Cannes Film Festival: here’s to the independents

April 23, 2009 at 5:28 pm (film) (, , , , , , )

Cannes Film Festival official poster

Cannes Film Festival official poster

Today the Cannes Film Festival has announced it’s competitors. With a line up including Jane Campion, Tarantino and Almodóvar, it’s worth getting excited about.

With so many big names vying for the Palme d’Or it will be a tough decision for the judges. Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces, a psychological thriller featuring his favourite leading lady Penelope Cruz, is up against Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (starring Brad Pitt who heads a troupe of Jewish soldiers bent on wiping out Nazis). Thrown into the mix is Jane Campion’s Bright Star, a drama exploring the romance between John Keats and Fanny Brawne. She is the only woman to ever win the Palme d’Or three years ago with The Piano.

The festival is showing Heath Ledger’s final performance in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, although the film is not entering the competition.

Hotly-tipped British film Looking for Eric exlpores the unlikely friendship between a downbeat football fanatic postman and Eric Cantona. Will film maker Ken Loach  impress the judges as his Wind That Shakes the Barley did three years ago?

Still, even the fabulous Cannes is not insensitive to the current economic situation. Since 2009 is has already been dubbed “Crunch Cannes” since Vanity Fair cancelled it’s glitzy bash at the Hotel du Cap, the city’s hotels still have empty rooms and guests may have to settle for sparkling rosé rather than champagne. The festival’s official coiffeur will be accompanied by a modest team of 15 hairdressers, down from the 20 of last year.

There’s something about all this thriftiness that seems appropiate. Independent film has always been about economic uncertainty with unstable funding. While Cannes is an important celebration of independent film, perhaps this year’s scaled down affair will act as a reminder – when it comes to the independents there’s just never enough money.

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

Bathroom Graffiti

April 5, 2009 at 8:36 pm (graffiti, literature) (, , )

picture: katiecarman

picture: katiecarman

I’ve always been fascinated by bathroom graffiti. You know the sort. It’s found scrawled across walls of humid night clubs (this post was inspired by Camden’s Dublin Castle). It ranges from the charming: “You’re beautiful” to the puerile “If you’re reading this, you’re a “[insert  dirty, dirty word]”.

Sometimes, though, you’ll read one you want to write down (but for some reason you’ll never have a pen to hand) – a little piece of wisdom that a stranger felt they needed to pass on. Sometimes they are sad, insecure or lonely. Often they are about love. Often they are cliched. In some bathrooms people have conversations – lots of different handwriting muddled up, like lots of voices talking in one small bathroom cubicle. picture: sejan

secrets1

picture: fearlessvk

picture: fearlessvk

Trouble is, one person’s wisdom is another person’s vandalism. Still, bathroom graffiti can make you smile in the least likely place – the loo. That’s something worth scrawling about.

picture:green shock

picture:green shock

picture: Made Underground

picture: Made Underground

Permalink 3 Comments

The Husband Project has my attention, but is it art?

April 3, 2009 at 4:54 pm (art) (, , )

A 23 year-old woman has chosen marriage as the theme for her final year art project. But she’s exploring the topic a little differently – she’s going through the process itself. She’s deftly named it The Husband Project.
Alex Humphrey’s, a student at Leeds College of Art and Design, is disillusioned with dating and scared of becoming a spinster. So she has decided to tackle both her final  project and her love life by setting up a blog to find herself a husband. In an interview in The Times, Humphrey’s says: “I don’t want to wake up when I’m 30 and think: oh my God, I’m on my own.” She adds, “it’s better to say I’m looking for a relationship, not just a shag.”
Humphrey’s has three simple requirements: that applicants are male, have a sense of humour and are taller than her. Applicants are asked to answer a 45 question survery, including things like, “Are you financially secure?” and “Are you good in bed (be honest!)”.
Picture:  foundphotoslj

Picture: foundphotoslj

It reminds me of the woman who sold her virginity on ebay. And also Neil LaBute’s film The Shape of Things where an art student shapes her boyfriend and then hands “him” as her final year thesis. It’s sort of a mix of the two, actually.
But is this art? To me art is about making a statement, and I can’t work out what this one is saying. Humphrey’s reason for the project is to “ensure that I am remembered for years to come!” I’m all for art in Web 2.0, it’s important to push art into new creative boundaries. But I can’t help but think this is more of an exercise in self-promotion tapping into of the trend of instant celebrity.

Permalink 1 Comment

Wintersleep interview in Pictures

April 1, 2009 at 9:22 pm (Interview, music) (, , )

Wintersleep in Pictures by Alastair Plumb

Wintersleep in Pictures by Alastair Plumb

When we were interviewing Wintersleep (see post below ), my friend Ali (of Lollygagger fame) nimbly whipped out his camera and took these photos, which he has since organised into a pretty collage. For this, we thank him.

Permalink Leave a Comment