Monday, May 23, 2005

Cannes Film Festival's View of America

Just in case you hadn't noticed, official (or government-funded) European salons and festivals are all about celebrating state intervention and the bloated public service.

Hence, they are also about dissing, mocking, or lambasting systems that put a measure of trust in the individual.

Ergo, America-bashing.

Some examples from this year's Cannes film festival (notice how ugly, off-the-cuff remarks about conservative Americans [and their media outlets] are taken as a given, and that the claim of one documentary — that Osama Bin Laden is a product of the imagination [or rather the Macchiavellian creation of treacherous neocons] — goes unchallenged):

Tom Stall (a very surprising Viggo Mortenson) has been presented as a sweet family father, willing to listen to his children, in love with his wife… An American the type of which the spectator knows doesn't exist…
"What if the democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists?" asks the beautiful Princess Padmé (Natalie Portman), as if she had just been watching the last news program of Fox News.
the…  diffuse feeling of threat which inhabits today's American society, the primary, and visceral, fear of an intrusion. [James Marsh's film] goes beyond the simple denuciation of the American wild west, so violent.… The King allows us to see the subtle mechanism by which extreme religioisty produces the coldest of violences.
  • Le Monde's Jacques Mandelbaum on Lars von Trier's "[revisitation] of the history and good conscience of the United States" (notice how the Frenchman makes a veiled comparison with Hitler's rise to power, even if only in a passive way):
In sum, [the film] is a revisited image of America that Manderlay offers, corrosive, somber, with the imprint of a metaphysical pessimism unreceivable in the New World, and the kind of which one isn't too sure should be relegated to 1933.
Al-Qaeda, explains Adam Curtis, has never existed. It is an invention of the American defense minister, as are the "sleeper cells" planted throughout the world. …

We should be able, come Fall, to see this stinging lecture — texts as well as images — on the way that men fearing neither God nor their fellow man "imagine the worst about an organisation [Al Qaeda] that does not exist."

In an analysis of the American films present at Cannes (lire la réaction d'un lecteur à l'attribution de la Palme d'or à Michael Moore en 2004), Mandelbaum sugests that a trio of films, with their "terrifying" vision and "their apocalyptic message", represents "the perfect antithesis" of Bush's America, giving credence (if such were necessary) that the powers-that-be choose films in virtue of their America- (or Bush-) bashing bias.

Meanwhile, movies that have never been shown at Cannes, and very likely never will be (let alone win a prize) in France and Europe, include:

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