“Deux jours, une nuit” – Cannes Film Festival 2014 [Review]

two-days-one-night-french-poster

Scott Foundas

The Dardenne brothers take on a movie star and lose none of their beautifully observed verisimilitude in another powerhouse slice of working-class Belgian life.

As much as she stood out from the crowd in her Oscar-winning turn as Edith Piaf, that’s how much Marion Cotillard blends into the unfettered working-class environs of “Two Days, One Night,” a typically superb social drama from directors Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. Rich in the Dardennes’ favored themes of work, family and the value of money, and infused with the suspense of a ticking-clock thriller, “Two Days” may be dismissed by some as more of the same from the Belgian siblings who rarely stray far from the industrial port town of Seraing. Yet within their circumscribed world, the Dardennes once again find a richness of human experience that dwarfs most movies made on an epic canvas. Cotillard’s presence will assure the widest exposure to date of any Dardenne effort, particularly in the U.S., where IFC will distribute later this year.

Always masters of narrative economy, the Dardennes kick off “Two Days” with a ringing phone that brings Cotillard’s Sandra the news that her job at a local solar-panel factory is due to be eliminated as part of a downsizing initiative. The decision was made by a vote of Sandra’s 16 co-workers, who were forced to choose between saving her job or their own €1,000 annual bonuses. Only two voted in Sandra’s favor. Now her only recourse is to organize a second vote by secret ballot and hope for a different outcome. It is already Friday afternoon, and Sandra has until Monday morning to rally the seven additional votes she needs.

The Sandra we meet in these early scenes is a woman visibly on the edge. She, her kitchen-worker husband Manu (Fabrizio Rongione) and their two children have only recently climbed their way out of public housing and off welfare, and the loss of Sandra’s job will surely set them back. What’s more, Sandra is at the end of her recovery from a bout of depression that has kept her away from work for an unspecified period of time — a fact used as ammunition by the factory foreman, Jean-Marc, who looms for most of “Two Days” as Sandra’s unseen antagonist.

Norma Rae she isn’t, just as the film is anything but a heavy-handed “issue” movie, right up to a deftly orchestrated conclusion that manages to affirm the Dardennes’ fundamental belief in the goodness of people while suggesting that the struggle of the working class is never over. Indeed, Sandra doesn’t want to start a workers’ revolt but rather to maintain the status quo, and as she journeys door-to-door to seek her colleagues’ help, her argument is simple: “Don’t pity me. Just put yourself in my shoes.”

The responses run the gamut from the cruel to the compassionate, from those who won’t even give Sandra the time of day to those who beg her forgiveness and cry on her shoulder. At every step, the Dardennes, who patently refuse to pass moral judgments on their characters, evoke Jean Renoir’s famous maxim that “Everyone has his reasons.” One says he needs the bonus in order to pay for his daughter’s tuition; another that she’d love to help but has recently left her husband and so money is tight; still another that she’s building a new patio out back. And some say yes, of course, we’ll vote for you.

Although Sandra isn’t slowly being poisoned to death like the doomed protagonist of the noir classic “D.O.A.” or facing a looming gunfight in the center of town like the beleaguered sheriff of “High Noon,” the Dardennes couch her struggle in the same desperate, high-stakes terms, and the closer Monday morning comes, the thicker the movie’s air grows with a queasy anxiety. As it was in the similarly nail-biting “The Son” and “L’Enfant,” that mood is inexorably enhanced by the Dardennes’ favored shooting style of long handheld tracking shots in which the camera hovers relentlessly around the main character as though attached by a tether.

In most Dardenne films, those roles have been played by Bressonian nonprofessionals or local character actors (like the excellent Rongione, who made his debut in “Rosetta” and has since made four additional films for the brothers) whose unfamiliarity to the audience made them that much more credible as ordinary working stiffs. But Cotillard, who is only the second established star the Dardennes have cast (after Cecile De France in their previous “The Kid with a Bike”), disappears so fully into Sandra that she becomes inseparable from the rest of the company.

Outfitted in jeans and a series of brightly colored tank tops, her matted hair pulled back with a scrunchie, the actress is onscreen in every scene of “Two Days,” and yet the role never feels remotely like a star turn as she hustles to and fro, pleading her case, her wide, expressive eyes registering every quicksilver flash of doubt, fear and self-loathing. Cotillard plays Sandra as a woman who has always struggled to feel that her life has value, and little by little over the course of the “Two Days, One Night,” in the most remarkably subtle of ways, she shows her coming into a new sense of self.

Pic benefits greatly from the expert lensing of regular Dardenne d.p. Alain Marcoen, the crisp editing of Marie-Helene Dozo, and the lived-in production designs of Igor Gabriel. After experimenting with brief snatches of classical music as underscore in both “Lorna’s Silence” and “The Kid with a Bike,” the brothers return to a music-free milieu here, save for Petula Clark’s 1970 hit “La nuit n’en finit plus” emanating from a radio and, in one joyous scene, Van Morrison’s “Gloria.”

Cannes Film Review: ‘Two Days, One Night’
Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (competing), May 20, 2014. Running time: 95 MIN.
Production

(Belgium-France-Italy) A Diaphana (in France)/IFC Films (in U.S.) release of a Les Films du Fleuve and Archipel 35 presentation of a Les Films du Fleuve/Archipel 35/Bim Distribuzione/Eyeworks/France 2 Cinema/RTBF (Belgian Television)/Belgacom production, with the help of the Centre du Cinema et de l’Audiovisuel de la Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles, VOO, Flanders Audiovisual Fund and Eurimages, with the participation of Canal +, Cine +, France Televisions, Wallonia, the Tax Shelter of the Federal Government of Belgium, Casa Kafka Pictures, Casa Kafka Pictures Movie Tax Shelter empowered by Belfius, Cinefinance Tax Shelter and Eyeworks, in association with Wild Bunch, Diaphana and Cineart, with the support of the European Union MEDIA Program. (International sales: Wild Bunch, Paris.) Produced by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd. Executive producer, Delphine Tomson. Co-producers, Valerio De Paolis, Peter Bouckaert.
Crew
Directed, written by Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne. Camera (Eclair color), Alain Marcoen; editor, Marie-Helene Dozo; production designer, Igor Gabriel; costume designer, Maira Ramedhan-Levi; sound (Dolby), Jean-Pierre Duret; supervising sound editor, Benoit De Clerck; re-recording mixer, Thomas Gauder; associate producer, Arlette Zylberberg; assistant director, Caroline Tambour.
With
Marion Cotillard, Fabrizio Rongione, Pili Groyne, Simon Caudry, Catherine Salee, Baptiste Sornin, Alain Eloy, Myriem Akheddiou, Fabienne Sciascia, Timur Magomedgadzhiev. Hicham Slaoui, Philippe Jeusette, Yoann Zimmer, Christelle Cornil, Laurent Caron, Franck Laisne, Serge Koto, Morgan Marinne, Gianni La Rocca, Ben Hamidou, Carl Jadot, Olivier Gourmet, Sabine Raskin. (Arabic, French dialogue)

Le Festival de Cannes 2014 comme si vous y étiez

The Cannes 2014 poster

The 67th Festival Poster

 

Hervé Chigioni and his graphic designer Gilles Frappier have based the poster design for the 67th Festival de Cannes on a photogram taken from Federico Fellini’s 8½, which was presented in the Official Selection in 1963.

In Marcello Mastroianni and Federico Fellini, we celebrate a cinema that is free and open to the world, acknowledging once again the artistic importance of Italian and European cinema through one of its most stellar figures.

“The way he looks at us above his black glasses draws us right in to a promise of global cinematographic happiness,” explains the poster’s designer. “The happiness of experiencing the Festival de Cannes together.”

In his films, Marcello Mastroianni continued to encapsulate everything that was most innovative, nonconformist and poetic about cinema. On seeing the poster for the first time, Chiara Mastroianni, the actor’s daughter, said simply: “I am very proud and touched that Cannes has chosen to pay tribute to my father with this poster. I find it very beautiful and modern, with a sweet irony and a classy sense of detachment. It’s really him through and through!”

The Festival de Cannes thanks Gaumont, which owns the rights to the film.

The 2014 Festival poster was designed by Lagency / Taste, Paris.

The graphic charter of the 2014 Festival was designed by Bronx, Paris.

►View the scene from Federico Fellini’s film 8 1/2 on which the poster is based.

 

Check Les films du Festival de Cannes à Paris et ailleurs:  The Daily May 14

 

 

Blank UTOPIA 19.04.14 – Trailer from BLANK on Vimeo.

On trouve comme première grosse tête d’affiche, la Djette Magda. Femme fatale originaire de Pologne, ayant résidé à Detroit puis à Berlin, cette artiste est l’une des grosses pépites de la scène minimale allemande. Il faut dire que passer son enfance et se frotter dès son plus jeune âge à la scène Techno de Detroit dans les années 90’s, ça forge le caractère et un certain style musical. Les productions de Magda sont toujours empreintes d’un rythme très soutenu, et ce dès les premières minutes de ses productions, un son très métallique et industriel et une mélodie assez simple mais collant parfaitement à l’environnement qu’elle se créé. La minimale selon Magda, c’est la minimale conventionnelle sur laquelle les berlinois se pètent le crâne à longueur de soirée : un rythme qui pénètre et un rythme qui vous habite. Il sera d’autant plus impressionnant d’entendre les basses résonner dans la Cité du Cinéma. Son set ne serait à louper sous aucun pretexte.

Check Echoes by Festival de Cannes

Live From Cannes

The Tragic End For Iranian Rockers Seeking Musical Freedom In The U.S.

The Yellow Dogs, from left, Arash and Soroush Farazmand, killed on Monday, and Siavash Karampour and Koory Mirz.

The Yellow Dogs, from left, Arash and Soroush Farazmand, killed on Monday, and Siavash Karampour and Koory Mirz.  Photo: AP

The Yellow Dogs is an Iranian rock band, formed in 2006. Members include Siavash Karampour (vocals) and Koory Mirzeai (bass), as well as brothers Soroush Farazmand (guitar) and Arash Farazmand (drums) until the two were murdered on November 11, 2013.

The Yellow Dogs were from Tehran, Iran. They sang in English and played Western instruments, citing Joy Division, Talking Heads and The Rapture as an influence. Their music was not approved by Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, and was therefore illegal.  They performed in Bahman Ghobadi’s Cannes Un Certain Regard award-winning film, No One Knows About Persian Cats  and were interviewed by Reza Sayah for CNN before leaving Iran.

On 8-9 December, 2009, the band was interviewed by the U.S. government at the U.S. embassy in Istanbul, Turkey and their comments about the Iranian Green Movement Protesters, Iranian counter-culture, freedom of expression, trends in drug usage and music in the authoritarian state were reported in an unclassified U.S. State Department document later released by Wikileaks titled, “Iran/culture: So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star.”   The U.S. government officer interviewing the band members described them as “astute, well-informed, and resourceful.”

The Yellow Dogs played their first aboveground (legal) concert at the Peyote club, in Istanbul, Turkey January 2010.   Two days later, they flew to New York City.  Their second aboveground concert was at the Cameo Gallery, in Brooklyn, New York.  Since then, they played Santos Party House (Gojira’s first gig in NYC) and the Delancey  in New York. And they played the Wave in Austin, TX as part of the SXSW festival.  They played the 92nd St. Y Tribeca in New York in an afterparty for the U.S. opening of No One Knows About Persian Cats. Also on the bill for this concert were the band, Hypernova, who are also from Tehran. Koory and Looloosh were part of the original line-up of Hypernova. But they did not leave Iran when other Hypernova members departed for the United States.

April 13, 2010 Milan Records released the No One Knows About Persian Cats motion picture soundtrack.  The Yellow Dogs track “New Century” is included in the motion picture soundtrack, and bassist Koory appears on the CD cover and on the movie poster. IFC Films released the movie on demand on April 14, 2010 and in theaters on April 16, 2010.

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Ali Eskandarian, a performer who was not part of the band, was among those killed. Photo: AP

On November 11, 2013, a shooting took place in Brooklyn that involved Yellow Dogs band members.  According to band manager Ali Salehezadeh, guitarist Soroush Farazmand and drummer Arash Farazmand, along with Ali Eskandarian, a musician friend who was not part of the band, were killed by another musician named Raefe Akhbar. Originally, media reports described Akhbar as a former band member who had been thrown out of the band three days before. In later reports, however, it was stated that he was not a member of the Yellow Dogs, but had been kicked out of a different band (Free Keys) the previous year.

The Free Keys, which Mr. Rafie had joined as a bassist, left Iran to join their friends in the Yellow Dogs in 2011, the New York Times reported.

“At 318 Maujer Street, the Yellow Dogs occupied the lower apartment, and a rotating group of Iranian friends and acquaintances, including Mr. Eskandarian, lived in the upstairs apartment. The residents saw themselves as an artists’ collective, holding house parties with of-the-moment music and cheap beer for musician friends and hosting exhibitions of friends’ artwork. Mr. Sadeghpourosko’s artwork covered the walls of the living room, which the Yellow Dogs used as a practice space.”

They were a familiar sight on their quiet street, where small apartment buildings abut warehouses, often skateboarding or biking around with a dog. Neighbors noted their long hair and tight jeans, the young people of mixed ethnicities streaming into the building for parties, and the music that poured out.

Humble and eager to learn, they arrived early to gigs in their van and stayed late, mixing with fans. And though they sometimes spoke Farsi to one another and a few of their songs had politically potent lyrics, on stage they were like any indie band. “When you close your eyes, you just listen to the music, they sound very much like a regular band,” except for Mr. Karampour’s “exotic” vocals, said Jify Shah, the owner of Cameo Gallery, where the band often played.

At first, it seemed that the Free Keys would slip into Brooklyn’s music scene as easily as the Yellow Dogs had; they shared a rehearsal space and a manager, Ali Salehezadeh, who hoped the Free Keys’ story of music under political duress would resonate as the Yellow Dogs’ had. But it soon became clear that the band needed work, a friend of the band said, and that the Free Keys liked to party hard. They lacked the Yellow Dogs’ entrepreneurial spirit and ambition, the friend said.

Those in the know believed the Yellow Dogs were ascendant, ready for a national tour or even a record deal. “Everyone knows it’s only a matter of time and the Yellow Dogs are going to be huge,” said Ishmael Osekre, a Ghanaian musician who had booked the band for several shows. “That is why my heart is so broken — the idea that you left friends and family and love, and then for it to end in the way that it has, is just so unfair.”

eMusic Profile: The Yellow Dogs (YouTube)

Yellow Dogs, Iranian Band, Earned Fans Through Intensity and Promise

By The New York Times

For most aspiring young rock stars, the night two years ago when a music critic walked into a music club in Brooklyn and laid eyes and ears on the intense, dark-haired foursome on the stage might have been their first significant break.

The critic, J. Edward Keyes, said the band he first encountered at Glasslands Gallery that evening, the Yellow Dogs, immediately caught his fancy because “they projected such incredible intensity.” Right away, he said, he knew that they should be the next new band featured by eMusic, the Manhattan company where Mr. Keyes is editor in chief.

But even though the Yellow Dogs — a self-described “post-punk/dance punk” band — had not signed a contract with a record company, they were far from undiscovered. They carried a rare and intriguing label: rock band from Iran. And they had already appeared in an award-winning film and been profiled by CNN and Rolling Stone.

So there was outsize reaction on Monday when word spread that two members of the band were among three Iranian musicians shot to death in a townhouse in East Williamsburg before dawn. The killer was another musician who had come to New York from Iran more recently, the police said.

The early morning rampage shattered the image of the group as easygoing expatriates who supported one another’s dreams of becoming rock stars. It also left the band without one of its founding members, Soroush Farazmand, 27, a guitarist who was known as Looloosh.

Mr. Farazmand and his brother Arash, a 28-year-old drummer, were among four people shot in the house, which was the band’s home base. Two other members of the band, the bassist Koory Mirz and Siavash Karampour, a singer known as Obash, were not there when the shooting started.

The trio of Koory, Looloosh and Obash was “really the core of the band,” Mr. Keyes said. “They were always adding and dropping a fourth member.”

The core, though, had held together since their days dodging the police in Tehran, where merely inciting young people to dance could have landed them in jail. Their travails were portrayed in “No One Knows About Persian Cats,” a 2009 film by the Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi.

After the film won a special jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival and was screened at festivals around the world, the musicians became objects of global fascination.

“The government suddenly got very interested,” Mr. Karampour said in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2011. “They made a TV series about musicians and said all these people are Satanists and we have to execute all of them and they don’t believe in God. So after we saw that stuff and after the film we thought, man, we have to get out of the country.”

The bandmates sought visas in late 2009 to go on tour in the United States. According to notes from a State Department cable that was released by WikiLeaks, they told the consul staff in Istanbul about their encounters with Iranian officials.

They recounted several occasions when the police raided their closed-door concerts in soundproofed basements or isolated warehouses. “One raid led to the detention of one band member under official charges of ‘Satan worship,’ ” the cable said. It took a combination of bribes and parental pleading to get him released after two weeks, it said.

Even after settling in Brooklyn, the band avoided being as political as some Iranian-Americans wanted, said Mr. Karampour.

“We try not to say Iran, Iran, Iran; because the essence of the band is not only that we’re from Iran,” he told Rolling Stone. He added that their songs were “surrealistic, symbolic” stories. “You can relate them to Iran or to America, whatever. We don’t want to be a political band only.”

Neighbors and other people who had encountered the bandmates in New York described them as friendly, fun-loving young men who could often be seen riding skateboards to and from the townhouse.

Rahill Jamalifard, a member of another Iranian band, Habibi, said the shootings shook the community. “It’s devastating because you see these kids — they were initially in this movie that Iranians are really proud of. And it’s like, ‘Oh look, we have an indie rock scene. I recognized them. I heard of them.’ ”

Yellow Dogs –  Awards and nominations. Its first official screening was at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize Ex-aequo in the Un Certain Regard section.

NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS  – CANNES Film Festival

Plot

The film follows two young musicians (Ashkan and Negar) as they form a band and prepare to leave Iran shortly after being released from prison. The pair befriends a man named Nader (Hamed Behdad), an underground music enthusiast and producer who helps them travel around Tehran and its surrounding areas in order to meet other underground musicians possibly interested in forming a band and later leaving the country.

Cast

  • Hamed Behdad
  • Ashkan Kooshanejad
  • Negar Shaghaghi

Bands and musicians