Friday, 21 May 2010•
Saw Lee Chang-dong in the street today and said hi. Love that guy and his films! Also saw Apichatpong Weerasethakul at the grande hotel but couldn’t whip out my berry quick enough to get a photo. Tropical Malady and Sydromes and a Century I love. Aiming to see his comp film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives tomorrow. So looking forward to it.
There was a protest this afternoon by French veterans from the Algerian war of the 50’s due to their portrayal in the comp film Outside The Law by Rachid Bouchareb. They protested outside the town hall in their uniforms replete with medals. This is Bouchareb’s second comp appearance.
Interviewed Haider Rashid for his film Tangled Up in Blue for our website. Very smart young talent. His next film he plans to shoot in Iraq. Saw his father also late afternoon Erfan Rashid who is director of the Arabic programme for the Dubai International Film Festival. They introduced me to Palestinian filmmaker Kamal Aljafari who gave me a screener of his film Port of Memory. He is currently in the Radcliffe fellowship program at Harvard University. His 2005 film Paradise Now recently screened as part of APT6 at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art in the ‘Eating My Heart’ program which featured artists and filmmakers from Lebanon, Israel and Palestine dealing with themes of faith, nationalism and memory.
A photographic installation he is currently working on is very interesting. He has approximately 20,000 stills which he has photographed of Palestinians in the background mise en scene of films onlooking as scenes were shot. He has looked at films from the 1960’s forward in the area of Jaffa which is now Israeli Tel Aviv. He showed me beautiful and haunting images of people inadvertently far in the background of films shot in Jaffa such as Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris films. Some films were musicals using the battered rubble of a war torn area as locations. Absurd. The collection shows a changing city. He showed me many images some depicting shop stoops were he remembers sitting with his grandfather. Beautiful stuff. Amazingly, there is a picture of his uncle walking along a street which he only discovered because of this project whilst viewing a particular film and low and behold he found his uncle in it. Memories of childhood, a lost land and a city landscape drastically changed from year to year, decade to decade is chronicled in this time consuming and interesting project.
Met with Philippine consultant Evelyn Vargas-Knaebel and we discussed the state of film production. Public monies this year have gone to one major commercial production leaving nothing in the kit for any independent productions. I have heard the same story in Thailand.
It is still Mike Leigh’s Another Year or Xavier Beauvois’s Of Gods and Men leading the way in terms of critical opinion in main competition but as is often the case the Jury may think differently.
Cannes juror French composer Alexandre Desplat is loving watching films all day: “A good movie is like a good book or painting. It changes your attitude to the world” he said. Fellow juror and former director of the Venice Film Festival Alberto Barbera is aware of the duty on their shoulders: “We know it is a great responsibility. And it can also be a great disappointment for the filmmakers so it’s tough. There’s a big expectation for everyone involved.”
Went to a private function held by Screen Australia for closing night film, The Tree. French director Julie Bertucelli and lead actress Charlotte Gainsbourg were in attendance. A nice crowd of French and Australians attached to the project or simply showing support gathered on the balcony. Tracey Mair is working very hard on this film. Discussed Turkish cinema with Olivier, the French sound mixer for the film.
A nice leveller to the excitement was the three beautiful children including The Tree stars, Morgana Davies and Gabriel Gotting, enjoying the party and exclaiming “Charlottes here Charlottes here!” when Charlotte Gainsbourg arrived. Two days to go till the closing night screening. I have a ticket and will don a frock.
Evelyn Vargas-Knaebel (Philippines); The kids from ‘The Tree‘ at the Screen Australia function;
Olivier (sound mixer for The Tree) at Screen Australia function