Monday 19 May 2008

More from Our Man in Cannes

An animated anti-war film about Israeli soldiers gradually uncovering their hidden memories of the '82 Lebanon War, Waltz With Bashir ends with a real punch by breaking into TV footage of the aftermath of the massacres of Palestinian civilians that took place. It leaves the audience stunned to silence. But also for me shows how I found the animated war scenes up to that point rather distancing. Although the sickly yellow and grey colour scheme did have a nightmarish quality that gripped I wasn't as bowled over as others. Queuing to get into the film I met Bill from National Film & TV Museum in Bradford & Maggie Pope, a Hereford producer here to try and raise money for a comedy with her Irish co-producer, who absolutely raved about it afterwards.

The rest of the day's movies weren't much to write home about. First, a Spanish comedy, Better Than Ever, starring Victoria Abril that initially looked quite promising descended into a very silly tale of hot-blooded Mexicans spicing up the lives of repressed Spaniards. Lucky Dog scrapes, totally credible, fine central performance , a Chinese story about the first day of retirement of a railway engineer who gets into all sorts ofbut somehow just too ordinary. And a documentary about blind people in love, Blind Loves that promised more than it finally delivered. Then off to the Film Agency for Wales party where I had a long chat with Mark Cousins who waxed lyrical about Soundtrack, the new Cardiff film and music festival, for which he's already secured his old mate, Danny Boyle. We talked Chinese films and African cinema and it was reassuring to discover that there was somebody involved in the festival who has the depth of knowledge and film contacts he does. Let's hope it goes well for them.

Staggered outside into the rain and gave up thoughts of chasing round looking for parties and went off to see a Tibetan film, Ganglameido, cue much ethnic exoticism in far too clean costumes and a rather confusing story of love and reincarnation - the confusion which of course might entirely be due to missing the first five minutes or the amount of wine I'd just drunk - but it did feature crisply shot beautiful locations that I love (Lhasa, Mount Kailas) and its real strength was a sense of Lhasa now where the bars play a mix of Chinese and Western music and there's a sense of a culture under pressure and in flux.

No comments: