Film Socialism (Un Certain Regard), as much as I would love to be one of those guys that can support anything Godard makes, I’m just not one of those guys. I don’t like having a finger wagged at me for only speaking English, which is exactly what this version of this film did, giving me a handicapped cut that is just as indecipherable as, well, any unsubtitled film will be if you do not speak the language. Strong visuals don’t make up for this. Many will defend the decision for ‘allowing’ us to watch the film for body language and its unique visual look, but there really isn’t much going on in that department that Godard hasn’t already been exploring for well over a decade: the plasticity of the video palette – a palette of over-saturated, sometimes crystal-clear, other times hyper-pixelated, imagery – and, of course, a soundtrack that drops out and swells awkwardly to underline that we’re watching a product that is synched and polished in post-production gimmicks. But how can I not feel short-changed when I am being deprived of language, when I know how key word-play is in Godard’s work? Would anglophone cinephiles be ok if there weren’t English subtitles for theatrical screenings of Breathless? One’s answer to that question will go a long way in determining how much one will like Film Socialism, a Godard film that, once again, tells me more in its plot synopsis than in my viewing of it. No Comment.
Carancho (Un Certain Regard), see the thumbnail of this film’s poster up top? Carancho is a really well-made version of exactly the type of film that that poster suggests it is. If you like really good episodes of prime-time crime dramas, with a twist of Crash (I would specify which one, but, for what it’s worth, it really could be both), this will satisfy.
The Wanderer (Directors’ Fortnight), Slow-burning and engaging enough to be mildly rewarding, but that it all culminates in the button-pushing scene that it does makes the entire film feel too calculated to provoke. Certain circumstances had every male in the audience squirming, feeling a bit of a ghost pain slightly below the waist, which are really the film’s most effective bits. It is here where the sensibilty is that ‘everyone would hate to be this kid’ before we end feeling that ‘everyone hates this kid.’
Everything Will Be Fine (Directors’ Fortnight), Everything is fine, at least for the first act, where the film has a pretty damn well-crafted sense of paranoia and dread draped over every minor decision that every character makes. The government can be scary when they really want you to keep your mouth shut. Add in strange developments about the protag’s looming deadline for a script that he’s writing, and his trouble with remembering to sign some papers to adopt a kid, and you have me pretty damn intriqued. Shame on me, because what it all adds up to is unimaginably lame, it truly is something (I’m sorry, but I’m just going to have to tell you: the whole film is the screenplay he’s writing (duh), which is being channeled through the fact that, I’m not kidding, his wife DIED because she was furious that he made a mistake on their adoption application that would have resulted in an, omigod, 2-week delay in finalizing their adoption a kid). But who am I kidding, I strongly recommend everyone see this film, and then come talk to me.
A Screaming Man (Competition), Did you hear! there’s a movie from Chad in the Competition line-up this year! I know right!? Chad, of all places! (but really, this was as dull as my cub scout pocket knife. A film from a country that we don’t often see films from does not make the film any more inherently interesting than any other films. Not only can this father/son feud’s outcome be seen by at least the halfway mark, but I couldn’t care less for anyone, nor comprehend many of the bizarre decisions that they made. I hear Dry Season is good, though.)
More Cannes Coverage: