring to see so many different movie lovers additionally feeling misplaced with out Cannes and developing with methods to fill that hole. And we have chosen to honor cinema by celebrating cinema, and celebrating the filmmakers we love and need to help.

Hopefully every thing can be again to regular in 2021, and hopefully we’ll be again in Cannes in Could in 2021. Till then, preserve watching extra movies. Movies with subtitles, movies which can be three hours, difficult movies, experimental movies. One in all my favourite issues about Cannes is that it is a spot of discovery. Not solely a spot to find new filmmakers, however to (re)uncover previous ones, too. I had by no means seen a Alejandro Jodorowsky movie till I noticed the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune in Cannes (in 2013). After I acquired again from the competition, I began watching his movies and shortly caught up. In all honesty, I loved each final one of many movies I noticed throughout my at-home expertise this yr, and discovered extra concerning the filmmakers who made them. It was an opportunity to “catch up”, but in addition to discover and find out about these movies. And on the finish of those two weeks, I really feel totally enriched and rejuvenated by my expertise. Despite the fact that there isn’t any Cannes this yr, I might nonetheless deliver that competition expertise dwelling and attain the tip of Could feeling extra enlightened and invigorated.

As all the time, you possibly can comply with me @firstshowing for extra updates. Or comply with my Letterboxd web page @firstshowing to see what I am watching just lately and a few of my ideas. I will undoubtedly be again to Cannes once more subsequent yr.

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