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Cannes Report, Day 8: Michael Caine, Jane Fonda’s ‘Youth’ Sees Strong Mixed Reaction, Alchemy Stocks Up on Dramedies

Paolo Sorrentino film about a retired conductor and composer on vacation receives equal cheers and jeers at press screening

The Cannes Film Festival has hit its home stretch, offering up some legendary Hollywood talent for weary media and executives on Day 8 in the South of France.

Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth” held its press conference and screening, calling up crowd-pleasers like a radiant Jane Fonda, Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel.  “Youth” tells of two fading artists, a composer and conductor, living it up at a Swiss resort and reflecting on their families, careers and limited trajectories.

Reports said the screening was the most polarizing experience at Cannes thus far, eliciting both applause and boos from press. It’s also the first film generating Oscar buzz on social media and from award prognosticators.

“Both Caine and Keitel give career-best performances. One or the other is headed for the Best Actor race,” wrote Sasha Stone at AwardsDaily.

“Jane Fonda has a powerhouse few minutes on screen that could earn her an Oscar nomination as well, but with Fox Searchlight in the driver’s seat expect this film – catnip for Academy voters – to be represented in all of the major categories and perhaps become a frontrunner to win.”

“Youth a total winner — funny, philosophical and moving, with some terrific shotmaking to boot #cannes,” tweeted Steve Zeitchik of the LA Times.

Here’s some other Day 8 action at Cannes Film Festival:

A Monster of a Lawsuit
Toho, the Japanese production company that created “Godzilla,” has filed a lawsuit against Voltage Pictures that alleges the company used copyrighted images of the movie monster to sell their new film, “Colossal,” starring Anne Hathaway — which is currently shopping international rights in Cannes.

The lawsuit was filed in California federal court Tuesday and states “Toho Co. Ltd. … brings this lawsuit because defendants are brazenly producing, advertising, and selling an unauthorized Godzilla film of their own.” Toho is suing Voltage for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, violating the Lanham Act, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

The suit also states that notes from “Colossal” director Nacho Vigalondo included in emails featured trademarked Godzilla images. The documents go on to cite a 2014 interview in which Vigalondo said, “[‘Colossal’] is going to be the cheapest Godzilla movie ever, I promise.

Cannes Notable Deals
Roadside Attractions has acquired the U.S. rights to Paul Dalio’s debut feature “Touched With Fire,” starring Katie Holmes, Griffin Dunne, Christine Lahti and Bruce Altman. Formerly titled “Mania Days,” the film tells of two bipolar poets whose art is fueled by their emotional extremes, having to choose between sanity and love. Spike Lee, a professor of Dalio’s at NYU Film School, served as executive producer, with Jeremy Alter and Kristina Nikolova Dalio (who also served as the film’s co-cinematographer).

Alchemy acquired all U.S. distribution rights to  Italian director Nanni Moretti’s “Mia Madre,” starring John Turturro, Margherita Buy, Giulia Lazzarini and Beatrice Mancini. Moretti also stars and co-wrote the screenplay for the film, which debuted at Cannes and is billed as semi-autobiographical. Interesting, as the synopsis describes a director shooting an Italian film with a famous American actor (Turturro) who is “a disruptive blowhard and buffoon.”

“Madre” was produced through his single Sacher Film banner along with Domenico Procacci of Fandango and Rai Cinema. Jeff Deutchman, Alchemy’s Vice President of Acquisitions, negotiated the deal Nicolas Brigaud-Robert from Films Distribution on behalf of the filmmakers.

“The Lobster,” a bizarre tale of romance and animal metamorphosis starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, is close to landing U.S. distribution from Alchemy, an individual close to the negotiations told TheWrap.

Premiering earlier this week at the Cannes Film Festival, the film is the first English-language effort from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose 2009 film “Dogtooth” was an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.

See exclusive stories and pictorials from TheWrap Magazine: Cannes Edition:

Isabelle Huppert (Sandro Baebler)

Sandro Baebler