Watch This Stirring Clip From Cannes Palme D’or Winner ‘I, Daniel Blake’

Perhaps a testament to an era of singularly great filmmaking, three exalted veteran directors stole most of the conversation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival—with the announcement coming yesterday that Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, had won the coveted Palme D’or.

Indeed, Woody Allen’s Café Society had opened the festivities on May 11, with French comedian and Master of Ceremonies Laurent Lafitte delivering the shockingly questionable, Roman Polanksi referencing joke, “It’s very nice that you’ve been shooting so many movies in Europe, even if you are not being convicted for rape in the U.S.” The director seemed to take it in stride, but it set off a media and celebrity firestorm.

Then Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, starring Isabelle Huppert as a rape victim that sets out for revenge, ignited the media’s most fervent socio-cultural conversation around Cannes. Of course, he had caused a similar stir in 1992 with the highly controversial Basic Instinct.

But Loach took the top prize this year for his heartbreaking new neorealist film. His second Palme D’or (including 2006’s The Wind That Shakes The Barley), it tells the story of ailing and unable to work carpenter Daniel Blake (played by Dave Johns), who faces the loss of all his benefits. He befriends single mother Kattie (Hayley Squires), and they together fight for dignity and survival.

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Of course, in these times of worsening inequality, there’s a strong ideological undercurrent to the film—even if it’s not foot-on-the-barricades political.

And to be sure, during his acceptance speech, Loach cautioned, “The world we live in is at a dangerous point right now. We are in the grip of a dangerous project of austerity, driven by ideas that we call neo-liberalism, that have brought us to near catastrophe.”

Watch the I, Daniel Blake festival teaser trailer, here:

Behind the Cannes Curtain with Festival Jurors

The Tree of Life

While the Cannes Film Festival douses the south of France with its high art cinema, like a sea spray wafting up from the region’s infamous mistral winds (plus movie stars, yachts and everything that comes with them), we get a glimpse at the elite festival’s jury. Among this year’s nine jurors is Kirsten Dunst, who proclaims being excited to “hash it out” with her comrades. Joining Dunst is jury president George Miller (Mad Max), Mads Mikkelson, Valeria Golina, Vanessa Paradis and Donald Sutherland. 

The festival is always mum on how it chooses its illustrious Palme d’Or winner each year, but THR delves into the methodologies of some past jury presidents. Steven Spielberg and Isabelle Adjani led with discipline and intense viewing schedules. Former jury head Atom Egoyan recalls watching great films, sharing meals and stories, while realizing: “We had wildly different tastes when it came to making a decision.” Back in the ’60s, Henry Miller spent more time playing golf than ruling the jury with an iron fist and some jurors recall situations when awards were given without even debating or adhering to a voting structure. This is not 12 Angry Men. Power plays in a place like Cannes. 

Check out interviews with last year’s jurors, here, and watch trailers for the past five Palme d’Or winners, below. As far as I’m concerned, at least two were undoubtably worthy winners.


The Tree of Life, 2011

Amour, 2012

Blue is the Warmest Color, 2013

Winter Sleep, 2014

Dheepan, 2015

Kicking Cannes: Red Carpet Fashion, So Far

The 65th edition of the Cannes Film Festival has officially kicked off. Since Fashioneer isn’t physicially there this time around (last year was awesome), I’ll be surveying the fest’s fashion from afar to detect which stars went for red carpet sophistication and who opted for French Riviera over-the-topness. From Diana Kruger in Giambattista Valli Couture to Bill Murray in a Caddyshack moment, here’s what we’re working with.

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Freida Pinto in an artsy number by Michael Angel, (more) Diana Kruger in hot little cut-out by Versus, and avant-garde Tilda Swinton in her conceptual designer of choice, Haider Ackermann.

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Eva Longoria in super over-the-top Marchesa, Lana Del Rey (?) in a safe Alberta Ferretti gown, and Jane freakin’ Fonda going for it in a form-fitting Atelier Versace.

Photos via Styleite, Fashionologie, Harper’s Bazaar, Starpulse

6 Surreal Things That Happened at Cannes (via Instagram)

Another Cannes Film Festival has come and gone, proving that over-the-top glamour is still very much prevalent in the land of ridiculously rich people, aka the French Riviera. And it’s not just movie stars; models, musicians, beauty brands and even bloggers got in on the decadent action this year, too. From amfAR’s annual gala to P. Diddy’s yacht party on steroids, here are some of my favorite FOMO-inducing moments captured by everyone’s favorite photo sharing mobile app, Instagram.

1. Theophilus London chilled with footwear god Giuseppe Zanotti at dinner one night and got him to do what you’re seeing above.

2. amFAR held their annual Cinema Against AIDS gala, where supermodels and superbloggers mingled, like Doutzen Kroes and Rumi Neely:

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3. P. Diddy hosted a crazy party on a monster yacht:

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4. L’Oreal Paris set up a fancy beauty suite to help pretty people get even more pretty, like athlete/actress/model Aimee Mullins

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5. Supermodel Anja Rubik threw a party for erotic fashion rag 25 Magazine, which her fellow supermodel friends flocked to:

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6. Just for good measure, here’s a lasting FML shot of a gold freakin’ Mercedes that someone drove to the amFAR gala:

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Party Like a Cannes Film Festival Attendee Without Leaving New York

Ah, Cannes. The films, the celebrities, the red carpets, the … incredible effort and expense of getting there. If you really add up the numbers, it might not be worth the fuel needed to power your superyacht into the harbor. And is Cannes the only place in the world where you can sip rosé and dine on artichoke tartes in the company of tipsy Eurpeans? It is not. You can do just that in the city of New York’s Meatpacking District, because Brasserie Beaumarchais is serving a Cannes-themed dinner series for the duration of the festival across the pond (Wednesday, May 15 – Thursday, May 23) for the completely reasonable price of $65. That’s dollars, not euros. 

This French-inspired four-course tasting menu and rosé wine pairing dinner includes the aforementioned tarte á l’artichaut paired with St. Andrieu Cotes de Provence Rosé, and lamb chops with tomato confit, goat cheese and chickpea panisse with Jean Pierre Gaussen Bandol Rosé. All the while, the euro-house will be playing on the stereo and cute French girls will do that wiggly chair dance thing while their tanned, toned boyfriends think about how many buttons they should leave open on their silk shirts (it’s between four and all of them). There may or may not be sparklers. 

You need to make reservations to get a table for this cinematic event, and the price doesn’t apply to Friday and Saturday nights, but otherwise it’s an easy way to feel the Côte d’Azur vibe without leaving the city. But you should really come armed with a few Cannes-related conversation topics. For that, I advise you to check out BlackBook film enthusiast Hillary Weston’s classic post on the subject: Sacre Bleu! The Ten Most Infamous Moments of Cannes (including historic Simone Silva booby photo), as well as her Cannes 2013 cheat sheets, Ryan Gosling, James Franco, & Roman Polanski Head to Cannes With This Year’s 2013 Line-Up and Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ Will Open the 2013 Cannes Film Festival

No need to thank us, just keep our rosé glasses filled.

[BlackBook New York Guide; Listing for Brasserie Beaumarchais; BlackBook Côte d’Azur Guide; Subscribe to the BlackBook Happenings Email Newsletter; More by Victor Ozols; Follow me on Twitter]

The 10 Most Surprising Facts About The South Of France

The French Riviera. Cote d’Azur. That Mediterranean Coast With The Croissants. No matter what you call it, there’s one image that comes to mind: wealth, in the form of private, pebble beaches; yachts with their own Wikipedia page that are worth $210 million and owned by Saudi billionaires; and bronzed French men, too. And while that’s all there – oh, is it there – you’ll also find a lot more that you wouldn’t expect. Having just returned from my mother-daughter bonding trip to the French coast, here are the top 10 surprising facts about the south of France.

1.     Between the hours of 2pm and 7pm, no restaurants serve food, which completely explains how the French stay thin. For Americans (me), this is devastating. Bring trail mix.

2.     But French people really do eat a lot. I saw so many fit women devouring –and finishing – dessert samplers filled with profiteroles and crème brûlée at lunch, which means either it’s probably all genetic, they only eat one meal a day, and/or their ingredients are just a lot fresher and less manufactured than ours so they don’t need to be vegan.

3.     While St. Tropez is as glamorous as you think it is with its $12 cappuccinos from Sénéquier Café and white sand-covered floors in L’Escale, the serene cobblestone village Ramatuelle just 20 minutes away provides the calm you may crave amid the wild nights and opulence.

4.     Five days in, and you realize you might as well be on the island of Manhattan, standing in the middle of the Meatpacking District with a bag of very fresh baguettes, because that’s totally what the coast feels like; the wealth, the rosé, the nightclubs, the fashion, and everyone looking like they’re ready to go out – at 2pm.

5.     The cappuccinos really aren’t better than at NYC places like Bee’s Knee’s, and they’re a lot less strong. I missed that spot.

6.     If you’re an American, you will feel both incandescently happy to be there and devastatingly insecure because no matter how many suede black heels, pastel blazers, and satin scarves you wear, you will fall short of looking like “them.” The French folks look both effortless and effortful, since they’re naturally good looking and, on top of it, impeccably put together.

7.     Elton John bought a massive house in Nice that overlooks the entire city, can be seen from the main port, and is next door to a castle.

8.     Nice feels like a mixture of Barcelona cosmopolitan and St. Tropez charm. And the building in Cannes where the film festival takes place – the Palais des Festivals – looks like a convention center in Kansas.

9.     Monaco is its own country, and the language and food of choice: Italian. Want the best? Head to Le Pinocchio, right by the Prince’s Palace.

10.   Leave your sneakers at home. You’re in French country now, suga.

Follow Bonnie on Twitter here

Book It Now: Where To Eat, Stay, & Play At Cannes Film Festival

On May 15th, the two-week, invite-only film festival lands in Cannes. While the Cannes Film Festival honors films worldwide and across all genres, it’s historically honored the following: nipple slips on the Oscar-worthy red carpet, magazine cover-worthy poses by Selma Hayek at the annual Vanity Fair party, and covert make-outs between Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. But of greater concern is what you will be doing: where you will eat, stay, and play while attending (or observing from your beach umbrella) the festival. Here are Cannes’ most in-demand hotels, restaurants, and clubs. Book them now. 

Mononymous French Actress and Director Maïwenn Takes on the Police in ‘Polisse’

After winning the Jury Prize at Cannes last year, it was only time before Maïwenn’s third film, Polisse, would make its way into American cinemas. The actress-turned-director and writer may be best known to audiences in the states for her roles in films such as High Tension and The Fifth Element, but she has been writing and acting throughout her entire career, leading up to her most lauded work to date. Both unnerving and jarring, Polisse dives into the world of France’s Child Protection Unit, a police division that handles the children’s safety from sexual abuse to teen crimes. Based on real cases, the film gives a broad overview of the daily life in the unit and they way in which these police must deal with keeping their work and personal lives at a distance. Maïwenn not only co-wrote and directed the film, but she also co-stars as a photojournalist sent in the document the unit. We spoke to Maïwenn about taking on such a heavy subject, how she and her actors prepared, and the challenges of having such a multi-hyphenated job title.

Were you nervous about taking on a kind of story with this subject matter?
Well, I was afraid but I’m always afraid when I decide to make a movie, which is good for me to be afraid of.

What were you afraid of with this story specifically?
I was afraid to make an easy movie because the subject was so dark and sad, and I didn’t to put this frivolity in front of the movie. That was a trap and I didn’t want to fall into it.

How did you go about writing the script? What was your process and research like?
Well, I decided to make a choice for the cases; I wanted to have normal cases, basic cases; I didn’t want to have spectacular cases. I didn’t want to show them as heroes, so it was really important for me to not have a judgment against them and not love them too much. Otherwise it’s a pro-police movie, which I think it is not.

Through interning, were you surprised at what you found or discovered?
I was surprised by the statement of sexuality with teenagers. They don’t have any taboos anymore—they know everything from the internet or Facebook. It was a new world in front of me, and I felt so old when I discovered that now they all know everything about sexuality. They’re completely lost with the love subject; it’s not because you have Facebook or the internet that you know how love works. I found them very lost, actually.

Your cases were based on real cases. Were the characters also based on real people?
No, the actual characters were just created from my imagination. The characters are not based on the real cops because, in the film, I am staying with only one group. In reality I was not staying with one group; I was moving everyday… everyday I was changing groups. I think it’s much stronger if we only follow one group to get to know them more deeply.

There was an interesting dynamic between the different departments—the CPU and the other police departments clashing sometimes. Is that how it was when you went and studied with them and something you wanted to shed light on?
Yes, it was actually quite true to reality. The CPU and the other departments—it’s a very tense relationship. The CPU isn’t respected; they’re not looked up to. They actually have a nickname in French, which translates to Milk Bottle Cops or the Milk Bottle Unit. When you imagine yourself as a cop, you don’t imagine yourself behind a desk talking with a kid. You picture a cop car and a gun. These are cops that do something very different from other cops, and they’re looked down upon by the other agencies.

Throughout the film you go from these very dark heart-wrenching moments to scenes that are lighter and more comical in a sense. Did you want to create that dichotomy to make it not so harsh of a film?
I chose to do this because that is reality: this is how they are. They use humor to be able to keep standing on their feet rather than collapsing—so it’s just real.

How did the actors prepare for their roles? Did they go through training as well?
They did a workshop right before the shoot. They were locked in a room like school for the day with cops from the CPU, so they had a deep coaching for one week: watching documentaries, talking with cops all day long, training with guns, etc. I did an internship, and they did a workshop.

You open the film with “The Island of Children,” which comes off as a very happy, light song—a decision that seems almost sinister.
I loved the song, and it’s quite scary and atrocious to have these children juxtaposed with this song, which is from Sesame Street in the ‘70s. The lyrics of the song say things like, “the island of the children, there’s the good guys and the bad guys.” It’s really exactly what the movie is about, and so I thought it was a very sarcastic way to introduce my subject.

Did you find challenges in being the writer, director, and actor?
I’ve done all of that for my three movies. For this one, I figured out that it was a mistake because the character that I’m playing is the opposite of my position on the set. On the set I am the boss and have to give energy to all the crew and to the actors. I have to carry all the problems on my back. My character is the opposite: she’s wild and she’s lost, and I found out that difficult for me to deal with. I think you cannot play anything you want when you direct a movie; it has to match with the energy that you need when you direct yourself.

Are you hoping that a film like this will sort of expose your work to more mainstream American audiences?
Well, I didn’t make the movie to have that. I’ve been so faithful to my desire, and I never even expect the success that I had in France. To me it was like a miracle, you know; no one believed in the movie, no one wanted to give money for that. I was so shocked and surprised and happy and proud to have this success in France. It’s not my goal to be popular; my goal is to keep the desire to always make a movie. It’s like when you decide to get married to someone: your biggest hope is to stay in love with them.

Do you hope to continue with films like this that are not just meant to entertain but show something important?
I will say most likely, but I have to admit that with Polisse, I did this despite myself. It wasn’t my intention; really, I just set out to make a movie. I don’t really have this intellectual relation or this remote intellectual step in my process. I just do things.

Sacre Bleu! The Ten Most Infamous Moments of Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival, now in its 65th year and currently underway (it wraps the 27th), is known for red carpet fashion, parties, unjust Palmes, and outrageous accusations and statements made by auteurs against either the system or other directors. We’ve compiled a timeline of the most outrageous moments in Cannes history. 

1954:  Breast in Show
B-movie actress Simone Silva (who died when she was 29, we learned while reading her sad Wikipedia page) posed topless in photographs for her honorary title “Miss Festival 1954” with Robert Mitchum. To a world unfamiliar with breasts or Robert Mitchum, this was quite a scandale.

1969: Easy Riders
Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson, and Co. showed up at Cannes and pretty much peed and drank their way through the town. Hopper, who was in the heyday of his hard-living, took home Best First Work, thereby legitimizing both independent cinema and doing lots of drugs. 

1985: A French Witticism!
It wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last time that an international director gets a faceful of pie. But when New Wave filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard was pied in the face by a Belgian journalist, he simply licked his pie off his cigar and said, "C’est ce qui arrive quand le cinema muet rencontre le cinema a textes," which translates to, "This is what happens when silent movies meet talking pictures."

1989: Do the Wrong Thing
When Spike Lee didn’t win the Palmes d’Or for Do the Right Thing (which went to Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies, and Videotape)he blamed jury president Wim Wenders. Mr. Lee left the festival saying that at home he had a Louisville Slugger with Wenders’s name on it.

1991: Europoops
Lars von Trier brought his film Europa to Cannes, which won the Jury Prize. Upon the realization that he did not win the Palme d’Or (which went to the Coen Brothers for Barton Fink) and actually shared the Jury Prize (with Maroun Bagdadi for Out of Life), he stormed out of the festival brandishing his middle finger and publicly called jury president Roman Polanski a midget.

2001: Real Life Bloodsport
To celebrate the screening of 24 Hour Party People, the four actors portraying members of real-life punk band Happy Mondays took to the beach, where they pelted each other with dead pigeons.

2007: Unbeelievable
Jerry Seinfeld arrived at the festival mid-air dressed as a bee to promote Bee Movie, that year’s computer-animated clunker.

2009: The Triumph of the Balls
A herd of naked cyclists, led by Belgian director Felix van Groeningen, descended upon Cannes to promote La Merditude Des Choses (The Shittiness of Things). It didn’t win.

2011: The Great Hitler Debate
Lars von Trier, no stranger to Cannes controversy, created a fury when he suggested that he sympathized with Hitler. If anything, he managed to get powerful performance out of Melancholia star Kirsten Dunst as she fidgeted uncomfortably next to him at his press conference