04 mai 2012

Repeat Whiner (Koehler) Season 2 Episode 2

The log in the eye of the beholder
"Thursday’s announcement of the official selection for the upcoming Cannes Film Festival marks status quo in one area (the number of veteran auteurs in the competition) and a shift in another (a decline in the number of women in the lineup).
The lineup of 55 new films that will screen at the festival tends to reinforce the perception that the official selection side of the event—that which takes place in the beach town’s hulking Palais complex and is selected by artistic director Thierry Fremaux—is less the site of discoveries than where the established find reinforcement for their reputations. More open fields for discoveries can be expected, as is the Cannes pattern, over at the parallel, independent sections of Directors Fortnight and Critics Week [..]
In all of this, please note who’s missing: Women.
My colleague Eugene Hernandez compiled a tally of the number of women in the Cannes competition in recent years, and though the average is a bit over two names per year, the number in 2011 shot up dramatically to four, setting off headlines about Cannes’ year of the woman [..]"

Cannes 2012: Old Boys’ Network, in Status Quo (Robert Koehler; Film Comment; 22 April 2012)
How cute, pseudo-journalists who pretend to care for women's right and for newcomers by rehashing the same old mindless clichés plastered in the press EVERY fucking year before the festival even starts... How original!
Do they really CARE? Or is it just an opportunist posture to join the usual Cannes free bashing? Let's find out in their Year-End Top10 :

Robert Koehler top2011 (100% MALE / 30% VETERAN) he picks a male veteran as Best Director (Weerasethakul)
  1. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives MALE / VETERAN (Cannes2011)
  2. Mysteries of Lisbon MALE  / VETERAN (TIFF2010) 
  3. Agrarian Utopia MALE (Rotterdam2009)
  4. Margaret MALE 
  5. To Die Like a Man MALE (Cannes2009)
  6. Extraordinary Stories MALE 
  7. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu MALE (Cannes2010)
  8. Take Shelter MALE (Sundance2011+Cannes2011)
  9. Poetry MALE  / VETERAN (Cannes2011)
  10. The Mouth of the Wolf MALE (Turin2009+Berlin2010) 

Eugene Hernandez top2011 (100% MALE / 50% VETERAN) he picks a male veteran as Best Director (Malick)
  1. The Tree of Life MALE  / VETERAN (Cannes2011) 
  2. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives MALE  / VETERAN (Cannes 2011)
  3. Mysteries of Lisbon MALE  / VETERAN  (TIFF2010) 
  4. Le quattro volte MALE (Cannes2010) 
  5. Hell and Back Again MALE (Sundance2011) 
  6. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 MALE (Berlin2011)
  7. Melancholia MALE  / VETERAN (Cannes2011)
  8. A Separation MALE  / VETERAN (Berlin2011) 
  9. Incendies MALE (Telluride2010) 
  10. Moneyball MALE (TIFF2011) 

Film Comment's Top 100 Films of the Decade 2000s (91% MALE)

Women : 9 mentions (9%)/ 6 filmmakers (Claire Denis*3, Agnès Varda, Kathryn Bigalow, Lucrecia Martel*2, Sofia Coppola, Catherine Breillat, Kelly Reichardt)

New Directors / New Films 2012 - Lincoln Film Center (86.2% MALE / 55% NON-DEBUT)
  • Women : 4/29 (13.8% not better than Cannes line up best years)
  • Debut : 13/29 (that sucks for a program that claims to feature NEW blood)
  • Actual world-first discoveries : 2/29 (that sucks for a program that claims to make DISCOVERIES)
  • Re-runs from international festivals : 25/29 (thank you foreign festivals for discovering new titles for our program)
  • Old film/Dead director (i.e. not NEW): 1 (brain fart?)

Thierry Fremaux makes the best of the 1719 submissions he received to select a representative list narrowed down to 22 titles (that's a reduction to a sample of 1.3% of all entries). 

Meanwhile American reviewers only watch (at best if they do their job right) 400 NEW films a year (only 607 titles of the 5500 films made in the world, were released on the North-American market in 2011) and narrow them down to a top10 (a reduction to a 2.5% sample of all entries) without leaving a single spot for WOMEN!!!! How ironic that last year Cannes had 4/20 women on its line-up (that's 20%!!!) and on the same year, these 2 smartass (occasional) feminists put 0% of women on their top10... Why am I the only one to find this self-condradictory???
So basically, douchebags are pretty good at pointing finger at a foreign festival, but they wouldn't even reframe this in a more global context (the effective minority of female-filmmakers anywhere in the world), or a more personal perspective (they don't do what they blame others for not doing). That's braindead "criticism" for you.

The issue of gender parity in the workplace (the glass ceiling for female directors) needs to be dealt with at the root, upstream, when the job of a filmmaker starts. By looking at how many female directors are given money to make films, and how well supported they are during production, or how they face constant discrimination, exclusion, mistrust, hindrance in their work... And even before that at the university stage : how many female students choose to enroll for a film class and how many graduate?
Because when a film is picked up in Cannes, all is done and said, it's the final stage of a film production (right before distribution), it's downstream from the glass ceiling. Cannes may only select films that have been made and finished. If there are only 10% or less of films made in the world every year by women... it would be hard for Cannes to select more than 10% of women films (statistically assuming that male and female filmmakers are just equally deserving to be selected on a world-class festival in comparable proportion). If you expect Cannes to line up 50% of male films and 50% of female films... that means that the smaller sample of films made by women is much superior in quality than the majority of films made by men. We could do that (an exact gender parity) as a symbolic gesture (positive discrimination, affirmative action), to help restore the balance over time, hopefully. But it won't make a competition of the highest standards, which is what Cannes is looking for. It's an uphill battle for women filmmakers of course, but Cannes is not responsible for this discrimination, Cannes only reflects le fait accompli (a world that dominantly gives film projects in the hands of men).
It would be much more ingenious to look at the gender statistics of the Cannes Cinéfondation that welcomes debuting filmmakers each year.For that we could hold the festival responsible for encouraging gender discrimination, not for the competition itself.

"Festival selections are no places, nor should they be, for quotas of any sort. But Cannes is a place, maybe the place, where the cinema and festivals worlds take their temperature every year, to gauge the state of the art, for better or worse. Those of us who’ve argued that Cannes’ hothouse atmosphere isn’t a proper place to do this—indeed, perhaps the worst place to do this—have long ago lost the battle. Cannes is pretty much the center of our (local) universe, and is allowed to define standards and tendencies from there. [..]
So, given this set of facts on the ground, does the absence of women this year (only the third time in the past thirteen years) say anything about where cinema is right now? Unlikely. More likely, it’s a matter of (bad) timing, or, less likely, bad candidates. Besides, women are winning elsewhere on the festival circuit."  
Only after laying random unexamined uncontextualized facts for the benefit of a sensationalist bashing, does he conclude that it wasn't such a smart idea to go down this route... However, the diffamation is already done : making a catchy headline to manipulate his readership, and stuffing the whole first half of his article with useless and deceptive misinformation. That's exemplary of bad journalism, which cares more about (hollow) effects than about insightful education. With "journalists" who care this little about setting high standards for film journalism, it explains a lot about the dire straits of American Film Culture... That's what I call a douchebag culture.

As for the veterans, without them there would be no continuity in the establishment of world-class critical standards. If you renew every year your line-up, as a principle, you imply that filmmakers can only be at the level of an international competition only once in their career. And by discarding the winners of past competitions, you deprive yourself of the artists who proved to have top-notch talent, thus falling back on others, possibly lesser, artists to give them their moment of fame, even if they aren't as good as the veterans.
Committing a certain fidelity to competition veterans is not only a political strategy (to bank on acquired fame rather than risking an uncertain/controversial newcomer) that any event should consider for its perennity (that's a superficial and self-serving but necessary consideration), but most importantly it acknowledges the fact that past winners were not a fluke, a passing fancy, but the recognition of a solid talent capable to produce masterpieces over and over (that may compete with the year's best, every time they make a new film). If film masters keeping being as good as when they emerged in Cannes, there is no reason to ignore their new films.

Complaining about the recurrence of well-known names on a line-up of a world-class competition is a blatant misunderstanding of how the art market works. Would you get tired of Mozart after hearing him ranking in the charts more than 5 years in a row? So you think Van Gogh only painted one award-worthy painting and all the others are just repeating themselves? Shakespeare should only be praised for one of his play, more than that and he overstayed his welcome... right? What a lot of bullshit! Besides a festival cannot be judged on 2 consecutive years. The evolution of the history of art only makes sense when looking back, with a critical distance of time, on several years, or many decades.

Blaming the official competition for not doing what the parallel sections are doing is also pretty stupid. It's like blaming the Best Actor category for not rewarding as many women as the Best Actress award! All the sections of the Cannes festival (even the ones not organised by the official direction) function as a symbiotic system. If the International Critics Week (self-described as the competition for DEBUT and Second-film!!!) was redundant with an official competition lining up too many debuts, then it would die out and be cancelled. The reason Un Certain Regard spawn out of the main competition line up, is precisely to shine a spotlight on a supplementary batch of films that could not make it in the official competition, often times because they are too unpolished (less professional, not quite at world-class standard) or disconcerting (subversive/experimental).
If Cannes DOES create space for Un Certain Regard, La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs and the International Critics Week... it is precisely to give different films their own characteristic competition, not to run 4 copycat line-up which enroll films according to the same standard, the same criterion, the same range, the same flavour... Who are these idiots who would like all festivals, all line-ups to be ONE SIZE FITS ALL, ANYWHERE, ALL THE TIME???
Cannes wants to get 4 distinctive line-ups!!!! If you crave for DEBUT films, go to the SiC that's the section taking care of this category!!!


9 commentaires:

HarryTuttle a dit…

Cannes 2012 : Quinzaine des Réalisateurs / Semaine de la Critique (On aura tout vu; France Inter; 5 mai 2012)
avec : Christine Masson, Laurent Delmas, Edouard Waintrop (Quinzaine), Charles Tesson (SiC)

HarryTuttle a dit…

"On May 9, as part of the 25th Columbia University Film Festival held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, a panel came together to discuss the disparity between the number of films being made by women today and the number of women graduating from film school. Only five percent of films today are made by women (10 percent of screenplays written by women), yet women make up 50 percent of U.S. film schools (and more than 50 percent at Columbia). Women are slightly more represented in the Indie film movement, but a large disparity remains."

Apparently the Lincoln Center (host of the Film comment magazine) had scheduled a panel discussion on women issues on May 9th 2012. HIDDEN PIONEERS: WOMEN IN THE FILM INDUSTRY (15 May 2012; Film Comment blog)
How come Koehler didn't write a less stupid article knowing this fact????? The facts are there! why did he focus on the wrong culprit???? Fucking useless....

HarryTuttle a dit…

"As I was scanning the roster I began to ponder the diversity of filmmakers on offer this year in Cannes. Some are young. Some are dead. As always, there are filmmakers from every corner of the globe. Yet, as recently discussed in some corners, there are strikingly few women with films anywhere in Cannes.
A pronounced lack of female-directed films is a fact facing Hollywood and international film culture. Women are apparently reaching film schools in proportions equal to their percentage in society, but they seemingly aren't graduating to feature filmmaking."

CANNES 2012 DIARY: 10 TO WATCH (Film Comment Blog; 15 May 2012)

Why do you need to be slapped on the hand to think carefully before you piublish bullshit???? You shouldn't brag about being a decade-long editor! This is embarassing. Fucking useless.

HarryTuttle a dit…

"There’s a reason why people love the Viennale, that cinema feast in Vienna in the fall: No competition, no awards, just films, filmmakers and their audiences. Its natural, necessary opposite is undeniably Cannes: All about the competition, with the side parlor game of predicting what film will win, what will surprise, what will tank. If Viennale is an exposition, Cannes isn’t unlike the Monaco Grand Prix just a few bends of the coastline away—a race, with laurels to the victor.
So, submitting to the Cannes game, what film could win this year?"

HANDICAPPING THE PALME D’OR (Film Comment blog; 9 May 2012)

What "people" love more the Viennale than Cannes??? Your mates at the neighborhood pub?

Viennale 2009 :
press correspondants = 206 (35% outside Austria)
Admissions = 94,800

Cannes 2009 :
press correspondants = 4245 (55% outside France)
Admissions = 183,109

Fantasy-based journalism that's what the so-called "specialized artfilm press looks like in the USA. Fucking useless...

HarryTuttle a dit…

in 2011 Koehler had 5 films from Cannes on his top10 list and... NOT A SINGLE ONE from the Viennale line up. Sometimes the talking points supercede his own taste, or his own memory. But he would need a long term memory to be a credible critic. Bashing this and that, and the next day that and this, anyone can do it...

HarryTuttle a dit…

The Future is Female – 2012 is the Year of the Empowered Girl (Row Three; 14 May 2012)

HarryTuttle a dit…

Andrea Arnold : "I would absolutely hate it if I my film got selected because I'm a woman. I would only want my film to be selected for the right reasons, and not out of charity because I'm female or anything."
Cannes press conference of the competition jury members (16 May 2012)

HarryTuttle a dit…

Thierry Frémaux : "Comme citoyen, je suis pleinement d'accord avec l'engagement féministe, comme professionnel, je sélectionne des oeuvres pour leurs qualités propres. Nous ne serons jamais d'accord pour sélectionner un film qui ne le mérite pas simplement parce qu'il est réalisé par une femme. Cela mènerait à une politique de quota qui desservirait la cause.
Dans le cinéma, nul doute que la place faite aux femmes doit être augmentée. Mais ce n'est pas à Cannes et au mois de mai qu'il faut poser le problème, c'est toute l'année et partout. La cause des femmes doit être défendue bien en amont de Cannes, qui est une conséquence et une illustration de ce qu'est le cinéma. Donc s'il est judicieux de saisir l'occasion de Cannes pour le faire émerger, accuser le Festival ne sert strictement à rien."
(L'Express; 12 mai 2012)

HarryTuttle a dit…

CANNES 2012 DIARY: WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? (Eugene Hernandez; FilmLinc; 19 May 2012)

Knee jerk "journalism", persisting in the hypocrisy of his fabricated battle against windmills. Some people never learn...