I am about to head out the door for the Seattle International Film Festival press launch, but I can't help the fact my mind is pretty much 24/7 Cannes Film Festival as I have been adding new movies to the database almost hourly over the past couple of days along with new trailers and pictures for each as I plot my plan of attack. And in that process it's certainly best to keep you aware of what's going on so you have some familiarity with these films once I start talking about them beginning May 12, so let's get to it...
First off, I've got some serious interest in Gilles Marchand's Black Heaven, a techno-drama from which the image to the right comes (more here) starring Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Louise Bourgoin and Melvil Poupaud. The story goes like this:
Gaspard and Marion are madly in love and enjoying summer in the south of France... until the two teenagers stumble upon a lost cell phone. At first they playfully decide to track down the owner...But the game takes on a much somber path when they find him dead, in a mysterious suicide ceremony. Next to him, lies a half unconscious girl, Audrey. With her enigmatic tattoo and her gothic looks, she soon lures Gaspard into Black Heaven, a dangerously addictive video game.
Gaspard discovers an obscure universe, full of infinite possibilities. Creating an avatar who is miles away from him, he sets on a search for the beautiful but poisonous singer, Sam, who attracts victims in the virtual world and seduces them to commit suicide in real life. Could Sam's alter ego in the real world be Audrey? Could Gaspard be her next victim? He will have to creep further into Black Heaven to find out the terrible truth.
Intrigued? If not, take a look at the sales promo below courtesy of Twitch, which also supplied the above synopsis, which was the best description of the film I could find. And again, more pictures can be found here.
Black Heaven is one of the Midnight Screenings so I am praying things work out to where I can fit it into the schedule along with traditional engagements such as sleeping and eating.
Next is a killer looking film called Rubber from writer-director Quentin Dupieux, which will be part of the Critics Week program and it sounds incredible. The story follows a telepathic killer-tire (quite literally) that destroys anyone in its path during its mysterious attraction to a very pretty girl. The poster was debuted on the official site and you can get a look at some gruesome stills from the film over at Twitch.
Asian cinema looks to be strong this year with the next film I've added called The Housemaid, a thriller directed by Im Sang-soo. The South Korean film is a remake of Kim Ki-young's 1960 original, which tells the story of Eun-yi, a middle-aged divorcee forced through circumstance to takes a position as a housemaid with an upper class family. It is not long before her master, Hoon, takes advantage of his social position by sharing her bed. When Eun-yi becomes pregnant and her secret is discovered by the family, she is compelled to have an abortion. Her forced termination turns Eun-yi's already fragile mental condition for the worse and she decides to take matters into her own hands.
I have two trailers for this one as I have been scouring YouTube for anything I could find. I have added the newest trailer just below and you can watch the first international teaser trailer right here if you are interested.
As if I needed any additional incentive to talk about the Oscars while at the festival, Nikita Mikhalkov's Burnt by the Sun 2: Exodus will be included in the festival following its recent release in Russia. However, the film made less than $4 million in box office receipts, a result that isn't being looked upon favorably, but that says nothing of the film's quality.
Burnt by the Sun 2 is a sequel to Mikhalkov's 1995 Foreign Language Oscar winner, set in 1941, five years after the events of the original film which centered on Stalin's repression. The sequel picks up on the lives and destinies of General Kotov, his wife Maroussia, their daughter Nadia - as well as those of Mitia and the Sverbitski family. Unfortunately I have never seen the original and it isn't available on Netflix so I will be going in blind, but nevertheless it is one I am looking forward to.
The second to last film I will talk about today is director Xavier Beauvois's Official Selection feature Of Gods and Men, which stars Lambert Wilson (Matrix: Reloaded) and Michael Lonsdale (Munich) as two of eight French Cistercian monks who live in harmony with their Muslim brothers in the mountains of the Maghreb, some time in the 90s. Soon, violence and terror take hold of the region and yet the monks stay, no matter the cost.
The film is actually based on true events in which seven Tiberine Monastary monks were kidnapped on March 27, 1996. Their bodies were found on May 30 and the reasons for their kidnap and the identities of their kidnappers have never been established. It will be interesting to see just exactly what path this film decides to follow.
Just above is one of the three stills from the film I have added to the gallery, which you can browse in full right here.
Finally, documentary time. Sabina Guzzanti's Draquila - Italy Trembles takes a look at Italian democracy with a focus on the violence of propaganda, the impotence of citizens, questions of the economy, illicit power relationships and the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake. For me, it's a chance to learn a little something as well as be introduced to a well known documentarian.
I have added the international trailer below and you can take a look at two TV Spots promoting its selection at Cannes right here.
That's all for now, but my hope is to have every film from the Festival in the database by the end of next week. I have been updating the links on my original line-up article as I add titles, but even that list is incomplete at the moment so stay tuned for a list of all the films in the festival and their links to their place in the RopeofSilicon database soon.