A storm is about to overtake the Riviera. It's not movie-related, but from the wide-screen widows of the press room, it's certainly cinematic. The lasers of sunlight and shaving-foam clouds are being chased off by ominously gauzy skies. The Czech journalist to my left just contracted a computer virus. And I still have not heard from my missing phone. That poor man's virus aside, however: Who cares! It's Stevie Wonder day! Yes, in all the corridors and every bathroom of the Palais, his songs are bouncing off the marble floors and ceramic sinks. Needless to say, I plan to spend the day refilling my bladder.
Between trips to the loo, the day began with two adored directors back to back: first Mike Leigh, whose "Another Year" is in the main competition, then Woody Allen, whose "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" was screening outside the competition. This festival loves both men, and increasingly they have a lot in common -- what, I'll explain in a later post or in the actual newspaper. Basically,though, both movies in different ways dramatize an almost pathological phobia of loneliness. But Leigh's film works, and Allen's, with his return to hookers and frustrated writers, doesn't for the usual reasons recent movies by both men respectively tend to succeed and tend not to.
A few days ago, a friend expressed a fear that she was seeing fewer American journalists to go along with the few American films. Her guess was that the economy and the general state of woe for the news business in the United States were keeping writers and critics home. Her concern didn't fully hit me until this afternoon at a screening for Charles Ferguson's documentary "Inside Job." As it was, the film was being shown in a relatively small house and still it was only three-quarters full -- compared to the Leigh and Allen films, which played in a giant auditorium not big enough for the scores of people praying to get in. Ferguson's movie, about the current financial collapse, seemed somewhat relevant to its mediocre attendance. (It seems unlikely that the premiere of a new Gregg Araki movie, which was showing at the same time, had siphoned everyone off. But I put very little past him.)
In any case, "Inside Job" is a masterpiece of investigative nonfiction moviemaking -- a scathing, outrageous, depressing, comical, horrifying walk through what brought on the crisis. In much the same way he did in his previous film, "No End in Sight," about the run-up to the Iraq war, Ferguson finds many of the key players of the crisis and many people -- economists, lobbyists, journalists, Eliot Spitzer -- who have special knowledge about how it happened. The use of footage from last month's instantly legendary Senate cross-examination of suits from Goldman Sachs (hello, C-SPAN Classics?) gives the movie a hot-off-the-hard drive feel.
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
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