Widely recognized as the most prestigious and influential film festival in the world, Cannes needs no introduction. The mere mention of its name conjures up enchanting images—Hollywood stars decked out in their most sumptuous eveningwear on the red carpet, the Mediterranean shimmering with the sparkling lights of flotilla of yachts, and bikini-clad models basking in the sun on the picturesque French Riviera.

Now celebrating its 63rd year, the festival boasts another incomparable selection of world premieres from some of the most renowned filmmakers like Woody Allen, Jean-Luc Godard, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Ken Loach, Stephen Frears, Oliver Stone, Ridley Scott, and Doug Liman. But known as much for being a hotbed of emerging talent, the competing films are judged rather objectively with little attention paid to the stature of its filmmakers—this is the beauty of Cannes. Whether the audience will rise from their seats in a thunder of applause or break out into a chilling wave of jeers and overt hostility that have famously slapped around the likes of Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, Vincent Gallo’s The Brown Bunny, and Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette in previous years is anyone’s guess.

Already bursting with uncontrollable glee and anticipation, we arrived in Cannes at the break of dawn Wednesday morning and hit the ground running. Having properly settled into our home away from home just mere steps away from the untamed zoo of journalists, photogs, and cinephiles crowding the Croisette, we dashed out the door with a sense of urgency. After making a quick stop by the press office to pick up our all-important accreditation, we continued to elbow our way into the Palais des Festivals to catch an early press screening of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, which opened Cannes this year to the bewilderment of a lot of critics and festivalgoers.

It’s probably wise to dial down your expectations when walking into this movie, especially if you’re planning on sizing it up against the juggernaut that is Gladiator. Robin Hood reunites Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott. It’s an action packed period piece with a sweeping score and grandiose set pieces. But that’s where the comparisons must end. By and large, Gladiator is an inimitable masterpiece whereas Robin Hood falls short in so many discernable ways—its muddled storyline, the gross miscasting of Cate Blanchette (a revered actress who’s quickly turning into a cardboard cut out of herself), and the most excruciating fumble of all, the film needlessly runs about 40 minutes too long. And yet, despite all of this, we can find some solace: Scott remains an expert technician when it comes to staging bedazzling, out of this world action sequences that aim to enthrall.

During the past three days at the festival, we have largely found ourselves shuffling out of theaters feeling underwhelmed (Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), wondering what it is that we have just witnessed (Manoel De Oliveira’s The Strange Case of Angelica) or shrugging our shoulders with indifference (Im Sangsoo’s The Housemaid). But apparently every cloud does in fact have a silver lining, as they say—Mathieu Amalric’s Tournée absolutely wowed us and it seems like a formidable contender for the Palm d’Or this year. The French director/actor casts himself in the lead as Joachim, a tour manager who shuttles around a gaggle of middle-aged, frumpy burlesque dancers from gig to gig around the provinces of France. It’s intelligent, heartwarming, and witty in the most unexpected ways.

Although we won’t be writing extensive reviews of all the films that we see at Cannes—clearly an impossible feat when there’s so much going on everyday—you can always find our star ratings for the films in our gallery. And for those of you who happen to be in the vicinity of France, you’ll find our most up-to-date ratings in the daily paper Technikart superCannes. So keep a look out for those!

As for the rest of our coverage of the festival, just keep checking back for more film reviews, exclusive interviews with filmmakers, and other surprises that we have in store for the remaining 9 days of Cannes. We wouldn’t want to spoil the fun by giving too much away. In the meantime, you’ll have to excuse us while we go hit up some parties and attempt to drag our tired body out of bed tomorrow morning to start this vicious cycle again…

Au revoir pour l’instant!

Robin Hood by Ridley Scott
Category: Out of Competition/Opening Night Film
** out of ****

On Tour (Tournée) by Mathieu Amalric
Category: In Competition
**** out of ****

The Strange Case of Angelica (O Estranho Caso de Angelica) by Manoel De Oliveira
Category: Un Certain Regard
** out of ****

The Housemaid (Hanyo) by Im Sangsoo
Category: In Competition
*** out of ****

Chatroom by Hideo Nakata
Category: Un Certain Regard
** out of ****

Chongqing Blues (Rizhao Chongqing) by Wang Ziaoshuai
Category: In Competition
* out of ****

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps by Oliver Stone
Category: Out of Competition
** out of ****

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