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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Doing the Cannes Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival is in full swing now, and films from around the world are playing on the big screen at the Riviera. Here are a few of the lesser-known selections, rare and unusual films that probably won't play in the cinemas of the U.S. or Britain.


Blue Desire of a Sun-Drenched Yacht Upside Down in the Myrtle Waters of the Meditteranean Sea beside My Lunch of Kalamata Olives and Espresso - Lina Wertmuller's newest film is an international co-production about a female Italian director's quest to deliver the most outlandishly long film title ever. I don't mean to give away the ending, but the lead character succeeds beyond her wildest dreams in the first five minutes of the film (the opening credits), then spends the rest of the picture indulging in her balaclava fetish and proclaiming loudly during her opium binges that George W. Bush is the Anti-Christ. Screenplay by Lina Wertmuller and Sean Penn.

War, Murder, Death, Destruction, and More War - An initmate drama by unknown German director Hans Orffdermerchdize, this film examines the interminably slow mental breakdown of an enlisted man who has seen too much horror and tragedy in his time as a submarine cook. Starring Bruno Ganz as the submariner who has a way with omelets, and Danny DeVito as a lobster named Frank. Screenplay by Max Speebek, from his novel War, Murder, Death, Destruction and A Lobster Named Frank.

Demon Cowboy Samurai - Japanese auteur Takeshi Miike's latest bloodbath of a film. No synopsis is available, but from what I could tell from the trailer, the film appears to be the story of a young samurai warrior who has every single part of his body cut off in slow-motion, except for his right nipple. Reportedly this film was inspired by both Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Yentl. Co-written by Quentin Tarantino and Barbara Streisand.

Cheap Sex in a Cablecar over the Alps - Some French film with loads of NC-17 rated behaviour. I normally don't view such films and couldn't get into this one anyway as it was standing room only. Thank heavens the French are so much more sophisticated about sex than the rest of us, or more people might have been trampled on than the 40 or so who were when the cinema doors opened. I hear Roger Ebert gave it a big thumbs up though. No, that wasn't a euphemism. From a previously unknown screenplay by Woody Harrelson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Genghis Khan.

What Is This Film About? Help Me Out Here! - Italian neo-neorealist Dounoima Biggafraudi's new epic about a young man, disillusioned with society, religion, capitalism, people, and everything else except sex and drugs. He goes into a catatonic trance in the opening scene and spends the rest of his life as an ashtray. One of the few films with the actual ability to suck the physical life from its audiences. Lars Von Trier called it "touching", but Jean Luc Godard claimed, in his careful, analytical way, that the film "really sucks." The leading candidate for the Palme D'Or of course. Written by no one in particular.


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