Good Morning Cannes, May 12: Bienvenue

Pundits and players arrive on the Croisette and wonder what it all means

In this morning’s inaugural roundup of Cannes news ‘n’ notes from around the web, pundits and players arrive on the Croisette and wonder what it all means.

Eugene Hernandez kicks off indieWIRE’s extensive Cannes coverage with the usual question: “Does Cannes (still) Matter?” His answer is yes – or rather, in best movie-blurb fashion, “YES!” Of course, he pretty much has to say that, considering that his company has shipped a bunch of journalists to France, where they’re also sponsoring the American Pavilion and hosting a series of Q&As. (indieWIRE)

The Daily Beast picks “the 14 hottest films” at the fest. The truly remarkable thing (and the sad thing, in a way) is that 11 of the 14 are in English. It can’t have been easy to come up with that many English-language films among the festival entries, though the out-of-competition major-studio slots (“Robin Hood,” “Wall Street”) certainly made the job a little easier. (The Daily Beast)

Vadim Rizov peruses the complaints about how Cannes is old and out of touch, and rises to its defense. The festival, he says, has been getting better at showcasing relevant films: “[W]ithin the limits of what Cannes was pretty much born to do — show the best films in the world first, which these days means ignoring a lot of mainstream product outright — it's more on point than ever.” He makes his argument by linking to a list of every film shown in competition since 1946, a formidably exhaustive compilation that’ll tell you, for instance, that “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Easy Rider” were Cannes films. (IFC.com)

Scott Roxborough and Stuart Kemp survey the other side of Cannes, the Marche du Film market. The consensus: don’t expect many big deals for competition films; it might be a good year for Asian movies; and buyers are more selective, but sellers think enough deals will be made “to justify the still eyebrow-raising cost of doing business here.”  (The Hollywood Reporter)

Steven Zeitchik wonders which 2010 Cannes movie will prompt that venerable Croisette tradition, the chorus of boos and catcalls that has greeted films like “The Brown Bunny” and “Marie Antoinette.” He focuses his attention on “Robin Hood,” not because the Ridley Scott film is inept but because, he says, it turns the French into the bad guys. He’s right, in a way, although the biggest baddie are probably Oscar Isaac’s (English) King John and Mark Strong’s Godfrey, who seems to be an Englishman with French sympathies. And when the French run amok, they do so at the direction of Godfrey … so maybe that’ll let Scott off the hook. Or maybe not. (24 Frames)

Anne Thompson flew to Cannes on a planeload of industry types, had pizza with a bunch of pals, and discussed the topics du jour: Bob Berney, assorted media moves, Casey Affleck’s Joaquin Phoenix “documentary” (“either a genius send-up or very sad”), etc. No real news yet, just a breezy scene-setter. (Thompson on Hollywood)

Jeff Wells, who was on the same flight and at the same pizza joint as Anne Thompson, says one of the decisions made over dinner was that “Rubber” – Quentin Dupieux’s film about “a killer tire with psychic powers” – is likely worth seeing.  Also, he says he’s going to the “Robin Hood” press conference on Wednesday in order to ask Russell Crowe about perceptions that the film panders to the far-right sentiments of the tea partiers. Now there’s a potential juicy anecdote for tomorrow. (Hollywood Elsewhere)

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw rhapsodizes about “the Cannes film festival in my head,” which is actually just a list of Cannes films he’s loved over the years, but which didn’t receive theatrical releases in the UK. One of his choices is Vincent Gallo’s “The Brown Bunny,” which was booed mercilessly at the festival – and while Bradshaw admits “I joined in the derision,” he’s since decided that “in retrospect, ‘The Brown Bunny’ had a certain something.” Other films that had a certain something (and don’t require apologies) include Gaspar Noe’s “Enter the Void,” Claude Lelouch’s “And Now … Ladies and Gentlemen,” and Abel Ferrara’s “’R Xmas.” (The Guardian)

The Los Angeles-based aid+abet acquires the rights to Elizabeth Bard’s bestselling food & lifestyle memoir “Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes.” The company revealed the acquisition from Cannes – but considering the timing, it’s pretty safe to say that this is a Cannes announcement, not a Cannes deal. (aid+abet)

(Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images)