Most veteran critics partaking in Cannes see four films per day (five, if they’re really vampiric), and I just about manage to average between two to three, the most number my lousy mind and body can handle. It’s the eighth day of the festival and I’m already running out of steam – the early rise, the late nights, the five hours sleep and catching with writing in between are taking tolls out of my holistic cinematic experience.
This has been reinvigorated by Nicholas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives, a film so terribly elegant, so hellish and so violent, you’d begin to wonder what the fuck I got myself into at half-eight in the morning. I came out of the cinema dazzled, and it was certainly a film that needed a bit of brain processing. Some films need to marinate for its flavours to fully reveal themselves. It took me 24 hours to formulate my thoughts. However, in less than an hour after the film, as I was sitting inside the Palais gulping shitloads of espressos, I discover the response on Twitter. Most were negative, confused reactions, going so far as claiming there were lots of boos in the press screening that morning. Now, I utterly respect critical opinion, each one to their own, but exaggerating claims of wild booing in a screening must be a sport held in Cannes.
If my knowledge was correct that there was only one press screening of Only God Forgives happening at 8.30am, in which I was in, then I justify with unvarnished truth that two or three boos do not equate to an even bigger crowd applauding the film as soon as the credits roll. There were even wolf-whistles. What’s worse is that one erroneous claim gets multiplied to stratospheric levels on Twitter, making it sound like as though the entire Grand Théâtre Lumière conducted an apocalyptic mass booing at Refn’s work. I have nothing against booing – the last time I indulged in such action was when I was walking out of Olympus Has Fallen, which was fucking atrocious and deserved every bit of my huff – but to transform triviality into a piece of gossip-mongering hyperbole is goddamn irresponsible.
Anyway, what do I know about cinema when the next film I’ve seen, I’ve fallen asleep halfway through. When I nodded off from Paolo Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty), I vaguely remember there was a party raging on screen. When I woke up, party was still going, and it was a good half-hour of a well-deserved siesta in the cinema.
And you call me a film critic? Fuck, no. At least I don’t spread hysyerical rumours around. Now, if you excuse me, a good dip in the swimming pool beckons.