Miller at Cannes 60

Moderate CantabileL'avventura and Moderate Cantabile

Jeanne Moreau and Jean Paul Belmondo in Moderate Cantabile directed by Peter Brook, an adaptation of a story by Marguerite Duras.

See “on the bench” from Moderate Cantabile (youtube)

A selected list from films competing for the Cannes Festival 1960

L’avventura, The Virgin Spring, Kagi,
La Dolce Vita, Moderate Cantabile,
Never on Sunday, Sons and Lovers, Le Trou.
Henry Miller was a jurist (Henry Miller blog post here).
(What a line up! The previous year, Hiroshima Mon Amour and The 400 Blows blew everyone away.)

1960 was the year of fountain, spring, woods, boats and island. There was also suicide, rape, a disappearing woman, voyeurism, and don’t forget the gang of paparazzi making their cinematic debut.

And the winner of the Palme D’or is! (Click to find out.)

L’Avventura and Kagi received Special Jury Prizes, and The Virgin Spring received a special homage award. Jean Moreau and Melina Mercuri both received Best actress awards.

See the striking image from The Virgin Spring

The rape scene in the forest is of an almost unbearable brutality. I’ve never seen anything like it. But the film is more poetic than realistic, and very pure, almost chaste, in spite of the rape. From Henry Miller blog

The Virgin The Virgin Spring

Ingmar Bergman was heavily criticized for being stuck in morality fables, i.e. The Seventh Seal. After this medieval tale, The Virgin Spring, Bergman entered a new, more experimental phase of film making, with films like Persona and Scenes From a Marriage.

Ang Lee says that when he first saw The Virgin Spring as an 18-year-old in Taiwan, it “dumbfounded” and “electrified” him. He stayed in the screening room to view it a second time, and “life changed afterward”. (see him on youtube)

Henry Miller himself was partial to Kagi (An adaptation of a Tanizaki novel directed by Kon Ichikawa.) But he was a good team player and went along with the rest to vote for La Dolce Vita.

Sons and Lovers was Jack Cardiff’s best film. Dean Stockwell played against such heavyweights as Trevor Howard and Wendy Hiller.

Helen Mirren has said “The first movie that caught my imagination was L’Avventura, by Antonioni. Until then I had seen only Rock Hudson-Doris Day movies”(Via)
See Helen here on youtube.

More on Jean Moreau and Henry Miller, read here.