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“I Don’t Want the Audience to Remember My Film as Just Another Film Banned in Vietnam”: Trương Minh Quý ơn His Cannes-Premiering Viêt and Nam

Viêt and Nam

Set shortly before 9/11, Trương Minh Quý’s Viêt and Nam begins underground with two coal miners, their bodies soaked in sweat and caked in dirt. As they wait for instructions, they talk about a dream — one concerning water, plastic bags, and drowning. In the silence, they comfort each other by caressing each other’s faces. Suddenly, a bell rings. They rebutton their clothes. Moments later, a bomb can be heard exploding in the distance. Only above ground do the details surface: Viêt and Nam are lovers who are on the brink of separation as Nam, influenced by Vietnam’s migrant boom of the late 1990s to early 2000s, prepares to leave his home country for greener pastures abroad. But before his departure,…  Read more

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Cannes 2024: Furiosa, Bird, Kinds of Kindness, Universal Language

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

The deficiencies of George Miller’s Fury Road prequel, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga—many of which have, unsurprisingly, been given a pass—echo my broader sentiments towards this year’s Cannes, at least from where we sit just past the halfway point. In Furiosa’s opening minutes, we’re informed via voiceover of the great struggles facing its world: pandemics, famine, climate catastrophe. Offering a supplementary narrative of broader relevance, it’s a table setting of topicality that’s wholly unnecessary to the film’s primary, surface pleasures. Many of this year’s Palme d’Or contenders, too, have felt like showcases for Contemporary Issue X rather than works of cinema. “How can we brave the world’s cruelties?” Furiosa asks, and Cannes would have you believe that the answer is,…  Read more

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“We’re Very Preoccupied with Making Personal Arthouse Features”: With Two Films in Cannes, Carson Lund and Tyler Discuss Production Company, Omnes Films

Los Capitulos Perdidos

When Filmmaker featured the startup film collective Omnes Films in our 2021 25 New Faces list, the L.A. outfit's first two microbudget features — Jonathan Davies' Topology of Sirens and Tyler Taormina's Ham on Rye — had both premiered at festivals and received U.S. releases from Factory 25, its members had produced shorts and music videos, and new features were in the works. One of the few companies or collectives to land on our list over its history, Omnes impressed us with not only the quality of the films but the ambition — and optimism — evinced by a group of young filmmakers planting an arthouse flag in the relatively lonely wilds of the Los Angeles film production culture. Now, just…  Read more

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“I Actually Feel Like the Firefly Was Caught in the Jar”: Tyler Taormina on His Cannes-Premiering Christmas Eve in Miller’s Point

Christmas Eve in Miller's Point

Whether the sprawling fantasia that is Tyler Taormina’s Christmas Eve in Miller’s Point proves heartwarmingly reflective or personally destabilizing in its near-ethnographic study of American holiday ritual will depend, largely, on the composition and size of your own Xmas memories. It’s a strength of the film, however, that Taormina’s expansive canvas allows for — and incorporates — the whole range of emotions that the theater of Christmas can produce, from the giddiness of an overstimulated child, stomach groaning from too much pumpkin pie, gazing at all those wrapped presents, to the wearied anxiety of an adult realizing that the holiday has only put a brief pause on family troubles. And what’s particularly remarkable about Taormina’s picture is that it produces…  Read more

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Cannes 2024: The Damned, The Invasion

A bearded man in a Union army uniform stands with his eyes closed in the snow.The Damned

Introducing The Damned at its world premiere, Roberto Minervini stated that the film began from a desire to “deconstruct the precepts in war cinema,” e.g. good versus evil, “hyper-masculinity” and heroism. In the press kit interview, Minervini goes further, stating that there’s never been a war movie “that I would call humane […] Even films that depict tragedy and self-destruction emphasize martyrdom and sacrifice.” Has there really never been a true anti-war film? The existence of Come and See seems to contradict that, and noting that “good versus evil” isn’t real isn’t a breakthrough either, which may be why The Damned feels fundamentally misguided—it's a movie correcting a problem that doesn't really exist. A very loose Civil War saga following a…  Read more

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“We Wanted to Film These Beige Structures the Way Terrence Malick Films a Sunset”: Director Matthew Rankin on the Canadian/Iranian Interzone of his Cannes-Premiering Universal Language

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There are plenty of North American filmmakers influenced by the giants of international cinema. These filmmakers import stylistic references, different tones and rhythms, perhaps key collaborators, such as a cinematographer, to films that nonetheless are born of their own local filmmaking cultures. For his second feature, following the anarchic political satire of his The Twentieth Century, Canadian director Matthew Rankin has imagined a different approach. His formally precise and very funny Universal Language, a Cannes's Directors Fortnight discovery this year, is not only influenced by the Iranian cinema of Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi, among others, but considers a Winnipeg — home to filmmakers such as the iconic Guy Maddin — that is, as he says, a kind of fantastical…  Read more

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