Cannes: A-Z of the croisette


À bientôt Cannes, see you next year!

Controversy on the Croisette, this year’s Cannes Film Festival (15 – 26 May 2013) is sadly, now over. The last champagne

cork has been popped and the great and good of the film world are sailing their yachts away from the Riviera.
If you are going to miss the most famous film festival bar none, here’s an A-Z of all things Cannes –

A – Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue is the Warmest ColourBlue is the Warmest Colour has won the festival’s Palme d’Or this year.

B – Brigitte Bardot and the bikini – it was Bardot who alerted the world to the existence of two piece swimsuit fashions whilst sunbathing during the Cannes festival in 1953. The Cannes beach is also famous for being the place where Sacha Baron Cohen unveiled his mankini at the 61st festival 50 years later.

C – Cinéfondation – a foundation created to inspire and support the next generation of international filmmakers in 1998. It shows about 15 short and medium length films during the festival at the Salle Buñuel.

D – Dolores del Río, the Mexican actress was the first woman to become part of the Cannes Jury.

E – Elisabetta Canalis, ex-girlfriend of George Clooney, appeared to be thrown from the side of a luxury yacht in a body bag as part of a publicity stunt by The Dictator’s Sacha Baron Cohen in 2012.

F – Fairy-tale love story – Grace Kelly was introduced to Monaco’s Prince Rainier at the 1954 festival. The rest, as they say, is history!

G – The Grand Prix – now, effectively, the runner up prize of the festival since it was replaced by the Palme d’Or.

H – Hitler – Lars von Trier, Melancholia’s director, said he sympathised with the Nazi leader at the festival in 2011 before being booted out!

I – In Bed with Madonna – the film that the Queen of Controversy was promoting when she arrived in Cannes in her iconic bra top at the 1991 festival.

J – Jean Cocteau was declared Honorary President for life in 1965 following his death.

K – Kidman (Nicole), on this year’s Jury alongside Steven Spielberg.

L – Leonardo DiCaprio, star of The Great Gatsby (dir. Baz Luhrmann) which is the opening film of this year’s 66th festival.

M – May, the month in which the festival has taken place every year since it was founded in 1946 .

N – The Bunker – the nickname given to the “new” Palais des Festivals et des Congrès when it was revealed in 1983. The former building’s roof blew off in a storm in 1949.

O – Olivia de Havilland was the festival’s first female President.

P – Palme d’Or is the festival’s highest prize. It was created in the 1950s and replaced the Grand Prix. The first Palme d’Or was won in 1955 by Delbert Mann for Marty.

Q – Quinzaine Des Réalisateurs is an independent section which runs in parallel to the Cannes Film Festival. It was created after events in May 1968 brought about the cancellation of the main festival.

R – Red Carpet – an integral part of any festival. The Cannes one is trod by actors, directors and producers making their way to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.

S – Steven Spielberg, this year’s President of the Jury.

T – Théâtre Lumière – where the 20 films competing for the Palme d’Or are projected.

U – Uggie – the canine star of The Artist – which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011. Jean Dujardin won best actor for his role in the film at the same festival.

V – Vincent Gallo’s film The Brown Bunny was famously described as the worst film in Cannes history by legendary film critic Ebert in 2003.

W – World War II – the inaugural festival scheduled for September 1, 1939 was shut down by Hitler the day his troops invaded Poland. And another W, William Dieterle’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame was the only film which managed to screen before it was closed until after the war.

X – X-rated – the way many of the sex scenes in this year’s Palme d’Or winner about two French lesbians – Blue is the Warmest Colour – have been described.

Y – Yachts – as synonymous with the festival as the films themselves.

Z – Zac Effron’s “Golden Shower” was the talk of the 2012 festival in The Paperboy.

À bientôt Cannes, see you next year!



Why doesn’t Leonardo DiCaprio have an Oscar?

Leonardo Dicaprio in Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliett

“O, wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?”

There are numerous films, actors and directors who should have won The Academy’s ultimate gong, in all our opinions. The whole point of watching Oscar’s night lies in spending weeks making predictions and then shouting at the TV screen when our favourites don’t leave in their limos carrying a golden statuette under their arm.

Yet, there is one Oscar omission which perplexes and shocks me more than any other every single year. Exactly why hasn’t Leonardo Dicaprio ever won an Oscar?

He’s not short of other accolades and even Oscar nominations –

2007 – Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role – Blood Diamond

2005 – Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role – The Aviator

1994 – Best Actor in a Supporting Role – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

Yet, on each of these occasions, he has been overlooked for the award and on many more occasions not even received a nomination at all! Here are three reasons why Leonardo Di Caprio’s mantelpiece should be glittering – in no particular order of course.

Catch Me if You Can – an unforgettable and convincing performance in this true story about Frank Abergnale who successfully impersonated an airline pilot, doctor and attorney general and managed to cash more than $2.5 million in fraudulent cheques.

Inception – The thinking man’s blockbuster which showed me that Hollywood can be intelligent. I’m not claiming to have totally understood this film yet, but I did understand how great much of the acting was – Leo, obviously included.

Blood Diamond – A great piece of work. He was at least nominated but should have won for his excellent portrayal of Danny Archer at the time of the Sierra Leone Civil War.

And the best of the rest –

Shutter Island – tense, thrilling and full of twists and turns, you don’t know what to believe as Teddy Daniels starts to doubt his own sanity in this psychological thriller.

The Departed – one of the best re-makes ever made! Leonardo DiCaprio is outstanding as William “Billy” Costigan Jr. in Martin Scorsese’s crime thriller.

Gangs of New York – a stand out performance from Leo in a cast of fellow legends.

Revolutionary Road – I promised myself I wouldn’t post the word Titanic but I loved the return of my favourite Hollywood power couple in this 2008 Sam Mendes film.

Django Unchained – excellently portrayed, Leonardo is a cruel plantation owner in Quentin Tarantino’s western.

Romeo and Juliet – in Baz Luhrmann’s modern day Verona, Leo plays the star-crossed lover and feuding, gun-toting Romeo.

The Aviator – loved Scorsese’s American biographical drama about aviation pioneer Howard Hughes and loved how Leo brought this story to life.

A friend of mine recently pointed out what a shame it is that the Oscars ceremony is held on a Sunday in the wee hours of the morning in the UK, as this stops us from hosting an Oscars party and celebrating or commiserating with champagne and canapés – or at least beer and takeaway pizza. Strange as it may sound, at the ripe old age of 34, this is the one thing I am now looking forward to about retirement. Hopefully my first retirement Oscar’s party won’t coincide with Leo’s first acceptance speech and he’ll have been honoured long before then!


Second Time’s A Charm?


2013 has been dubbed the year of the sequel (The Hangover Part 3, Fast and Furious 6) and the remake (Carrie, Point Break) and that’s before we mention the prequels and re-releases.

Is there anything original out there this year? Does it matter anyway? 50 remakes may be rumoured to be in the pipeline for 2013 but this phenomenon of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” isn’t new.

There’s a lot to be said for “re-viewing” films and rather than looking forward to this year’s remakes, why not look back at 5 films made for English-speaking film-goer which have non-English language originals. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with piecing back together the scraps from the cutting room floor and re-casting, re-locating and re-twisting the plot of great films. Or is there? Watch these remakes and originals and you decide…

Vanilla Sky

2001 American Sci-fi directed, co-produced and co-written by Cameron Crowe and starring Tom Cruise and Penélope Cruz


Abre los Ojos

The 1997 original co-written and directed by Mateo Gil and also starring Penélope Cruz as Sofía, the same character she plays in Vanilla Sky

Both films deal with the theme of cryonics. The protagonist struggles to deal with having been severely disfigured in a near fatal car accident and is cryogenically preserved to live a virtual reality existence in which the boundaries between reality and dreams are blurred.

And God Created Woman

1988, a second version of the French original directed by Roger Vadim and starring Rebecca de Mornay


Et Dieu Crea La Femme

1956 French drama also directed by Roger Vadim and starring Brigitte Bardot

The temptress protagonist sends the men she meets into a sexual frenzy and they vie for her attention!

City of Angels

1998 American romantic drama directed by Brad Siberling and starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan


Der Himmel über Berlin

1987 Franco-German romantic fantasy film set in Berlin and directed by Wim Wenders

Exploring the idea that angels watch over humans who are close to death and guide them to the next life.

Scent of a Woman

1992, Al Pacino is directed by Martin Brest


Profumo di Donna

1974, Italy, directed by Dino Risi, the protagonist was played by Vittorio Gassman

Telling the story of the friendship that exists between a young man and an irascible blind ex-army officer who claims he can detect a beautiful woman only by her scent.

Let Me In

2010 American romantic horror filmwritten and directed by Matt Reeves and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloë Grace Moretz


Låt den rätte komma in

2008 Swedish film directed by Tomas Alfredson

It tells the story of a friendship which develops between a 12-year-old boy who is being bullied and a vampire child in Los Alamos, New Mexico in the early 1980s.

Shall We Dance?

2004 American film directed by Peter Chelsom and starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon


The 1996 Japanese film of the same title, written and directed by Masayuki Suo. Its title refers to the song, “Shall We Dance?” which comes from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I.

A married middle-aged man’s quest to get to know a dancer better leads him to take up dance lessons.

The Departed

2006 American crime thriller from Martin Scorsese The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg and won four Oscars


Infernal Affairs

The 2002 Hong Kong crime-thriller film directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak

Two men are undercover for the police with the Irish mafia and a Chinese triad in the Hong Kong version. The films reach a climax as identities are discovered and blood is shed.