Thursday, May 20, 2010

Anna Adler's Adventures in Cannes: HOWL, POETRY, and More

University of Pennsylvania student Anna Adler reports from the Cannes Film Festival for BMFI. This is her fourth post--be sure to check out her other adventures on the Riviera!

Today (Wednesday), I woke up to a million missed calls from my mom. She waited outside the Lumiere this morning, and scored a ticket to the "hors" competition film, Olivier Assayas' Carlos. How she managed to accomplish this, I will never know. I really thought she would leave Cannes without seeing a movie, but she proved me wrong! While she was in the movie, we had a speaker come to our program this morning named Rick Hess (of the CAA Investment Group and also a Penn undergraduate alum). He discussed with us the various ways of financing a film, such as bringing the overall package together of actors and talent with investors. While I generally knew about this side of the industry, I really learned a lot about the many, many (and difficult) steps of making an original idea become a visual reality. In particular, he said that his Wharton roommates used to make fun of him for studying English and Cinema while in college, and now today are asking to work for him!

Afterwards, my friends and I decided we would try to get into Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's film, Howl, and we turned out to be successful! It was playing at a smaller theater off the Croisette. James Franco stars in this film as the famous beat poet Allen Ginsburg, whose controversial book Howl and Other Poems made him end up in court in 1957. This became the landmark case that set the legal precedent guaranteeing First Amendment Rights for these type of works. I enjoyed the movie because I have studied this historical era throughout high school and college. We then made our way over to a similar theater on the same "rue" to see a short, documentary film called Modern Day Slaves, which focuses on the abuses of foreigners who come over to the States to find work. While the subject matter was definitely informative and important, I personally did not believe that this content was portrayed in a visually and captivating way. Specifically, I did not feel that the film really left a strong impact on me, as I did not think about it much after I exited the theater.

The most exciting part of the day came next. My mom and I decided we would hold our paper signs out again to try to get into the premiere of Lee Chang-dong's Poetry, which we felt would be impossible since it is a competition movie. My mom said that if I were able to get one ticket, she obviously would let me go first because I am the one who is actually supposed to be here. Fortunately, this never had to happen, because we both were able to get tickets! It was very exciting to enter the Lumiere Theater with my mom, as she truly had such a successful experience during her short time in Cannes. While the movie was very long, I loved this unique screenplay and the way it all tied together thematically and visually. I highly recommend it to all movie-lovers to see. When we walked out, one of the heads of my program said to us, "and that was really cinema!"

Check back for more of Anna's adventures, coming soon...

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