"Dear Mr. Spider;I am profoundly sorry to have taken you from your home in the woods, when I was picking Himalayan Blackberries on Monday afternoon. I didn't see you fall into my bucket and which was entirely my fault; I must have bumped into your web while reaching for a berry. Needless to say, I was surprised upon returning home with my bucket full, to suddenly see you there standing on a blackberry and looking up at me." - Marie
(photo recreation of incident)
• Chaz Ebert at Cannes
Dear Roger: "We were once indivisible from every atom in the cosmos," and that is how I feel when I am sitting in the Palais watching movies at Cannes with a screen spread out as wide as the galaxy, the audience circling around like protons and neutrons breathing as one in empathy.
The sounds of Cannes usually begin for me before daylight, when I'm awakened around 5:00 am by the noise of the big motorized awning of the bistro that's directly under my window being rolled down for the day. That's quickly followed by the watery roaring of the street-cleaning machine as it drives up and down the little plaza where the bistro sets up its outdoor tables and chairs. Then, comes the metallic scrape of dozens of chairs being dragged into place. Finally, some natural sounds: birds, including the big screeching gulls that fly inland from the waterfront a few blocks away. The alarm goes off and it's time to start another festival day by arriving at the Palais at 8:00 am to get a seat for the 8:30 am press screening.
"Lawless" by John Hillcoat, the first of four American films in the year's competition, premiered this morning. Set in Franklin, Virginia, in 1931, this is a Prohibition-era tale of a real family, the Bonderants, who became local legends as notorious moonshiners. Legend is the operative word here, as this is a highly romanticized story of three macho brothers and their apparent talent for besting the law, the competition, or death, as the case may be. This is film in which the good guys can be beaten to a pulp and be OK the next day, or take a shotgun blast to the gut from fore to aft but still get up and walk.
The cast is easy on the eyes: Tom Hardy as the eldest brother Forrest, who, as reputation has it, cannot be killed; Jason Clarke as Howard, the fearless middle brother who's batshit crazy when he's been consuming the product; and Shia Lebeouf as the youngest brother Jack, an aspiring lady's man who still has a lot to learn about the family business. Love interests include Jessica Chastain as a former fan-dancer from Chicago who shows up at the Bonderant enclave seeking the quiet life (!), and Mia Wasikowska as the sheltered daughter of a fundamentalist preacher.
"The Coen brothers may have chosen wisely, however, in choosing 'No Country for Old Men' to film. It's filmable. I don't know if audiences could endure 'Blood Meridian' if it were filmed faithfully. As for 'Suttree,' imagine 'Huckleberry Finn' crossed with 'Under the Volcano.'" -- Roger Ebert
Cormac McCarthy is the new Jane Austen. His "No Country for Old Men," which read to me like a Coen brothers' piece just waiting to be shot, has indeed been made into a film by Joel and Ethan Coen, and it blew away the critics at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. The twisting tones -- dark humor, elegiac wistfulness, manic violence -- suggest an ideal match of literary and cinematic sensibilities.
"Blood Meridian" is set to be directed by Ridley Scott. I share Roger's apprehension about what a "faithful" adaptation would be like, but Scott -- the man who prettified the West so cloyingly in "Thelma and Louise" -- seems like the wrong man for the job, whether the goal is to make an authentic movie version or even a glossy, ersatz one. (I think Scott shot his wad after "The Duellists," "Alien" and "Blade Runner," and should have returned to his strong suit, directing perfume commercials.)
And Variety has reported that McCarthy's most recent novel, the 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winner "The Road," is to be adapted by Joe Penhall ("Enduring Love") and directed by John Hillcoat ("The Proposition," which some critics compared to McCarthy).