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Cannes Open With Comedy and a Camel

Yesterday saw the opening of Cannes with Bill Murray and Wes Anderson on the Croisette looking like the generation gap of a Florida retirement home. Opening the 65th film festival was Anderson’s latest quirky venture Moonrise Kingdom. The film, co-written by Roman Coppola, tells the story of two smart but unpopular kids who fall in love and run away together, uniting parents, police and a troupe of scouts in the hunt to find them. The fabulous cast includes Bill Murray and Frances McDormand as teen-in-love Suzie’s parents, Bruce Willis as a depressed police officer and Edward Norton as the obnoxious, sock-ed scout master. Special mention also to the formidable Tilda Swinton as the terrifying social services officer with an agenda to send young Sam to an orphanage. Yikes!

Set in 1960’s New England, the reviews have so far been generous towards the aesthetic, though The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw warned some might think it nothing more than a “souffle of strangeness“.  Lets hope that quote makes it onto the billboards.

Elsewhere we had Sascha Baron Cohen flouncing around on a camel sporting a nylon beard and aviators, the trademark look of North African despots (at no point does he say he’s Muslim, OK?). I must admit to not being the biggest fan of Cohen’s previous creations, inciting me, as they do, with the feeling I’m being repeatedly hit over the head with Timmy Mallet’s Mallet (slapstick sameyness leading to soul-crushing irritation).

However I am intrigued by The Dictator, with its more formal attempt at a script (co-written with Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff schaffer) and the inclusion Megan Fox sending herself up along with John C Reilly, Ben Kingsley and the much underrated Anna Farris.

Baron Cohen plays General Admiral Haffaz Aladeen, dictator of Wadiya, who falls foul of his second-in-command’s Gillette shaver and is left beardless and thus powerless in hostile Manhattan. He eventually meets Zoey, a Brooklyn liberal who schools him in the ways of equality and organic vegetables.  At this point I must remind you that Cohen went to Cambridge, so we’re allowed to laugh at his caricatures cos he’s being ironical. OK? Best Line: “I love it when women go to school,” says Aladeen. “It’s like seeing a monkey on roller skates – it means nothing to them, but it’s so adorable for us.”

Wes Anderson interview here

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