Reports earlier Tuesday out of the Cannes Film Festival said the boos outweighed the applause at press screenings for Ryan Gosling‘s writer-director-producing debut, “Lost River.”
But that most certainly not the case on Tuesday night. The festival audience liked it and loved Ryan.
Sure, there was a noticeable scattering of people who started peeling off for the doors during the final extended visual sequence of the film, before the credits rolled. But the room was full for a five minute standing ovation, even after the credits rolled.
A few people yelled at the shutterbugs to “sit down,” as a brief coda appeared after the credits.
“It’s a huge honor to be invited here,” Gosling said on stage. “It’s an incredible opportunity to show a film in a theater like this.”
“Lost River” screened in the “Un Certain Regard” section of Cannes on Tuesday night.
That means that it screens in a smaller theater around the side of the building from the Palais, and that there is no assigned seating. People were running to secure seats, but most likely to be near Gosling’s center row.
The film’s stars Christina Hendricks, Iain De Caestecker (who evokes fellow Detroit’er in hard times Eminem in “8 Mile”, and also a young Gosling), villain Matt Smith, and Reda Kateb were all attendance to support their fearless director.
Sorry relationship watchers: Gosling ex Eva Mendes, who is also in the movie, was not at the premiere.
“I’m so grateful to my cast for coming and everyone who worked on the film for making time to be here,” Gosling said.
“Thank you so much to the festival and Thierry (Fremaux, the festival programming director). Thank you for coming, enjoy the film.” That was how Gosling filled 32 seconds of time, before the yellow screen slating his film turned to the familiar graphic open for Cannes, red stairs rising out of the Mediterranean Sea in to the sky.
“Look up here,” festival programming director Thierry Fremaux (above) had urged the crowd when he took the stage to begin the night. With Gosling lurking in the back of the theater for a walk down the aisle to his seat, all Thierry Fremaux got was the back of heads.
Considering the reaction that the film has gotten so far, it is notable that the first two people thanked in the credits are Guillermo del Toro and Nicolas Winding Refn, who directed Gosling in both “Only God Forgives” and “Drive.”
Refn, who was in the house Tuesday night, was called out by Fremaux.
Others at the screening included producers Gary Michael Walters (who threw a party celebrating the film at Bootsy Bellows’ pop up a few nights earlier), producer Marc Platt, and Fox Film chief Jim Gianopulos.
Like many of the film critics coming out of press screenings earlier in the day (and I am not one), I am not entirely sure what the movie was about.
It has the “Detroit is dead” pictorial as a canvas, spikes of ’80s glitz, like a few scenes in the lavender haze of “Purple Rain” and the pink neon of “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.”
I can say that visually, it’s a mountain range of peaks with few valleys. It is a two hour hike, peak after peak, of that one over-the-top weird scene with eyegasm visuals from contemporary cool noir movies, strung together with few rest stops. If Gosling was a DJ, it would be “the drop” over and over and over.
That, and the music is awesome.
Add to the soundtrack what will be a kaleidoscope of “WTF?” visuals (warning: minor “trailer-level” spoiler alerts – houses on fire, submerged cities, creepy old wedding films, dinosaurs, cute kids hiding in tall grass, rats, and Christina Hendricks razor blading her face into a spiderweb of blood) and be assured the trailers will be awesome.
The teaser that debuted on Monday is not the super-cut I expect to be marketed.
That handsome head has some deep, dark, gears spinning inside.
TheWrap’s Party Report from Cannes is appropriately presented by a festive partner, Stella Artois, the official beer of the Cannes Film Festival for 13 years.