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Cannes report: Robert Pattinson! A Greek movie!

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Sorry, I didn’t see Pattinson — he’s in another part of town, promoting New Moon, the sequel to Twilight, still in production.

But I did see Dogtooth, a pleasurably surreal all-in-the-family tale from up-and-coming Greek filmmaker (and established TV commercial pro)  Yorgos Lanthimos, about a couple who have raised their son and two daughters in a kind of bubble: The kids, now teenagers, have never set foot outside the grounds of their suburban house, and their homeschooling consists of loopy factoids dispensed by their normal looking, utterly demented parents. (The young people entertain themselves waiting for airplanes to fall out of the sky; zombies, by the way, are defined as “little yellow flowers.”) The movie is a cool, eerie commentary on family dynamics and the dangerous power of adolescent sexual curiosity, and it would be primo material for an American remake. Meanwhile, from now on when I need to salt my food at the table, I’ll say “please pass the telephone.”

Also powerful: The White Ribbon from Michael Haneke, the Austrian-born director who specializes in messing with our heads. (Not content to unhinge us with Funny Games

in 1997, he did a faithful U.S. remake two years ago.) The menace is

much quieter and restrained here, as befits an old-timey-style fable

shot in misty, shadowed black-and-white and set in what the director

describes as “a village in Protestant northern Germany, on the eve of

World War I.” It’s here, in this little town of modest churchgoers and

a well-ordered class system, that “accidents” start to mount up, and

deaths, too. Is the mischief divine, the work of good neighbors, or

even the doing of fresh-faced children? Chilling, and resonant, The White Ribbon is part history lesson and part Village of the Damned.

Did I mention Angelina Jolie?  She’s in Cannes too. Oops, missed

her. But tonight, Bill Clinton is expected at the annual Cinema Against

AIDS gala, which benefits amfAR. Annie Lennox is scheduled to perform.

I’ll be there, reporting on the glourious and the inglourious alike.

Sharon’s Stone’s tribute to Natasha Richardson
Penelope Cruz in Almodovar’s Broken Embraces
Lars von Trier’s Antichrist: “The closest film to a scream”
Roger Ebert, A Prophet, and a trend that ought to end
Taking Woodstock = Peace and Love and Demitri Martin
Bright Star and the Scottish charms of Paul Schneider
At Cannes: Up, Tetro, and lots of balloons

Also powerful: The White Ribbon from Michael Haneke, the Austrian-born director who specializes in messing with our heads. (Not content to unhinge us with Funny Gamesin 1997, he did a faithful U.S. remake two years ago.) The menace ismuch quieter and restrained here, as befits an old-timey-style fableshot in misty, shadowed black-and-white and set in what the directordescribes as “a village in Protestant northern Germany, on the eve ofWorld War I.” It’s here, in this little town of modest churchgoers anda well-ordered class system, that “accidents” start to mount up, anddeaths, too. Is the mischief divine, the work of good neighbors, oreven the doing of fresh-faced children? Chilling, and resonant, The White Ribbon is part history lesson and part Village of the Damned.

Did I mention Angelina Jolie?  She’s in Cannes too. Oops, missedher. But tonight, Bill Clinton is expected at the annual Cinema AgainstAIDS gala, which benefits amfAR. Annie Lennox is scheduled to perform.I’ll be there, reporting on the glourious and the inglourious alike.

Sharon’s Stone’s tribute to Natasha Richardson
Penelope Cruz in Almodovar’s Broken Embraces
Lars von Trier’s Antichrist: “The closest film to a scream”
Roger Ebert, A Prophet, and a trend that ought to end
Taking Woodstock = Peace and Love and Demitri Martin
Bright Star and the Scottish charms of Paul Schneider
At Cannes: Up, Tetro, and lots of balloons

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