Cannes Film Festival 2013: 18th May Reactions Part 2 (‘Bends’, ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’)

Joel & Ethan Coen

Joel & Ethan Coen

The second of today’s Cannes roundups. Good luck to everyone (unsuccessfully) scrambling to get into Inside Llewyn Davis following two hours of queuing in the pouring rain. Wouldn’t wanna be ya… well, actually, I really, really would.


Marie-Pierre Duhamel, MUBI Notebook

“Careful location choices and a sharp sense of space as well as Christopher Doyle’s sensitive images provide the right frame to the story: from upper class apartments, shops and tea-houses to urban landscapes that give the impression of an endless metropolis, Hong Kong and Shenzhen appear like one. The story shows how deep the real differences go.”

Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

“Both of these characters are perhaps too wrapped up in their own woes to recognise and appreciate the agonies experienced by the other person, even though they spend so much time together. That sentiment isn’t quite enough to make for an engrossing film experience, but it suggests a filmmaker capable of deep emotional sensitivity.”

Maggie Lee, Variety

“Aesthetically, Lau’s debut is beautifully assembled by a top-pedigree production crew, but it remains a modest accomplishment in scope and impact.”

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“The scenario could easily have turned schematic, but the director handles it with delicacy, and her two main actors convey a lot in performances with remarkably few outward displays of emotion.”


John Bleasdale, Cine-Vue

Bends: economic crisis put in perspective with a young couple expecting unofficial 2nd child. 3 stars

Adam Cook, Cinemezzo

Flora Lau’s visually impressive debut BENDS, shot by Chris Doyle, is undercut by tedious pacing and sterilely drawn characters

Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club

Bends (Lau): W/O. Never even really got a sense of what this is, to be honest. Totally enervating.

Kenji Fujishima, In Review Online

The film, btw, was called BENDS and featured Carina Lau and lensing by Christopher Doyle. Wasn’t great, but it looked terrific.

Nick James, Sight & Sound

I really enjoyed Flora Lau’s BEND, about a rich woman and her chauffeur but nothing like that pairing suggests. Gentle subtlety

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

Bends – 2/5. Cold, disconnected direction holds viewers at arms length in what should have been an effortlessly resonant drama


Ryland Aldrich, Twitch Film

“The documentary really comes to life when Pavich uses this art to roughly animate whole sequences from the film. Stylized animation is used in a variety of ways throughout the doc and it brings delightful levity in places.”

Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter

“For all its claims of prophetic genius, Pavich’s documentary may well prove to be a more enjoyable film than the high-camp carnival of excess it seeks to commemorate.”

Peter Debruge, Variety

“Pavich does an admirable job tracking down surviving parties (except for the suspicious-sounding cast), opting for a humorous rather than indignant tone to the interviews. In shaping them for the film, he happens upon a compelling theory: that even in its still-born form, the film manifested the sort of collective conscious that Jodorowsky was trying to peddle through its plot, trickling down to influence other sci-fi films that followed.”

Ben Kenigsberg, RogerEbert.com

“This is the type of quixotic project that no longer exists, conceived in an era when money for artistic ambition was considered no object.”

Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

“I don’t hope to see a movie at this festival, or all year long, that’s as inspiring as Frank Pavich’s documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” the story of an enormously influential film that was never made.”


Ryland Aldrich, Twitch Film

JODOROWSKY’S DUNE is an excellently put together docu about a truly fascinating subject. Many laughs and much incite throughout.

Peter Debruge, Variety

JODOROWSKY’S DUNE (Frank Pavich, 2013), – 8/10

What if the director of EL TOPO had adapted Frank Herbert’s novel? Though that project fell through, docu is mind-blowing in its own right.

William Goss, MSN Movies

Jodorowsky’s Dune: having not seen any of his films (I know, I know), I still dug this lively look at his aborted adaptation.

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

“I’m 82 but I’m not gggggg” (sic) says Jodo. Great stories about him luring in Dali with money, Orson Welles with food.

Craig Skinner, Hey U Guys

JODOROWSKY’S DUNE (B) A well told tale of what could be the greatest film never made. Excellent contributions & mixed devices.

Damon Wise, Empire

If you already know the story, Jodorowsky’s Dune doesn’t have much to add. But Jodo’s joyous telling of it is glorious


Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

“While feeling like a somewhat minor entry for the Coens, Inside Llewyn Davis is a bittersweet tale brimming with wit and humor and is sure to satisfy the appetite of hungry cinephiles and music fans alike.”

Alex Billington, First Showing

“As with any Coen Brothers film, repeat viewings and further reflection are necessary for deeper interpretation, and that’s the case here. I’m already anxious for another viewing, to be charmed all over again. Many of the scenes and interactions weigh so much on the reality of musicians in this world and what they go through just to express their voice.”

John Bleasdale, Cine-Vue

“There is out and out parody here, but also a beauty. This is a romantic irony that says, ‘I’m joking but, you know, not really.'”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“The film has some classic Coen tropes: wide establishing shots of eerily empty spaces and interiors with receding perspective lines, deadpan faces, querulously bespectacled old ladies and the mandatory old guy in a semi-darkened office. But the authorial signature is not quite so emphatic as of old, and the Coens treat themselves to a lot of straightforwardly funny lines.”

Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

“This is a film rich in mood, character and atmosphere that may one day be remembered as an all American classic as not a single piece is out of place, not that you’d necessarily notice as you’ll be too busy drinking it all in.”

Dave Calhoun, Time Out London

“The Coens have given us a melancholic, sometimes cruel, often hilarious counterfactual version of music history. It’s a what-if imagining of a cultural also-ran that maybe tells us more about the truth than the facts themselves ever could.”

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

“This is instant A-list Coens; enigmatic, exhilarating, irresistible”

Jordan Cronk, Slant

“Befitting its title character, Inside Llewyn Davis is a modest, unassuming film, but one with enough latent charm and unique personality to standout even amidst a career of such wild diversions.”

Scott Foundas, Variety

“As they did with the 1940s Hollywood setting of “Barton Fink,” the Coens have again taken a real time and place and freely made it their own, drawing on actual persons and events for inspiration, but binding themselves only to their own bountiful imaginations.”

William Goss, MSN Movies

“To call “Inside Llewyn Davis” a minor work doesn’t render it any less a pleasure to watch; it’s to admit that the film’s melancholy depiction of the ’60s folk scene in Greenwich Village (and beyond) may only improve in the interim.”

Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

“From a technical standpoint, Inside Llewyn Davis is glorious, starting with cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel’s de-saturated period look and production designer Jess Gonchor’s loving re-creation of 1960s New York. This isn’t a nostalgic New York, though: The Coens’ sharp dialogue and clear-eyed observations about Llewyn’s creative struggles keep the proceedings from being too cozy.”

Glenn Heath Jr., Press Play

“Not surprisingly, sadness is one of the film’s strongest and most resonant themes, expressed primarily through Llewyn’s (Oscar Isaac) searching eyes, which convey yearning and defeat simultaneously. Yet the Coens match the character’s extended melancholy with a sense of narrative openness, especially in the random events that allow the meandering stream-of-consciousness story to exude hopeful qualities along the way.”

Jordan Hoffman, Film.com

“It’s a character piece, and one of the best, and most understated, movies I’ve ever seen about the grieving process.”

Jake Howell, Movie City News

“The take-home message: this is a superb film; easily the finest to debut at Cannes thus far. Going further down the line, it’s also a Coen brothers best, sure to upend fans’ established list of favorites.”

Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

“Definitely a bit darker than people might expect, particularly in the latter stages, “Inside Llewyn Davis” celebrates those whose moment at fame will forever be a phantom.”

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

“It all feels a little effortless, like the Coens’ on great form is still the Coens at half cock.”

Craig Kennedy, Living in Cinema

“In their younger days, they were often wrongly accused by critics of disliking their sad sack loser characters. The compassion they show for Llewyn Davis and the dignity they allow him should eliminate that notion for all time.”

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“Llewyn’s acoustic compositions are mainly solemn works, and they reflect the character’s solitary existence in the wake of a former bandmate’s suicide that precedes the story. More than that, “Llewyn Davis” creates the sense of inhabiting its character’s world without forcing his subjectivity in your face.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“Set in, but not comprehensively about, the Greenwich Village folk music scene circa 1961, this is a gorgeously made character study leavened with surrealistic dimensions both comic and dark, an unsparing look at a young man who, unlike some of his contemporaries, can’t transcend his abundant character flaws and remake himself as someone else.”

David Neary, Next Projection

“A fantastic character study stumbles only when the Coens try too hard to be themselves. As a period film it could perhaps look better, but it could not feel better. A new folk revival is on the horizon…”

Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

“The Coen brothers’ hilariously melancholic ode to the ’60s folk scene is an odyssey worth taking.”

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice

“Intentionally or otherwise, the Coens might be channeling the Hal Ashby of The Landlord, or Next Stop, Greenwich Village-era Paul Mazursky. Whatever they’re doing, it’s remarkable—cockeyed humanism at its best.”


Ryland Aldrich, Twitch Film

The Coens’ INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is light on plot but immensely enjoyable due to Oscar Isaac’s talent for playing a likable asshole.

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

Llewyn Davis is a bittersweet treat for fans of folk music + the best deadpan comedy in years. Still felt like minor Cohen Bros

Geoff Andrew, Sight & Sound

Coens’ INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is a delight: typically quirky, funny, beautifully observed tale of a folk singer who wasn’t Dylan

Alex Billington, First Showing

Inside Llewyn Davis – A breath of fresh air from Coens, a perfect period piece. Fun, tragic, earnest, enjoyed every last second.

John Bleasdale, Cine-Vue

Inside Llewyn Davis great stuff classic Coen. Barton Fink, Lebowski, have a new soul mate

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Oh mon Dieu. The glorious Inside Llewyn Davis (dirs. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen) is the best thing at ! So far anyway

Xan Brooks, The Guardian

Inside Lleywn Davis the most (1st?) truly warm-hearted Coen brothers film; a tender, unsentimental salute to the unsung singer

Dave Calhoun, Time Out London

CANNES: the Coens’ INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS was a treat. Swerves the music biopic for a reverential but black spin on 60s NY folk from ground up.

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

The Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis is a melancholic comic delight. Star-making performance from Oscar Issac, WONDERFUL tunes

Adam Cook, Cinemezzo

Flora Lau’s visually impressive debut BENDS, shot by Chris Doyle, is undercut by tedious pacing and sterilely drawn characters

Mark Cosgrove, Watershed

Coen’s deliver visually muted parody of 60s NY folk scene – great arrangements of Von Ronk. Rev Gary Davis by T Bone Burnett

Jordan Cronk, Slant

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (J. and E. Coen): Another left turn from the bros, and a seamless one. Their funniest film since LEBOWSKI. B

Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club

Adam Driver’s performance of “Please, Mr. Kennedy” in INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is the greatest thing in the history of things.

Inside Llewyn Davis (Coens): 57. A close cousin to O BROTHER, not just musically but in its picaresque semi-randomness (+ Goodman ogre).

Loved the first half hour or so, but at a certain point (let’s blame Karpovsky!) it faltered for me and never fully recovered.

Anyway, if you loved O BROTHER and think LEBOWSKI stays strong all the way to the end you should be pretty excited for this.

Peter Debruge, Variety

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2013), – 10/10

Exquisitely constructed. The movie David Chase wanted NOT FADE AWAY to be, informed (to an extent) by character-etching eps of THE SOPRANOS.

Scott Foundas, Variety

T Bone Burnett’s work on INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is compelling evidence that the Academy should reinstate the Best Song/Adaptation Score award.

Kenji Fujishima, In Review Online

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (2013, Coens): Passion, alas, isn’t everything, as Davis learns—or does he? Dirge-like in pace and visuals.

William Goss, MSN Movies

Inside Llewyn Davis: …

Logan Hill, New York Times

Inside Llewyn Davis: Grt Oscar Isaac is convincingly dyspeptic as NYC folkie; his insane tune w/ Adam Driver & will go viral.

Glenn Heath Jr., Press Play

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (A-): Comedic & meandering melancholy of missing out on opportunity, passion, love, & history. Wonderful.

I can’t shake the inherent sadness of INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. That it’s matched with such seamless comedy only makes it that much better.

Jordan Hoffman, Film.com

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is the best movie about grief since LAST TANGO IN PARIS. Dave Van Ronk over closing credits & I need a kleenex.

For those wondering, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is less of a Dave Van Ronk biopic than ROUND MIDNIGHT is Bud Powell’s – but there are moments.

Jake Howell, Movie City News

Well, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is incredible. Rave review to follow tomorrow.

The cat. The songs. The laughs. The feels. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, Twitter.

Peter Howell, Toronto Star

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS: On the knife edge between satire and homage, a primo Coens take on pre-Dylan NYC folk. And a scene-stealing cat.

Nick James, Sight & Sound

Darker than A SERIOUS MAN with blacker humour, the Coens’ skit on the 60s folk scene INSIDE LLEWELYN DAVIS could be called ON BLEAKER STREET

…. And the Coens give the pomposity of folk music a real pounding. Strange, gloomy and delightful

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (Coen) Oh Serious Man, Where Art Thou? Lovely stuff. And hilarious.

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

Calling it: The cat from INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS is this year’s Uggie.

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

Coen bros.’ Inside Llewyn Davis first look: slender but lots of charm and Brother, Where Art Thou? echoes

Kate Muir, The Times

Dammit – looks like the Palm Dog will be won by a cat this year: Ulysses, the ginger tom star of the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

Inside Llewyn Davies. Bit underwhelmed. Good but hardly great

David Neary, Next Projection

Inside Llewyn Davis: Melancholy character study with a superb script & gorgeous period detail. Doesn’t fully deliver, but the music astounds

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com

As if I need to tell you how lovely The Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis is!

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

Real pleasure at last with the Coens’ INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. Clever, funny, literate, sad…

So we learn Carey Mulligan can sing and Justin Timberlake can wear a Captain Haddock beard. But Oscar Isaac – superb. Who knew?

What do those Coens do to get the peculiar ring of every single spoken line?

Makes you want to dig out those long-forgotten back catalogues. Fred Neil, Jackson Frank and people only T Bone Burnett has heard of.

Jason Solomons, The Observer

Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis: funny, loveable shaggy cat tale, echoes Lebowski, Serious Man and O Brother, but not quite as good

Jeff Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere

“Inside Llewyn Davis” is as perfectly & completely realized a Coen Brothers film as I’ve ever seen, but it’s about less being a lot more.

Damon Wise, Empire

Coens film is small but soulful; in the Barton Fink mould with nods to Miller’s Crossing and Hudsucker.

Neil Young, Jigsaw Lounge

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (Coen&Coen ’13) 7/10. Comic/oneiric character-study ever-anchored by Oscar Isaac’s star-making performance.

in terms of previous Coen films, I’d say INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS starts off pretty O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? but ends up much more BARTON FINK.

I liked INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS quite a lot, but these ecstatic reactions to the Cannes premiere strike me as classic cases of “Cannes-itis”

Borgman (Alex van Warmerdam) – IN COMPETITION
Monsoon Shoutout (Amit Kumar) – SPECIAL SCREENING
The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh) – UN CERTAIN REGARD
Seduced and Abandoned (James Toback) – SPECIAL SCREENING
Death March (Adolfo Alix Jr.) – UN CERTAIN REGARD
Blood Ties (Guillaume Canet) – SPECIAL SCREENING
The Last of the Unjust (Claude Lanzmann) – SPECIAL SCREENING

Ilo Ilo (Anthony Chen) – DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT
Tip Top (Serge Bozon) – DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT
L’escale (Kaveh Bakhtiari) – DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT
For Those in Peril (Paul Wright) – CRITICS’ WEEK
The Lunchbox (Ritesh Batra) – CRITICS’ WEEK
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (David Lowery) – CRITICS’ WEEK


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