red film review


Cannes Film Festival
Day 1
Some of my favorite looks from the red carpet were
Bella Hadid in Alexandre Vauthier for the second year running.
Araya A. Hargate snatching us still in a Ralph and Russo gown while pregnant
Elle Fanning in a modern day version of Carrie Bradshaw’s Vivienne Westwood wedding gown
And Emily Ratajkowski in this beautiful Twin Set slip dress

Film of the Month | ‘The Red Turtle’

Directed by Michaël Dudok de Wit

A massive sea turtle destroys a stranded man’s raft every time he tries to sail away from a tropical island.

Review: A wonder to behold. That is all there is to say.

Personal Rating: 8.6/10

L'Eclisse and Antonioni

On Wednesday night, with my Virgin Media cable TV not working, I tore the wrapping off my Alain Delon DVD box set and watched Michelangelo Antonioni’s L'Eclisse. I’ve now seen all 7 films from Antonioni’s golden (and silver) period from L'Avventura (1960) to The Passenger (1975). And L'Eclisse isn’t the best of them: its last 10 minutes, in which famously nothing happens and nobody turns up, is amazing: much more full of life than 90% of his work. The rest has something to do with capitalism.

But here are the classic 7 Antonioni films, including his Italian tetralogy and the three films he made internationally afterwards, ranked by personal preference.

1. Red Desert. His first colour film is his most beautiful and often the most silly, from the early scene where Monica Vitti begs for a sandwich outside a horrible polluted factory that surely inspired the opening of Joe vs the Volcano. It’s the most pure expression of Antonioni’s idea that as a sensitive filmmaker wrestling with the inhumanity of the modern capitalist world, his angst was best represented in the figure of a chic but unhappy blonde woman. For the same reason, it’s also the most Disneyesque of his films.

2. La Notte. The story of a bunch of bored Milanese sophisticates over the course of a night, this is the most entertaining and quotable of his films. It surely influenced Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, and is the Antonioni film for fans of Fellini (it also stars Mastroianni). The black and white cinematography is perfect and it’s less self-pitying than most of the director’s work.

3. Zabriskie Point. The most Bressonian of his films, and I don’t just mean that the acting is terrible, although the young American cast is pretty but wooden. As with late Bresson (e.g. The Devil, Probably) it feels like a sincere attempt to understand the youth rebellions of the late 1960s. There are some brilliant, strange, poetic sequences, a great soundtrack, beautiful American landscapes, and a storyline which does make sense underneath it all. Plus it has the best title.

4. Blow-Up. The least Antonioniesque film: the Swinging London scenes are all great fun, but for me the open-ended mystery works less well than in L'Avventura, partly because the star David Hemmings can’t really communicate the same angst and confusion as Vitti (he just looks blank).

5. L'Avventura. The original (he’d made a bunch of films before then, but this inaugurated his famous trilogy, with La Notte and L'Eclisse to come). It spawned a thousand films with open endings, with its plot of a woman who disappears on a trip to an island, and then nobody really bothers to look for her. But this film is better than most not only because it’s entertaining and pretty, but because rather than just giving a mystery and ostentatiously failing to solve it and saying “fuck you”, it does give a convincing account of why the characters don’t bother trying to find an answer.

6. L'Eclisse. A searing indictment of capitalism with a lot of ugly people in a stock exchange, mainly losing quite a bit of money. The start, where Monica Vitti breaks up with Francisco Rabal, is brilliantly done, and features one of the most phallic buildings in film history. The ending, where nothing happens but the scene is full of life and activity, is unusually lyrical and even optimistic. The middle is Vitti (and to a lesser degree everyone else) running around a lot.

7. The Passenger. Pretty desert scenes, and no Antonioni film is less than fascinating, but by this stage he’s working to a formula, with an ostentatiously fucked-up plot about an uncharacteristically blank Jack Nicholson pretending to be other people. What is identity? Nothing. What is the desert? Harsh and empty. What is truth? Meh. What happens at the end? …


The Best Fashion Moments at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival

My favorite part about the fashion we see at Cannes every year is that no one plays it safe–everyone wants to stand out. We saw Laetitia Casta in Christian Dior Couture, Nicole Kidman in Armani Privé, Suki Waterhouse in Peter Pilotto, Lara Stone in Calvin Klein Collection, Rosie Huntington-Whitely in Victoria Beckham… Leading ladies and supermodels who all stunned on the red carpet.

Blake Lively and Cate Blanchett were my winners this year, Blake in Chanel Couture, Giambattista Valli Couture, and Gucci Première, effortlessly switching her look from runway to mini to very, very maxi. Cate, long a red carpet veteran, pulled off a bright Givenchy, then switched things up in matching Armani tuxedos with Emily Blunt.