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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

The Hot Tip for the Palm d’Or

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So far the Cannes film festival has turned out to be one of the classics, with sterling work provided by the greatest and the least of film makers and producers.

My hot tip to win the Palm d’Or is Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric.  It is about a man who, during stressful periods of his life, talks to a poster of Eric Cantona, reminiscent of Shirley Valentine’s ‘wall’ monologues.  The crucial difference is that Le Cantona in the poster talks back and dispels his own brand of gallic advice.

Eric Cantona was one of the major players of English football in the 1990s, both with Leeds, and later their rivals, Manchester United.  (I am a Leeds man, don’t get me started on that).  He is famous for his enigmatic soundbites to journalists, leading to a small publication of his yoda-like wisdom.  He gave up football aged 30 to dedicate his life to poetry and film.  He turned up in a small role in the film Elizabeth.

Ken Loach is a long time follower of Bath city, though he always had a fondness for Cantona.  He came up with a winning formula to win the Palm d’Or though, get the darling of the French media to make a film to make the French feel good about themselves.  Ken, you’re a genius.

On his heels we have Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank.  A gritty tale of a mother and her two daughters on a council estate in Essex.  Kate Jarvis play’s Mia, essentially Vicky Pollard without the laughs but a hell of a lot tougher.

Andrea Arnold has come a long way since her days hosting Saturday morning children’s TV programme Number 73, with Neil Buchanan and Sandi Toksvig.  Originally from Dartford, she has won critical acclaim with her film Red Road.

Further down the list we have Quentin Tarantino’s Nazi-stomping romp, Inglorious Basterd.  It follows a team of Jewish Commandos as they ran riot in Occupied France.  This is one for when the better half is out at work or in bed I think.


Then we have Ang Lee’s taking Woodstock.  A tale of one young man’s plan to host a music festival back before we had the music festivals of today.  Woodstock was described by Hunter S Thompson as ‘the crest of a big and beautiful wave’.  It paved the way for the music festivals of today.

Finallly we have the creepy crawly Antichrist.  Directed by Lars Van Trier, it is set in a cabin in a dark woods where a couple retreat to overcome the death of their child.  It stars the half French pairing of Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsborough.

This truly disturbing film is brought by the Director of the Idiots.  Lars Von Trier grew up in a rather unusual environment by parents who were committed Communists and committed Nudist.  Perhaps they should have been just committed.  Anyway they found disciplining a child to be ‘reactionary’ and the lad spent most of his early years alone.  One present from his parents was a small cine-cam that he used to make his first film, and he has been at it ever since.

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Written by Nick Gilmartin

May 20, 2009 at 7:37 pm

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