Festivals

Cannes Film Festival 2013: 24th May Reactions (‘The Immigrant’, ‘Manuscripts Don’t Burn’, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’)

James Gray

James Gray

This year’s banner festival is winding down, with many critics already taking their leave despite directors Gray, Jarmusch and Polanski sitting tight on the schedule. This morning, we had my most anticipated film of the festival, Gray’s The Immigrant, playing to possibly the most divided critical response at the festival so far. I was certain this one would go over unanimously; or did it just go over their heads? The haters are all wrong, surely. They’re damn wrong.

THE IMMIGRANT (GRAY) REVIEWS

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

“Careful manipulation of lighting and wholly accurate production design further heighten this sense of place and time, in its delivery giving audiences a chance to inhabit the lives and struggles of working class people from another era as if it were our own.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“James Gray’s shapeless, stifling opera of sorrow is overlaid with a thick sepia of solemnity that can’t obscure its lack of ideas.”

Dave Calhoun, Time Out London

“Gray’s desire to tell this story as carefully as possibly, leaning on a quiet classical approach and avoiding overplaying the claustrophobia and grubbiness of Ewa’s situation, is admirable enough. But the result is airless and equivocal.”

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

“This is unquestionably the biggest disappointment of the festival: Gray knew exactly how to fill this kind of large canvas in 2007’s We Own The Night, but The Immigrant still feels like a preparatory sketch.”

Adam Cook, MUBI

“Unlike Gray’s previous films that assert the characteristics of each relationship, often in the first couple scenes, The Immigrant tucks away its intentions from view. Instead of the enveloping emotions and a certain straightforwardness in the presentation of the movie’s universe, we’re left altogether uncertain of who really feels what and what is developing.”

Jordan Cronk, Slant

“There are moments of emotional devastation here worthy of Shakespeare, the combined power of the film’s arc is reminiscent of Francis Ford Coppola’s work or even that of the last generation of epic filmmakers from Hollywood’s golden age.”

Peter Debruge, Variety

“Cementing himself as the great classicist of his generation, James Gray turns back the clock to 1921 in “The Immigrant,” a romantic tale that cuts to the very soul of the American experience.”

Tim Grierson, Paste

“Harking back to seemingly unfashionable modes of storytelling, the latest from director James Gray goes about its business with perfectly manicured detail and a deliberate pace, looking at the exploits of a luckless Polish woman newly arrived to the U.S. who learns how difficult attaining the American Dream can be.”

Glenn Heath Jr., Press Play

“For all its thematic heft, The Immigrant also functions as a striking cinematic collage of tinted shades and shadows. Whether it’s the luminous shot of colorful light streaming through massive stained glass windows, or a police beat-down inside a tunnel lit entirely by flashlights, the film’s images, shot by the great cinematographer Darius Khondji, have a ghostly quality that directly connect with the characters’ desperate will to survive.”

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

“The film is alienatingly solemn and emotionally muddled, its central relationship rarely coming across as either convincing or sincere.”

Daniel Kasman, MUBI

“This is a story—and period “history”—with no central stage, no spotlight. It’s muted drama seen from a dark corner.”

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

“Sometimes we feel like that self-same intelligence can constrain him from relinquishing just a little of his self-control and coloring outside the lines, though, and so it feels here. “The Immigrant” is contained, restrained, thoughtful filmmaking that satisfies on nearly every level, except for the desire for a little chaos.”

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“Gray’s fifth directorial effort is a conflicting experience admirable and powerfully executed in parts, cold and meandering in others.”

Guy Lodge, Hit Fix

“There’s an instinctive tendency among critics to ascribe the word “valentine” to any film this exquisitely textured and regionally specific, but if “The Immigrant” is a valentine to the Big Apple, it’s a tattered, tear-stained one: rarely has the promised land looked quite so unpromising, even within the geographically consistent and consistently moody oeuvre of James Gray.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“Enhanced by a splendidly atmospheric recreation of the Lower East Side, the intimately focused work is anchored by another superior performance by Marion Cotillard, which, one can be sure, The Weinstein Company will spotlight to build the often downbeat, slightly off-kilter film into a draw in specialized release.”

Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

“I often found myself second-guessing the film, questioning how, and if, it would all come together, even as all the elements casually, masterfully accumulated and coalesced, building to as pure a powerhouse of a climax as I’ve ever experienced.”

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice

“For me, it’s yet more evidence that Gray is a director who can tease rich, subtle colors out of melodrama. He’s unafraid of strong emotion; he doesn’t care about looking cool. And the movie he’s made, a stylized take on the experience of a Polish immigrant newly arrived in New York in the early 1920s, feels classical, but it also breathes.”

THE IMMIGRANT (GRAY)  TWEETS

Geoff Andrew, Sight & Sound

James Gray’s THE IMMIGRANT a dull, listless, soft-pedalled look at immigant experience in 20s New York. Joaquin Phoenix not good

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

Despite some contrived scenarios, The Immigrant features two great performances from Phoenix/Cotillard even if its a bit dull.

Alex Billington, First Showing

The Immigrant – Yea that was a trainwreck. Boring story, awful performances. Even Marion Cotillard could’ve save it. Worst of fest.

Xan Brooks, The Guardian

The Immigrant plays founding myth of America as lumbering sepia-toned melodrama. Dogged first half, then the film falls flat

Dave Calhoun, Time Out London

CANNES: James Gray’s ‘The Immigrant’, totally inert and unpersuasive portrait of life on the margins in 1920s NYC.

Justin Chang, Variety

What little emotion I felt in THE IMMIGRANT can be credited largely to John Tavener’s “Funeral Canticle,” on loan from THE TREE OF LIFE.

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

The Immigrant by James Gray: thin drama in a richly realised world. Sauce without meat. A film people will praise by mistake.

Adam Cook, MUBI

THE IMMIGRANT: another masterpiece from James Gray; a new direction for one of America’s best filmmakers.

Caught so much more in 2nd viewing of THE IMMIGRANT: stunning visual touches, so emotional, so beautiful…My favorite of

Jordan Cronk, Slant

THE IMMIGRANT (J. Gray): Intimate bonds across epic backdrop. Melodrama spun into grand tragedy. Gray’s masterpiece, finally. A

Granted, I’ve been wrong about these things before, but I just don’t see an outcome where THE IMMIGRANT doesn’t take the Palme.

Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club

The Immigrant (Gray): 56. Immediately rises to middle of Palme list. Possibly a James Gray film—think THE YARDS, WE OWN THE NIGHT.

Peter Debruge, Variety

THE IMMIGRANT (James Gray, 2013), – 8/10

Marion Cotillard’s eyes haunt moving period epic (too slow for some) that cements Gray’s standing as the great classicist of his generation.

Kenji Fujishima, In Review Online

It’s rare for a movie to leave me teary-eyed, but Joaquin Phoenix has a monologue near the end of THE IMMIGRANT that did it.

Oh, and THE IMMIGRANT is great. Marion Cotillard’s terrific, and Darius Khondji’s Gordon Willis-like cinematography is gorgeous.

Tim Grierson, Paste

THE IMMIGRANT: James Gray’s period drama is so intelligently made, beautifully rendered and yet so oddly uninvolving.

Aaron Hillis, Movie Maker Magazine

THE IMMIGRANT: Soulful, classical, a future classic? Wasn’t sold on Joaquin or J-Renner casting until the shattering end; my fault.

Jake Howell, Movie City News

THE IMMIGRANT’s melodrama may have worked for me ~30 films ago; will return to it later down the line.

Peter Howell, Toronto Star

THE IMMIGRANT: James Gray authentically directs huddled masses but it’s Marion Cotillard’s picture. Her truth averts melodrama.

Nick James, Sight & Sound

James Gray’s films, though well-crafted, are bereft of cinematic sensibility. THE IMMIGRANT confirms my skepticism

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

THE IMMIGRANT (Gray) Luxe Hollywood classicism of the oldest school, but like a 3rd tier Terence Davies movie. Left me cold.

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

James Gray’s THE IMMIGRANT is impressively, flawed, ambitious, the most divisive competition film at

Guy Lodge, Hit Fix

THE IMMIGRANT (B+/A-) Fifty shades of Gray. Silent romance with words, not that the leads need them. Nykvistian imagery. Floored by finale.

Could be Cotillard’s best since LA VIE EN ROSE. Certainly the most ravishing she’s ever looked on screen.

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

The Immigrant begins well but tapers off in 2nd half. Not in any way the awards player we hoped for

Tweets about The Immigrant confirm it wasn’t just my tiredness but a lot of it is really fucking boring

Michal Oleszczyk, RogerEbert.com

THE IMMIGRANT has just received Palme d’Oleszczyk at . Hope Steven and gang will follow.

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

THE IMMIGRANT: the Snoring 20s.

Craig Skinner, Hey U Guys

THE IMMIGRANT (B) Wonderful period detailing, superb classical filmmaking & a strong central perf from Cotillard. A little sterile though.

THE IMMIGRANT has a beautiful final scene. A touching speech from Phoenix’s character and some stunning composition in the final shot.

Nigel M. Smith, Indiewire

Marion Cotillard is sensational in THE IMMIGRANT. Be shocked if she’s not up for an Oscar next year.

Moved to tears by THE IMMIGRANT. The period detail and look of the film is exquisite. One of my faves at

Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

Goddamn, Gray.

Blake Williams, Indiewire

THE IMMIGRANT (5.4): Handsome classicism that reminded me of Bresson and Dreyer a bit; ought to age well for auteurists, not many else.

Cements Phoenix, for me, as the worst great actor working today. Cotillard, though, I’d never liked until this.

Damon Wise, Empire

Didn’t care much for The Immigrant; this year’s Get Low.

Adam Woodward, Little White Lies

THE IMMIGRANT (James Gray): Get me on the first boat out of here…

Neil Young, Jigsaw Lounge

THE IMMIGRANT (Gray ’13) 5/10. Enervating awards-bait is JG’s first dud since THE YARDS, first Weinstein pic since THE YARDS.

if THE IMMIGRANT is a masterpiece, I’m in the wrong line of work

MANUSCRIPTS DON’T BURN (RASOULOF) REVIEWS

Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter

“An unflinching portrait of state-sponsored evil, Manuscripts Don’t Burn feels like the work of an angry artist who has been jailed, censored and harassed too long. This time it’s personal.”

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

“While the film’s political content is incendiary stuff, it loses its charge somewhat in the communication. The confusing narrative builds up too slowly, front-loading the film with laborious exposition and prolix discussions between the writers about the pros and cons of publishing their work published online, and about the perceived lack of political commitment in Iranian youth (the three writer characters are all elderly).”

Alissa Simon, Variety

“A brave, challenging picture that makes the viewer complicit in the action, it is also perhaps the first film since the declaration of the Islamic Republic to confront so directly the brutality of the feared security apparatus.”

MANUSCRIPTS DON’T BURN (RASOULOF) TWEETS

Kenji Fujishima, In Review Online

MANUSCRIPTS DON’T BURN (2013, Rasoulof): Alternately tedious and invigoratingly angry. But I’m glad a movie like this exists.

Blake Williams, Indiewire

MANUSCRIPTS DON’T BURN (4.0): admire the hell out of Rasoulof for making it; dramatically (un)structured to incite purposeful stupor.

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (JARMUSCH) REVIEWS

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

“Part of what makes Lovers so purely enjoyable is a Jarmuschian charm each character exudes, their scripted form emboldening a relatively familiar cool outcast archetype as they mope around at night; in a way, this is as much a love story as it is one about outsiders, dissecting what it means to live on the fringe.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Jim Jarmusch’s vampire film puts an original spin on a well-worn genre, but there’s something unavoidably studenty about its fascination with muso philosophising and retro cool.”

Dave Calhoun, Time Out London

“At times it feels like a great idea, atmospherically realised, worryingly diluted. Too many times we hear references to getting up at dusk and going to bed at dawn; the talk of humans as zombies is repetitive (even if tagging Los Angeles as ‘zombie central’ is brilliant); and the century-hopping namedropping becomes a little tiresome, even if it’s a good gag at first.”

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

“In the time-honoured Jarmuschian fashion, the few things that happen in Only Lovers Left Alive happen very slowly, but the dialogue is always gloomily amusing, and Swinton and Hiddleston’s delivery of the gags is as cold and crisp as footsteps in fresh snow.”

Jordan Cronk, Slant

“This move from the minimalist character pieces of his early career to the more expressionist touches of his current period has precipitated a greater, perhaps subconscious, attention to the more intangible traits of Jarmusch’s aesthetic on the part of the viewer. I get the feeling Jarmusch is concerned less with metaphor than he is with simply reflecting a universally unconscious state of existence among all creatures, living or non.”

Leslie Felperin, Variety

“Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston have empathic chemistry as the leads, and the pic (acquired by Sony Classics at Cannes) is a smidge more commercial than Jarmusch’s meandering previous effort, “The Limits of Control.” But it still feels like an in-joke intended only for select acolytes, who will probably love it with an undying passion.”

Jordan Hoffman, Film.com

“The real star of this movie is the tone. It’s the original music (by Jozef van Wissem and Squirrel, if that’s a real thing) and the unending barrage of signifiers, sometimes literally unpacked before our eyes.”

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

“It’s an offbeat, fun, and frequently very funny film, lifted out of disposability by some wonderfully rich production design, music cuts and photography, and by the cherishable performances of the leads. It’s also, bearing in mind the director’s recent output, by far the most accessible film he’s made in a while, albeit still a tad on the languid side for many, with its genre roots allowing the director to give full rein to his inherent weirdness within a comprehensible context, thereby not necessarily losing half the audience in befuddlement.”

Guy Lodge, Hit Fix

“It’s a thin premise for what amounts more to an extended sketch than a fully realized love story, though at least the one-ply joke is a droll one, played with good humor by the leads — particularly Swinton, who was pretty much born to deliver Jarmusch’s refined deadpan schtick.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“To outsiders and the film industry, Only Lovers Left Alive might seem like an arty, left-handed attempt to make a genre movie and attract unsuspecting horror and even Twilight fans. To those who have followed Jarmusch’s career from the beginning, the film may rather be read as a coded text and perhaps the closest attempt by the enigmatic, adamantly independent director at veiled and self-consciously twisted autobiography.”

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

“The film is all the more impressive in that it is consciously put together out of the hoariest clichés – drinking blood, improbably extended life cycles, the connection (à la Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction) between vampirism and the heroin lifestyle. But it’s the lightness and the sophisticated good humour with which Jarmusch recombines them that makes Only Lovers… so new.”

Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

“So Jarmusch and his collaborators create their own sublime: Few images at Cannes have ravished me more than each character’s opium-like swoon after they sip their claret-colored libations; no screenplay has gifted me as many laugh out loud moments (the way Hiddleston resignedly speaks the line “You drank…Ian” is all kinds of perfect); and no movie has sent me out into the full-mooned night, all senses elated, on as glad-to-be-alive a high.”

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (JARMUSCH) TWEETS

Geoff Andrew, Sight & Sound

Jim Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE a fun, weird, stylish take on vampire genre. +Tilda Swinton very well cast

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

Hipster vampires inhabit Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’, a witty allegory about the undead bleeding with great music.

Alex Billington, First Showing

Only Lovers Left Alive – Dysfunctional vampires with long hair & iPhones go from Detroit to Tangier. Awkward laughs, history lessons abound.

The deadpan performances by Tilda Swindon and Tom Hiddleston as Jarmusch’s vampires are awkwardly fun, and will earn the film cult status.

Dave Calhoun, Time Out London

CANNES: Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ – inevitably anaemic but occasionally groovy and funny. Lifted by cameos.

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

Jim Jarmusch’s vampire comedy (!) Only Lovers Left Alive is lean & literate deadpan fun. Hiddleston/Swinton are a dream team.

Jordan Cronk, Slant

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (J. Jarmusch): An effortless, impossibly cool genre retrofit. Hypnotic yet alive: A Jarmusch film. B/B+

Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club

Only Lovers Left Alive (Jarmusch): 77. For close to an hour this was shaping up to be one of my favorite films ever. A bit heartbreaking.

After Mia W. shows up it just becomes a fun series of riffs. But long 1st movement is Woody’s list of reasons to live as a vampire movie.

Scott Foundas, Variety

“You drank Ian!” Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS a droll, deadpan, entirely lovely vampire romance. Swinton and Hiddleston superb. Hurt magnificent.

Kenji Fujishima, In Review Online

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (2013, Jarmusch): a slow, luxurious deadpan comedy about two snobbish old souls who refuse to change.

Glenn Heath Jr., Press Play

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (B+/A-): Final stand for individuality and artistic expression. Growing more major by the moment.

Jordan Hoffman, Film.com

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is Jarmusch at his most deadpan & shaggy. Midnight classic. Loved it to pieces.

Hard not to read ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE as a direct rebuke of NW Refn – here is elaborate style enhancing, not smothering, substance.

Best to describe ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE as LAST DAYS meets NAKED LUNCH. With vampires.

Jake Howell, Movie City News

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE: so clever it’s hard not to smile. Lots of deadpan fun. Love the throwbacks to Jarmusch’s earlier work.

Peter Howell, Toronto Star

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE: Rock ‘n’ roll will never die, especially when it’s already undead. J. Jarmusch does cool ghouls.

Nick James, Sight & Sound

Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE was my last Cannes screening. Now – feel like a ‘zombie’ (how vampires refer to humans here)

Dustin Jansick, Way Too Indie

Seems like I am the only one that didn’t care for ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE. How many times did they need to show him staring at old guitars?

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (Jarmusch) Big Jim’s best since DEAD MAN. My favourite comp title.

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

Surprised to find Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is a charming deadpan comedy that resurrects the spirit of his ’80s movies.

Guy Lodge, Hit Fix

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (C+) Jarmusch! Vampires! Exactly what you’d expect! Droll enough, but an extended sketch, badly in need of eroticism.

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

Only Lovers Left Alive was fantastic. Surprisingly hilarious as well. Destined for cult status

David Neary, Next Projection

Only Lovers Left Alive: Amusing take on vampires which takes a tumble in the second half. Looks great and its angular leads have great fun.

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

Jarmusch’s ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE – dust off your best ‘fresh blood’ gags, this does lovely fresh things with the vampire genre…

Most gorgeous looking film in , great soundtrack, very poetic, and you won’t believe how crisply Tilda can deliver a one-liner.

Craig Skinner, Hey U Guys

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (B) An entertaining art rock vampire film from Jarmusch. Meandering but never aimless. Funny too.

Nigel M. Smith, Indiewire

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is meandering sure, but also really entertaining mainly thanks to great Swinton/Hiddleston pairing.

Jeff Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere

Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive” is a perfect William S. Burroughsian nocturnal hipster mood trip…I sank into it like heroin.

“Lovers” blends guitars, vampires, amplifiers, 45 rpms, Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, tiny glasses of gourmet-strength, 100-proof blood…

Damon Wise, Empire

Not at all keen on the Jarmusch

Neil Young, Jigsaw Lounge

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (Jarmusch ’13) 6/10. Like stroking a very clever cat, for two hours. Pleasurable, but … ahhhh … what?

Tilda Swinton very much playing “Tilda Swinton” in ONLY LOVERS. She converses with mushrooms… confidential chats with the Fly Agaric.

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE: nightmare to cast an ‘Adam’ opposite Tilda Swinton’s ‘Eve’. But Tom Hiddleston pulls it off with jaded-boho aplomb.

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE a giddy, esoteric swoon of exquisitely poised smartness. Post-ruin Detroit has never been more adroitly exploited.

nah. On reflection, ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is a 7. I can’t think of anything quite like it.

TOMORROW’S PRESS SCREENINGS:
Venus in Furs (Roman Polanski) – IN COMPETITION
Zulu (Jérôme Salle) – SPECIAL SCREENING

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