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Live from Cannes: Day 8

Yesterday I came close to tearing up and it might be the sentimental favorite for the jurors for this fest. It’s got a pulse, feels less artificial than similar in theme films like the award-winning The Sea Inside and it is void of any moralistic take. Look for Julian Schnabel’s Le Scaphandre et le papillon to score big on Sunday – of course it has got Van Sant’s film and perhaps Fatih Akin’s latest to contend with.

Unless your name is Michael Jackson, the stinker so far for me in this festival is Harmony Korine’s Mister Lonely. I wanted to walk out after 20 minutes – although the best part comes with Werner Herzog comically playing some priest…and that occurs somewhere in the first 25 minutes. Korine has his fans but I wonder what players like Diego Luna and Samantha Morton saw in the screenplay. On that note judging from the offerings so far in Un Certain Regard section – I’m not too impressed.

At the end of the day I like to go visit my friend Marcello – his days are lined up with meetings, so I like to pop in towards the end of the day for a visit (of course he is always working – here we see him working the phones). I get to watch films and then relax – this is my POV looking at the beautiful sunset.

Today I walk into three films about which I no practically nothing of the same goes for the filmmakers who've directed them. Correction: For La Influencia I am familiar with the director because he was the cinematographer for Carlos Reygadas – hence why I’m checking out his directorial debut.

This is perhaps the films choices I love best when it comes to picking and choosing films during festivals – you never know if you might find a gem or two. I’m already beating myself wondering why I didn’t check out either The Band's Visit or 4 months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days – both were crowd pleasers and have been quickly picked up by distributors including the U.S. 

My first screening today is
Ekachai Uekrongtham’s Pleasure Factory (Kuaile Gongchang) – I had an empty spot and appreciated the best press kit I’ve received so far this festival – it looks like a dildo box of sorts but actually contains the packet plus condom. Inspired by true stories and real-life characters, PLEASURE FACTORY tells an intimate and seductive tale involving pleasure seekers and pleasure providers in Geylang, Singapore's red light district. 

Next up is the Director’s Fortnight selection of La InfluenciaPedro Aguilera’s work as a cinematographer was one of the items that was remarkable in Reygadas film. This is the story of a disoriented and vulnerable woman, overburdened with daily life problems and more: her belongings are impounded, her cosmetics shop has been closed down and her children's future is unknown. The children's vitality draws a sharp contrast against the apathy shown by their mother, who slowly plunges into a deep depression. The kids, becoming aware that she lacks the necessary strength and maturity to effectively face these problems, are forced to adopt adult attitudes. 

Finally I’m ending the day with 2-plus hours of Secret Sunshine – I’ll have my entire day in my body and the run time to contend with – so let’s hope I don’t catch the zzzzz’s.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, 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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