Cannes Film Festival 2013: 25th & 26th May Reactions and Awards (‘Venus in Fur’, ‘Zulu’)

Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski

Critics needn’t worry about getting into Polanski’s Venus in Fur today. The numbers are apparently dwindling – as they do every year – leaving those remaining with a little more leg room to catch up on anything they may have missed over the course of the past ten days. For the last time, I’ll collect here reviews and tweets regarding the final two screenings, in addition to listings of each award, from Palme D’or to Grand Prix to Camera D’or, which are announced on the Sunday.


Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Roman Polanski never takes us out of the theatre with his adaptation of David Ives’ play about sexual role-play, but he adds an elegance and wit.”

Dave Calhoun, Time Out London

“In the end, the biggest seduction of all is over us. It’s how Polanski’s film trancends those four walls and its inherent talkiness, by throwing its ideas out to us as a challenge. Our worries are strong early on. Is this just a dry academic exercise? Is Seigner right for the role? Do we want to be stuck inside a theatre for an entire film?”

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

“This is a fun piece of play-acting for as long as it lasts, but it never quite feels like much more. Things may become kinky in front of the lens, but you can sense Polanski lurking behind it throughout, always ready with his safe-word. Cut!”

Scott Foundas, Variety

“For the movie, Polanski, always a master of claustrophobic spaces, has opened the play up ever so slightly, shooting in widescreen with usual cameraman Pawel Edelman and setting the action in a cavernous theater where the stage is dressed for a musical production of “Stagecoach” (complete with large, phallic cacti). If the resulting atmosphere is slightly less pressure-cooker, director and actors prove no less adept at capturing the play’s tricky shifts in tone and perspective.”

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

“But beneath a brittle veneer of verbal dash and cleverness, this stagebound adaptation has little insight to give us into anything except the sexual hubris of an aging man, and frankly, we’re not sure we give a damn.”

Michal Oleszczyk, RogerEbert.com

“It’s the work of a master dabbling in small pieces rather than epic ones, and putting all touches into perfect place without so much as glancing at his canvas.”

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

“Pawel Edelman’s elegant photography and atmospheric lighting, plus economical decor (the stage is set for a musical version of Stagecoach, complete with phallic cacti) make this a hyper-classy minimalist number, and one of cinema’s pithier recent musings on the connections between film and theatre, and actor-director power relations.”

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“A teasing dialectic of subjugation and power, female objectification and emasculating rebuke, the film should titillate European audiences with its mischievous combination of think and kink, while seducing a more limited niche in the U.S.”

Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

“Like Carnage, it’s all a bit of a minor lark until the movie goes full-on Polanski in a deliciously grotesque finale that shows there is still plenty of life left in the gender-bending kinkiness the director has obsessively, uncomfortably scrutinized in works like Cul-de-sac (1966) and The Tenant (1976). At that point, I could do nothing but submit.”


Geoff Andrew, Sight & Sound

Polanski’s theatrical two-hander VENUS IN FUR a delight that reflects on much of his earlier work. Terrific performances too

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

50 Shades of Polanski, Venus in Fur continues the directors streak of meta theatrics on film with a tale of bondage and lust.

Alex Billington, First Showing

Venus in Fur – Meh. Not for me. Would’ve much rather seen the play if anything. Could not stand the lead actress at all.

Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

Really enjoyed Venus in Fur, surprised to already see a lot of negativity.

Dave Calhoun, Time Out London

CANNES: Roman Polanski’s ‘Venus in Fur’ is a spiky, sensual, sneaky two-hander with hints of ‘Performance’ in final scenes. Charmed by it.

‘Venus in Fur’ – Seigner’s age felt a problem at first, but I liked how Polanski turns that on us too. Felt sheepish for thinking it by end.

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

Earlier this week I wrote that Blue is the Warmest Colour is “the binary opposite of dirty old man cinema”. Polanski’s Venus in Fur…isn’t.

Jordan Cronk, Slant

VENUS IN FUR (Polanski): Not sure what he’s tryin to get at with these filmed plays, but at least CARNAGE entertainingly bad. C

Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club

Venus in Fur (Polanski): 61. As elegantly directed as CARNAGE, but with a decent text this time (albeit on a subject I find uninteresting).

Tim Grierson, Paste

VENUS IN FUR: It’s thimble-deep, but it’s such playful, sexy, kinky fun.

Glenn Heath Jr., Press Play

VENUS IN FUR (B-): A talky and sexy siren’s call of words, threats, and cleavage. Good way to end

Jordan Hoffman, Film.com

VENUS IN FUR is very droll, with some actual discussion of gender thrown in. Seigneur steals it. Amalric perfect Polanski proxy.

Peter Howell, Toronto Star

VENUS IN FUR: A tart tease. Familiar gender/art themes amusingly clashed by E. Seigner & Polanski proxy Amalric.

Wendy Ide, The Times

Polanski’s Venus In Fur a watchable, intellectually playful pas de deux. Not sure it escapes its theatrical origins, nor that it needs to.

Ben Kenigsberg, RogerEbert.com

VENUS IN FUR: Okay, subtext. Can he pick a better play next time? (See also: CARNAGE.)

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

Polanski’s VENUS IN FUR: Terrific rebound post-GOD OF CARNAGE. Hilarious, sexy, twisted actors showcase with a Woody Allenish kick.

Guy Lodge, Hit Fix

VENUS IN FUR (B-) Ready to see Polanski go outside again, but this is much spryer and more literate than CARNAGE. Seigner improbably scores.

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

Venus In Fur – 4/5. Kinky, sexy fun, slickly directed and superbly performed

Michal Oleszczyk, RogerEbert.com

VENUS IN FURS is a perverse funhouse of a movie, in which identities get pulverized and sexual power play never ceases.

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

Polanski’s VENUS IN FUR – Severin, Severin!

VENUS – brittle, fun and blimey, a touch nor raunchy than his OLIVER TWIST.

Craig Skinner, Hey U Guys

VENUS IN FURS (B-) Trashy good fun. Lots of amusing fact/fiction director/director parallels. Dialogue superb, everything else merely solid.

Nigel M. Smith, Indiewire

Polanski’s VENUS IN FUR is an energizing riot. The most purely enjoyable film I’ve seen at

Fred Topel, Crave Online


Jeff Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere

Roman Polanski’s “Venus in Fur” is one of his modest, minor efforts a la “Death and the Maiden.” A gift to his gifted wife, Emmanuelle.

Blake Williams, Indiewire

VENUS IN FUR (5.9): plays w/dramatic narrative a la VANYA and last year’s Resnais; often funny and effectively berserk; not a fan of play.

Damon Wise, Empire

Roman Polanski’s Venus In Furs was unexpectedly entertaining (for what it is); loved Emmanuelle Seigner.


Justin Chang, Variety

“Toplining Orlando Bloom and Forest Whitaker as two detectives uniquely scarred by their nation’s cruel racial legacy, this adaptation of Caryl Ferey’s 2010 novel has the commercial slickness of Salle’s transnational actioners “Largo Winch” and “The Burma Conspiracy.” Yet the French-South African co-production is stacked with cliches and contrivances that fail to resonate with any real specificity or authenticity, the fine location work notwithstanding.”

Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter

“A well-constructed and professionally lensed French policier fails to make good use of its South African location and slips into familiar violent genre far.”


Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

Zulu, the closing film of the fest, is a surprisingly taught and riveting crime thriller set amidst post Apartheid South Africa

Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club

Forgot to note that I W/O’d of ZULU, which is unbelievably awful even by closing-film standards. That wraps it for me. Final post coming.

Craig Skinner, Hey U Guys

ZULU (D) CSI: CAPE TOWN. Dull & predictable ‘thriller’. Socio-politics sometimes interesting, often problematic. Bloom hilariously bad.



PALME D’OR: Blue is the Warmest Colour, Abdellatif Kechiche

HONORARY PALME D’OR: Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux in Blue is the Warmest Colour

GRAND PRIX: Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel & Ethan Coen

BEST DIRECTOR: Amat Escalante, Heli

PRIX DU JURY: Like Father, Like Son, Hirokazu Kore-eda

BEST SCREENPLAY: A Touch of Sin, Jia Zhangke

BEST ACTRESS: Berenice Bejo in The Past

BEST ACTOR: Bruce Dern in Nebraska

CAMERA D’OR: Ilo Ilo, Anthony Chen

BEST SHORT FILM: Safe, Moon Byoung-Gon

Un Certain Regard

JURY PRIZE: The Missing Picture, Rithy Panh

DIRECTING PRIZE: Alan Guirauidie, Stranger by the Lake

A CERTAIN TALENT: Ensemble cast of La Jaula de Oro, Diego Quemada-Diez

PRIZE OF THE FUTURE: Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler


FIRST PRIZE: Needle, Anahita Ghazvinizadeh

SECOND PRIZE: Waiting for the Thaw, Sarah Hirtt

JOINT THIRD PRIZE: In the Fishbowl, Tudor Cristian Jurgiu

JOINT THIRD PRIZE: Pandy, Matúš Vizar

Directors’ Fortnight

ART CINEMA AWARD: Les Garçons Et Guillaume, A Table!, Guillaume Gallienne

SACD PRIZE: Les Garçons Et Guillaume, A Table!, Guillaume Gallienne
SPECIAL MENTION: Tip-Top, Serge Bozon

EUROPA CINEMA LABEL PRIZE: The Selfish Giant, Clio Barnard

SHORT FILM AWARD: Gambozinos, João Nicolau

Critics’ Week

GRAND PRIX: Salvo, Fabio Grassadonia & Antonio Piazza
SPECIAL MENTION: Los Dueños, Agustín Toscano & Ezequiel Radusky

PRIX REVELATION FRANCE 4: Salvo, Fabio Grassadonia & Antonio Piazza

PRIX SACD BEST SCREENPLAY: Le Démantèlement, Sébastien Pilote

SHORT FILMS DISCOVERY PRIZE: Come and Play, Daria Belova

PRIX CANAL+: Pleasure, Ninja Thyberg

VIEWERS’ CHOICE: Lunchbox, Ritesh Batra

Other Prizes

FIPRESCI IN COMPETITION: Blue is the Warmest Colour, Abdellatif Kechiche

FIPRESCI UN CERTAIN REGARD: Manuscripts Don’t Burn, Mohammad Rasoulof

FIPRESCI THIRD PRIZE: Blue Ruin, Jeremy Saulnier

ECUMENICAL JURY PRIZE: The Past, Asghar Farhadi

PALM DOG: Liberace’s Baby Boy in Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh

QUEER PALM: Stranger by the Lake, Alan Guirauidie


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s