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We have a Pope (2012)
Cannes Festival Winner
Italian film starring Cannes winner Nanni Moretti
I think its fair to say the Catholic Church are not the best at PR. Allowing their pedophile priests to be protected in the bosom of the church so they could carry on with their heinous acts in other parishes once discovered is disgusting and sick. But you can''t shut religions down and so the authorities simply end up part of the problem as the Catholic tentacles get everywhere, usually with a few ten thousand Lira on the end of them finding many big pockets in Italy and beyond. They are a multinational business after all. The revered and Vatican City is second only to FIFA for close shop corruption. So with all that dirt I was not expecting to ever watch an Italian language comedy about the Pope, and a surprisingly funny little film to. What the Vatican thought of this will remain as mysterious as the ways of the Papal church. I thought it would be illegal in Italy to send up Gods representative on Earth!
Cardinal Gregori (Renato Scarpa) is hot favorite to be next Pope as the cardinals gather in The Vatican for the Papal Conclave. But after the first round there is no clear winner and so black smoke rising from the chimney for the faithful. A few votes and allegiance switches towards an unknown, Cardinal Mellville (Michel Piccoli), getting the two thirds majority and so the white smoke wafting over St Peters Square. A shocked Mellville is overwhelmed and takes the blessing. He is now Il Papa.
Just before he approaches the famous balcony to address the thousands below as Pope he freaks out and can''t do it, slumped in the chair screaming obscenities. The Vatican PR machine whirs into action and the new Pope retires to his quarters with the Provest (Jerzy Stuhr), who tries to figure a way around this unprecedented crisis. Melville is the Pope and that''s the end of it. With the Conclave still locked inside and the outside world none the wiser on who won the vote, the plan now is to talk Mellville around to doing the job by giving him 24 hours to contemplate the great responsibility forced upon him.
But that doesn''t work out and so they get a shrink (Nanni Moretti) to come in and work on the new Pope, also sworn to secrecy and locked in with the now twitchy Conclave. The Vatican soon disapproves of his forthright methods though and so a second opinion sought, that of shrink number two (Margherita Buy), who Mellville is smuggled into Rome in a dark limousines to see. The Cardinal simply can not deal with the pressure and escapes his chaperones, the new Pope on the run in Rome and the people oblivious to this mumbling old man amongst them. How do you get the Pope to be a Pope if Gods man on Earth has lost it?
I really enjoyed this and chuckled all the way through, a highly recommended movie. It steers away from being too clever and so alienating and ends up a rather sweet farce as the Papal politicians race around Rome looking for the new Pope, drowning in their own absurd rules and traditions in the modern world. Director and star Nani Moretti deliberately plays with that absurdity of the situation and steals the movie from the conscious torn pope to be Michel Piccoli. Piccoli is great but Nani is really funny and delivering some deliciously unexpected scenes as both actor and director, earning a nomination at Cannes for his efforts. He chooses to express his atheist thoughts ? on and off set ? on Catholicism in the movie and the corrupt politics it produces by staging a volleyball tournament between the incarcerated cardinals in the unfinished conclave, producing similar politics and squabbles. There are many hidden layers to this movie and won to watch over.
For its $ 8 million budget its actors are brilliant and the script top notch as the pope battles his demons. What would it be like is this really happened and the pope took the bus and tube in Rome unknown? That bit really works well, as does the rest of it, a physiological dromedary that mixes that farce with subtle comic comment on the Catholic Church today. You really should check this out as it''s a genuine comic treat. ?Carry on The Pope'' for the middle-class.
One of the places which we visited whilst about the Royal Caribbean ship 'Indepence of The Seas' a couple of weeks ago was Cannes , France. For those of you who don't know , Cannes (pronounced as Can in French), is a city located in the south east of France and is part of the French riviera. Cannes is home to a population of just under seventy two thousand and is a popular tourist spot , particulary among the rich and famous ; Beyonce and the Rooneys are among a few of the celebrities who like to holiday here. Based in the Mediterranean climate , temperatures can reach as high as 30'C in the summer , and it hardly rains which is good news. French is the spoken language , although locals do speak English.
We spent the day in Cannes , and the weather was absolutely scorching ; which was great. Cannes itself is a very beautiful city ; with lots of pretty flowers and gardens. It had a lovely 'calm' feeling about it ,and so you can understand why so many people go to holiday there. You could tell that it was a rich area just by looking at it ; everywhere was clean including the streets. There was no litter or nothing on the streets ; there were plenty of 'dog bins'.
Considering that this place is very popular in Summer , it wasn't overcrowded which was good. There were a few tourists but not a lot like I had expected. We had expected to see pick pockets and so we were quite wary , although we didn't come across any. What we did come across was a couple of men trying to get people to give money to charity. We were walking down a street and they were standing on the pavement , stopping people and wouldn't let them pass , and they had a sneaky way of making you give to the charity ; they said 'can I just have your signature' to support this cause , so we were like ok (we didn't like to say no , as they seemed to get a bit angry , from what we had saw from when some other people said no - and they were quite scary guys too , so we didn't want to get in any trouble). So we put our signatures on the form , and then they were like 'right , money , how much you going to give?'. So it was quite scary really. I think we gave like one euro or something. The guys were wearing like 'charity passes' type things , but they were still scary. We didn't see many police about on the streets either.
We saw many , many yachts ; we stopped to talk to someone who was cleaning the outside of a yacht and we asked him how much a yacht like that would cost (it wasn't that big) and he said 'a few million' , so that gives you an idea of the kind of people that holiday here. I was on the lookout for celebrities , although I didn't see any , not even one! :(
We did see a great beach ; although we didn't go on it. It looked quite busy although it wasn't particularly crowded. There was also a 'tourist train' which would take you on a tour around town ; I think it cost around ten euros each. We were going to go on it , but then the one which was almost ready to go didn't have enough seats for all seven of us , and so we couldn't be bothered to wait for the next train to load up. Although I am sure that this tour which have been interesting had we gone on it.
We didn't really do much shopping ; only around the sovenier shops. I only bought an ice cream and a Cannes postcard to add to my 'place I have been' scrap book. The shops we went to weren't too expensive , although I would imagine that the 'proper' shops are really expensive to shop at.
I really enjoyed my visit to Cannes , and would definately visit there again in the future ; maybe next time I will see some celebrities! hehe!
Thanks for reading!
June 28th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted under xdonzx on ciao)
Well, I saw this in Cannes, and it blew me away so much that I went straight into the next screening... Aussie wonder boy Baz Luhrmann continues to break rules and to shock in his new tragi-comic musical, Moulin Rouge his most audaciously innovative feature to date. Like his stylized dance melodrama Strictly Ballroom and his postmodern Shakespearean adaptation, Romeo + Juliet, the new musical, which is set at the turn of the century Paris and stars Nicole Kidman, creates a heightened creative world that aggressively defies historical authenticity and the established traditions of Hollywood musicals. Fox's $55m summer release, which received its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, represents a risky gamble that may not pay off domestically since it's distributed as counter-programming to Pearl Harbour and the season's other top guns. However, stronger performance in foreign territories, particularly Europe, should help recoup the budget and elaborate marketing campaign for what's essentially an arthouse picture. With three movies to his credit, there's no doubt that enfant terrible Luhrmann is a visionary and experimental director intrigued by refurbishing old genres with new life by reinventing their conventions, turning them upside down and inside out. In Moulin Rouge, Luhrmann has also redefined the filmmaker's role, transforming him into a magician with a hatful of resplendent tricks, meant to transport the viewers into a uniquely cinematic land that disdains naturalism and embraces expressionism. Moulin Rouge is the third in Luhrmann's "Red Curtain Trilogy" of mood-swinging, consciously theatrical, aggressively stylized movies. It's a mode that adopts the stage's fake artifice, creating a theatricalized cinema that asks the audience to look at reality through the filmmaker's subjective vision -- and primal mythology. This latest amalgamation is inspired by two lite
rary sources: The myth of Orpheus, in which the poet visits Hades to rescue his lover, but loses her forever, and Alexander Dumas' famous play, Lady of the Camellias, turned into Verdi's Bel Canto opera, La Traviata, and filmed by George Cukor as Garbo's best-known vehicle, Camille. Most of the action is set within the notorious club, which Luhrmann views as a microcosm of Parisian society circa 1900, the epitome of moral and sexual decadence. Visually and thematically, the club is a blend of the cabaret in Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel (with Marlene Dietrich), Liza Minnelli's performance space in Bob Fosse's Cabaret, and precursor of the infamous Studio 54 at the height of its 1970s popularity. Aiming to resurrect the movie musical, a genre that has been in severe decline — if not practically dead -- over the past three decades, Luhrmann has boldly decided to mix various types of music, often within the same scene. Indeed, every form is quoted, from breakout into song to using the music as a kind of Greek chorus to operatic tunes to music videos. While the narrative is set in an 1899 Paris, the performers sing songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Elton John, David Bowie, Sting, and Madonna. The yarn doesn't waste much time on exposition. The first sequence (about 20 minutes) represents a harrowing sensory assault, depicting Montmartre with an unbalancing blend of film stock, digital effects, and film speeds. All the major characters, themes, and conflicts are introduced, letting the audience know exactly how the tale's going to end. Rather shrewdly, Luhrmann employs Christian (Ewan McGregor) in two different roles: as a young idealistic writer and as narrator/commentator of the story, which is deliberately situated in heightened creative world that bursts with visual and musical fireworks. Nicole Kidman plays a can-can dancer named Satine with serious stage ambitions and a severe case o
f consumption. She's the jewel for hire, a courtesan of poor origins who's adopted the club and its inhabitants as her family. Consistent with his anachronistic conception, Kidman boasts a long red hair, shapely legs that are often exposed, and an overtly sexual persona that approximate Rita Hayworth in her 40s pictures, specifically the erotic meller Gilda and noirish The Lady from Shanghai. While Kidman's persona makes explicit references to Hayworth's movies, there are also touches of Monroe, particularly in her rendition of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend." Satine is surrounded by three men who aspire to control her fate, each pushing her in a different direction. Christian is a bohemian revolutionary, an Orpheus who descends into the hell of the club's perverted underworld, and falls head over heels for Satine. He's contrasted with Satine's influential admirer, the oily Duke of Worcester (Richard Roxburgh), who stands for the philistines. The most brilliantly conceived figure is the pathetic, desperate, but also human club impresario Zidler (Topsy Turvy's Jim Broadbent), who looks a bit like Emil Janings in Blue Angel and embodies some of Joel Grey's dubious characteristics in Cabaret. Zidler has convinced the count to finance his new show, Spectacular Spectacular, to be written by Christian. In the background stands the painter Toulouse Lautrec (John Leguizamo), who functions as an observer but doesn't occupy the centre in the way that he did in John Huston's earnest Freudian biopicture, Moulin Rouge, that featured a suffering Jose Ferrer in the lead. The movie's most controversial dimension is its freebasing of the entire twentieth century, referencing a variety of pop tunes. The diverse soundtrack and intentionally anachronistic style will exhilarate some while irritate others. For example, lyrics to "All You Need Is Love" turn up as dialogue, and
the Police's "Roxanne" is reshaped as a dance-floor tango with a techno backbeat. The movie also exhibits influences from Bollyhood, the Indian school of filmmaking that mixes melodramatic plots, existential philosophy, and ostentatious dance numbers. The signature theme (heard in two versions, one by David Bowie, the other a Bowie/Massive Attack duet) is the old Eden Ahbez's, "Nature Boy," popularized by Nat King Cole, whose key lyrics serves as the picture's mantra: All you'll ever learn is to love/and be loved in return Structured as a spectacle within spectacle, the Parisian -- and contemporary -- audiences become complicit in a tale about beauty, freedom, deceit, and above all, love, to mention the story's most dominant symbols. The film's detractors will have hard time dismissing it as just a crazy quilt of imagery inspired by music videos. As a convention-free musical, Moulin Rouge creates its own heightened world, employing far-flung visual techniques. Unlike other musicals, in which the songs often arrest the plot, here, story and song are integrated, moving forward together and supporting each other. Though relying on a wealth of period detail, this Moulin Rouge is certainly not a tastefully refined Merchant-Ivory costume drama. In its dauntless visual strokes and unbridled imagination, Luhrmann goes way beyond Terry Gilliam's wildest fantasies. Ultimately, though, what makes the story touching is the splendid cast, headed by a dazzling Kidman, who acts better than she sings, and McGregor, who excels in both departments.