Cannes 2013: Let me explain…

31 05 2013

So I know you’ve all been wondering where all my updates from Cannes were this year.  Last year, I did a pretty intensive journal and wrote most of my reviews during the festival itself.

Well, no one year at Cannes is quite like the other (or so I’ll generalize from my two years at the festival).  This year, the movies were better, the experience was better, and the time was maximized.  Not that my readers and my writing isn’t important.  But all my writing can get done later – the festival is there for 12 days and then it’s gone.

It also didn’t help that my Wi-Fi was poor at the hotel where I stayed.  I could have written from my phone like I did last year, but that got me into a number of binds where I was low on battery at crucial moments – and I wasn’t too keen to repeat those instances.  If I had to worry about conserving my phone battery, it could limit my opportunities.  I also could have brought my laptop into Cannes, but it would be bulky and could get stolen.

Plus, this year’s festival was pretty simple for me.  I worked, I ate, and I saw movies.  25 of them, to be exact.  (Paradise for me, right?!)

I also had to sign a confidentiality agreement for my employer this year, so that limited what I could write about.  Rather than tell tales of eating yet another Nutella banana crepe or waiting in yet another line, I figured I would spare myself the effort to journal.  And at the same time, you all would be spared my monotony.

And yes, the festival did end 5 days ago – but I’ve been in transit getting from France to home to school.  I’ve been living on planes and out of suitcases.  It’s been exhausting, and I normally get too drained to write reviews.  But starting tomorrow, June 1, I will begin to document my thoughts on the Cannes titles I saw.  You’ll get my opinions, don’t you worry.  A little later than Variety or The Hollywood Reporter, sure.  But if all you want is immediacy, then you probably shouldn’t read me anyways.

Thanks for your patience.  I hope you enjoy the sneak preview of a fantastic year in cinema that awaits!

F.I.L.M. of the Week (May 14, 2010)

14 05 2010

With the kickoff of the Cannes Film Festival this week, it seems fitting that the “F.I.L.M. of the Week” honor a recent winner of their most prestigious prize, the Palme D’Or.  That winner would be “The Class,” the French film which also scored an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film.  The movie is an interesting look at an at-risk classroom in France from the preliminary teacher meetings in summer to the final bell of the year.  It particularly concerns itself with the style and methods of the teacher, François Marin.

It’s supposedly semi-autobiographical, but I would have completely believed it was a documentary.  The film is shot with a very realistic style, using mostly long, drawn-out scenes in the classroom.  These work effectively to show us not only what teaching to a class of lazy and uninspired students is like, but also to introduce us to the students and Marin.

Most of the movie serves to make us ponder about Marin’s tactics as a teacher.  What makes him a good teacher?  Why can he inspire some students but not all of them?  What are his weaknesses?  You don’t have to be teacher to find it thought-provoking.  Marin fights not only for their attentiveness, but he also has to act as a mediator between ethnic conflicts.  With such a diverse class, harsh words often fly.  I can’t think of a better and more honest portrayal of such issues than this movie.

One more note (and I have to thank for these observations): the original title of the movie in French was Entre les murs, which is literally translated as “Between the Walls.”  Indeed, “The Class” does take place between the walls.  The camera never leaves the school, but more than that, it alludes to both the teachers and students being trapped inside a school, neither being able to come up with a solution that can serve as an ultimate panacea.