Cannes Day 10: Netflix Spends Big on Jacques Audiard’s ‘Emilia Pérez’

Also: Kelly Rowland explains her red carpet drama and more reviews

Emilia Perez

Cannes is still chugging along, and we’ve got the latest acquisitions, controversies and reviews.

Netflix Goes Hard

Netflix made waves when it was revealed that the streaming giant is in talks to buy one of the buzziest titles of the festival: Jacques Audiard’s “Emilia Pérez,” the musical crime thriller about a Mexican cartel leader undergoing gender-affirming surgery. The movie stars Karla Sofía Gascón, Selena Gomez, Zoe Saldaña and Édgar Ramírez and received a lengthy standing ovation, as well as loads of critical praise.

Our own review (by Ben Croll) called it a “home run.” Continuing the baseball metaphor, the review states: “The themes are broad and brassy as the film that explores them, and all the better still. It was about time for someone to take such a big swing, and to hit the ball so far out the park.”

“Emilia Pérez,” it should be noted, is one of the few films coming out of the festival that seems to have a legitimate shot at winning the Palme d’Or, given the somewhat muted response to most of the movies that have played at the festival so far. Audiard is no stranger to accolades at Cannes; his 2010 feature “A Prophet” won the Grand Prix and his 2015 feature “Dheepan” won the Palme d’Or. (“Rust and Bone” competed for the Palme d’Or in 2012. It is excellent.)

Could Netflix have the buzziest movie of the festival and the big winner? We’ll know soon enough.

Speaking of Netflix, they also announced that they acquired “Monsanto” in a deal worth $30 million and encompassing worldwide rights. The movie is cowritten and directed by John Lee Hancock, who made “The Blind Side” and more recently “The Little Things” and “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” with Glen Powell playing a young attorney making a case against the titular U.S. chemical company Monsanto. Anthony Mackie plays a high school groundskeeper who used the herbicide Roundup as part of his job. Laura Dern plays Monsanto’s chief toxicologist, who testified that using Roundup is safe. Spoiler alert: it was not safe.

The film’s script was developed in association with Karl Spoerri’s Zurich Avenue and written by Michael Wisner, Alexandra Duparc, Ned Benson and Hancock. “Monsanto” is being produced by Moritz Borman, Eric Kopeloff, Philip Schulz-Deyle and Jon Levin alongside HyperObject Industries’ Adam McKay and Kevin Messick.

Clearly, Netflix isn’t just thinking about this year’s awards race — they’re well into the future.

Kelly Rowland Talks Red Carpet Scuffle

On Tuesday, Kelly Rowland was seen having an odd encounter with a security guard while attending the premiere of the film “Marcello Mio.” The security guard kept touching her arm and trying to move her into the theater, but Rowland, an actress and former member of R&B group Destiny’s Child, didn’t budge. The encounter also included Rowland talking heatedly to another security guard — the security guard that was hassling her also stepped on her gown. It was a lot.

Rowland talked about the incident with the Associated Press, telling the outlet, “The woman knows what happened, I know what happened, and I have a boundary. I stand by those boundaries, and that is it.”

Rowland continued: “There were other women that attended that carpet who did not quite look like me,” she said. “They didn’t get scolded or pushed off or told to get off. And I stood my ground and she felt like she needed to stand hers.”

There you have it. Cannes is dependable for a few things: great movies, great parties and people making red carpets awkward for no good reason. This security guard certainly filled that role this year.


How about some reviews?

We’ve got writer Chase Hutchinson reviewing “Beating Hearts,” which seemingly nobody enjoyed, despite it starring Cannes regular (and one of the world’s most exciting actresses) Adèle Exarchopoulos. Hutchinson wrote, “The film takes a nosedive just as the characters’ lives start to fall apart. It is never able to recover. No matter how much it cranks up the music or tries to recall the way with which this all began, it settles for being more of a standard, though painfully overstretched at nearly three hours, melodrama.” Yikes!

Hutchinson also reviewed Sandhya Suri’s debut feature “Santosh,” which he said “subverts the standard police procedural.” Well, that’s good.

We also have Ben Croll reviewing “All We Imagine as Light,” which he loved. “The heat, hustle, glory and grind of modern-day Mumbai give way to something all the more mysterious and ever so beguiling in Payal Kapadia’s ‘All We Imagine as Light,’ an expansive and intimate feature that has itself shined some late-breaking glory on this year’s Cannes Film Festival,” Croll wrote, breathlessly.

And Hutchinson also reviewed “Motel Destino,” from filmmaker Karim Aïnouz. Hutchinson wrote: “While it never lacks for colorful visuals and steamy sequences, the most memorable part of the ‘Motel Destino’ is how stripped of life it feels. For all that happens in it, from the looming sinister specter of murder to the many sexual escapades, it never rises above a dull background roar. There is much that is vibrant to look at, but even that grows tired with nothing else to lean on.”


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