DAY 4 – the watchwords: actions have consequences – Babel, Death of a President, The Last Kiss
A Good Year
A few vintages ago in a land far away known as France.
Does the day start any better than the new Ridley Scott comedy with Russell Crowe as a top of the line capital trader? “Good morning labrats”, and Albert Finney as his uncle living the good life on an estate in the vineyards of Provence. The very blonde Abbie Cornish, Albert Finney's unknown American daughter? Clue in Matchstick Men. It’s a good day for A Good Year, a good film.
Babel is like the great white elephant of this year's festival, impossible to ignore and luring everyone to it after its splash debut at Cannes. Babel is the worthy successor by Alejandro González Iñárritu to 21 Grams. Babel rings more of a plea for compassion everywhere, act local think global, a seeking for communication between cultures everywhere. The world is a fractured place, but compassion and healing can take place at the smallest levels to overcome prejudice and misunderstanding. Babel is emotionally wrought, displayed through four seemingly diverse storylines with deeply personal performances from the stellar world cast from Brad Pitt to Cate Blanchett to Gael Garcia Bernal, and the other side of the planet, from locals in the Moroccan desert to the bustle of Tokyo - trying to break down communication barriers at all levels - how one mistimed gunshot gets blown up to a terrorist incident - to a teenage girl who is deaf falling out with her father. And watch out there's another Fanning sister - Ellie Fanning, Dakota's sister.
Paris Je T‘aime
Bonjour tristesse. A compendium of films by 21 directors of renown, not just French, but including Alexander Payne [who was at the screening], in a series of vignettes set in the neighbourhoods around Paris – the city of love. Directors matched with top notch actors, some of the most notable being Natalie Portman in Tom Tykwer’s piece that is clearly evocative of Lola Rennt, Maggie Gylenhaal in a piece by Oliver Assayas, Elijah Wood in a sin city style vampire piece by Vittorio Natali. However, the most delight came from the Gena Rowlands written piece that paired her again with Ben Gazzara and a little cameo by Gerard Depardieu.
The spirit of Paris Je T’Aime is summed up in the American speaking mailperson in bad French while narrating her time in Paris she says at the end of her tale: “I was feeling both happy and sad, and in that moment I fell in love with Paris.”
The Last Kiss
The Last Kiss is a worthy successor to Garden State for Zach Braff having an about to turn 30 personal crisis –he has achieved his goals, a successful job as an architect, scoring with a perfect beautiful girlfriend, “she is a god” Jacinda Barrett who has become pregnant by him, an achievement celebrated by her parents: the aces in the hole Tom Wilkinson and Blythe Danner as Barrett’s parents who are undergoing through their own crisis His relationship with Barrett is held as the highest ideal as the relationships of the friends around Braff and Barrett are falling apart. But Braff is paranoid, he feels his life is over, he has the perfect girlfriend with no imminent plans for marriage [at his insistence, the job, he is about to become a father, she is hinting at getting a house of their own, his life has no surprises left. Then at a friend’s wedding along comes the young brunette in the guise of Rachel Bilson – the O.C. girl Summer – She is scrumptious and hot as she has her eye on him. They get along easily, they talk [but being the guy he is does not tell her the girlfriend he has is pregnant], she gives him a small kiss. She tells him “she could be his last chance for happiness.” Once again, Braff's actions have consequences.
The Last Kiss is clearly NOT a sequel to Garden State but the characters are back in fine form.
Death of a President
“Chicago hates Bush! Chicago hates Bush!”
At the world premiere at Paramount 4 – 100 people were turned away at the rush line. The idea behind Death of a President is the use of a real president provides the impetus and “verisimilitude” to this documentary of the assassination of George Walker Bush in the near future on October 19, 2007 is a platform to comment and condemn Bush Patriot Act policies since 9/11, including the use monitoring and racial profiling in the “rush to judgement.” The film uses the documentary style of insiders giving their viewpoint in one on one camera sessions while the events of the day are depicted. Protesters are out in full force as the President lands in Chicago to deliver a speech at the Chicago Economic Club. The film provides an utterly realistic look at the events of the day. The protesters have become more dangerous and headstrong and the security around the President is clearly slipping. After the assassination, suspects by the hundreds are rounded up. But the focus lands on one individual who is actually innocent. However, since the assassin fit the profile of being Islamic, therefore he became the lead and only suspect despite the contrary evidence that has been provided by the son of the real culprit.
Once again, the final question is "Why did you use the gun? Do you not know that actions have consequences?'
The dramatic question and answer with the director afterwards had a very decided angry tones to it at times when someone asked the director: “Why did you use Syria?” In one incident, security people with their infrared goggles landed upon an individual who was recording just the Q&A.