Saturday, 21 May 2016

CANNES 2016: DAY NINE - THE LAST FACE, THE SALESMAN


The Cannes Film Festival is winding down in its final days - yesterday saw the first of its four major strands, the Critics' Week, declare its award winners, and today saw the second, Directors' Fortnight, follow suit. And we now have confirmation that all films from all strands have been seen, though not all reviewed. In a year that started out strong, it has turned into one of the most unbalanced Cannes selections in a long time, with films setting record highs and record lows on Screen Daily's Jury Grid. The record low belongs to the first of today's competition titles, Sean Penn's The Last Face - literally not a positive report to be found on this one, not even one that skews almost-complimentary. Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman was next, though only four reviews exist for the film at time of writing, so expect plenty more to arrive through the night and into tomorrow. Finally, Paul Verhoeven's Elle has reportedly received some sort of screening, but there's no evidence of any articles on it as yet. Stay tuned tomorrow for the verdict.

Naturally, The Last Face robs From the Land of the Moon of its bottom place on the Palme Poll. The word is still out on The Salesman - good but not great seems to be what some are saying, so it assumes a tentative position around the midway point on the poll.

It was a day of wrapping things up in Cannes' lower sections. Un Certain Regard showed its closing film, prior to its official awards ceremony tomorrow. Francisco Marquez and Andrea Testa's The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis brought in middling responses from critics. On the day of its own awards ceremony, Directors' Fortnight closer Dog Eat Dog by Paul Schrader, which didn't win anything ftr, premiered to a mixed reaction, with equal parts gleeful admiration and derision for his crime thriller. And the day after its awards ceremony, we finally received word on Critics' Week title A Yellow Bird by K. Rajagopal. The one review to surface for the Singaporean film was also only mildly positive, though not unpromising.

With the joint Critics' Week / Directors' Fortnight FIPRESCI Prize still to be decided upon, their respective polls remain open, though neither A Yellow Bird nor Dog Eat Dog register especially impressive performances. Ditto Francisco Sanctis in Un Certain Regard.

Official Competition
The Last Face (Sean Penn)
The Salesman (Asghar Farhadi)

Un Certain Regard
The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis (Francisco Marquez and Andrea Testa)

Critics' Week
A Yellow Bird (K. Rajagopal)

Directors' Fortnight
Dog Eat Dog (Paul Schrader)