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Furiosa makes a splash at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival

TAMARA KEITH, HOST:

Put on those suits, gowns, sunnies - we're off to the Cannes Film Festival. OK, we wish. But our next guest is there taking in movies from masters like Francis Ford Coppola and Paul Schrader - exciting new voices, too. Hoai-Tran Bui is covering the festival for the outlet Inverse, and joins us now. Welcome.

HOAI-TRAN BUI: Hi. Thanks for having me.

KEITH: It sounds like you are really taking in the scenes there.

BUI: Yes, I am, in the quietest place I could find, which is the rooftop of the palais where most of the films are being screened. There's water. There's birds. There's cars honking outside. And I apologize for the noise.

KEITH: Do not apologize. Let's talk about movies. One of the buzziest films that kicked off the festival is "Furiosa," the newest "Mad Max" movie from George Miller. What did you think of it?

BUI: I absolutely love "Furiosa." This is a movie that I actually saw a little early before the Cannes Film Festival, so I had a little bit of time to absorb it. But I loved it so much that I went to see it again because I wanted to see it with a crowd. This is a movie that's so high-octane, so throat-ripping, jaw-dropping. It's got this really great tactile action, but at the same time, is really heightened because of George Miller's affinity for digital filmmaking and his way that he uses CGI that feels like it pushes the realm of physics and belief in a lot of ways.

KEITH: What about the new movie from Francis Ford Coppola, "Megalopolis"? He apparently sold off part of his wine business and spent millions of his own money to make it. So how is it?

BUI: This is a movie that was 40 years in the making. Francis Ford Coppola first dreamed up the idea back in the '70s and started properly developing it in the 1980s. And it's a movie that feels very much like it's been in the works for 40 years. It feels like it's Francis Ford Coppola pushing all of his ideas that he was never able to fully develop into its own movies all into one single movie, whether they all cohere or not. It is both a disaster and also an incredible achievement at the same time.

KEITH: Is it enjoyable?

BUI: Yes (laughter). It's a movie that is kind of hard to describe just because it does not operate by any traditional narrative rhythms. But I can't say it's not enjoyable.

KEITH: All right. Well, let's talk more broadly about the festival. What is the overall vibe? Greta Gerwig, fresh off "Barbie" mega-success, is heading up the jury, right?

BUI: Yes. She's the president of the jury this year. And I was able to witness the opening ceremony in which they had a singer perform a song from "Frances Ha" that Greta Gerwig danced to in that film, which was such an interesting experience. This is my first time attending the Cannes Film Festival. So apparently, they do this kind of opening performance every year, but it was especially interesting and felt very much like they were catering towards Greta as both a persona and as a director in many ways. But yeah, it feels like there's a lot more emphasis on diversity and female directors this time around, and that, I think, is a big part of Greta's influence as the jury president.

KEITH: Of course, we just talked about two male directors. So have you seen any under the radar gems, any films with female directors that really stood out to you?

BUI: Yes, I watched a movie called "Bird" directed by Andrea Arnold, who directed a movie I really loved called "American Honey" a few years ago. And there's a lot of talk that this movie might win the Palme d'Or because Greta Gerwig is a huge fan of Andrea Arnold. But this was a really lovely coming-of-age movie with touches of the surreal that also stars Barry Keoghan as a sort of deadbeat dad that actually kind of surprises you in many ways. He gives a really disarmingly endearing performance. And this film kind of creeps up on you. It's a really lovely film that is incredibly British, but also has a slight coat of grime around it that makes it kind of feel lived-in.

KEITH: Many more screenings in the days to come. What are you most looking forward to?

BUI: I am looking forward to "Anora," which is the new film by Sean Baker. I don't know much about it, but Sean Baker directed films like "The Florida Project," which is one of my favorite films of this century, I would say. And "Red Rocket" was his most recent film. And I think that his cinema verite style is something that I have come to really enjoy and that I'm looking forward to see more of in "Anora." I'm also looking forward to "The Shrouds," which is the new movie by David Cronenberg. Those are probably the highest anticipated ones that I'm looking forward to at the moment.

KEITH: Well, stay tuned. Hoai-Tran Bui at the Cannes Film Festival - thank you for joining us and enjoy.

BUI: Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith
Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. In that time, she has chronicled the final years of the Obama administration, covered Hillary Clinton's failed bid for president from start to finish and thrown herself into documenting the Trump administration, from policy made by tweet to the president's COVID diagnosis and the insurrection. In the final year of the Trump administration and the first year of the Biden administration, she focused her reporting on the White House response to the COVID-19 pandemic.