Friday, May 21, 2004

The missing Cannes of film

Wong Kar-Wai's delayed science-fiction romance 2046 finally made it to Cannes and apparently gave the audiences there what they were looking for in a film from Asia, AFP reported.

Parts of the film were missing just hours prior to its scheduled screening, but the director, who had missed a flight and caught another one, showed up with the cans in hand. He had apparently been editing up until the last minute. News to me was one story that said Wong was in Bangkok doing the editing at Kantana's film labs. Why Bangkok, I wonder? Maybe he was getting help from editing whizzes the Pang Bros?

The drama continued as the film was projected, according to Hollywood Reporter.

The story picks up where Wong's last feature, In the Mood for Love, left off, according to a Guardian review, with Tony's lovelorn character living in room 2046 of a sleazy motel and writing a novel set in the future.

Apparently Maggie Cheung has been edited out of the film, with Gong Li taking on a bigger role. But Maggie isn't out of the Cannes picture entirely, as she was was applauded for her role in the French film Clean, in which she plays a junkie.

2046 also stars Zhang Ziyi, who also stars in Zhang Yimou's House of the Flying Daggers, which picked up a good review from The Guardian.

Meanwhile, the fallout is continuing over the poor showing of Tropical Malady at a press screening. However, at the main screening of the film, the audience was more receptive, according to The Nation, which has a reporter, Parinyaporn Pajee, covering Cannes.

"The audience gave me a rather good reaction, and it was just a different feeling from the press screening,'' Apichatpong said.

The Nation's article also highlighted some of the positive reviews Tropical Malady has received, particularly from the French media. Cahiers du Cinema labelled Tropical Malady the best movie at the festival. Two French dailies, Le Monde and Liberation, gave special attention to it.

The Guardian called the film "beautiful and strange" and said the film's "final sequence, semi-dark and all but silent, recalls Apocalypse Now, but with a dark and hallucinatory twist." Wow, is it possible to put "a dark and hallucinatory twist" on a film that is already dark and hallucinatory?

In a bizarre aside to the critical ups and downs of Tropical Malady, the film is also in the running for the Palm Dog trophy, in addition to the coveted Palme d'Or, according to AFP. The prize goes to the film with the best dog performance.

In the film, one of the main character's pet dog is found lying sick on a road and a lot of footage is spent giving it scans and examining it at the vet's, though the significance of this to the plot remains unclear, the article says. There are also cats. In the second half of the film, the main character goes hunting for a mysterious tiger. Ghostly cows and a wise monkey figure into the plot somehow as well.

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