Saturday, May 12, 2012

Yes we Cannes: British talent takes a starring role

Yes we Cannes: British talent takes a starring role

We may only have one British film in competition, says Charlotte O’Sullivan, but British talent will take a starring role when next week’s festival opens

Film festivals, like the Olympics, tend to arouse partisan feelings. And patriotic Brits can already count this year’s Cannes, which begins next week, a success. True, only one UK film is actually in the running for a prize. On the other hand, three British movies will be shown at special screenings and a high proportion of the festival’s must-see films place British actors centre stage.

Our Palme d’Or hopes are heaped on Ken Loach and his The Angels’ Share, the story of a young Glaswegian ne’er do well (played by newcomer Paul Brannigan) whose desperate desire to be a good dad makes him turn to the whisky. Though not in the way you expect.

As with so many of Loach’s recent collaborations with scriptwriter Paul Laverty, the tone sounds gentle rather than wrenching. What’s new is that Loach has brought the brilliant Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan on board. Ryan is best known for his work with writer-director Andrea Arnold, who just happens to be one of this year’s judges. The bookies obviously haven’t thought this through, and have Loach’s film down as a 16/1 no-hoper.

Broken is one of the three other flag flyers. Selected to open the festival’s esoteric Critics’ Week, this north-London thriller stars Tim Roth as a dad who is forced to come to terms with the rape of his 11-year-old daughter, and is directed by one of London’s big theatre names, Rufus Norris.

There is also Sightseers, a twisted caravaners romance from Ben (Kill List) Wheatley, shown as part of Directors’ Fortnight, along with Trashed, Candida Bray’s documentary about the environment, which features Jeremy Irons pottering around the globe in search of ways to save it.

No word yet as to whether ex-Libertines frontman Pete Doherty will be promoting his new project at the Croisette, which is sure to grab publicity either way. In Confession of a Child of the Century (based on Alfred de Musset’s autobiographical, 1836 novel), he is betrayed by his mistress (Lily Cole), then falls for Charlotte Gainsbourg’s noble war widow, only to become obsessed with the idea that she, too, will one day be unfaithful. Doherty’s character is described in the film’s synopsis as a “libertine”. He’s obviously not cast against type and French director Sylvie Verheyde is a respected figure, so who knows? She may have coaxed a seriously good performance out of this generic bad boy.

In a year with the most glamorous line-up of recent times, Hollywood is the big story, however. Here are the headliners.

Robert Pattinson, probably the most famous cutie on the planet thanks to the Twilight vampire franchise, is about to become noteworthy in an entirely new way thanks to Cronenberg’s Palme d’Or contender. An adaptation of Don DeLillo’s dystopian novel, this entry from the Canadian auteur sees Pattinson as a bored, petulant, limousine-loving billionaire, gliding through Manhattan in search of kicks and a haircut. Sex. Violence. Horror (the rat is a unit of currency in this un-brave new world). If Pattinson can hold his own alongside edgy talents like Samantha Morton, he’ll not only impress art-house audiences but prove that his charisma has real bite.

On the Road
Sam Riley stars as horny pilgrim, Sal Paradise in Walter Salles’ competition entry. Francis Ford Coppola bought the rights to Jack Kerouac’s Beat novel back in 1979 and over the years all kinds of big names have begged to play the writer’s alter ego (Kerouac’s own choice for the part was Marlon Brando). Brazilian director Salles saw Riley in the Joy Division biopic Control, called him in for an audition and, two years later, finally gave him the nod. As the 32-year-old actor is the first to admit: “The pressure is enormous on this one.”

Source => London Evening Standard / Via => Spunk Ransom

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