AP Blogs the Cannes Film Festival: From Michael Moore to Norah Jones

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AP correspondents Angela Doland and Jill Lawless are covering the Cannes Film Festival and writing periodic shorts on stars, the buzz and behind-the-scenes happenings until the festival wraps up May 27.

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Saturday, May 19, 3 p.m. local time

It was a — relatively — svelte Michael Moore who met reporters after the first screening of his health care documentary “Sicko.” The director says he’s lost about 25 pounds since being spurred by the film’s subject matter to start taking better care of his health.

“I started to walk around the block every day, and I started eating these things that you refer to as fruits and vegetables,” Moore said.

The director from Flint, Michigan said his famous girth was modest compared to some of his fellow citizens. “I’m actually a fairly skinny person from the Midwest,” he joked.

–Jill Lawless

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Saturday, May 19, 1 p.m. local time

Grim and grimmer. Those are the moods of many of the films in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Today’s gala film is the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men,” a bleak, blood-soaked adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s noir Western that left some in the audience — including this reporter — dazed.

Maybe it’s the cumulative effect of too much angst. Over the last few days, Cannes filmgoers have seen “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” — a powerful story of illegal abortion set in Communist-era Romania — and the 2 1/2 hour-Russian tale of domestic misery “The Banishment.”

No wonder Cannes organizers decided to open the festival gently, with Wong kar-wai’s life-affirming road movie “My Blueberry Nights.”

–Jill Lawless

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Friday, May 18, 3 p.m. local time

Quote of the day.

Just like director Wong Kar-wai, Jude Law wore sunglasses to the “My Blueberry Nights” premiere. Now he’s even starting to sound like the enigmatic director.

Here’s Law getting philosophical about the ups and downs of his love life for AP Television News:

“Love is a journey, you know, and you can go the long distance, you can go the short distance, you can do it physically, you can do it internally, and sometimes perhaps the love you’re looking for is right in front of you, but it takes you halfway around the world to realize that. And I’m like anyone else, I’m on that journey too, and at the moment I’m happily single and enjoying being single and that’s part of my journey at the moment.”

–Angela Doland

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Thursday, May 17, 5 p.m. local time

Two days into the festival, and a couple of performances by young actors stand out.

One is Britain’s Sam Riley, getting his first starring role as Ian Curtis, troubled lead singer of post-punk band Joy Division, in “Control.” Riley, lead singer of little-known English band 10,000 Things, is mesmerizing as Curtis, an intense and charismatic frontman who killed himself in 1980 just as his band seemed poised for success. The movie is a black-and-white first feature by photographer Anton Corbijn that recreates late-70s Britain with verve and style, and should make Riley known to a large audience.

The other standout is Anamaria Marinca, who plays a university student helping a friend undergo an illegal abortion in Communist Romania in “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” one of 22 films competing for the festival’s Palme d’Or. The subject matter of Cristian Mungiu’s film could hardly be bleaker, but the film is a sharply observed portrait of lives in the last days of the Ceausescu regime, both low-key anchilling. Marinca, previously seen in the powerful British TV miniseries “Sex Traffic,” gives a natural, subtle and compelling performance that surely makes her a contender for the festival’s best-actress prize.

–Jill Lawless

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Thursday, May 17, noon local time

Publicists resort to some fairly strange pitches in their attempt to grab the attention of distracted journalists.

“I have (“Bullets Over Broadway” actress) Jennifer Tilly on a yacht,” said one harried PR to a roomful of reporters and photographers. Finding no takers, she played her ace: “I have Elvis’s step-brother who’s directing a film.”

–Jill Lawless

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Wednesday, May 16, 4 p.m. local time

The Internet is full of surprises.

Several members of the Cannes film festival jury looked startled to be introduced at a news conference by some of their lesser-known roles.

Moderator Henri Behar referred to Hong Kong star Maggie Cheung, a jury member, as “actress and singer Maggie Cheung.” He listed “set designer” among the attributes of Canadian actress and director Sarah Polley, another member.

As proof, Behar cited much-consulted film reference Web site Internet Movie Database. Cheung performed a song on the soundtrack of “Clean” in 2004, while Polley is listed as set dresser on 2000’s “Rave.”

“Check your biographies on Internet Movie Database, guys,” Behar chided the jury.

–Jill Lawless


Tuesday May 15, 5 p.m. local time

Here’s a headline from Paris Match, a French magazine with a knack for getting right to the essential: “Norah Jones spent three days kissing Jude Law.”

Jones and Law star in Wong Kar-wai’s “My Blueberry Nights,” the movie premiere that opens the festival Wednesday. Wong (“In the Mood for Love”) is a Hong Kong director notorious for shooting scenes over and over again.

Jones, who made her acting debut in the movie after recording her albu “Not Too Late,” said the average scene needed between five and a dozen takes.

The kissing scene may have required even more than that.

“We needed three days to get a satisfactory result,” Jones told Paris Match. “We were really asking ourselves if we would get it right. But in the film, the kiss lasts maybe only 10 seconds.”

–Angela Doland

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