A Nod and a Wink Goes Further Than You Think. ; CANNES FILM FESTIVAL
Romney, Jonathan, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
Critics in Cannes have been positively beaming at a competition line-up that's been the best in years, without a single out-and-out dud - unless, like me, you're in the thumbs-down camp on Quentin Tarantino's highway thriller Death Proof, literally a crashing bore. But there have been real treats and surprises, plus the highest quotient of quality Eastern European gloom in recent years: abortion in Romania, abortion and metaphysics in Russia, existential noir from Hungary (Bela Tarr's hypnotic, super-slow The Man From London, with Tilda Swinton) and the gruelling but mesmerising squalor of Ulrich Seidl's Austrian report on the new Europe, Import-Export, set partly in the grimmest locations that Slovenia and the Ukraine can offer.
Another work that could have been hard going was The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly, right, a French-language film by the painter- turnedauteur Julian Schnabel, but in fact it's film to leave you dizzy. It's adapted from the memoir by the late Jean-Dominique Bauby, a journalist left paralysed by a stroke but who learned to communicate, and wrote an entire book, with one eyelid. In a daring reinvention of film language, Schnabel films from the point of view of the immobilised Bauby, using a mixture of blurred partial vision and sequences of memory and imagination to evoke the richness of his inner life. As Bauby, Mathieu Amalric, though only occasionally seen on screen, gives an extraordinary, daring performance, making him a front runner for the Best Actor award. …