Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. France, 2007. Directed by Theodoros Angelopoulos, Olivier Assayas, Bille August, Jane Campion, Youssef Chahine, Chen Kaige, Michael Cimino, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, David Cronenberg, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Manoel de Oliveira, Raymond Depardon, Atom Egoyan, Amos Gitai, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Hsiao-Hsien Hou, Aki Kaurismaki, Abbas Kiarostami, Takeshi Kitano, Andrey Konchalovskiy, Claude Lelouch, Ken Loach, David Lynch, Nanni Moretti, Roman Polanski, Raoul Ruiz, Walter Salles, Elia Suleiman, Ming-liang Tsai, Gus Van Sant, Lars Von Trier, Wim Wenders, Wong Kar Wai, Yimou Zhang. Cannes Film Festival, Elzévir Films. Screenplay by Manoel de Oliveira, Atom Egoyan, Olivier Assayas, William Chang, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Amos Gitai, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Aki Kaurismaki, Andrey Konchalovskiy, Nanni Moretti, Kar Wai Wong, Yimou Zhang, Jingzhi Zou. Cinematography by Marc-Andre Batigne, Jacques Bouquin, Inti Briones, Dirk Bruel, Greig Fraser, Francis Grumman, Pung-leung Kwan, Steven Lubensky, Emmanuel Lubezki, Alain Marcoen, Ramses Marzouk, Francisco Oliveira, Nick de Pencier, Alessandro Pesci, Mauro Pinheiro Jr., Andreas Sinanos, Masha Solovyova, Shinzi Suzuki, Alberto Venzago, Xiaoding Zhao, Xiaoshi Zhao. Produced by Sandrine Brauer, Robert Benmussa, Laura Briand, Denis Carot, Gilles Ciment, Rachel Curl, Sergei Davidoff, Gilles Jacob, Aki Kaurismaki, Takeshi Kitano, Serge Lalou, Marie Masmonteil, Masayuki Mori, Rebecca O’Brien, Jacky Yee Wah Pang, Roman Polanski, Alain Sarde, Vincent Wang, Corinne Golden Weber, Kar-Wai Wong, Takio Yoshida. Music by Mark Bradshaw, Mychael Danna, Eleni Karaindrou, Howard Shore. Production Design by William Chang, Igor Gabriel, Martin Hernandez, Norihiro Isoda, Elizabeth Keenan, Miguel Markin, Edouard Oganessian, Lyubov Skorina, Valerie Valero. Costume Design by Fabio Perrone. Film Editing by Luc Barnier, William Chang, Long Cheng, Alexandre de Franceschi, Marie-Helene Dozo, Olga Grinshpun, Francois Gedigier, Takeshi Kitano, Bodil Kjaerhauge, Veronique Lange, Giuseppe Leonetti, Valerie Loiseleux, Stephen Mirrione, Gabriel Reed, Susan Shipton, Yannis Tsitsopoulos. Cannes Film Festival 2007. Toronto International Film Festival 2007.
Gilles Jacob celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Cannes film festival with a most delightful treat: inviting 33 filmmakers to create a short film about cinema and its personal meaning to them, combining the results into this enjoyable if shallow omnibus. Directors such as Theo Angelopoulos, Tsai Ming-Liang, Walter Salles, Michael Cimino (whose short is definitely the worst), Jane Campion, David Cronenberg, Atom Egoyan, Joel and Ethan Coen and Gus Van Sant are among the many luminaries whose work graces the screen, in many cases showcasing their signature styles that announce them before the credits do. It’s an interesting experiment and a wonderful tribute to the grand festival that is Cannes, but for the most part it feels like two hours of commercials, and a number of the directors in it were more successful in their contribution to Paris Je T’Aime. Standouts include Lars Von Trier’s revenge on a chatty audience member, Claude Lelouch’s touching tribute to his parents meeting at a screening of Top Hat, the Coens telling us that Americans could enjoy world cinema if only they gave it a chance, Andrei Konchalovsky’s excellent short about an emotional theatre employee who ignores horny teenagers in order to enjoy Fellini’s 8 ½ over and over again, and, most especially, Ken Loach’s adorable short about a father and son trying to decide which film they want to see. There are some other good ones, but many of the directors use repetitive themes (aside from cinema, of course) and in one case even reuse the same set.