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05/17/15 10:06am
05/17/2015 10:06 AM |

son of saul

 

The 68th annual Cannes Film Festival began May 13, and runs through May 24. This is Glenn Heath’s first dispatch from the South of France, with more to follow.

Sweat has been a prominent byproduct of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Shiny brows are in full effect, multiple critics are sporting deck shorts, and nobody can seem to find enough water. Hell, the first screening in The Grand Theatre Lumiere was George Miller’s supercharged bat-out-of-hell action film Mad Max: Fury Road, a desert symphony of sand and blood that drew rowdy applause from the normally subdued Cannes audience.

The incessant sunshine, mugginess, and heat have made the already bustling festival scramble a little more slippery. Hay fever sneezes have vastly outnumbered any rowdy boos (Gus Van Sant’s Sea of Trees aside). Leagues of festivalgoers are already sporting farmer’s tans and slight cases of delirium. No bones about it, people are trippin’ (quite literally in the case of this dear writer).

After four days of competition screenings a clear-cut favorite has yet to emerge. But multiple entries have exhibited an intense volatility and visceral rigor that matches the intense and blinding weather outside the balmy theater interiors. Maybe Festival Director Thierry Frémaux can see into the future, taste be damned.

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01/21/15 11:00am
01/21/2015 11:00 AM |

existenz-01

eXistenZ (1999)
Directed by David Cronenberg
Staging an interdisciplinary war between the Realists and the gamers, Cronenberg is at his finest here since Videodrome, coalescing the hypersexual, the grotesque, and the visceral. Jennifer Jason Leigh is Allegra Gellar, a designer-on-the-run, and Jude Law is Ted Pikul, her cagey bodyguard—who just happens to be one of the few people without a MetaFlesh Game Pod, which hooks directly into your nervous system. Ted gives in, plugs in, and is empirically thrust into the game—an amniotic sac pulsating with absurdist hyperreality. Cronenberg’s characters are aware of their own characterhoods; it’s a collaborative reality. The game-urges and the effect of virtual life on our real lives are so cleverly simulated and boundlessly relevant nearly two decades later. Samantha Vacca (Jan 23, 24, midnight at IFC Center’s Cronenberg series)