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The Golden Rock - May 27th, 2007 Edition

Cannes finally comes to a close, meaning that those who don’t really care can now rest easy. Of course, if all goes well, we’ll doing it all over again for Venice and Toronto later this year.

On the general awards front, the Romanian film “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days” won the Palme D’or, Julian Schnabel won best director for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” Gus Van Sant won the special 60th Anniversary Award for “Paranoid Park,” Fatih Akin won the best screenplay award for “The Edge of Heaven,” and Konstantin Lavronenko won best actor for the Russian film “The Banishment.”

On the Asian films front, Naomi Kawase’s “The Mourning Forest,” which screened on the last full day of screening in competition, won the Grand Prix (which is like a glorified 2nd place award). Variety and Hollywood Reporter critics usually don’t work on weekends (even during Cannes, apparently), so there are no reviews from them yet. However, we do have a review from Screen International’s Lee Marshall, who calls the film one of great emotional impact with a vision that is equal to Terrence Malick. Meanwhile, Mike D’Angelo has a short review on ScreenGrab, and he didn’t like it as much (it’s a short review, just scroll down. Thanks to Green Cine for the link).

Also, Jeon Do-Yeon won the best actress award for Lee Dong-Chang’s “Secret Sunshine,” which ups the awards count for Asian films in competition to two this year. Then again, the competition seems pretty heavy this year, so Asia should be glad that it represented itself quite well.

- Moving on, Danny Boyle’s Sunshine, which has unfortunately not been doing very well anywhere it’s playing so far (it has open in most major territories in the world and has only made US$27 million). Now, Fox has moved up the North American release to July 20th from its second release date in September. This might be a good move, since it’s only going against John Travolta in drag (courtesy of The Movie Blog) and the new Adam Sandler comedy, which just got the R kiss of death from the MPAA.

- Everybody is finishing up their trilogies in recent years, from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Death Trilogy” to Gus Van Sant’s…..other “Death Trilogy” (apparently death at the hands of stranger is what he calls it) to Park Chan-Wook’s “Revenge Trilogy. Apparently, even Takeshi Kitano has been doing a trilogy from “Takeshis’” to “Kantoku Banzai!”. Now he’s planning to finish up this “self-exploratory trilogy” with a movie about the life of an artist from success to ruin that will feature his own paintings. Parallel to Kitano’s own directorial career is still unknown, depending on the reviews for “Kantoku Banzai!”.

- Japanese studio Toei and America’s Colombia Music are teaming up to make a series of short films for TV, DVD, and internet that will hopefully somehow lift sales by crossing CDs with DVDs. Their first film is called Metal Samurai. Good idea? Bad idea?

- Argentina and China are working on a deal to build a studio complex in Argentina. In addition, there are talks under way that would allow Chinese and Argentinean co-productions and other cinematic goodies.

- There’s a pretty ho-hum poster out for Feng Xiaogang’s The Assembly. Am I the only one that’s no really excited about this?

- There’s a law in China that bans all materials that deal with the supernatural. Films and books that deal with the supernatural are often banned, though there are ways around it, as evident in the recent thriller The Matrimony. The latest victim of this ban is the popular Japanese comic/animated series/films Death Note. Authorities in China finally got off their asses and seized over 2400 copies of the comic and 360 copies of what is probably the animated series or the films on compact discs. Thanks to the popularity of the comic, kids are also buying up the mock version of the Death Notebook (In Japanese, the word for notebook is “no-to,” or just “note.” So Death Note actually means Death Notebook), freaking out other kids by writing their names in it. Now that’s just plain mean.

- Since we were on the subject of law, Japan has finally passed a legislation in its parliament that bans the video recording of film in movie theaters. The fines are pretty heavy too, so think twice before bringing in that camera for the Death Note spinoff movie; keeping up your otaku cred isn’t worth that much.

- Oh, there’s also a teaser poster for Kim Ji-Woon’s The Good, the Bad, and the Weird, currently in production. What the hell is that thing Song Kang-Ho is wearing?

- Since this is the summer of the sequels, Professor David Bordwell wrote about a virtual roundtable he had that discussed the possible merits of sequels in his blog.

Off to finish the second part of Clint Eastwood’s Iwo Jima saga. Yup, that means a feature tomorrow, right on time for Memorial Day.

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