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Gus Van Sant’s Sea of Trees ambitiously ties two very different story lines together, creating a film that’s ties these differing tonal elements together under one narrative. We spend a bulk of the film inside the Aokigahara forest in Japan where a despondent man named Arthur (Matthew McConaughey) meets a fellow hurting soul (Ken Watanabe), and they try to find their way out of their circumstance.
In a flashback we learn of Arthur’s relationship with his wife Joan (Naomi Watts), and learn through this social drama some of the causes that leads the central character to find his way to Asia.
The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival with mixed critical response, with some applauding its collision of styles and others less charitable. In a wide ranging conversation following the film’s screening, Watts, Van Sant and McConaughey had a frank discussion with the media about the themes of the film, »
- Jason Gorber
As your jet-lagged Vulture staffers put their fancy clothes in with mothballs and break out the sweatpants, join us as we reminisce about what the Cannes Film Festival had to offer this year. Which movies came out of Cannes smelling like a rose, and which will now be tainted by the scent of merde? Here are 15 of this year's winners, losers, and other superlatives.Biggest Punching Bag: Sea of TreesYes, Gus Van Sant's derided Matthew McConaughey drama had a meager script, but the pundits who were calling it the worst movie to ever play at Cannes either haven't been going for very long or have been unusually blessed by the moviegoing gods. Still, there's always gotta be one notorious flop on the Croisette, and this year, it was former Palme winner Van Sant's chance to take those low blows. —Kyle BuchananBest Advertisement for Online Dating: The LobsterSad single people »
- Kyle Buchanan,Jada Yuan
Who knew that watching films can be this exhausting? The first thing any press person at Cannes will tell you is probably how tiring festival grind is – press screenings from 8.30 am till midnight, endless queueing sessions (variously put to use for writing up or sun-tanning), the adrenaline rush of the literal rush to the next screening.
What few filmmakers premiering their work at Cannes seem to realise – based on the average two-hour run of the majority of films this year – is that at a film viewing marathon such as Cannes, critics’ attention is yours during the first hour and twenty minutes and then you’d better start getting ready for a wow of an ending. The editor is your friend and if you want the press to be a friend too, it’s good to shed extraneous long-windedness and not irk the critics – unless you are Miguel Gomes, then you can go on forever… »
- Zornitsa Staneva
Below is Variety‘s scorecard for the 19 films in competition at Cannes this year, as rated individually by our critics Justin Chang, Peter Debruge, Scott Foundas, Guy Lodge, Jay Weissberg and Maggie Lee. The highest-rated film overall was Todd Haynes’ “Carol,” while the other American-directed film in competition, Gus Van Sant’s “The Sea of Trees,” drew the lowest average score. Ratings are on a four-point scale.
(Click image for large preview.) »
- Variety Staff
Peter Debruge: Well, I didn’t see that coming. In what feels like a twist ending — one that leaves me feeling a bit like Tim Roth at the end of “Chronic” — the Cannes jury has awarded the Palme d’Or to “Dheepan,” a movie that lags among my least favorites in the competition, and the weakest in Jacques Audiard’s filmography.
People have been throwing the word “weak” around a lot this week, grousing that the official selection doesn’t measure up to that of previous years. I defer to you, Scott and Justin, since you’ve each been attending Cannes for longer than I have (this is only my fifth time on the Croisette), but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time here, it’s that Cannes critics always like to complain that the present year’s crop feels meager by comparison to past editions, »
- Peter Debruge, Scott Foundas and Justin Chang
I've seen more than one person say the 2015 Cannes Film Festival quite simply didn't live up to normal expectations. I started getting that vibe at the end of last week as it seemed there were a few "good" films coming out of the festival -- The Lobster, Carol, Son of Saul, Amy -- but nothing that was really wowing a large majority of those in attendance. The teaser for a recently penned story from Manohla Dargis at the "New York Times" read: "As the festival nears its close, many fine movies by revered filmmakers have been shown, but none of them are masterworks." Many fine movies... that's great, but the hope heading into Cannes is finding at least one film that truly knocks the audience's socks off, but it seems this year the jeering for Gus Van Sant's The Sea of Trees made more headlines than anything else. Yesterday »
- Brad Brevet
Reporting from the Cannes Film Festival. The Sea of Trees is the latest from Gus Van Sant, a filmmaker with a very eclectic track record that proves he's not afraid to put himself out there and experiment. His movies may not always hit their mark but the passion and unique creative voice is always there. Despite early negative buzz at the festival, The Sea of Trees is far from the disaster Cannes audiences have made it out to be. The film is a bit long and flawed in some areas but extremely watchable. Cannes always needs a high-profile whipping boy and with its lush pedigree, this year Van Sant's The Sea of Trees fits the bill but in reality the opposite is true. This film is Gus Van Sant's best since Milk. Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey is front-and-center in The Sea of Trees as Arthur Brennan, a washed-up science »
- Marco Cerritos
Screen is reporting live from the Closing Ceremony of the 68th Cannes Film Festival, including quotes from the red carpet.
Refresh this page for the latest updates (Grand Prix has been announced… nearly at the big one)
After 12 days of world premieres and red carpets, the winners of the 68th Cannes Film Festival are being revealed inside the Lumière Theatre.
Opinion from Screen’s jury of critics gave close to top marks to both Todd Haynes’ Carol, starring Cate Blanchett, and Hou Hsiao-hsien’s period Chinese drama The Assassin, while Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees, starring Matthew McConaughey, scored a 12-year low.
But it is the jury chaired by Us filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen that will decide who takes home the prestigous Palme d’Or.
Screen’s jury of international critics finished the festival tied in their appreciation of Carol and The Assassin, ahead of the award of the Palme d’Or.
Reviews: Cannes Competition titles
Trailing them were the much fancied Hungary’s Son of Saul (which won the Fipresci prize) and China’s Mountains May Depart, with 2.8 each.
Paulo Sorrentino’s Youth clearly divided the critics, with some opting for four-palme scores, and others »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Fionnuala Halligan)
The Price of Salt is at a market high according to our critics. While Le Film Francais have Mia Madre in the pole position and Screen Daily have a pair in a tie among their voting clan, our sixteen strong have place Todd Haynes’ Carol firmly at the top of the leader board with average 3.8 grade. In a year where French cinema was a little off-balance, where Italy cinema didn’t disappoint, where Asian films were especially strong and where a first time work from Hungary stole the show, it is one portrait and one love story in 1950’s America that is tops.
In our inaugural year, our Cannes Critics’ Panel favored Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In by one point over the Dardenne’s The Kid With a Bike, von Trier’s Melancholia, Nicolas Refn’s Drive and Malick’s Palme d’Or winning The Tree of Life. »
- Eric Lavallee
The biggest deals of this year’s Cannes Marché du Film and how the Competition titles sold throughout the festival.
Behind the glamour of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, business was booming at the Marché du Film (May 13-22), with representatives from 120 countries in attendance - up four on 2014.
A total 3,300 films were on offer this year, around 1,000 at the project stage, with an estimated 11,000 film professionals in attendance, in line with last year.
In the opening days, Marché chief Jérôme Paillard told Screen: “Acquisition agents are telling me that it’s the first time in a number of years that there are so many big projects. I’ve been told there are around 50 high profile projects on offer.”
North AmericaHOT Projects
Open Road paid »
Cannes — The 68th Festival de Cannes is almost at an end. There is only one more competition film to screen, Justin Kurzel's "Macbeth," and then the Coen brothers-led jury will begin deliberations over what entry will win the prestigious Palme d'Or. The favorites are still "Son of Saul" and "Carol," but two relatively new entries, "Youth" and "Mountains May Depart," may steal their thunder. Tomorrow night's awards ceremony is going to be very intriguing. But more on that later... On Wednesday, the lovely and talented Alison Willmore of Buzzfeed and I took some time to chat about the films we liked and, of course, the films we didn't. We agreed on both one "best" and one "worst" so if you've been waiting to see someone physically express their feelings about Gus Van Sant's latest as opposed to just reading about it, this is your chance. Note: This »
- Gregory Ellwood
Son of Saul and Carol also strong contenders.
The surreal drama, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, is facing competition from Holocaust drama Son of Saul and Todd Haynes’ Carol, starring Cate Blanchett in the tale of a lesbian affair in the 1950s.
Having faced some harsh criticism during the festival, Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey is a long 20/1 to clinch the top prize, with Maiwenn’s Mon roi bringing up the rear at 40/1.
Click here for Screen’s Cannes reviewsPlame d’Or Winner 2015The Lobster 5/2Saul Fia 5/1Carol 5/1La giovinezza 11/2Chronic 6/1Shan He Gu Ren 6/1Nie Yin Niang 6/1Il racconto dei racconti 7/1Louder Than Bombs 9/1Valley of Love 10/1Umimachi Diary 10/1Dheepan 12/1Sicario 12/1Mia Madre 14/1Macbeth 14/1The Sea of Trees 20/1La loi du marche »
- email@example.com (Michael Rosser)
Read More: The 2015 Indiewire Cannes Bible: Every Review, Interview and News Item Posted During Run of Festival Each year, the Cannes Film Festival brings the bulk of the film world to the French Riviera for two hectic weeks of movies and dealmaking. For filmmakers, a coveted slot in the Cannes lineup has the power to broadcast new cinematic achievements on a global scale. This year's program has been no exception, with several movies being heralded as great accomplishments even though only a select few have had the chance to check them out. Can you trust the hype? This year's festival certainly has provided moviegoers with a lot to anticipate, from awards season fare like Todd Haynes' "Carol" and Pixar's "Inside Out" to weirder potential breakouts such as the Colin Farrell vehicle "The Lobster," set in a future where being single is illegal. There have also been plenty of movies met with mixed-to-negative reactions, »
He could be any young man in a tuxedo, screening ticket in hand, hurtling down the Rue d’Antibes to the night’s big premiere at the Palais. Melchior Derouet, who starred opposite Natalie Portman in 2006’s Paris je t’aime, navigates Cannes’ jostling crowds, barricades and stern French police faster and fearlessly than most. So most people do a double take when they notice Derouet is carrying a white cane as he races pell-mell toward the Croisette to get in line on the red carpet for the world premiere of Gus van Sant’s The Sea of Trees. Almost totally blind since
- Dana Kennedy
The Cannes Film Festival has built a reputation over seven decades as one unafraid of controversy. The boos, heckles, and jeers from the audience have become a Cannes tradition whenever a film is deemed unworthy of the festival’s lofty standards. This year has already seen Gus Van Sant’s “Sea Of Trees” eviscerated by critics (including us). While there are different shades to every controversy, each genuinely controversial Cannes title has earned the right to referred as such. For example. calling Atom Egoyan’s “The Captive” "controversial"’ would be unduly praising an otherwise utterly forgettable movie. Whether we're talking about great or not-so-great works of cinema that caused a scandal because of their envelope-pushing nature, or hotly anticipated films from big name directors that confounded critics to the point of dominating conversation throughout the entire festival, controversial Cannes titles are fascinating. So here are ten of the »
- Nikola Grozdanovic
Boos and bravos alike greeted Wednesday morning’s Cannes screening of “Youth,” Paolo Sorrentino’s drama starring Michael Caine as a retired orchestra conductor contemplating the indignities of old age and the trappings of celebrity at a luxurious mountain resort.
Perhaps the most divisive film to screen in competition so far, “Youth,” which Fox Searchlight is releasing Stateside, is this festival’s second high-profile, English-language title to receive catcalls from journalists. Still, it was much better received than Gus Van Sant’s much-derided “The Sea of Trees” last week, with Sorrentino’s partisans proving just as loud and passionate as his detractors.
The booers at least waited until the end of the film’s main credits, which played over a climactic musical sequence that the audience watched in silence. But when the film officially ended and the screen went dark, loud boos kicked in from all corners of the theater, »
- Variety Staff
“Louder Than Bombs,” Joachim Trier’s sensitively rendered family drama about the lingering aftermath of a mother’s untimely death, begins with a shot of a newborn’s hand clutching his daddy’s finger. It’s a perfect opening image for a film that largely concerns itself with the tensions that can arise between parents and children, particularly when each party is typically doomed to a partial understanding of the other at most. As it happens, it could also serve as one of the defining images for the 68th annual Cannes Film Festival (with apologies to Ingrid Bergman, whose regally disembodied head graces the poster for this year’s event), which has screened a number of pictures in which the price paid by neglectful, irresponsible or just plain ineffectual parenting turns out to be a steep one.
“They f— you up, your mom and dad,” Philip Larkin wrote, and some »
- Justin Chang
Gus Van Sant’s Cannes Film Festival Competition entry The Sea Of Trees unspooled here over the weekend. Van Sant is no stranger to Cannes, having previously won the Palme d’Or with Elephant in 2003. Before the Sea Of Trees screening, he and I sat down on the Majestic Beach to talk about how the existential drama came together. His visit to Cannes the previous year to present it at project stage, with Matthew McConaughey in tow, helped sales company Bloom virtually sell… »
Joachim Trier’s English-language debut delivers a solid score but fails short of the current leader.
Brize’s The Measure of a Man is a drama about an unemployed man who faces a moral crisis when he finally finds a job as a supermarket security guard.
The film recorded one to three star ratings, adding up to 2.3 (out of a possible 4).
Trier’s English-language debut drew scores ranging from one to four, rounding out at 2.2.
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
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