Wednesday 30 March 2011

Cannes Calling: Midnight in Paris

Owen Wilson & Marion Cotillard

The Cannes Film Festival is only a month and a half away yet the full line up will only be announced at the end of April as usual. While speculations is always rife at that time of the year, a couple of films have already been confirmed: The tree of life by Terrence Malick (more on this on a future post) and the new Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris, which will open the festival.

You just do not know what to expect with Woody Allen these days. He was one of the directors that got me interested in cinema in the early 90's, and made me realise that there was more to films than sci-fi and special effects. Even if the films from this period might not be considered as vintage Woody Allen, I have fond memories of watching Alice, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Bullets over Broadway at the cinema, as well as catching up on his classics especially Annie Hall.

Alice with Mia Farrow

Yet it all went downhill after that, and even after his return to form of sort, starting off his European period with Match Point (which I loved, yet also felt it could have been directed by any other competent director!), I have not been convinced by his following efforts: Cassandra's dream was just unwatchable. And even Vicky, Cristina Barcelona did not convince me at all, riddled with the trademark "American on holiday in Europe" stereotypes, with volcanic and passionate Spaniards and carefree artists.

Midnight in Paris

The trailer for Midnight in Paris has just been released and I am a little concerned it is going to be filled with those same stereotypes about Europe, and France in particular. The story, for what I can make out in the trailer, is a sort of grown up Alice in Wonderland meets After hours. Owen Wilson plays an American writer in Paris with a writer block, transported to some kind of magical  world based on a postcard image of France, filled with tempestuous artists, red wine and muses (strangely enough, endemic unemployment, public sector strikes and a rising far right do not feature in his fantasy).

Marion Cotillard's French cancan lacked enthusiasm

Michael Sheen, as a pompous intellectual, looks particularly grating, and I find it slightly disturbing that, in the trailer at least, Carla Bruni has more screen time than Marion Cotillard! Great to see Allison Pill, totally unrecognisable after her hilarious turn in Scott Pilgrim (she was Scott's bandmate)

The medias at the Cannes Film Festival love nothing better than ripping the opening film to shreds, I have a feeling the sacrificial knives are being sharpened for Woody Allen's latest effort! Midnight in Paris will open the Cannes Film Festival on the 11th of May.

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