Thumbnails is a roundup of brief excerpts that usually introduces you to articles from other websites that we found interesting and exciting. In this instance, however, we are doing a roundup of articles from our own writers and contributors spotlighting our coverage of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. To view our complete table of contents, click here. To view the video table of contents, click here.—The Editors
“Parasite“: Barbara Scharres reviews the film directed by Bong Joon-ho that went on to win this year’s Palme d’Or. She also offers her thoughts on Ira Scahs’ “Frankie” and Xavier Dolan’s “Matthias & Maxime.” Related: Ben Kenigsberg reports on the festival’s major prizewinners. See Chaz Ebert’s review of “Parasite” here.
“Family is everything in Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Parasite,’ a satire that pulls a series of sharp comic switcheroos for an unexpectedly poignant social comment. Bong’s ‘Okja’ competed for the Palme for the first time in 2017, and he is well known internationally for thrillers including ‘Snowpiercer’ and ‘The Host.’ The unemployed Kim family of four lives in a basement apartment, where they gleefully poach on a neighbor’s Wifi and make a little cash doing piecework assembling pizza cartons for a chain. A passing nod to the triangular stink bugs that infest their cramped fetid home will take on a meaning that will eventually cast a symbolic shadow in Boon’s larger scheme of things. A posh friend of son Ki-woo, aka Kevin (Choi Woo-shik), shows up mysteriously, gifting him with a big craggy ‘scholar’s stone’ said to bring good fortune, and passing on the connection for a gig to tutor the teen daughter of the wealthy Park family. Sister Ki-jung, aka Jessica (Park So-dam), utilizes her ace Photoshop skills to fake his university diploma. Within minutes, Kevin’s caring line of patter has twitchy and vulnerable Mrs. Park and her cute wide-eyed daughter eating out of his hand.”
“Quentin Tarantino Brings Hollywood to Cannes“: Ben Kenigsberg details the splashy premiere of the “Pulp Fiction” director’s hugely anticipated ninth feature, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” Related: Barbara Scharres offers her thoughts on the film. See Chaz Ebert’s review of the film below.
“According to a press release from Kodak, only 11 features in Cannes and its parallel festivals this year were actually shot on film, including ‘The Lighthouse’ from the other day (and, sadly, the Oliver Laxe film that we all missed). But the Tarantino picture is the only movie I’ve seen here that actually screened on film, as opposed to digital projection. When, last month, it looked as if the movie might not be finished in time for Cannes, the festival’s head programmer, Thierry Frémaux, suggested, according to reports, that Tarantino’s desire to show ‘Once Upon a Time …’ on film meant a slower post-production process. (I wonder if the paucity of screenings this week can be attributed to a limited number of 35-millimeter prints or projectors.) In any case, Tarantino was right: The brilliant colors of Robert Richardson’s cinematography look great on a print. And even more important to this particular movie is the texture of film. ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’ is an ambience-driven movie: Tarantino festishizes old posters, records, cars, and home decor. Characters go to drive-ins and movie theaters and gather around TVs (during an era when shows were shot on celluloid) for communal viewing. Watching this story on a digital medium would feel false; it needs to look lived-in, worn, graspable.”
“Justice Singleton on the Legacy of Her Father, John Singleton“: Bill Stamets provides coverage of an event honoring the late “Boyz in the Hood” director, featuring a conversation between his daughter and Bruno Chatelin, editor and co-founder of Filmfestivals.com. See also: Ben Kenigsberg’s report on an onstage conversation with Sylvester Stallone.
“Singleton introduced herself as a 26-year-old filmmaker, screenwriter, poet and comedian born two years before ‘Boyz’ was released. She shared memories during a 40-minute appearance in the Roger Ebert conference room at the American Pavilion. Her father died April 28. Although one attendee interrupted Chatelin’s insider chronicle– ‘This is about her, not about you’– Singleton said she would like to hear more about her father’s trip to Cannes. Later Chatelin made an aside: ‘I’m doing this for her, you know. I’m not doing it for you, sorry.’ Chatelin’s first move was asking a publicist to suggest a Paris journalist who might get ‘Boyz.’ He broke Cannes protocol per previews and showed a U-matic video cassette of the film to a journalist from Liberation. ‘Oh my God– Orson Welles!’ the critic supposedly exclaimed afterwards. Thus began the buzz among his cinema colleagues. Singleton said that after watching ‘Colors’ (1988) her father had said: ‘I can make a movie about south L.A. better than Dennis Hopper can make a film about south L.A.’ After his nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, the writer-director would later tell his daughter maybe ‘I went too hard’ and that as a black filmmaker he might not get ‘another shot.’”
“Honoring Alain Delon in Cannes Was The Right Thing To Do, Here’s Why“: Lisa Nesselson makes her case for why the controversial French actor deserved to receive a prize at this year’s festival. See also: Ben Kenigsberg recalls his encounter with Chloë Sevigny following the opening night premiere of Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die.” See Chaz Ebert’s review of the film here.
“If the name Alain Delon means little to you, I suggest you do a search. And if the first items that come up claim that the iconic 83-year-old French actor is a racist and sexist homophobe who shouldn’t have been honored by the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday May 19, please climb into the nearest time machine and set the dial to ‘saner times.’ Over 25,000 people have signed a petition chastising the world’s most important film event for giving an Honorary Golden Palm to Delon for his cinema career. Since we don’t have the signers’ full names, we can’t single them out for a much-needed education that puts Delon in context. Delon is being accused of being a homophobe because he has expressed the opinion that same sex couples shouldn’t adopt children. Public figures in a free society are allowed to have opinions. Even retrograde to cockamamie ones. But let’s look at Delon’s actions rather than his words. Delon was fast friends with his mentor, Italian master Luchino Visconti, who never pretended to be straight as most gay men of his generation felt obliged to do (he was born in 1906).”
“Sorry We Missed You“: Barbara Scharres reviews Ken Loach‘s enormously powerful and timely new drama. See also: Ben Kenigsberg hails two other must-see discoveries, Waad al-Khateab and Edward Watts’ “For Sama” and Kantemir Balagov’s “Beanpole.” See Chaz Ebert’s review of “Sorry We Missed You” here.
“No one speaks to the heart of the working world, and to every exploited category and class of humanity quite like Ken Loach, a British social realist whose passion for exposing injustices past and present has burned in films like his two Cannes Palme d’Or winners: ‘I, Daniel Blake’ (2016) and ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’ (2006). Loach’s new film ‘Sorry We Missed You,’ premiering in competition in this edition of the Cannes Film Festival, powerfully takes on the humiliations and hidden horrors that today’s ever-growing gig economy visits on those forced into its system. ‘I, Daniel Blake’ permitted the eponymous hero, an aging unemployed carpenter, his rousing, crowd-pleasing turn in triumphant rebellion, brief though it was. ‘Sorry We Missed You’ is a far more harsh and bitter film, a prolonged cry of pain. A good and loving family’s slide toward tragedy begins when unemployed jack-of-all-trades Ricky (Kris Hitchen) lucks into what appears to be a golden opportunity. He signs on to become a ‘white van man,’ a franchise contract driver making home deliveries for companies like Amazon.”
Image of the Day
Video of the Day
In one of the most epic video dispatches ever published at RogerEbert.com, Chaz Ebert reminisces with Quentin Tarantino at the Cannes press conference for his latest film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”; conducts an exclusive interview with one of Roger’s favorite filmmakers, Werner Herzog; and meets up with “Fly Brother” producer/host Ernest White II.