Cannes Diary - Day 2

Today saw the formal screenings of Money Monster (dir. Jodie Foster), along with that of Staying Vertical (dir. Alain Guiraudie) and Sieranevada (dir. Criti Puiu).

At Money Monster’s prime-time red carpet walk (the film with the most celebrities gets, of course, the best screening time slot) much was made of the fact that this was Julia Roberts’ first visit to Cannes (festival). In contrast, her director, Jodie Foster, first attended the festival aged 13, then in the cast of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Scorsese went on to win the Palme D’Or that year. Fans were of course very enthused by George Clooney’s attendance. He was accompanied by his wife, Amal.

Incidentally, someone had a sign which read: “I’m here to support Amal Clooney’s husband. I hear he’s in this film.” Cool stuff.

Money Monster received middling reviews. While applauded for its entertaining, breezy style, it was also criticised for the superficiality by which it delivered its message. Our review is available here.

Staying Vertical was noted by its critics for sheer weirdness, with varying ratings. Meanwhile, Sieranevada was applauded as comic genius, worthy of a place in Romania’s new wave.

Today’s films:

Staying Vertical, directed by Alain Giraudie (in competition)

Festival summary: Filmmaker Leo is searching for the wolf in the south of France. During a scouting excursion he is seduced by Marie, a free-spirited and dynamic shepherdess. Nine months later she gives birth to their child. Suffering from post-natal depression and with no faith in Leo, who comes and goes without warning, Marie abandons both of them. Leo finds himself alone, with a baby to care for. It’s not easy, but deep down, he loves it. Through a series of unexpected and unusual encounters, struggling to find inspiration for his next film, Leo will do whatever it takes to stay standing.

Sieranevada, directed by Cristi Puiu (in competition)

Festival summary: Three days after the terrorist attack on the offices of Parisian weekly Charlie Hebdo and forty days after the death of his father, Lary, a doctor in his forties is about to spend the Saturday at a family gathering to commemorate the deceased. But the occasion does not go according to expectations. Forced to confront his fears and his past, to rethink the place he holds within the family, Lary finds himself constraint to tell his version of the truth.

Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster (not in competition)

Festival summary: In the real-time, high stakes thriller Money Monster, George Clooney and Julia Roberts star as financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty, who are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor who has lost everything (Jack O’Connell) forcefully takes over their studio. During a tense standoff broadcast to millions on live TV, Lee and Patty must work furiously against the clock to unravel the mystery behind a conspiracy at the heart of today's fast-paced, high-tech global markets.
Rating: 8/10. Our review is available here.

Tomorrow’s films :

Slack Bay, directed by Bruno Dumont (in competition)

Festival summary: Summer 1910. Several tourists have vanished on the beaches of the Channel Coast. Infamous inspectors Machin and Malfoy soon gather that these mysterious disappearances take place in Slack Bay. There lives a community of fishermen. Among them evolves a curious family, the Brufort, lead by the father "The Eternal", who rules as best as he can on his prankster bunch of sons, especially the impetuous Ma Loute. Towering high above the bay stands the Van Peteghems' mansion. Every summer, this degenerate bourgeois family stagnates in the villa, not without mingling during their leisure hours with the local people. As starts a peculiar love story between Ma Loute and the young and mischievous Billie Van Peteghem, confusion and mystification will descend on both families, shaking their foundations.

I, Daniel Blake, directed by Ken Loach (in competition)

Festival summary: Daniel Blake, 59, has worked as a joiner most of his life in Newcastle. Now, after a heart attack and nearly falling from a scaffold, he needs help from the State for the first time in his life. He crosses paths with a single mother Katie and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan. Katie’s only chance to escape a one-roomed homeless hostel in London has been to accept a flat in a city she doesn’t know some 300 miles away.
Daniel and Katie find themselves in no-man’s land caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy as played out against the rhetoric of ‘striver and skiver’ in modern day Britain.

Train to Busan, directed by Yeon Sang-Ho (not in competition)

Festival summary: A mysterious viral outbreak pushes Korea into a state of emergency! As an unidentified virus sweeps the country, Korean government declares martial law. Those on an express train to Busan, a city that has successfully fended off the viral outbreak, must fight for their own survival…
453 km from Seoul to Busan.
The struggle to survive by those who have others to protect!
Get on board to stay alive!

Marion Koob is The Digital Fix’s Cinema Editor. She will be tweeting throughout the festival @marionkoob.

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