Two weeks ago, we learned that the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men, James Grey’s We Own the Night and David Fincher’s Zodiac will be vying for Cannes glory this May; today, the list of probable competition entries expanded a bit, as Wong Kar-Wai’s My Blueberry Nights has emerged as the opening night favorite, while William Friedkin’s controversial, widely loathed Cruising will apparently be offered up for critical reevaluation as part of Directors Fortnight. Meanwhile, Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean Thirteen will receive an out-of-competition bow. You may start placing your bets now as to whether the extravagant after-party on the Riviera will outdo the film for substance.
After the 2046 debacle of a few years ago (the film arrived late and unfinished), Cannes president Gilles Jacob must be convinced that Kar-Wai is finished with My Blueberry Nights (which is also the director’s first English-language picture); otherwise, he risks having nothing to show when the fest opens on May 16th. The U.S.-set road movie stars pop chanteuse Norah Jones in her acting debut (always a tricky proposition), but she’ll receive considerable thespian suppport from Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Tim Roth, Ed Harris and David Strathairn. Of course, that cuts both ways; either she’ll be propped up or completely embarrassed.
Speaking of embarrassed, did I miss some en masse about-face on Friedkin’s Cruising, because, the last time I watched it, I laughed until I bled out the anus. The reviled 1980 movie, starring Al Pacino as a cop who goes deep undercover in the New York City gay scene to catch a serial killer, might’ve been something had Brian De Palma secured the rights (he made the brilliant Dressed to Kill instead); as it is, I just can’t imagine taking this aggressively unpleasant exploration of sadomasochism any more seriously than I did 1990’s The Guardian (all this despite my irrational fear of gay trees).
Oh, and Ocean’s Thirteen is screening. Photo opportunities will abound, celebrities will canoodle, and maybe someone will remain sober enough to remember the movie.
I’ll check back in on Thursday with a rundown of the final Cannes slate. I’m hearing that Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park is as good as in. As for Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood… I’m expecting that to be held for the fall festivals.