I have always wanted to go to the Cannes Film Festival, and have never been. So each spring I eagerly await the news of the latest lineup and I comb over it and drool a bit, trying not to think that it will probably be almost a year before I get to see some of them, if at all. I'm always fascinated by the winner of the Palme d'Or, and it's interesting to compare these with, say, the Best Picture Oscar announced many months later. The difference is that the French (and whoever happens to be on the jury) tend to look at movies as a director's craft rather than as a vehicle for storytelling and/or messages.
Going in this direction, the first movie in the new lineup that caught my eye is Outrage, by Japanese filmmaker Takeshi Kitano (pictured above). If you were a hardcore cinema buff in the 1990s, it was hard not to fall in love with this guy's movies; gangster movies like Sonatine and Hana-biwere disarmingly quiet and then suddenly explosive and gory. In-between, he made some quiet little dramas with no blood at all. If you wanted to put him on a list of the world's greatest living filmmakers, I wouldn't have argued, but -- after the 2003 release of his The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi, he more or less disappeared. His films stopped getting American distribution. I hesitate to use the word "comeback," but something about this new movie feels good.