So that was the Order of the Day. In what seemed to be the most packed, challenging and personally rewarding day of the festival so far (I had the guts to book three films back-to-back-to-back, with some spare moments allocated to meals and shitting, given the necessity), I went to check out the Audiards, Mungius and Kiarostamis steam-rolling in cinemas all day. And it was the earliest I got up on a Sunday my entire life since Sunday school for five-year olds back when I was a naïve Christian.
First up was French weepie Rust and Bone, where the only moment I shred a tear or two was when Marion Cotillard did some wordless masterclass acting as Katy Perry banging on about some fireworks in the background. To be fair, that scene worked so stunningly – despite of Jacques Audiard’s absurd, if anachronistic, musical choices. It’s the only film I’ve seen so far this year with an eclectic mixtape that dares to mash-up Bon Iver, Katy Perry and The B52’s. The film itself isn’t great, go read my unimportant review for charity’s sake. A slight let-down.
Then I had to leap to Mayfair for the Curzon Sight & Sound Gala of the Romanian funster Cristian Mungiu’s new bleak-a-thon Beyond The Hills. No celebrities this time due to a) it’s in Romanian, b) it’s fucking grim, c) all those long, tableaux takes will put dunderheads to sleep and d) Sight & Sound Galas have a reputation for choosing very high-brow films that most average-minded human beings will find hard going. Because it’s art, y’all. Turns out Beyond The Hills was an absolute knockout – a two-and-a-half hour of unrelenting Mungiu brand of human misery set mostly around a remote Romanian Orthodox monastery. It’s also a magisterial critique of unquestioned religious belief and the irrational mind – two aspects in this world that I happen to actively despise. This and Vinterberg’s The Hunt are the two films in the festival that put me through a wringer.
Lastly, there was Abbas Kiarostami’s Like Someone In Love. If you’re expecting a worthy follow-up to last year’s sublime Certified Copy, forget it. Kiarostami’s brand of finding gentle human interactions in a disconnected city (Tokyo is the setting) is ever present, but I can’t get over the fact that most of these interactions unfold in a fucking-hell-this-is-too-slow fashion. Where Copy presents philosophy with such immediacy, Love‘s philosophising ends up in a form of stasis. Plus there’s an abrupt ending that makes you want to do exactly the same thing happening on screen.
So I went home chuffed about my infinitesimal achievements and worrying how the hell am I going to write three reviews back-to-back.