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Cannes reels through opening act

Cannes got off to a tricky start with its opening title Grace of Monaco delivering a boycott by the family it portrays and the sort of critical reception usually given by rottweilers to small children.

The critics called the film

so awe-inspiringly wooden that it is basically a fire risk (The Guardian)

Not so much a turkey as a dodo … extinction is probably the best course for it (The Times)

rarely competent, unintentionally hilarious and borderline reprehensible (The Playlist)

the Shrek movies deconstruct fairy tale conventions with much more depth and wit (The Hollywood Reporter)

The festival is a strong subscriber to the belief that no publicity is bad publicity. Although many of its selections – in and out of competition – deliver a variety of critical responses, the festival rarely manages to select a film that’s apparently so awful even its major distributor avoids its world premiere.

Dave Gibson

NZFC CEO Dave Gibson in Cannes

Making the tough calls in Cannes is NZFC CEO Dave Gibson, seen here giving the troops a good rarking up. “Bugger the local customs,” he says. “If they’re wearing a string of garlic, they don’t get into a What We Do in the Shadows screening.”

While Cannes’ festival might not be a fan of genre fare, the market takes a much more pragmatic view. Following Ant Timpson’s pre-Cannes release of a new batch of imagery for ABCs of Death 2, other genre-heavy announcements do their best to snatch some headlines.

One of the hottest genres over the last couple of years has been in TV, not film, and hails from of a region not generally described as hot: Scandinavia.

Scandinavian drama of all sorts has been selling as is and getting English language remakes all over the world, while critics try to learn how to pronounce titles like Fjallbacka. (The writer of The Fjallbacka Murders, Camilla Lackberg, appears at the Auckland Writers Festival this weekend.)

On the back of the success of Borgen, The Bridge, The Killing and other titles since The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, StudioCanal (which used to be Hoyts down here) has established a Scandinavian TV drama company under the very English language-friendly moniker SAM – named for founding members Soren Sveistrup (The Killing), Adam Price (Borgen) and Meta Louise Foldager (Melancholia, A Royal Affair).

The company will attempt to bottle the formula, creating shows that can play or be adapted and remade for other markets. The Bridge has had US and UK remakes, the latter substituting the Channel tunnel for the titular link that joins two countries.

In a completely different genre offering at Cannes, Shusuke Kaneko (Death Note and one of a hundred or so Japanese Godzilla titles) combines a couple of the staples of Japanese genre – sharp swords and school uniforms – in the upcoming Danger Dolls.

Danger Dolls

Rina Takeshi et al put the new OSH-approved patella protectors through their paces.

Rina Takeshi (High Kick Girl, Dead Sushi) and Nana Seino (Sion Sono’s upcoming Tokyo Tribe) lead Danger Dolls as two of four young women tasked with saving the world when “an earthquake releases aliens from another dimension”. And you thought Godzilla was a problem for Tokyo.

For variations on the allowing Japanese children to play with sharp objects theme, Cannes’ market also offers Yokoyama Kazuhiro’s High Kick Angels and Yoshida Kota’s The Torture Club.

NZ’s own upcoming genre release, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows, has been getting a good reception at market screenings, judging from comments appearing on twitter. To celebrate #FangFriday, the team has released another teaser.

What We Do in the Shadows teaser

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