Cannes Film Festival 2019: Day 8

Cannes Film Festival 2019: Day 8

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by Alexa Dalby

CAUTION: Here be spoilers

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore. The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.

What the critics are saying…

It’s shocking, gripping, dazzlingly shot in the celluloid-primary colours of sky blue and sunset gold: colours with the warmth that Mama Cass sang about. The Los Angeles of 1969 is recovered with all Tarantino’s habitual intensity and delirious, hysterical connoisseurship of pop culture detail. But there’s something new here: not just erotic cinephilia, but TV-philia, an intense awareness of the small screen background to everyone’s lives…

Quite simply, I just defy anyone with red blood in their veins not to respond to the crazy bravura of Tarantino’s film-making, not to be bounced around the auditorium at the moment-by-moment enjoyment that this movie delivers – and conversely, of course, to shudder at the horror and cruelty and its hallucinatory aftermath. – Guardian

You can say, as many will, that it’s only a movie. But for much of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Tarantino brilliantly uses the presence of the Manson girls to suggest something in the Hollywood cosmos that’s profound in its diabolical bad vibes. And the way the movie resolves all this feels, frankly, too easy. By the end, Tarantino has done something that’s quintessentially Tarantino, but that no longer feels even vaguely revolutionary. He has reduced the story he’s telling to pulp. – Variety


Ira Sachs’ immaculately crafted version of an Eric Rohmer film features Isabelle Huppert as an ailing French movie star leading her extended family on vacation. It’s exquisite around the edges, but where’s the beef? The movie it most recalls is Pauline at the Beach (1983), because this one, too, is about a group of people lolling around on a summer vacation — and, in fact, the film tips its hat to Pauline at the Beach by casting Pascal Greggory, who played the young hunk in that movie, as a white-haired, white-bearded French gentleman who, rather shockingly, is the oldest-looking character here.

What the critics are saying…

In Frankie, sorting out who’s who, and what’s happening in their lives, is almost all of what the film is. In a funny way, there’s a spoiler-alert dimension simply to delineating the characters and what they’re up to.,, we’re held by the unassuming documentary everydayness of it all – Variety

Isabelle Huppert sleepwalks through a film that proves even great directors are capable of crimes against cinema. Frankie looks like nothing so much as one of those late Woody Allen movies in a luxury tourist setting, only with even less possibility – in fact none at all – of any laughs. – Guardian

Alongside the magnetic Isabelle Huppert in a role that draws with equal grace from her well of dry humor, flinty intelligence, diva hauteur and internalized sorrow, there are affecting moments to savor also from Brendan Gleeson and Marisa Tomei in a solid ensemble cast. – Hollywood Reporter

Gisaenchung (Parasite)

Ki-taek’s family of four is close, but all are unemployed, with a bleak future ahead of them. Son Ki-woo is recommended by his friend, a student at a prestigious university, for a well-paid tutoring job, giving them hopes of a regular income. At the family house of Mr Park, the owner of a global IT firm, Ki-woo meets Yeon-kyo, his beautiful young daughter, who will be his pupil. But following this first meeting between the two families, an unstoppable string of mishaps lies in wait.

With Gisaengchung (Parasite), director Bong Joon-Ho, a leading figure in Korean cinema, returns to South Korea after making two international feature films: Okja, in Competition in 2017 and Snowpiercer (2013). This new work, which takes a critical look at social inequality, raises questions about the complex coexistence of different classes.

Gisaengchung, or Parasite. An ironic title, which immediately sets the tone for this ‘tragicomedy’: how can we exist when we view everything that’s different as parasitical and our own relationships follow suit? For Bong Joon-Ho, whose films have featured several times in the Official Selection, and who was President of the Caméra d’or Jury in 2011, this ‘comedy without clowns’ or ‘tragedy without baddies’ is a blend of suspense, black humour and social satire – his signature traits.

What the critics are saying…

Bong Joon-ho has returned to Cannes with a luxuriously watchable and satirical suspense drama. It runs as purringly smooth as the Mercedes driven by the lead character, played by Korean star Song Kang-ho. Parasite is a bizarre black comedy about social status, aspiration, materialism and the patriarchal family unit, and people who accept the idea of having (or leasing) a servant class.– Guardian

A genre-bending dark comedy with searing class consciousness… In a note handed out to the press, Bong asked that we not reveal too much of the film’s twisting plot, so let’s just say it follows two families on opposite sides of the social/financial totem pole and tracks their growing interdependence with devious curiosity…

Indeed, in tracing the ocean of disparity between the two clans, Parasite feels very much in concert with last year’s Palme d’Or winner, Shoplifters, and this year’s contender, Sorry We Missed You. Though the film operates along certain thriller codes and actively seeks to entertain, it has no less fiery political charge than either of those aforementioned films — and that’s what makes it such a fascinating challenge with the entrenched sensibilities that have marked Cannes for so long. – The Wrap

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Frankie and Gisaenchung premiered at the Cannes Film Festival 2019.

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