The premise of the movie is simple. Murray is Phil Connors, a TV weatherman assigned to cover an annual Groundhog Day event, and somehow finds himself caught in a time loop, reliving the same day over and over again.
The main thrust of the movie was an examination of what someone might do if they had the opportunity to correct their mistakes and missteps, and turn their life into a perfectly polished product, a fully-finished article with no flaws.
But just as no two Groundhog Days in the movie were ever the same, no two Seders have ever been the same. Every aspect at every Seder has followed the formula set out in the Haggadah, and we all use the exact same Haggadah, and yet, in spite of that, every Seder is different.
On the big screen, Maggie will soon be seen in Columbia Pictures' THE FIFTH WAVE opposite Chloe Moretz. She also recently shot indie film THE SWEET LIFE with Chris Messina. In 2014, Maggie appeared in Sundance lesbian prostitution favorite CONCUSSION, and as a sensitive rabbi opposite Edward Norton in Tim Blake Nelson's LEAVES OF GRASS. Other film credits include Paul McGuigan's PUSH and Judd Apatow's FUNNY PEOPLE.
A Jewish rabbi was seriously wounded yesterday in a shooting ambush in the West Bank. No one claimed responsibility. Israel has been bracing for attacks after the Islamic Jihad vowed to avenge the assassination of its leader. And Israeli planes attacked guerrilla targets in south Lebanon in retaliation for attacks by pro-Iranian Hizbullah guerrillas who killed two pro-Israeli militiamen and wounded three Israeli soldiers yesterday, sources said. Separately, 33 people were killed in a bomb attack on the offices of the main anti-government group in northern Iraq. Saddam Hussein's government is suspected of carrying out the attack.
Dheepan has the standard Audiard traits: energy, rhythm, and acompassionate gaze. The growth in the love relationship between\"husband\" and \"wife\" is psychologically subtle. The nervytension Audiard creates in each scene--whether it is one of urgently lookingfor a child in a refugee camp, the scene that opens the film, or in a Parisschoolyard of nasty children--is masterful, as usual. Yet every so often,Audiard seems like he is trying to out-do Audiard, for dramatic effect. Thelast forty minutes of the film provide a tour-de-force of action, with fireblazing and (for good measure) concrete blocks thunking to the ground. Thestartle effect sometimes seems forced, yet the film works well overall, upuntil its moralistic punch-line (a slug against France). Cannes critics weresurprised, however, that Dheepan won the highest prize. But given aCompetition that boasted a number of strong (yet flawed or controversial)films and a greater number of mediocrities or flops, Dheepan was a safechoice. Explaining the decision, Ethan Coen (head of the jury, along withbrother Joel) explained: \"It was swift, everybody had an enthusiasm forit. To some degree or another we all thought it was a very beautifulmovie.\"
The one critique that could be levelled at Haynes' film isthat it is a bit too controlled: fitting the contours of the Americanmelodrama re-make in perfectly politically correct form. Indeed, while Carolwas revered unanimously, the film most championed for the Palme d'Or wasthe far more turbulent Son of Saul, the Holocaust film by Hungarian newcomer,NYU-trained, Lazslo Nemes. Son of Saul tells the story of Saul Auslander, aHungarian member of the Sonderkommando, who, when he sees a boy beingmurdered (apparently his son), becomes determined, and then obsessed, to givethe boy a religious burial. Saul is so determined to honor this boy that notonly does he take extraordinary risks to hide the cadaver--and to find arabbi to read the Kaddish mourning prayer--but his mission becomes moreimportant for him than helping the Sonderkommando plan a rebellion (theparallel story), which leads to a climatic dramatic clash.
Many Cannes critics were wowed by this Hungarian entry, claimingthat Nemes' extraordinary techniques were enough to warrant giving itthe top prize (it won the Grand Prix). Yet these same formal devices were thereason I disliked it. While contemplating the Shoah, I do not want to bedistracted by the ever-obvious creative hand of the filmmaker. In Son ofSaul, the director's artistry is more present than Auschwitz. I alsofound the out-of-focus technique disturbing because it makes horror somethinglike what Tom Gunning might term an \"attraction.\" Our eyes strainto see what is blurry, and there is quite enough in focus at the edges of theframe to see it all anyway: the child being suffocated by a man's hand,the bodies being taken to the ovens, the huge dusty grey piles of human ash.The director explained to me that he deliberately \"only suggested\"the horror, as he \"did not want the viewer to be in the horror, becauseit is not understandable.\" Yet anyone who sees this film and thinks thehorror is only \"suggested\" must be numb to graphic images ofcorpses being desiccated, humans screaming as they are pitched into ditches.Moreover, the main character is unbelievable. And as Saul loses credibility,so does his mission: the sacred meaning of a burial deflates to absurdity,becoming a matter of grabbing rabbis out of the firing line. And once onedoes not believe in Saul, the story becomes a gimmick--one that verges on theobscene--whatever the filmmaker's well-meaning intention.
A less controversial highly acclaimed film--yet no prizegiven--was Nanni Moretti's La Madre: the story of what it means to loseone's mother, based on the director's own experience. MargheritaBuy plays a film director making a movie about striking workers in a factoryas her beloved mother (played with great dignity by theatre actress GiuliaLassarini) begins her descent into death. Throughout most of the film,Margherita (the director) stares with distraught blue eyes and seems on theedge of a breakdown. She bursts into panicky tears when a utility man asks tosee her mother's electricity statements; she paddles through a flood inher apartment, ineffectively dropping newspapers; she wakes in terror havingdreamed her mother is already covered in shrouds. Meanwhile, her hospitalizedmother remains calm and humorous.
Winning the screenplay award was Mexican director Michel Francofor Chronic. Tim Roth gives an outstanding performance as a male nurse whobizarrely goes beyond the call of duty to care for his dying patients. Thefilm follows him as he takes care first of one patient (until the funeral),then another--and then another--each time scrupulously washing thepatient's back, or encouraging him or her to speak about their lives.What is odd is that his care for his patients is absolutely deadpan--and he,for an unfathomable reason, seems deeply depressed. Chronic is a relentlesslycold film. There is no joy in the movie, and very little warmth. The othercharacters (mostly family members of the patients) have little affect,rushing about or indifferently, and speaking to each other in monotone. Thedirector puts a fluorescent spotlight on how estranged we human beings are.The nurse, in his strange dense way, is the most \"human\" character.
The granting of the screenwriting award to Chronic was notpositively received, perhaps because this static portrait of bleakness seemsso flat. Yet the unchanging plot (nothing good happens) is integral with thedirector's vision. Franco told me: \"My film is close to real life,in that life rarely has that arc where everything changes for the better. Ilike movies that do not solve the conflict, because when the conflict issolved, it satisfies the spectator and all is forgotten in an hour. But ifthe conflict is not solved, as in my film, you are forced to keep thinkingabout it.\" One is reminded that John Frankenheimer's masterpieceSeconds (1966) was also booed at Cannes, for its \"bleak\" portrayalof humanity. 1e1e36bf2d