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Inside the 2011 Cannes Film Festival Day 5: Kamen Kalev’s The Island

In the hands of a budding Spanish filmmaker, we’d have a chilly, atmospheric mood piece, but in the hands of a Bulgarian, well the results aren’t even mixed, they’re dreadful. With Kamen Kalev’s sophomore film (his 2009 film, Eastern Plays was also selected by the section) we receive an unconvincing, ill-conceived faux thriller that never computes and yet all the elements are there – a threatening Black Sea, an ideal location and a pair of international actors working in a language that is aimed for a larger demo. The generically titled The Island is a vessel so far off the charts, that thesps Thure Lindhardt and Laetitia Casta who play a mangled couple of hit rock bottom, can’t keep their head above water as witnessed with their sub-par interpretation of the material. Here’s the premiere night presentations.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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