The TFR Cannes ’11 Round-Up

Every year, a bunch of film legends, press, and those about to become legends head to France for one of the events of the film-industry year. Cannes 2011 is news-crazy, so here are our highlights.

We couldn’t talk about the events of this year’s Cannes without mentioning Lars von Trier’s shocking remark. I’ve heard a lot of crazy stuff come out of the mouths of celebrities in my time (Mel Gibson, looking at you, here), but this was jaw-dropping. Check out The Guardian‘s video upload to get the full impact, and watch the faces of those around him as he manages to destroy his reputation and get himself banned from Cannes in the space of several minutes.

It’s unclear how his film will perform in light of this remark, but using Gibson as an example, it won’t affect box office numbers in noticeable numbers.  If people are shocked by the controversial, his prior work from The Idiots to Antichrist will already have established him as a pretty usual guy.

On a more positive note, the awards were considerably well-deserved, and Fiona’s written them up in detail here, along with a little more on von Trier’s bizarre ramble. It’s a veritable treasure-trove of talent, and some surprise winners with films like The Artist being moved into the competition just before the entrants were judged.

Mel Gibson’s film wasn’t particularly well-received, and that’s putting it lightly. Then again, when someone with his reputation suddenly turns around and goes “hey guys, it’s all good, I made a film where I’m a sad man talking to a puppet,” it may simply reinforce the notion that the man has completely lost his mind.

The Artist, however, made a very positive splash at the festival – despite the fact that it is not only black and white, but also silent. A tale of romance, spun around a pair of actors one of whom’s career is in decline while the other moves closer to stardom. Male lead, Jean Dujardin won Cannes’ Best Actor Award, and the film got the critics literally running around the block to catch the next performance.

Last, but most certainly not least, of our five major news tidbits is Sean Penn’s latest, This Must Be the Place. A former rock star, Penn’s character Cheyenne loses his father, and then discovers that the man’s Nazi torturer is now living in the United States, Robert Smith-alike Penn then proceeds to track him down. It’s a powerful narrative, and Penn is well suited to the part, having played a variety of roles in his career (and all of them very well). The reception at Cannes was phenomenal, with critics declaring it one of the few films that accurately depicts America despite its director (one Paolo Sorrentino) being European.

As awards are handed out and showings begin to die down, it’s encouraging to look to next year, given the exceptional quality of this year’s material. Critics are happy (bar those who sat through The Beaver) and you can bet we’ll be monitoring Melancholia‘s box-office performance to ascertain whether von Trier has inherited the Gibson immunity to poor sales due to startling remarks. Until next time, then.

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