There's not much light relief at this year's Cannes Film Festival, but hard-hitting, thoughtful offerings from Britain, Argentina, Israel and Brazil make for compelling viewing
By Jonathan RomneySunday, 18 May 2008
It usually takes a few days before a strong theme emerges from the Cannes Film Festival. But this year the programmers are putting their cards on the table. Pessimistic critics sometimes feel that embarking on a new festival is like being sent down for two weeks in the slammer – and sure enough, this year's selection has started with a crop of films about incarceration.
The opening film, Blindness, didn't go down too well with most critics, but at least it's a more confrontational first-night film than Cannes has offered for some time. Directed by Brazil's Fernando Meirelles (City of Men), it's based on Jose Saramago's novel about an epidemic of blindness breaking out in an unnamed city. A woman mysteriously immune to the condition accompanies her husband when he's interned in a prison-like quarantine camp (Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo). The story follows the breakdown into anarchy and squalor when the newly sightless society loses its bearings.
Watch the Blindness trailer