Cannes: "Blueberry" Is Uneven But Touching; Plus The Best From The Fest's First Two Days

by | May 17, 2007 | Comments

Wong Kar Wai‘s “My Blueberry Nights” opened the 2007 Cannes Film Festival yesterday — did it measure up to all the pre-fest buzz? Plus, more on the Tsui HarkRingo LamJohnny To helmed “Triangle,” and “Control,” about the late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis.

My Blueberry Nights” is uneven, but it has a wrenching sense of melancholia — and enough of Wong‘s trademark visual beauty — to make for a successful whole. In her feature debut, Norah Jones stars as Elizabeth, a recently-jilted woman who wanders into a pastry shop run by Jeremy (Jude Law). She returns night after night to share some lonely meaning-of-life chat and slices of blueberry pie. In an attempt to move on from her recent breakup, she hits the road, stopping in Memphis to work as a waitress and bartender. There, she crosses paths with a heartsick, alcoholic cop (an outstanding David Strathairn) and his sultry, damaged ex-wife (Rachel Weisz). From there, it’s on to Vegas, as Elizabeth falls in with a card player (Natalie Portman) with a veneer of toughness and secrets just under the surface.

So, how is Jones in her debut? In her early scenes, she’s a bit skittish and uncertain playing angry, but she settles into a groove as things go along. Jones emanates enough presence here to demonstrate that she has a future in movies — she’s certainly likeable enough — as long as she works out some of the kinks. Ironically, one of the film’s best scenes comes courtesy of another singer-turned-actress, Cat Power‘s Chan Marshall, playing Law’s long-lost ex.


Norah Jones and Natalie Portman in “My Blueberry Nights.”

“Blueberry” has received something of a mixed reaction from the festival crowd; while most pundits have praised its visual style, some say Wong’s first English-language film is not quite up to the standard of the festival darling’s best work.

At the other extreme of contemporary Hong Kong movies is “Triangle,” a film that lives up to its title in more ways than one. It’s co-(tri?) directed by three of HK action cinema’s biggest names (Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, and Johnny To). It features a love triangle, a trio of thieves who’ve discovered hidden treasure, and more double- and triple- crosses than a film noir marathon. Created like a game of cinematic telephone, each of “Triangle”‘s three directors shot roughly half an hour of the film, picking up where the previous action left off, but without readily noticeable cuts; this isn’t an omnibus film in the traditional sense. “Triangle” contains several strong action scenes, but while it’s never uninteresting, it’s often difficult to follow, and the tension runs out toward the end. Ultimately, “Triangle” is a slightly-better-than-average crime flick. Both the Hollywood Reporter and Variety are calling this one rotten, saying it’s not as sharp as the individual directors’ other works.

Water Lilies,” the debut from writer-director Celine Sciamma, is a beautifully observed coming-of-age story that’s sometimes painful to watch. The film tells the story of Marie (Pauline Acquart), a shy tween who becomes enraptured by synchronized swimmer Floriane (Adele Haenel), whose apparent luck with boys is something of a show. Marie also shares a complex relationship with Anne (Louise Blachere), a chubbier girl who hides her insecurities under an outgoing façade. Sciamma explores the frustrating love lives of these girls with heartbreaking sensitivity; they’re all confused about their feelings, but Sciamma is clear-eyed in her portrayal of the teen experience without resorting to anything bordering on easy laughs or cheapness. The characters’ motivations are often unclear, but then again, most 15-year-olds’ motivations are unclear, even to themselves. “Water Lilies” seems unlikely to draw a big American crowds, but it’s a compelling portrait of teen angst that should please a specialty audience. (It got a fresh from Variety.)


Mark Ruffalo smoking a cigarette, earning “Zodiac” its hard “R” rating.

Also screening Wednesday and Thursday at Cannes: RT’s own Jen Yamato loved “Control,” Anton Corbijn‘s pulsing but meditative biopic of Joy Division leader Ian Curtis (a review is coming soon); David Fincher‘s “Zodiac,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr., is at 87 percent on the Tomatometer; “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” a harrowing story of a woman’s desperate attempt to get an abortion in totalitarian Romania has received raves for its strong performances and suspenseful script; and “The Flight of the Red Balloon,” Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao Hsien‘s French-language debut starring Juliette Binoche, has generated some solid word-of-mouth.

On Friday, we’ll be checking out the latest from the Coen Brothers, “No Country for Old Men,” starring Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem, and Olivier Assayas‘ “Boarding Gate,” starring Asia Argento and Michael Madsen. Check back later for more from Cannes.


Click here to read Rotten Tomatoes Cannes festival blog!

Tag Cloud

Britbox psycho Disney Channel docuseries Summer Rock TruTV boxoffice serial killer screen actors guild crossover Awards toy story TV renewals Oscars CW Seed Black History Month Polls and Games diversity fast and furious Podcast SXSW jamie lee curtis Animation sports PBS cops finale Broadway HBO Go godzilla ghosts Biopics Premiere Dates cinemax Sneak Peek spanish language best Adult Swim comiccon breaking bad Shondaland spanish mockumentary E3 National Geographic 24 frames miniseries A&E zombie critics canceled TV shows cancelled TV series dc discovery Spring TV Hallmark The CW south america supernatural Academy Awards 2015 pirates of the caribbean Television Critics Association Warner Bros. Logo 45 television TCM deadpool Winter TV kids romantic comedy New York Comic Con 4/20 Character Guide medical drama IFC dceu hist space worst thriller Binge Guide cults animated sequels Comic Book 007 The Witch rom-coms Thanksgiving crime thriller Nickelodeon Marvel Studios Music Red Carpet Rocky worst movies batman tv talk Fox Searchlight latino El Rey The Walking Dead Brie Larson boxing Watching Series Apple TV+ Netflix ABC Family golden globe awards robots Television Academy Pixar IFC Films dragons Infographic comedies Apple kong FX on Hulu VOD stand-up comedy The Walt Disney Company DC streaming service Crackle LGBT TV vampires ViacomCBS canceled name the review kaiju stoner GoT Set visit sequel documentary richard e. Grant Election Holidays YouTube Red blockbuster golden globes halloween all-time Photos Spectrum Originals anime Sci-Fi Discovery Channel Pop Video Games Amazon biography The Academy movies BBC One natural history Turner a nightmare on elm street RT21 revenge streaming free movies TCA Awards historical drama Chilling Adventures of Sabrina casting talk show MTV toronto TCA cats fresh war Universal Tubi festivals Martial Arts superman BET Disney+ Disney Plus Acorn TV teaser sag awards Schedule Nominations Funimation binge Tumblr Reality Quiz ratings CNN quibi politics Trailer aliens TCA Winter 2020 USA TBS Sony Pictures cars Opinion Winners movie comics Disney Pop TV Amazon Prime SundanceTV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt GLAAD italian classics Superheroe The Purge See It Skip It new star wars movies police drama YA telelvision zero dark thirty Marvel HBO harry potter Lucasfilm book LGBTQ elevated horror archives Chernobyl transformers chucky Mystery Year in Review Dark Horse Comics VICE Musicals political drama Fantasy Interview children's TV award winner Comics on TV Extras Travel Channel Heroines Countdown science fiction FOX women OWN period drama Masterpiece Western DC Universe TIFF remakes CMT Pride Month Best and Worst CBS Paramount Plus obituary American Society of Cinematographers DirecTV Creative Arts Emmys Apple TV Plus 20th Century Fox APB 2017 Emmy Nominations ITV Baby Yoda video on demand Amazon Prime Video universal monsters directors game show parents christmas movies Vudu Marathons cartoon Emmys Country Ghostbusters black Shudder Amazon Studios Bravo ESPN Paramount Tarantino Trophy Talk australia Black Mirror prank spain HBO Max Song of Ice and Fire Disney Plus 2021 BAFTA Ovation crime X-Men Alien AMC Cannes japanese satire Lionsgate Starz Sundance Now Cartoon Network hollywood 21st Century Fox Syfy scary movies rt archives football Super Bowl The Arrangement Marvel Television cancelled TV shows stop motion Musical based on movie Showtime Spike spider-man Mary poppins cancelled Endgame book adaptation San Diego Comic-Con concert YouTube Toys Box Office heist movie 2020 YouTube Premium renewed TV shows nbcuniversal TNT Stephen King Esquire blockbusters Certified Fresh video spinoff GIFs Film Festival VH1 Calendar BBC WarnerMedia PlayStation strong female leads king kong game of thrones nature Star Trek Rocketman comic books NBC versus Lifetime Christmas movies reboot Mary Poppins Returns adaptation rotten Disney streaming service romance razzies Mary Tyler Moore films Mindy Kaling Hallmark Christmas movies Mudbound Christmas independent Epix rotten movies we love ID justice league Tomatazos Freeform ABC MSNBC superhero festival E! Reality Competition Fox News joker OneApp Sundance TV MCU dramedy news social media Horror NYCC cancelled television dogs twilight Film Superheroes Rom-Com CBS All Access sitcom green book reviews Captain marvel Teen disaster mutant 2019 indie witnail nfl franchise 93rd Oscars Hulu Ellie Kemper A24 hidden camera Arrowverse anthology screenings BET Awards Cosplay singing competition blaxploitation unscripted hispanic true crime DC Comics Grammys Legendary monster movies Paramount Network Turner Classic Movies Writers Guild of America Pet Sematary cooking Peacock Crunchyroll french Pirates venice ABC Signature facebook Star Wars TCA 2017 child's play Food Network Netflix Christmas movies james bond TLC series PaleyFest documentaries TV One Kids & Family werewolf Anna Paquin docudrama trailers adventure Drama travel 2018 technology psychological thriller crime drama TV Land DGA halloween tv BBC America Avengers theme song zombies Holiday Family comic laika RT History Comedy Central what to watch emmy awards slashers WGN History FX 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards USA Network Trivia mission: impossible Columbia Pictures asian-american Fall TV Exclusive Video First Look Nat Geo jurassic park Classic Film 72 Emmy Awards spy thriller Awards Tour die hard dark criterion Lifetime Sundance indiana jones Hear Us Out Action FXX scorecard 2016 Women's History Month foreign composers President SDCC 71st Emmy Awards First Reviews Elton John popular 99% Valentine's Day doctor who Comedy Walt Disney Pictures