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The Cannes Diaries: Mr Turner Takes The Day

Signature_CONF-PRESSE And just like that, a year later, it’s back into the Cannes swing of things.

There’s a rhythm to this festival all its own. It’s not like Sundance, where I try to see as many films as I possibly can back to back, nor is it like Toronto where it’s more about squeezing in as many press opportunities and interviews as one festival will allow. Cannes is about mixing in as much of both as possible, without neglecting one over the other: see the films, do the interviews, and try enjoy the sunshine and blue sea while you’re at at, because, hey, we’re in Cannes! That last part is perhaps the most difficult of all. Ha!

Day 2’s early morning screening of Mr Turner, the latest film from Mike Leigh, whose Happy Go Lucky made me fall utterly in friendship love with Sally Hawkin, began my second day at Cannes. The 2-and-a-half hour portrait of the British artist JMW Turner received glowing reviews from critics here, with much praise for lead actor Timothy Spall’s nuanced grunting in the role. I found it a little long and wasn’t as enamoured with it, but I appreciate the sentiments that are being shared about it.

The other juggling act that goes on at Cannes, at least for me, and I know for many of my colleagues from other countries around the world too, is trying to stay on top of the global, big-name news while also knowing what’s happening with local actors and filmmakers who are here too. South Africa, as has been tradition for the past ten or so years, has a tent at the International Pavillion, hosted by the National Film and Video Foundation. While the only film in competition this year is a co-production between Denmark and SA, called The Salvation, starring Mads Mikkelsen, there are a whole bunch of local filmmakers here trying to further their own projects, and taking part in the market portion of the fest too.

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