*The Land of the Unknown: Roberto Minervini on What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire? By Jordan Cronk. “Poetry floats up in my memory like sailboats in the fog”:Alexei German’s Khrustalyov, My Car! By Daniel Witkin. With Forever Presence: Jonathan Schwartz (1973-2018). By Max Goldberg. *Soft and Hard: Claire Denis on High Life. By Adam Nayman.
Oh, the burdens of following up “Stupid, Adjective….” Once again, the time has come for me to admit that “summarizing” Cannes is a bit of a pointless task at this time of year, when I’d be rather watching soccer than thinking about what went on a few weeks ago in that dinky fishing town in the south of France. To begin to write about the worst Cannes ever—now onto part 11 in what I fear will be a never-ending series—feels even to me like a broken record; I only imagine that for every person who gains the tiniest bit of satisfaction reading me grouse about my late Spring vacation, there are two others who wish I would just shut the hell up already.
I’m on both sides of the fence, trust me, and the fact that a few days into the World Cup round-robin I’d rather be watching soccer than blathering away makes me feel like I’m all out of words—especially considering that the traditional Cannes wrap you will find later on near the centerfold feels like a really, really long editor’s note. So maybe I’m leaning a bit towards the “shut the hell up already” viewpoint. At one point during the dog days of the festival (I think it was T-8 days to Apichatpong), it even crossed my mind to bend to the people’s will and compose a snidely ironic point-form essay entirely consisting of top ten lists, but I’ll keep that brilliant idea locked in the mind-bank until I really get desperate. Maybe they should hold Cannes only every fourth year.
Still, once again I’ve tried to fulfill my contrarian duty and earn my press badge by expressing some of the frustrations and elations with regard to the films, the environment, the reportage, the people, and the weather. Alas, my summary has taken me in a direction where I’ve noted passing thoughts on a number of titles, but only provided close attention to one specific film, but I think that this Cannes—and this film—merits it (though as an added bonus I’ll give you some Ceaucescu!). Besides, we’ve got other issues coming up, and anyone who’s been following knows that May is primo film festival harvest time, so keep watching this space for all the features and reviews of films I wish could have made it in here but, for best laid plans and all that, have to wait until later on this year and even into the next.
What else? Go see Aaron Katz’s Cold Weather when you have the chance—I doubt there will be a better American film this year (and why wasn’t that in the Quinzaine, to ask one of many questions left hanging by my insufficient Cannes whack?). Go see Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives when it comes to a theatre near you later this year, and prove the naysayers wrong. Download Party Down, if you haven’t yet; it’s pretty good. Better yet, hit the beach, open a good book, and spend some time doing something other than watching, reading about, or writing about films. Because there’s got to be, oh, about 13.7 other things happening in the world that matter more at any given time. Serbia is about to play Ghana.
P.S For excellent World Cup coverage, I recommend the Babelfish translation of Quintin’s blog, La lectora provisora. (http://lalectoraprovisoria.wordpress.com/)