Thursday, May 10, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks #200: Cannes Favorites

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of Thursday Movie Picks, the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. Since the 2018 edition of the Cannes Film Festival began this week, it's only natural that an appropriate theme for the Thursday Movie Picks would be Cannes favorites. Now, I have to admit that I didn't know too much about what films to select, so I did the simplest thing, which is to look up a list of Palme d'Or winners. Ooh, there enough interesting movies that I can do a post with no difficulty:

The Cranes are Flying (1958 Palme d'Or winner). Tatiana Samoilova plays Veronika, a young woman in love with Boris (Aleksey Batalov) in Moscow just before the Nazi invasion of 1941. Boris goes off to fight and gets listed MIA (in fact we know he's been killed), leaving Boris' cousin Mark to try to pursue Veronika, who enters a loveles marriage. A beautifully filmed and moving story. We know the Soviets will win the war, but what happens when Boris isn't among the victorious returning soldiers?

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964 Palme d'Or winner). Geneviève (Catherine Deneuve) works in her mother's shop selling umbrellas in 1957 Cherbourg. She's got a boyfriend in Guy (Nino Castelnuovo), who gets called up to fight in the rebellion in Algeria (remember, it was still part of France at the time). Guy gets injured, so Geneviève's mom suggests she marry diamond dealer Roland. Of course, Guy eventually returns from the war, but by the time Geneviève has married Roland and left Cherbourg. The interesting thing about the movie is that all of the dialogue is sung.

Secrets and Lies (1996 Palme d'Or winner). Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) is a young middle-class black woman in London who, after the death of her adoptive mother, decides to find out about her biological mother. It turns out that her biological mother, Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn), is white! Cynthia has a daughter Roxanne who knew nothing about having a half-sister, and a brother with a family of his own. Needless to say, the sudden presence of a black relative causes all sorts of old tensions in the family to come back to the surface.


joel65913 said...

I'm three for three this time and was a fan of all plus we match on Cranes Are Flying.

That is a very good film but my favorite of these by far is Umbrellas of Cherbourg. I approached it with caution since an all French all sung musical seemed like it was going to be a challenge but far from it the film immediately pulled me in.

Secrets & Lies was a good film but as involving as it was one watch was enough for me, that has always been the case for me with Mike Leigh films.

Not really being a follower of Cannes I was pretty certain mine fit but I had to double check.

Union Pacific (1939)-As the Union Pacific Railroad stretches westward across the wilderness toward California corrupt banker Asa Barrows (Henry Kolker) hopes to profit from obstructing it. Troubleshooter Jeff Butler (Joel McCrea) has his hands full fighting Barrows' agent, gambler Sid Campeau (Brian Donlevy) and his partner Dick Allen (Robert Preston) who was Jeff's war buddy and rival suitor for engineer's daughter Molly Monahan (Barbara Stanwyck). Rivalries escalate until a fateful showdown set piece. Big rollicking Cecil B. DeMille directed adventure was the winner of the first Palme D’Or.

Rome Open City (1945)-In Nazi occupied Rome regulations have been somewhat relaxed so the inhabitants can move freely during daylight but danger still lurks everywhere as food is rationed, curfews enforced and resistance fighters rigorously hunted. This focuses on the search for one freedom fighter and the people working to help him. Directed by Roberto Rossellini with a fierce lead performance from Anna Magnani this was the leader in the birth of the neo-realism movement. It won the Grand Prize of the Cannes Film Festival in 1946.

Cranes Are Flying (1957)-In Moscow as the winds of World War II approach young lovers Veronika (Tatyana Samoylova) and Boris (Aleksey Batalov) watch the cranes fly overhead and promise to rendezvous before Boris leaves to fight. Boris misses the meeting and is off to the front lines, while Veronika waits patiently, sending letters faithfully. After her house is bombed, Veronika moves in with Boris' family and seeming safety. But Boris’s cousin Mark has darker intentions and as the war rages sorrow spreads in all directions. Winner of the 1958 Cannes Grand Prize.

Brittani Burnham said...

I haven't seen any of your picks but I'm familiar with Secrets & Lines. I want to say I've seen part of that.

Birgit said...

I haven’t seen your first pick but I almost chose Umbrellas of Cherbourg which I found enchanting and Secret and Lies is such a good film and I want to see it again. For some reason I thought it came out in the early 2000’s.

Ted S. (Just a Cineast) said...

I seriously thought about picking Rome Open City as well as Black Orpheus, which I think both also won the Palme d'Or. (Or maybe it was the Jury Prize; I looked up both lists.)

All That Jazz is a movie I've always had a hard time getting into, largely because the first time I saw it I tuned in at the point the dance company was auditioning the "We'll take you places you've never been" avant-garde dance number. Frankly, my sympathies were with the producer who was expecting something more family-oriented.

Sonia Cerca said...

I haven't seen any of these.