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Cannes Day 2: Which one's Jack Black?

Posted by Ty Burr  May 15, 2008 07:32 AM

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Every year there's a big, silly promo stunt on the beach. In 2007 it was Jerry Seinfeld in a bee costume flying in the sky. This year it's Jack Black doing kung fu moves surrounded by 40 people in giant panda suits. The film, of course, is "Kung Fu Panda," which is screening out of competition -- way out of competition, I'm guessing -- today. But I'll be seeing the Bobby Sands hunger-strike drama "Hunger" instead, because, you know, we're serious about film here at the Globe. (And because I'll be seeing "Panda" when I get back.)


Last night I caught "Waltz with Bashir," an Israeli film by the talented Ari Folman. It's an animated history lesson, much like the recent "Chicago 10" and "Persepolis" (or Joe Sacco's "Palestine" graphic novels), in which Folman interviews his old Israeli Army friends and plumbs his own memory to confront their complicity -- and the entire nation's -- in the 1982 massacre of Palestinian refugees by Christian Lebanese at the Sabra and Shatila camps. It's a strong, strong work -- while the reliance on Flash animation gives the visuals an unnecessarily cheap edge, the voice-over work (in most cases by Folman's actual army pals) leads the audience slowly closer to the event until the final, stunning moments almost erupt from the screen. "Waltz with Bashir" is an anti-war movie but it's also about what really passes between male friends, and it's about the guilt that can come from abetting an atrocity rather than committing it.

This morning I headed over to the Palais Stephanie for the opening film in the "Director's Fortnight" sidebar: "Four Nights with Anna," the first film in 17 years from the great Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, who mostly has spent his time recently acting (he was Naomi Watts' racist Russian uncle in "Eastern Promises"). The film's small, bleakly funny, quite sad, and beautifully controlled -- a tale of peeping-tom passion about a hospital handyman who drugs his favorite nurse's nighttime tea so he can sit and watch her as she sleeps. Creepy, yes, but the film teases the pathos and even nobility out of this wretched man. I found myself riding the elevator down to the screening with Skolimowski, searching for the pocket theater in confusion before he finally buttonholed a security guard and said, "Where's the movie? I'm the director!" Maybe we were lost, but his career's been found again -- nice to have him back.

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Ty Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.

Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.

Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.

Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.

Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.

Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.

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