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As raw as it gets

Documentaries and films like Wanted and Desired, Day After Peace and Baby(ies) with a realistic edge are making big waves at the Cannes festival, writes Anjali Bhushan.

entertainment Updated: May 23, 2008 12:54 IST
Anjali Bhushan

Documentaries are setting off quite a buzz. There is one on Roman Polanski, Wanted and Desired. Another one is titled Day After Peace, which Jude Law is promoting. And there's the intriguingly titled Baby(ies) which is making big waves in the market.

In fact, reality seems to be the key to most films - whether fiction or non-fiction - at the festival. Of course, you have to overlook the new Indiana Jones in this context.

Otherwise, edgy, slice-of-life is it. Take Two Lovers by James Gray (of The Yards and We Own the Night). Set in Brooklyn, the movie features Joaquin Phoenix, as has to return to live with his family after a traumatic romantic disappointment.

Gray's movie is quite a departure from his trademark crime thrillers.

According to Gray, "the inspiration for Two Lovers came from a number of sources including Dostoevsky's novella, White Nights, about a man who gets involved in a platonic but intense friendship with a woman he meets on the streets.
The guy obviously has a manic disorder. This story has been usually treated in a romantic comedy format.. I have made it darker, more personal."

Oh, oh White Nights. It inspired Robert Bresson and Lucino Visconti, too. And Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Saawariya. Oliviera is 100.

On the occasion of the 100th birthday of the still active Portuguese director, Manoel de Oliviera, he was paid stirring tributes at the Grand Théâtre Lumière, in the presence of Clint Eastwood.

A film portrait by Gilles Jacob - One Day in Manoel de Oliviera's Life was showcased. The centurion was presented with a Palme d'Or Lifetime Achievement Award. The event will ended with a screening of Oliviera's first film Labor on the Douro River.

The Portuguese director was flanked by his wife and his grandson Ricardo Trépa. Among the many dignitaries, there was the superb French actor Michel Piccoli.

In the Un Certain Regard section, devoted to new directors, the spotlight was on Versailles, a first feature film by Pierre Schoeller.

The director, in running for the Caméra d'Or, dealt with the subject of homelessness in affluent western societies. Loneliness blues "The film is rooted in a world of poverty, cold, and hunger," Schoeller stated.. "But above all, it's a story about a bond that develops between two a loner and a child.. or how a voluntary outcast can display social strengths"

The plot hinges on a man who lives in isolation, in a shack in the woods near Versailles. One day, he meets Nina, a young woman who is drifting around with her five-yearold son. Next morning, the mother disappears, leaving her five-year-old son with the loner.

As the days and seasons pass, the man and boy tame each other, and forge a bond, which is as tough as their poverty. And comes a point when they must leave the shack to face the real world.