May 212014

cannes May means two things for me, Cannes and Sydney Film Festival. While Sydney Film Festival isn’t until June, May is all about the pre-fest screenings and the research into the programme. With limited money and time, there are only so many films I can see and I try to get the mix right. I really enjoy following Cannes vicariously online, reading the first reactions to films and skimming the reviews. I must admit I’m partial to a little red carpet glam too. With this in mind, here’s my festival-heavy Film Link Goodness for May 2014.

The closing night film of the Sydney Film Festival is Kiwi comedy, What We Do In The Shadows with writer-directors Clement and Waititi in attendance. Watch the trailer if you haven’t already because it’s hilarious. Read Scott Weinberg’s SXSW review at FEARNET.

I adored 2013’s Drinking Buddies from writer-director Joe Swanberg, so when I saw his new film Happy Christmas on the Sydney Film Festival schedule, I booked it straight away. The film now has a trailer, which is suitably Swanbergy enough. Anna Kendrick’s “kidulthood” behaviour looks like it’s going to cut close to home…

Ryan Gosling’s directorial début Lost River had its world première at Cannes last night and the responses….were not good. Robbie Collins said of the film

The problem is, it’s like everything Ryan Gosling’s seen: David Lynch, Mario Bava, Nicolas Winding Refn, Terence Malick, Gaspar Noé and a splash of David Cronenberg for good measure. But these filmmakers’ ideas and imagery aren’t developed, they’re simply reproduced: think Wikipedia essay rather than love letter. The result is cinema you don’t watch so much as absent-mindedly scroll through, wondering when an idea or an image worth clicking on will finally show up.

Ouch. I’m still intrigued and want to see it, but expectations have been well and truly lowered.

The annual Hot Docs festival held in Toronto is a great heads up for documentaries too watch out for in the months to come. At The Matinee you can read a large number of reviews from the festival, including that for Rich Hill, which is playing at the Human Rights & Arts Film Festival in Australia.

Canadian director Atom Egyan’s The Captive which played on Day 2 of Cannes, has its Australian première at the upcoming Sydney Film Festival.   Laurent de Alberti [who is at Cannes] has reviewed the film at FilmLand empire and says

…the film collapses spectacularly early on, veering between the contrived, the uninspired and the almost laughable in places, all while being riddled with the stereotypes of the kidnapping thriller sub-genre.

The film has received rather negative reviews across the board, but I guess I’ll see for myself in a few weeks when I see it at the festival.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive round-up of Cannes, then I strongly suggest heading over to The site groups critical analysis along with comments from the film-makers and stars.

I’ll do a little self-promotion here and pimp out my ‘10 Films to see at the Sydney Film Festival‘ post. I went through the programme and tried to select 10 films which offer variety as well as a clash free schedule. My own schedule contains about 25 films at the moment, but I’m hoping to cross close to 40 of the 180 titles off my list by festival end.


Lastly this edition, the film community lost an immense talent this week with the passing of cinematographer Gordon Willis. Willis is best known for his work on the Godfather and various Woody Alan films such as Manhattan and The Purple Rose of Cairo. Alex Withrow has put together a fantastic visual tribute at And So it Begins…