the Cannes Film Festival

This is a review of Julia Loktev’s The Loneliest Planet, and the calendar pretext is that the movie will play at the San Francisco Film Festival on April 24 and 27. Not all of you will be able to get to the Bay Area, but, since last August, The Loneliest Planet has already played at the festivals of Locarno, Toronto, New York, London and the AFI. Still, it has not “opened” yet. That is promised for this August, albeit on a limited basis. What does limited mean? Well, Loktev and the rest of us might bear in mind what happened with her previous film, her first, Day Night Day Night.

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I Was Born, But...  (IFC Center)Wild Grass  (Sony Pictures Classics)Alamar (Film Movement) A smart distributor, on whom be peace, has decided to give a theatrical premiere to an early film by Yasujiro Ozu. This is good news, not just because the film itself—I Was Born, But...—is endearing but because it draws further attention to this Japanese master. Much of Ozu is available on DVD, including this film, but more theatrical recognition may increase this country’s care for a wonderful artist. Ozu (1903–1963) began to direct in 1927 and made a total of fifty-four features.

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Europe is burning. The unpronounceable Eyjafjallajökull volcano won’t stay put; Southern European countries are competing with each other to announce the most draconian austerity measures imaginable; a liquidity flood of Biblical proportions has failed to restore market confidence; and, if that weren’t enough, Simon Cowell is getting cold feet about marriage. These are dark days. So what better time for me to flee stern Con-Lib London and seek relief at the Cannes Film Festival? Surely better Penelope Cruz than Premier Cameron. Penelope was too busy to hang out.

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