The Cannes Film Festival is once again showcasing its usual fare of upbeat, crowd-pleasing entertainment. I’ve not entirely been paying attention, but here’s what’s playing so far as I can tell:
Despair and Isolation—Several orphans struggle to comprehend the human condition in a cruel world where the only constants are heartbreak and suffering. Running time: six hours.
Isolation, Despair and also Anguish—Several thinner orphans struggle to comprehend the human condition while wheezing in a crueller world where the only constants are heartbreak, suffering and their leprosy (the skin kind and the social kind). Running time: six hours.
Despair, Anguish, Further Anguish and a Shaky Hand-held Camera—Several orphans struggle to comprehend the human condition, but without going outside, because the film’s budget is only $19. Running time: 33 hours (couldn’t afford fancy “editing” machine).
Out of Focus—The title refers to the disenchantment of today’s youth with the crass, materialistic pursuits of their parents. It also references the fact that the film is out of focus. Running time: four days and still going strong…
Hard to Follow—A soft breeze rustles the leaves of a tree. Then there’s a lady on a horse. A child rides his bicycle through a thick forest for some reason. Wait—what? Is that a hamster running on a wheel now? Come on.
C’est La Vie—François, an impoverished, mute widower, takes care of his deaf daughter Isabelle. Theirs is a monotonous life. But then one day it turns to tragedy!
Closed-Circuit—This compelling epic consists in its entirety of a single close-up of a human eyeball. The bold work of art suggests a commentary on the dehumanizing role of surveillance in our modern society—or possibly that the cinematographer held the camera backwards the whole time.
The Triumph of Love—Turns out the title is pretty misleading. This “Love” guy is a serial killer who targets orphans whose parents were murdered by other serial killers who themselves were orphans.
Daniel—Daniel had a good life, but then his parents were killed in a tragic Segway accident and now he’s suddenly alone and vulnerable. He slips into a life of drink, gambling, crime. Can he make a choice for a better future? Probably not.
Cobwebs Upon My Loins—A middle-aged French woman embarks on a journey of sexual awakening but then turns around and goes home to her sexless marriage when she sees how many other middle-aged French women are waiting in line outside the sexual awakening place.
Change for a Dollar?—Sometimes good intentions have horrible, horrible consequences. This is probably going to be one of those times.
Farewell My Chinos—A precocious tomboy rebels against society’s dated strictures regarding the public soiling of one’s trousers. Already the European critics are hailing this five-hour film as “just the right amount of tedious.”
The Clarks—A father and son are very different. Then, after about three hours, it turns out that in many ways they are actually quite alike. Weird, right?
The Unclasped—The third instalment in a famed director’s fifth trilogy, dedicated to probing the deeper themes of human subjugation, racial prejudice and female shirtlessness.
Gloaming—The art-house scene is not immune to trends in popular cinema. This epic focuses on three young French vampires who prowl the city by night, stalking innocent victims and subjecting them to their sharp, vicious musings on the modern-day relevance of Sartre.
Gabrielle—Gabrielle is young and chubby. She has no friends. Nothing ever goes right for her—except for her tap dancing. Gabrielle loves tap dancing. Oh, how she feels free and alive when she’s tap dancing! But then her feet fall off.
Midnight in Paris—The darkest and most dramatic Woody Allen film in years, or so they’re saying now that nobody laughed during the first screening.