Saturday, the most persistently, brutally rainy day of the fest so far, started really well. We actually managed to get up early and make it to the 9:00am screening of Blue Ruin, which is playing in the Quinzane des Realisateurs (or Director’s Fortnight, although everyone seems to just shorten it to “Quinzane”). It’s the second feature by Jeremy Saulnier, who made the super fun comedy / horror film Murder Party in 2007.
I saw Murder Party at Toronto After Dark and loved it, and have wondered for the past several years what that guy would do next. Apparently, what he did next was work as a cinematographer on several awesome films before returning to directing the make the incredibly beautiful and touching Blue Ruin. Between Saulnier’s masterful cinematography and the emotionally charged performance of lead actor Macon Blair (so adorable in Hellbenders!), I honestly don’t know what I loved most about this film. The answer is: everything.
The Quinzane screenings all take place at the Theatre Croisette, inside the Palais Stephanie, which I guess used to be called the Noga, because that’s what half the people here still call it (I get that, I mean, I’ll never call the Skydome the Rogers Centre as long as I live). The Quinzane is my favourite Cannes sidebar, not only because I’ve only ever seen great films there (last year, it’s where Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers premiered, for example) but also because it seems so damn cool. They even have the best pre-screening bumper.
According to the Quinzane website, the selection was created by the French Directors Guild in the wake of the events of May ’68:
“The Directors’ Fortnight seeks to aid filmmakers and contribute to their discovery by the critics and audiences alike. From its initial program in 1969, it cast its lot with the avant-garde (the glorious seventies), even as it created a breeding ground where the Cannes Festival would regularly find its prestigious auteurs.”
Later in the day, after a few meetings in the miserable rain, we return to the Theatre Croisette to watch Jodorowsky’s Dune, the documentary about the not-making-of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s famous adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel Dune, which was ultimately made into a film by David Lynch. Even though the doc is seemingly about a failure (to make the film, at least), the story ended up being incredibly inspiring and touching, and left the audience obviously feeling like they’d been transported to a magical place by the director’s wild vision.
Oh yeah, and did I mention? AGNES VARDA SAT RIGHT BEHIND ME. SWOOOOOOOOON.
In the evening, we braved the rain to attend the Blue Ruin party at the fancy beachside bar Chivas House, but after two or three glasses of admittedly delicious Chivas-based punch, we were too tired and waterlogged to continue partying. Highlight of the party was getting to catch up with another Quinzane director who’s film we’ll be seeing in a few days, the awesome Jim Mickle (who came to Toronto in 2010 with the post-apocalyptic vampire film Stake Land). I highly recommend Steak Land, if you haven’t seen it.
After catching up with old friends at the party we took the long, rainy stroll home around 12:30 and felt like champions for making it such a (relatively) early night. No rest in Cannes, that’s for sure. And even though we left the party just as it was getting really good, Colin did manage to make one new friend …