According to the Internet Movie Database's press wire, Pedro Almodóvar's Volver, starring Carmen Maura and Penélope Cruz, and Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel, starring Gael García Bernal, Brad Pitt, and Cate Blanchett, have emerged as the critics' choice for the Palme d'Or, though the festival still has a few days left. So what does that mean? Likely nothing. Lars von Trier's Dogville was picked by just about every critic there to be the big prize winner before it went home famously empty-handed and Gus Van Sant's Elephant took home the Palme d'Or. While this means nothing in the race for the Palme d'Or, it at least has me more excited about Volver, further proving that Almodóvar has really hit his stride with a now-quartet of splendid films (All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Bad Education preceeding Volver).
In other Cannes news, a slew of other films have gotten decidedly mixed feelings. Call it attack of the 2001-first-time-filmmaker-becomes-cult-figure syndrome, as both Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) and John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) presented their sophomore efforts earlier this week, to mixed reactions. Kelly's Southland Tales is very quickly being regarded as one of the worst in Cannes history, inciting more walk-outs than Vincent Gallo's two-hour cut of The Brown Bunny. However, the IMDb press report (as if this means anything) stated that several people who endured the entire film were "mesmerized" or something to that extent. Bradford hilariously suggested that they were probably just reports for the deplorable Ain't It Cool News.
Mitchell's Shortbus also received a slew of mixed reviews, though no one claimed it to be as heinous as Southland Tales. Some called it a disappointing follow-up to Hedwig, while others remarked that his usage of graphic, unsimulated sex is far more refreshing and warm than something of a Catherine Breillat film or 9 Songs. The film stars Sook-Yin Lee, a Canadian rock n roller who played Kwahng-Yi, Hedwig's first back-up guitarist, among a slew of New York hipsters willing to bare all for the sake of art.
The other film I'm most excited about, Bruno Dumont's Flandres, also received quiet applause as well as several reservations from critics. X-Men 3 premiered yesterday, out of competition, of course. Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette premieres tomorrow, and the awards will be named this Sunday. You can be sure I'll have them posted as soon as I find out. If you're interested in press photos, you can visit the Cannes homepage for plenty of photos of Audrey Tautou, Gus Van Sant flirting with young French actors, Monica Bellucci, and whoever else might be showing up on the red carpet.