Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
My Palme d'Or
Under the Sun of Satan (France, dir. Maurice Pialat) - Eerie, muscular, hypnotic. Conjures divinity as a fathomless mystery, cruel myth, and brute, tactile fact.
Wings of Desire (Germany, dir. Wim Wenders) - Stunningly nuanced lensing, boldly mytho-historical conception, subcutaneous tenderness. Grandiose but sublime.
Repentance (Georgia, dir. Tenghiz Abuladze) - Surreal-judicial epic of Soviet despotism flaunts real fire and gutsy conceptions despite rough patches, blunt last act
Dark Eyes (Italy/Russia, dir. Nikita Mikhalkov) - Handsome lensing and palette gratify even when they overpower thinnish story or erratic tone. Mastroianni in his element.
Yeelen (Brightness) (Mali, dir. Souleymane Cissé) - Odd blend of Africa for Export and defiant opacity, for better (mostly) and worse. Rhythms entrance. Iffy gender codes.
The Belly of an Architect (UK, dir. Peter Greenaway) - As ever, Greenaway's prodigious qualities give onto his ponderous demerits. Robust, ambitious, unwieldy.
Barfly (USA, dir. Barbet Schroeder) - Bukowski's poetics keep eluding screen translation, but full-circle structure pays off, as do Müller's, Dunaway's industry
Shy People (USA, dir. Andrei Konchalovsky) - As in Runaway Train, Konchalovsky gets some juice from his seedy, overwrought clichés, but the whole is still dubious.
Prick Up Your Ears (UK, dir. Stephen Frears) - Familiar Frears-y blend of intriguing off-rhythms and desultory construction. Oldman's good, Molina's overripe
The Glass Menagerie (USA, dir. Paul Newman) - Newman's professed desire to film the play as written yields a defensible but dutiful drama. The women thrive.
Aria (UK, dir. Miscellaneous) - Off-pitch. Grab bag never jells; some bits feel like real clinkers. Jarman, Godard, and crazy Ken Russell keep us interested.
Sidebar Selections I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
Something Wild (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Jonathan Demme) - Demme's still learning to ground antic energies, but deliciously loose Daniels and Griffith lead a colorful charge
Raising Arizona (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Joel Coen) - First third makes such blazing comic impression that manic, less charismatic remainder sails by on charm, goodwill
Matewan (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. John Sayles) -
Babette's Feast (Directors' Fortnight: Denmark, dir. Gabriel Axel) - A bit thin relative to its reputation, but an understandable popular favorite with rich flavors and candlelit tones
Un Zoo la nuit (Directors' Fortnight: Canada, dir. Jean-Claude Lauzon) - Neon, involving blend of Jacques Audiard and Atom Egoyan, evading obviousness or airlessness whenever they encroach
I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (Directors' Fortnight: Canada, dir. Patricia Rozema) - Mini-budgeted, gently eerie, gallery-set Canadian charmer is fun aunt to Cheryl Dunye, Miranda July
Street Smart (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Jerry Schatzberg) - Direction, writing, feints at auto-critique all wobble. But study of self-debasement engages, and lead actors excel.
Radio Days (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Woody Allen) - After long, errant startlame voice-over, stale jokesfilm gradually coheres via rich look, tangy mix of ardor and rue.
The Whales of August (Out of Competition: UK, dir. Lindsay Anderson) - Gish's treasured, still-agile face can't save this over-lit, under-written wisp. Nobody's line readings work.
Competition Films I'm Curious to See:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
Zegen, Japan, dir. Shôhei Imamura
Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Italy, dir. Francesco Rosi
Shinran: Path to Purity, Japan, dir. Rentarô Mikuni
Subway to the Stars, Brazil, dir. Carlos Diegues
The Family, Italy, dir. Ettore Scola
A Man in Love, France, dir. Diane Kurys
Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
Listed alphabetically; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)