Sunday, May 21, 2006


The last couple of days in Cannes have been a whirlwind of good movies, good dinners and good parties. As the movies are what I came for, I'll get straight to the films.

Fast Food Nation

First up was Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation starring Oscar-nominated Catalina Sandino Moreno, Greg Kinnear, Ethan Hawke, Esai Morales, Wilmer Valderama, Patricia Arquette and Bruce Willis. I was pre-inclined toward this film because I think Linklater is bad-ass. Truly one of the most bold, imaginative, constantly evolving filmmakers of his generation. I'm a fan.

Fast Food Nation aims to do for the fast food industry what Traffic did for the drug trade. It pulls back the curtain of secrecy to reveal the trickle down effect of corporate corruption on hard-working people, primarily immigrants. The piece was entertaining and did a good job of making its point without being preachy. Three intersecting stories follow two Mexican sisters who sneak over the border to make a new life in the meat-packing industry, a corporate bigshot sent to investigate the nasty results of a recent hidden camera bacteria test, and a bright high school student who works the register at one of the burger franchises, and begins to feel used. All are making compromises and all are pawns in a larger game, from which the public suffers. I promise, after seeing this, I won't eat a burger quite the same way again--if I eat one at all.

Next, I saw several shorts, including my own, in The Short Film Corner. My film, Saturaday Night Life, starring Melissa DeSousa of The Best Man, seemed well-received. It was coupled with several other films that deal with issues of family and womanhood. I was pleased and felt blessed to show at Cannes.

Later, I saw a feature called The Hawk Is Dying. It premiered at Sundance a few months back, but I missed the Park City run so decided to check out a market screening here in one of the smaller theaters. The screening began with about 50 people. By the end, there were 4 of us left. I have to admit, the film is challenging. One of those stories where you have to COMMIT, explore it in your head and hope for a reward at the end. Well, the reward was definitely the performance of Paul Giamatti. Stellar in Cinderella Man and Sideways, he plays a sad man whose only passions are falconry and his mentally challenged nephew. Uh... Yes, I said falconry. Like falcons and hawks. Anyhoo, tragedy follows and the piece gets pretty low and sometimes off track. But I approached it as a metaphor about one's soul, our connectedness, our very being. It worked for me and in the end, I enjoyed the outcome.

Tomorrow, I have a full slate of things to see so stay tuned. It's 4am here, so time to wind down. Au'revoir!

-AMD, Cannes 5-21-06