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Five things we’ve learned (so far) at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival

Posted at 2:15 pm, May 19, 2014 in Arts & Entertainment, Top 5
Channing Tatum

The Cannes Film Festival starts its second week today, with many of the big films still to come (including Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut – scream!). Here’s what we’ve discovered so far, from five days of sitting in dark rooms in the South of France.

1. Steve Carell will probably be nominated for an Oscar in 2015
Steve Carell already played a sort-of serious role in last year’s ‘The Way Way Back’. But now the ‘40-Year-Old Virgin’ star turns full-on creepy serious in ‘Foxcatcher. He plays the real-life lonely American millionaire John DuPont, who fatefully muscled into the lives of Olympic-medal-winning wrestling brothers Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schulz (Mark Ruffalo) in the late 1980s. Already pundits are saying that Carell is a dead cert for an Oscar nomination next year.

Saint Laurent poster (Bertrand Bonello, Léa Seydoux, Gaspard Ulliel)

2. Yves Saint Laurent accidentally bumped off his dog
One of the most troubling scenes in French director Bertrand Bonello’s ‘Saint Laurent’, a biopic of Yves Saint Laurent, comes when the French fashion designer is struggling with drink and drugs in the mid-1970s. While Saint Laurent (Gaspard Ulliel) and his lover (Louis Garrel) get as high as kites on the sofa, his bulldog Moujik (the first of several mutts to carry the same name) tongues up a load of pills on the floor. Minutes later, he’s lying on his back and convulsing, his four paws up in the air.

The Wonders (2014 film)

3. Bee-keeping is very stressful
The Italian film ‘The Wonders‘ is one of the more lo-fi and unassuming films competing for the top prize, the Palme d’Or. It’s directed by the young Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher and tells of a hippy family living in a rundown farmhouse and making honey. The dad is constantly angry and worrying, roping in his four young daughters (the eldest is 12) to help him. One of the film’s most tense, funny scenes comes when the girls forget to put a bucket under a tap dripping honey. Who knew bee-keeping could be so dramatic? 

4. Hollywood might be even more vicious than we thought
David Cronenberg, director of ‘Crash’ and ‘A History of Violence’, is no stranger to weirding out audiences. With his new film ‘Maps to the Stars‘, he gives us a grotesque parade of characters in Los Angeles, all of them linked to the entertainment industry. There’s the collagen-lipped actress (Julianne Moore) who’s lonely and desperate. There’s the self-help guru (John Cusack) with a sick family past. There’s the mysterious girl (Mia Wasikowska) with burn scars on her face. Most horrifying of all is 13-year-old child star Benjie (Evan Bird), a complete and utter monster who makes Justin Bieber look like someone you’d like to spend time with. 

5. Thrillers about paedophiles can be very silly
There’s always one film competing for the Palme d’Or at Cannes that leaves you scratching your head, wondering why on earth it’s showing in the first place. This year it’s Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan’s ‘The Captive’, a ludicrous thriller about a father (Ryan Reynolds) whose daughter is kidnapped from the back of his car while he runs into a diner. It starts well but then turns more and more ludicrous as time goes on. The villain of the piece, with his pencil moustache and fondness for opera, looks like he’s just stepped out of a pantomime.

Read more about the Cannes Film Festival 2014.

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