Day 4 – Saturday May 19
Today was much more relaxed. I slept in until 7:10am for a change and spent the first two hours writing. Rebecca and I ate some of the fine, bagged 2€ madelines from the supermarket and set off to catch all the booths we may have missed.

What we found was that Asian countries are all represented at booths and they’re looking for more action content than any other region other than America. Europe just doesn’t seem to care, and Latin America and Africa are basically the same as Europe in terms of their film funds and what genres they direct funding to (dramas, documentaries, and more dramas). Canada is also Europe, so that leaves Asia.

Big-time South Korean studio Showbox showed off some of their new trailers, and A Company Man looks to be one of the best Korean action films to date. Trailers are deceptive, and it could easily turn out for the worse, but it was a talking point for us to go talk to a Showbox representative about doing a coproduction in South Korea. We showed off our knife fight from Death Grip, got some emails, and went over to CJ Entertainment, the other big-time Korean studio, and asked the same thing. Got some emails, and moved on.

Thailand, same deal. Got emails, moved on. Indonesia, same thing. They’re all releasing mainstream action films that are festival-friendly. Good action, good (err… sometimes good anyway) scripts, so we made the case that these are ideal relationships with a movement like ours, which unites solid action choreography with good screenplays. We didn’t bother talking to China. They have too much money and there’s no reason to deal with us. Plus their stringent guidelines on how Chinese characters are to be portrayed isn’t something we feel like dealing with right now.

All in all, if action filmmakers want to coproduce with a foreign country, Asia’s where it’s at, not Europe. We couldn’t have known this without coming here.

Shot some footage, played with our host’s cat, found 50€ in the gutter, and treated ourselves to a killer dinner of veal and duck with some wine that I couldn’t pronounce (Rebecca could pronounce it and she took every chance she could to rub it in my face. The pronunciation, not the wine). Saturday night on the Croissete was busier than I had seen thus far. It was basically Long Beach. Same decor, same style as back home. And same music. Globalism has taken this place, whether you like that kind of thing or not, yet American action films are strangely faux pas here, even of the independent sort. But then again, action films, indie or not, have a way of kneading themselves into themes of good and evil that don’t fit a global world of greying morality. Action requires that people fight to the death, and shades of grey appear less often than among the suits of celebrities walking the riviera. That’s not the world here, even though the music and costumes would make you think otherwise. Whether the Euro Zone crisis changes this phenomenon is yet to be seen.

Here’s a little video of the halls of Cannes.

That’s our last day at Cannes. Tomorrow it’s Italy, and I will become fat.


US poster

In the midst of current MA action films – dominated by Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa, and Scott Adkins – a new action film industry and action star are rising from the ranks: Indonesia and its’ local representer Iwo Uwais. Uwais debuted in Merantau which came out in 2009 and has since met with good reception by the world’s action film circuits. But unfortunately, the downside of Uwais’ success was that he was often compared to Tony Jaa in that they supposedly had similar styles onscreen. This kind of had a big affect on general audiences that were too familiar with Thai action films and started labeling him as a Tony Jaa-copycat.

Despite this, he and Welsh director Gareth Evans decided to strive for something different and distinct to show people that Indonesians can do action films in their own way. This opportunity came right away with their next film The Raid, which has had us all excited and highly anticipated ever since trailers and exclusive clips (go some posts back to see these clips) were released. While the film awaits its’ US theatrical release (will be out next week), there are reviews of the film already where people praise the hell out of it by comparing it to 1980s and mid 1990s Hong Kong action films – mainly John Woo’s films – as well as with pretty much all current action films in general while also pointing out the complementary narrative that makes the simple plot gripping and captivating – something very few have accomplished with action films. Now Twitch has provided us with a review going in basic detail of the awesomeness of the film. Check the review out below.

Just when you thought Thailand had the monopoly on Asian people beating the hell out of other Asian people, Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais show up and do it Silat-style with The Raid, only better. Check out the clips and notice that the camera angles have one purpose: to get that shot of choreography. Compared to standard Thai fare, where they basically shoot wide-medium-wide angles of the same choreography and cut it together (“let em fight and we’ll shoot it from the side”), this is far more interesting. Plus you get to see all kinds of stabby Silat goodness. Brutal and awesome at the same time.