Monthly Archives: May 2010

Films To See

I just realized that I don’t have a “Films from Cannes You Must See” list yet. Granted, I only saw a handful of movies, so my recommendations should definitely be taken with a grain of salt.

But here goes….
Movies that Should Get Oscar Recognition:
Biutiful
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Starring Javier Bardem, Martina García, and Blanca Portillo
The trailer:
Recognition will go to Javier Bardem– If he doesn’t get a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role, I will be stunned.
Blue Valentine
Directed by Derek Cianfrance
Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams
Here’s a clip:
The two should be nominated for Best Actor and Actress in Leading Roles, and the movie itself is good enough for a Best Picture and/or Best Director nod, personally.
Film to See that Probably Wont Make It to U.S. Theaters:
Heartbeats (Les amours imaginaires)
Directed by Xavier Dolan
Starring Xavier Dolan, Monia Chokr (she was fabulous), and Niels Schneider
The trailer:
Heartbeats was by far the best movie I saw at Cannes. I like Blue Valentine and Biutiful a lot (and think they have more potential), but Heartbeats won me over. The acting is great, love the story, the music goes perfectly with everything, and just the fact that the director is only 21 has me in awe.
Film to See that Will Most Definitely Make It to U.S. Theaters
Fair Game
Directed by Doug Liman
Starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts
Here’s a clip:
Based on the true story of the outing of CIA Agent Valerie Plame.
Films to See that Will Probably Have At Least Limited Release in US Theaters:
Another Year
Directed by Mike Leigh
Starring: a ton of people– Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Oliver Maltman, and Lesley Manville (so good!), among others.
Here’s a clip:
—————
So that’s it. Those are my notes on the films I saw in Cannes (I saw a few others, but none as note-worthy). I guess we’ll just have to see what comes of them.
And if you have time to see just a few, please be sure to watch Heartbeats, Biutiful, and Blue Valentine. Those are a must.

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Hanging Paintings

I finally got the painting I made over Spring Break up on the wall of our new house. Valerie helped me re-stretch the canvas over the stretcher bars (the wooden frame)– while I tugged and pulled, she stapled. I broke a sweat, it was so hard. But finally we were finished with the stapling and it was time to hang it up.

Hammering in the loose staples.

“A little more to the right.”
“Here?”
“Perfect!”
Putting the first holes in the wall at our new house
(whilst standing on super rickety swivel chair).

… Aaaannnnd…..
Ta-da!

Celebrating with delicious banana bread that Valerie baked!

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. . .

“The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences.”

– Chris McCandless

*Where’s Waldo? … I’m two rows up from the kid with the pink hair.


I am going to miss this bunch. I’m already going through new-friend withdrawal.

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Need This!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this camera for the rest of my summer? I could take really quality (and arsty) pictures of my niece in Las Vegas, my trip to San Francisco, my internship in Philadelphia, visiting Shiloh in Salisbury (Maryland), and seeing the family in Tucson. It would be so much fun to be able to take good pictures of the next three months!

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Tacos Los Compadres

Today I went out with a friend for lunch to catch up, and we went to this new place that I’ve never been before– Tacos Los Compadres.
To me, you can’t get a lot more Oklahoman than getting food at a roadside stand, eating on the well-worn picnic tables provided with the sun burning down on you if you aren’t lucky enough to snag the table with shade.
To beat the heat, we got Mexican soda. They had Fanta, Coca-Cola, and Lift, an apple flavored soda. On my new kick of trying new foods, I got the apple soda, and I was well-rewarded for my curiosity. It was delicious!

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Setting Up House

I got into Oklahoma the day after my roommates had come back to Norman (after going home for the week after finals), so I got to be a part of the first grocery shopping experience.

Let me tell you, setting up a kitchen (and a home) from scratch is hard, expensive work. You don’t just need the obvious large food items like milk and giant bags of frozen chicken. You need olive oil, mustard, and sandwich baggies. You need dishwashing soap, salt and peppershakers, and a broom. And all that stuff adds up veeeeery quickly.

Starting a new home is expensive business. Since coming here, we’ve had to set up our electricity, water, cable/internet, and alarm system. We’ve paid too much in deposits and down payments, and we’ve already started paying our bills. And yet, with all this, I just feel like a kid playing grown-up right now. I’ve got the bills and I’ve got the responsibilities, but it still kinda feels like playing house. I’m not sure when it will stop either—maybe when I get a real job to go with the real house.

It’s funny, because when I was griping about living in the sorority house with a bunch of girls and wishing that I could be living with my friends in our own place, people kept telling me to appreciate living in the house because there someone else takes care of everything. I didn’t really believe them, but it’s so true. Before this, the most time I’d spend on worrying about bills was paying my one-time room and board payment. And the most time I spent on food a day was the time it took me to eat—no buying or preparing and no washing dishes.

But in the end, all the furniture finding, bargain hunting, and twenty-minute phone calls to the cable company (ten of which were spent on hold)—it’s all worth it. My friends and I made a celebratory dinner last night together (delicious lemon-y shrimp sauce over penne pasta), and we cooked it in our own kitchen while enjoying a glass of wine and catching up on each other’s stories. To me, that kind of evening is well worth the grocery shopping, dish washing, and frequent dead bug sightings (I think our floor is toxic).

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Before I Move On…

*photo courtesy of Julian Broudy

I’m home, and my fabulous trip to Cannes is over. I miss the place and I miss all my new friends.
But thankfully, I have pictures. And I have new friends who take incredible pictures and then post them all on Facebook for me to admire. So I’m stealing from them (with permission and crediting them, of course) and posting some of their amazing pictures here.
More Cannes for you– courtesy of Julian and Alek!

The American Pavilion
*photos courtesy of Julian Broudy
View of the Pavilions from the Marché.
The front of the American Pavilion.

Inside the American Pavilion Conference room

Many a blog was composed on the American Pavilion computers.

The Pavilion restaurant from the beach.

The Palais
*photos courtesy of Julian Broudy

The front of the Palais

The back of the Palais (on right) and Marché (on left)… The Entrée
des Artistes, behind the Palais, was where we could use
the restroom, and it was the facilitator of many star sightings.
The Marché
*photos courtesy of Alek Rost

The front of the Marché, where hundreds of films came with hopes
to be bought and sold. There were over fifty companies that set up
in the Marché, and it was a thriving, bustling place to be during the festival.

The halls of the Marché… Companies set up shop in swankily
decorated cubicles, where buyers could wander through and ask
questions, and then, if they were interested, set appointments,
and screen films.
The Short Film Corner, home of great short films and
the most popular happy hour at the festival.
And the Beautiful City of Cannes
*photos courtesy of Julian Broudy
a normal street


The beach walk from the hotel in Cannes La Bocca to the festival.
the view of part of the festival from the castle
Part of the street where I bought all my Christmas presents.
rooftop view of Cannes
And I just added these pictures of Cannes because I think my friend Julian is a talented photographer and I love these pictures…

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Monday – Going Home

The American Pavilion had arranged for buses (at 3am, 7am, and 10am) to take students from Cannes La Bocca, where we were staying, to the Nice Airport (about an hour away) on Monday morning. I really enjoyed that bus ride (during the time I managed to stay awake), because it was nice to see another part of France. Even if it was still the French Riviera, at least it was the countryside in that area.

The problem with not getting to travel around Europe after the end of the festival is that all I got to see of France this time around was Cannes. Not that I’m complaining. I had an amazing time. But the trip only managed to wet my appetite for travel, and I can’t wait to go back to Europe… I’m thinking a backpacking trip after graduation is in order.

FLYING HOME VIA LONDON

My original flight to London Heathrow was for 9pm, as I thought when booking the flight that I’d want to spend as long a time in France as possible and thus I should get out of there as late as possible. Of course, by the time I got to the airport, the last thing I wanted to do was take a taxi into Nice (an area I knew nothing about) and lug my suitcase around while fighting to stay awake (as I was completely exhausted). So that left me with an entire day in the airport (got there at 11am) and an overnight in the London Heathrow airport. Or so I thought.

When I went up to the booking agent for British Airways to see about flying standby and getting into London early, she informed me that my flight for the evening had been canceled. Would I like to leave Nice on an earlier flight? And how about an upgrade to first class for the inconvenience? Yes and yes, thank you.

My flight still didn’t leave for another couple hours, but I went through security as soon as I was able to check in for my flight, and, taking advantage of my first-class status, I went to one of those exclusive business lounges for the first time in my life. All I needed for entry was a first class ticket, and I presented it proudly.

Of course, once I got in, I hadn’t the slightest idea what I was supposed to do from there. I noticed a delicious array of scones, muffins and yogurt on a counter, along with a coffee machine. Did I have to pay for that? I pretended to shuffle through my bag until I noticed a portly old gentleman approach, snatch a couple scones and saunter off. Must be free then. I got a yogurt, some granola, and coffee, and then found myself a little piece of sofa to kick back and relax before my flight.

Ten minutes before boarding time, I reluctantly put away my book and went down to my airport gate. A couple girls from the program were there, and we chatted while waiting in line to go through the gate. Well, waiting in line is putting it nicely. There were at least a hundred of us crammed into a tiny terminal area with low ceilings and not enough air conditioning, and saying that there was a line is insinuating much more order than actually existed.

But the awesome advantage to such chaos is that I got to stand in line next to Tim Burton while we waited. And then, as the Nice airport makes you take a bus from the gate to the plane, I got to stand on the bus next to Tim Burton for close to fifteen minutes (as it took them forever to let us off the bus). My only observations are that his hair is crazy (only rock stars and directors can pull that off without looking like complete hooligans) and he says “fuck” frequently and in very unnecessary places.

LONDON HEATHROW

Alexis, one of my roommates from the American Pavilion, has been studying abroad in London for the last semester and still had a week left there after the festival. So instead of having to hang out in the London Heathrow airport overnight, I took the subway (or tube, as they say) to her flat and stayed the night there.

I was just happy to have a hot shower and a free place to stay for the night (that wasn’t the airport), but I got more than I could have hoped for when Alexis took me on a walking tour of London and I found out that she just happens to live within walking distance of everything important in London.

We walked by the London Eye (the world’s largest Ferris wheel), over the Westminster Bridge, past Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, through St. Jude’s Park, past Buckingham Palace, down the mall that leads up to the Palace, and stopped at a small restaurant overlooking Trafalgar Square to eat dinner. I was in heaven.

The only thing that would have made the moment better was if I’d remembered to bring my camera. After two weeks of being in a foreign country, you’d think that my camera and I would be inseparable. But I definitely didn’t anticipate such an awesome tour, so I think I figured I wouldn’t need the camera. Oops. Oh well. This just means that I’ll have to return to London someday.

The overnight in London was the perfect ending to an amazing trip. I feel so lucky to have seen three countries, two of which were practically free (thanks to the airlines), and to have been a part of the largest film festival and film market in the world.

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Day Twelve – Sunday (LAST DAY)

On the last day of the festival, all films in competition are always shown one more time for those who may have missed it when it was screened during the week. Wanting to see a couple films, I woke up early on Sunday morning (much earlier than I would have preferred) and went down to the festival to get in line for Biutiful. I was farther back in line than I would have liked, but I was very happy when I got into the movie anyway.

Biutiful, directed by Inaritu and starring Javier Bardem, was an extremely intense movie. It was like getting a bucket of ice water to the gut before the day had really even begun. The movie was so well done (and Bardem did such an incredible job) that I have no doubt it will come to the States, and I’d be surprised if Bardem didn’t get an Oscar nom for his role.

After Biutiful, I left the theater and promptly got in line again for Another Year, a British film directed by Mike Leigh. Another Year was the best reviewed film of the festival, so I really wanted to be sure and see it. It was a fun (and funny) film, but it was just as the title suggests—another year in the lives of these crazy people. There wasn’t any real climax or resolution (a lot like Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger), so the movie ended feeling a little unresolved. But the characters were so lovable and insane that I left feeling satisfied anyway. And then later, when I found out that director Mike Leigh doesn’t really use scripts and lets his actors improvise during scenes, I fell in love with the movie even more. Those actors have incredible talent.

END-OF-THE-YEAR PROGRAM GET-TOGETHER

The American Pavilion hosted one last get-together for all the students in the program, which gave us a chance to see each other again, take pictures, and exchange contact information (though the beauty of Facebook is that most of us will keep in contact there, making email addresses almost irrelevant).

I took this opportunity to take lots of pictures of the people I’d been spending the last two weeks with, since I had noticed that almost all my pictures of this trip have been of places and not people.

My roommate Bess, Julian and me

My boys!

Lisa, Justin, Josh, Julian and Lauren

Pip and Ryan playing the trombone and banjo to Lady Gaga.

Gabby playing M.I.A.’s Paper Planes on the banjo

LAST FRENCH DINNER

For my last dinner in France, I ate escargot– snails!!! It was actually quite delicious. I liked them better than the moules frites (muscles and fries) that Sam to my right ordered. And now I can say that I’ve had two of the classic French dishes while in France.

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Day Eleven – Saturday

I went to work on Saturday, but since the festival was basically over by then, there were almost no customers at the pavilion. So I lounged out on the beach right by the pavilion for pretty much the entire day, hanging out with friends and at one point, taking a deliciously long nap with the gently-lapping waves as my lullaby.

EVENING

Later that evening, my friends and I went out to a nice dinner (since we’d been eating baguette sandwiches on the go for the last week and a half straight and wanted a change). We walked up this super narrow, rather steep winding street by the bus stop (the same street that leads up to the castle) lined with small romantic restaurants. There were eighteen of us in the group, and the deciding factor on choosing from one of the many was that we finally found a place that had eighteen available spots.

Dinner was fun. It’s always fun to get to hang out with friends and talk about the festival. Also, I decided that I needed to order a traditional French dish, so I ordered frog legs in a cream sauce. It was delicious (though, hating to sound cliché, it did taste like chicken).

NOTE ON THE FRENCH

French people hate it when you act too American. Be loud and obnoxious, and you are guaranteed to not get into anything– bars, movies, or restaurants. My friends, bless their hearts, go turned away from the Debussy Theater (for the screening of Another Year) for acting too American (and for wearing beach shorts and flipflops–“Zees ees not the beach,” they said). You know, I’d probably feel the same way too, if a bunch of rowdy foreign youngins came and tried to get into my respectable establishment.

And on the same note, French people (in the south of France) seem to love it when you try to speak French. Their appreciation and respect for you increases and they instantly treat you better the moment you crack out your textbook high school French.

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