Now celebrated as a masterpiece of Italian cinema, Michaelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura was booed during its first screening at the Cannes film festival before going on to win the Jury Prize, an apparent paradox that reflects the tonal and thematic conflicts at the heart of the film. Critically lauded for its experimental form, L'Avventura's central narrative is deceptively simple: when a group of wealthy friends take a yachting trip to an island off the coast of Northern Italy, one of their group disappears without trace or explanation, triggering a search for her that opens a Pandora's box of emotional consequences.
The closing credit sequence of Adam McKay's The Other Guys inexplicably plays out with infographics on ponzi schemes, the immorality of big bank CEOs and just what a naughty boy Bernie Madoff was. In spite of unquestionable comedic wit - from numerous Will Ferrell offerings - it's hard to see how or why the director was chosen to bring Michael Lewis' straight-laced book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine to the big screen. Sporadically hilarious, dizzyingly dynamic and at times downright infuriating, The Big Short admirably attempts to distil the rhymes and riddles of complicated banking practice for a lay audience. Films of a similar ilk went for an approach of either less is more - Margin Call - or overtly more is more - The Wolf of Wall Street - but McKay's latest feature is all over the map.
The 69th Cannes Film Festival was a strange menagerie of beasts. Front-loaded with perhaps too many of Thierry Frémaux's usual suspects - Woody Allen, Ken Loach, the Dardenne brothers, Pedro Almodóvar - their contributions were often simply whelming: not over, not under, just there. Even some of the younger directors in competition are now becoming seasoned regulars. Nicolas Winding Refn showed his third film in a row in Cannes and Xavier Dolan returned once again having done his Jury service last year and sharing a Jury Prize with Jean-Luc Godard the year before.
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