Day 10: Steven Spielberg shows "Jaws" and says sharks have been very good for him, but audiences get unruly, and Pete Doherty talks frankly about making a movie on heroin
As Frank Sinatra once said, the days dwindle down to a precious few. (Okay, Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson wrote it, but Sinatra sang it best.) With two full days left until the Palme d'Or is awarded and the 65th Cannes Film Festival comes to a close, many festivalgoers have headed home, and the ones who are left are singing their own versions of "September Song," adapted to late May.
By most reports, the thinning crowds haven't done much to ease the long lines for press screenings. "Who knew this many people were interested?" tweeted Guy Lodge, upon encountering a surprisingly fearsome queue for Sergei Loznitsa's "In the Fog." (He got in, but didn't much like the movie.)
But audiences, reports Manohla Dargis, are getting feistier. "The critics are angry," she says at the beginning of a piece on how the audiences at press screenings have begun to "boo and jeer louder and more insistently, or so it seems."
Among the films she singles out as being booed by the crowds are "Holy Motors," which she liked, and "The Paperboy," which she treats kindly with phrases like "luridly pulp, incessantly watchable."
To be sure, those two bracing, divisive, eminently debatable movies have enlivened conversations on the Croisette. "As Cannes progresses," summed up the Guardian's live blog, "so the films get gradually weirder." And that can only be good, after a few days in which the main topic of conversation appeared to be the rain.
Speaking of water, Steven Spielberg came to Cannes for a "Cannes Classics" screening of his 1975 blockbuster "Jaws." It's been 35 years since he's introduced the film, he said – "a lot of water under the bridge, a lot of blood in the water, but a lot of careers changed for the better, a lot of people being perhaps affected for the worst about the water."
He also added, "I want to clarify … that I have never had any animosity toward sharks. I love sharks, they've been very, very good to me."
Much-honored documentary filmmaker Ken Burns also came to town to introduce a film, "The Central Park Five," about the five African-American teens who were convicted of assaulting a jogger in New York in 1989 and spent years in prison before DNA evidence exonerated them.
The film is destined for PBS, but he pursued the booking because, he told Dave McNary, "there's no rush" to put it on TV, and he was excited to have the Cannes experience. "Cannes is the Grand Canyon of cinema in that there are so many layers here."
Geoffrey Macnab, meanwhile, has done what might be the frankest interview of the festival. He spoke to British pop star-turned-actor Pete Doherty (right), who received viciously negative reviews for the Un Certain Regard drama "Confession of a Child of the Century."
In the interview, Doherty says he was worried about the film being "a bit of a joke"; that it was difficult to make a movie while addicted to heroin, but he was working too hard to go to rehab before the shoot started; that he didn’t really get along with co-star Charlotte Gainsbourg; and that Gainsbourg herself wasn't having much fun, which Macnab says Doherty knows "because he snuck into her room and looked at her journal."
Finally, a much-hyped collection of clips from upcoming films was shown at the Salle du Soixentieme on Thursday night, but they appear to have disappointed many of those in attendance. "The #Cannes secret screening was tres disappointing," tweeted Australian reporter Alicia Malone. "A collection of trailers & footage, most already out (Frankenweenie? Chimpanzee?)"
Most agreed with Jeff Wells, who termed the footage "mostly a wash" but did like a fight scene set in a Thai brothel from Nicolas Winding Refn's "Only God Forgives," and a bit of Wong Kar Wai's "The Grandmasters."