Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
My Palme d'Or
The Conversation (USA, dir. Francis Ford Coppola) - Four-faced pyramid of hypnotic formalism, era-specific paranoia, trenchant character study, and mercurial thriller
AliFear Eats the Soul (West Germany, dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder) - Sirk distilled to pure vinegar, under a lepidopterist's eye. Mira's ardor, ben Salem's tenderness enthrall.
The Sugarland Express (USA, dir. Steven Spielberg) - Hour Two plays as comfier Bonnie and Clyde, but images, structure, actors, and script have feeling and verve
Thieves Like Us (USA, dir. Robert Altman) - Outlaw life as watercolor holding pattern. Better at idiom and tone than story or balance, but quite insinuating.
Cat's Play (Hungary, dir. Károly Makk) - Woman's memories and envies rendered with remarkable tactility. Intense but oblique, like a Sokurov Notes on a Scandal.
The Nickel Ride (USA, dir. Robert Mulligan) - Great Jason Miller perf, tonal restraint, and slithery use of sunny Bo Hopkins. Blurry around every edge, though.
Mahler (UK, dir. Ken Russell) - Ken Russell offering more flim-flammy semi-period psychedelica. At least half nonsense, but with odd, hurt, wild conviction.
The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (USA, dir. Robert Taylor) - Interestingly grubby animation, but flashes of wit are sparse amid flat-head misogyny and lewdness
Sidebar Selections I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave (Directors' Fortnight: West Germany, dir. Alexander Kluge) - Nuanced, headstrong docu(ish)drama takes nimble range of positions on radicalized wife-mother.
Hearts and Minds (Critics' Week: USA, dir. Peter Davis) - As acute and moving a witness-based documentary as one could hope for amidst an ongoing, culture-cleaving conflict
A Bigger Splash (Critics' Week: UK, dir. Jack Hazan) - Spindly, semi-sunlit metafiction starring David Hockney, edited like a Roeg thriller and scored like a ghost story
The Spirit of the Beehive (Critics' Week: Spain, dir. Victor Erice) -
General Idi Amin Dada (Perspectives on French Cinema: France, dir. Barbet Schroeder) - Amin's paradoxes engrossing enough to save a doc that often remains stuck on discomfiting but opaque surfaces
The Migrants (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Tom Gries) - Benefits from Gries' typically tender style and light touch with actors but could stand a tad more friction and depth
Competition Films I'm Curious to See:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
Stavisky..., France, dir. Alain Resnais
The Last Detail, USA, dir. Hal Ashby
Arabian Nights, Italy, dir. Pier Paolo Pasolini
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, USSR, dir. Georgi Daneliya
Scorching Winds, India, dir. M.S. Sathyu
Cousin Angelica, Spain, dir. Carlos Saura
Milarepa, Italy, dir. Liliana Cavani
Symptoms, UK, dir. José Ramón Larraz
Abu el Banat, Israel, dir. Moshé Mizrahi
The Holy Office, Mexico, dir. Arturo Ripstein
Himiko, Japan, dir. Masahiro Shinoda
Les violons du bal, France, dir. Michel Drach
Once Upon a Time in the East, Canada, dir. André Brassard
Crime of Love, Italy, dir. Luigi Comencini
Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
Listed alphabetically; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)