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Cannes 2017: THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES, BEFORE WE VANISH and TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL [Quick Takes]

By Manuel de Layet [05.23.17]


Editor's Note: "Quick Takes," as the name suggest, are initial impressions on movies from our man-on-the-ground at Cannes.

The Meyerowitz Stories, dir. Noah Baumbach

The Meyerowitz Stories is a run off the mill portrayal of the modern American family. Gen X siblings dealing with their Boomer father, his wives, illness and trying to navigate the tangled mess of inconsiderate tripe the old man left them in since they were born.


It was like watching The Royal Tenenbaums without the twee pastel and cooky shite of a cupcake aesthetic that Anderson gives to anything. Same humor, same narration, same unfathomable void behind everything.


Seeing Adam Sandler actually portraying a responsible adult for once was refreshing, but that's really nothing to write home about.








Before We Vanish, dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa


Before We Vanish is a "The Twilight Zone" episode 40 years too late and set in Japan.


Aliens, wanting to invade earth are sending a scouting parties which steal bodies to pass for human physically, and they steal concepts to understand our species. You get to know this in the first 10 minutes, and since it's obviously a paint by numbers take on low-budget fifties sci-fi all the rest becomes a bingo. I did put all my points on "the concept of love will save Earth from devastation" and I won.








"Top of the Lake: China Girl," dir. Various

I guess the biggest question for everyone is something along the lines of "I liked/loved/obsessed over the first season, how disappointed will I be with the second?"


There is surely one reality in the vastness of possibilities where Jane Campion failed, and where the sequel is a tremendous mess. This reality is not ours.


This is a "Top of the Lake" setting, meaning the core of the intrigue will roughly keep the same themes and Detective Robin Griffin is still our main protagonist. Apart from that everything changes. The desolate plateau of New Zealand is replaced by the concrete-laden streets of Sydney, and new challenges are faced. Yeah, that's trite and doesn't give you any details. You'll thank me afterward.


Now what I can tell you, without spoiling the fun, is that usually in any thriller or cop show you get story arcs branching out and out to try and confuse the audience into not seeing the obvious. What they've done here is the reverse; once all the characters are introduced, the show will go down a single branch, like a landslide, some unstoppable chthonian force slowly destroying everything in its path.


You will be helplessly caught in the momentum. And you will like each and every second of it.



Recommended Release: Top of the Lake



  • Wumpus (1 month ago)

    Am I the only one who doesn't know what "Top of the lake" is?
  • filterboy (1 month ago)

    Generally every piece of crap film gets enormous praise here, which means I cannot trust Quiet Earth for anything.

    This is the first time I recall anything approaching a critical review. It's refreshing.
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