EURO BEAT: France's Razzie Awards, Wong Kar-Wai at Cannes, Plus News on New Roman Polanski Film

Brian Clark, European Editor
Now that the Razzie Awards for the worst films of the year have devolved into cheap shots at easy targets, perhaps it's time for their foreign equivalents to carry on the torch. Consider France's Gérard Awards, which, at the very least, have a lot more fun with the titles of their prizes.

They also manage to put a few awards-darlings in their place. For example, The Artist's Jean Dujardin can now add a Gérard trophy to his shelf for "Actor who we hope you like a lot because you're about to see his face everywhere for the next thirty years." Other highlights include Jean-Pierre Bacri's (Subway) win for "cult actor who played in good movies and then one day, apparently got bored." Also, Hollywoo (not a typo), a safe comedy about voice-over actors, took home the prize for "tro golri :))) ROTFLOL !!!!!! XDDDD !!!!!!!!!! fo tro k jaille le voir av les soss, pk jkiff tro c jore de film c tro bi1 !!! MDRRRRR ma louloutte jte kiff kissoukissou !!!"

Worst film was a tie between The War of Buttons and The New War of Buttons, two remakes of the original French classic which came out within a week of each other. Congratulations to all.

Meanwhile, the Cannes Film Festival begins tomorrow! And while there's plenty in the line up to make cinephiles drool, one notable omission was Wong Kar-Wai's probably-still-not-completed rendition of the legend of Ip Man, The Grandmasters. But it turns out Kar-Wai will still be showing a movie at Cannes! However, that movie is a whiskey commercial.

Chivas Regal commissioned a promotional from Kar-Wai film which will be unveiled Friday May 18 at the festival. Shot at Umaid Bhawan Palance, the film is titled Deja Vu and chronicles a romance between supermodel Du Juan and Chang Chen. We'll keep you updated as to when this one lands online.

In other news, Roman Polanski has announced a new project simply titled D, in which he will re-team with The Ghost Writer screenwriter Robert Harris to examine The Dreyfus Affair, a notorious political scandal from 1894. The specifics here involve a Military officer, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who was wrongfully imprisoned for having leaked French military information to the Germans. Once evidence came to light clearing Dreyfus, the army naturally tried to suppress it and even forge documents to use against the officer. The whole affair, which was fueled in part by Antisemitism, inspired Émile Zola's famous public letter, J'accuse!  

Polanski said he wants to treat the film as a spy movie which shows the scandal's "absolute relevance to what is happening in today's world -- the age-old spectacle of the witch hunt on a minority group, security paranoia, secret military tribunals, out-of-control intelligence agencies, governmental cover-ups and a rabid press."

On that note, Polanski will be in the spotlight again at Cannes with the screening of Laurent Bouzereau's new documentary Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir, which is essentially a long conversation with the 78-year-old director about his life. It apparently includes a public apology from Polanski to Samantha Greimer, the woman he sexually assaulted 33 years ago, which will of course, not change anybody's opinion about anything.

And while we're on the subject of master directors: If you're in film school right now, you might want to consider dropping out and trying to get into Bela Tarr's (Damnation, The Turin Horse) new film program at the University of Split in Zagreb. As of now, his list of lecturers includes Jim Jarmusch, Gus Van Sant, Aki Kaurismäki, Carlos Reygadas, Atom Egoyan, Fridrik Tor Fridriksson, Tilda Swinton, and also Tarr's regular cinematographer Fred Kelemen. Beat that, NYU.

As for box office, well... Throw a dart at a map of Europe. Even if you somehow missed Europe completely, that dart still probably landed in a country where The Avengers was number one. That is, unless your dart hit Belgium, Italy, Poland or Israel!

Belgium and Italy both went to American Reunion, which opened one week after the Avengers and took in $0.8 million and $3.1 million respectively. Meanwhile, Poland has just discovered the charm of The Intouchables, though a number one spot in Poland means a gross of around $0 .3 million. And in Israel, Battleship opened at the top spot with a $0.2 million dollar gross. And here I should note that The Avengers hasn't opened in Poland or Israel yet.

Finally, Cannes has completed its jury for the Un Certain Regard program. Headed by Tim Roth, the jury will also include Leïla Bekhti, French director and producer Tonie Marshall, Buenos Aires-based film critic Luciano Monteagudo and Sylvie Pras, who serves as both head of Cinemas at Centre Pompidou in Paris and artistic director of La Rochelle Film Festival. For more on Cannes, check out our first preview piece, and keep checking back for dispatches from the Croissette. 

Around the Internet:
  • Marten

    I'm glad Wong Kar-Wai is taking a much needed break from his hectic schedule. The man has been feverishly working at break-neck speed over the past decade churning out an average of one movie every five years :/

  • mightyjoeyoung

    "Chivas Regal commissioned a promotional from Kar-Wai"

    Should be something to behold...I liked The Follow (2001) alot.

    "Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir, which is essentially a long conversation with the 78-year-old director about his life."

    Why is my question...?

    I thought Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (2008) was enough....he paid Samantha Greimer some money....but he did evade justice soooo...yeah....Polanski should just stop talking about it. He will never be allowed to return to USA.

  • Qinlong

    Actually, Jean-Pierre Bacri's award would be better translated as "cult actor who played in good movies and then one day became bored"

  • Brian Clark

    Thank you for that (fixed!)-- familiar French tricks me again. Would be fascinated to hear your translation for the award they gave to The Intouchables.

  • Qinlong

    "film with diseased people, disabled people, crutches, stretchers, wheelchairs, Actifed, Voltaren, Primpéran (an anti-vomitting medicine), blood tests, claim forms, temperature curves, and meal trays with lukewarm macedoine (diced mixed vegetables). And yogurt."

    I agree with you, this is much more fun than the Razzies, which manage to nominate people like Eddie Murphy every year even when they have no film out

blog comments powered by Disqus
​​