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Cannes Report, Day 3: Colin Farrell Comeback Tour Serves Up 'Lobster,' Buzzy 'Son of Saul' Gets Raves

Unconventional Holocaust flick emerges as Palme d'Or contender, "True Detective" star gets props for shedding glamour

Three days in and the Cannes Film Festival has hit its stride in producing notable performances and singular movie experiences -- with some easy glamour to take off the edge.

Laszlo Nemes' hugely admired, atypical Holocaust drama "Son of Saul" has emerged as a critical darling and central topic of cocktail party chatter.

"'Son of Saul' does something remarkable: It finds an original way to look at the Holocaust cinematically, bringing a startling energy and a fresh look to a subject already explored countless times onscreen," said TheWrap's Steve Pond.

"Son of Saul is a hell ready for the Palme d'Or," tweeted Greek film publication Flix.

"Both terrifying to watch and too gripping in its moment-to-moment to look away. Nemes' ability to inject the material of a concentration camp survival story -- which, sadly, now carries the baggage of countless sentimental clichés -- with bracing cinematic energy," said IndieWire.

While it's uncommon for a first-time feature filmmaker to go the distance at Cannes, Nemes' offering is undeniable for audiences -- and if he's lucky, judges, too.

Consider Colin Farrell

While it's cliche at this point to deem any actor's return to form a renaissance (thank Matthew McConaughey and the "McConaissance"), Colin Farrell is enjoying something of a resurgence in quality, frequency and different kinds of appeal.

The star of HBO's anticipated second season of "True Detective" hit the Croisette with "The Lobster," a surreal little drama costarring John C. Reilly and Rachel Weisz about a world where being single is illegal and comes with an unusual punishment -- being transformed into the animal of your choice.

LA Times writer Steve Zeitchik called it "awesome."

TheWrap's Sasha Stone, however,  likened the experience to "being boiled alive."

Woody Allen's New Amazon Series Could Be a Disaster, Says Woody Allen

Self-deprecation has been Woody Allen's stock-in-trade forever, and the director didn't disappoint at a press conference Friday for his Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone-starrer "Irrational Man."

"Life has no meaning," "we're all going to die," and if he could reshoot every one of his movies, he would, were just a few of the gems that issued from the director. And while reception is lukewarm over his annual movie effort, Allen took a moment to discuss the six-hour series he's making for Amazon.

"It was a catastrophic mistake for me," the 79-year-old director said to laughter in the Cannes press room. "I'm doing my best with it, but I should never have gotten into it."

Cannes Queen Natalie Portman

With no fewer than four films on her slate, Portman brought her directorial debut "A Tale of Love and Darkness" to premiere at Cannes. Reviews aren't the most flattering for the first-timer, many of which hang the film's weaknesses on Portman casting herself as star.

"It feels like a vanity piece, showcasing the actress as a self-martyring Jewish mother, raising her supremely-cultured, refugee family on the cusp of Israel becoming a state in 1947," wrote TheWrap's Steve Pond.

"Sadly, an indulgent director debut," tweeted Nick Jones of the British Film Institute's Sound & Sight magazine.

One Israeli journalist, however, Chemi Shalev of Harretz, said Portman's work was "a love letter to Israel."

Notable Deals

"Veep" boss Armando Iannucci has his first gig out of office -- HBO's comedy offices at least. Paris-based Quad Films will produce "The Death of Stalin," a satire adapted from a graphic novel that Iannucci will write and direct, TheWrap has learned. Shooting will begin early 2016.

FilmBuff and Vice Media will team on the release of "Prince," from Dutch music video helmer Sam de Jong. Following young Ayoub and his affection for local beauty Laura, the 17-year-old turns to an unhinged neighborhood kingpin to help him reinvent himself -- and get the girl. A finalist at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival, "Prince" hits VOD platforms in North America on Aug. 14.