Cannes Film Festival: ‘Val,’ ‘The Velvet Underground’ and Famous Jerks

Cannes, France – As the documentary “Val” begins, a young, bare-chested val kilmer They have fun on the sets of “Top Gun” and claim that they are almost fired from every film they make. Then Kilmer’s lips turn into a smile. He is not playing for sympathy. He is bragging.

On Cannes Film Festival On Wednesday, two documentaries debuted about famous prickly pop-cultural figures, but despite that promising first scene, “Val” will re-refer to the actor as a misunderstood softie. Perhaps you remember the stories about Kilmer, a major film star of the 1990s whose career had become difficult to work with amid rumours. Well, “Val,” directed by Ting Poo and Leo Scott, lets the 61-year-old actor retell those stories more sympathetically, in his own voice.

Or, to be more precise, the voice of his son Jack, who delivers the documentary’s first-person narration. Throat cancer has ravaged Val Kilmer’s signature rumble, and Jack Kilmer, an actor, is an acceptable voice choice, who nonetheless sounds far easier than his father. Kilmer has been recording himself since childhood, and in domestic films for decades, he and his son have photographed an artist who always wanted to give his all, even when Hollywood wasn’t interested.

Jack’s narration is so good that it might take you a while to realize that Kilmer dislikes almost every movie on his resume a fan would want to hear about. “Top Secret,” his first film, was “Fluff” that Kilmer says he was embarrassed to be involved in, and he had to be strong-armed to practically make the jingoistic Tom Cruise movie “Top Gun.” On “Batman Forever”, Kilmer claims that the studio machine thwarted his attempts to deliver an actual performance, so he instead impersonated his Bruce Wayne on soap-opera actors.

All the while, Kilmer was recording elaborate audition tapes for the likes of Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese, an effort that “Val” gave almost as much screen time to the roles he had actually booked. Here’s the funny thing, though: Kilmer was a better actor in the movies he hated! In the clip for “Top Gun,” you see Kilmer at his most loose and playful not because he’s taking anything about the movie too seriously, but when we see his “Full Metal Jacket” audition — or when He rehearses lines from “Hamlet,” a dream role he never got to play—Kilmer’s charisma cools, and he becomes much more charming and pretentious.

So was that as big of a shock as was rumored? “Val” bypasses the story about him smoking his cigarette on a cameraman or “batman foreverDirector Joel Schumacher claims the actor was “psychotic”; here, Kilmer simply says that he quit playing Batman because the suit was too tough. In a segment about the infamous 1996 flop “Dr. Moreau’s Island,” Kilmer portrays himself as the quiet moral compass of a troubled production; you’d never know when a fed-up Brando threw Kilmer’s cellphone into the bushes and allegedly said, “Young man, don’t confuse your ego with the size of your salary.”

Much has also been made about Kilmer’s romance and marriage to actress Joan Whaley, though we hardly hear of him in all of Kilmer’s home-video footage. When they divorce and he fights with his kids for longer periods of time, the film lets his great, tormented phone calls play out almost entirely. I’d expect that uncluttered approach from a celebrity memoir. I’m not sure I buy it in a documentary.

In contrast, Todd Haynes’ new documentary “The Velvet Underground,” which also debuted at Cannes on Wednesday, is overjoyed to confirm every story you’ve ever heard about singer-songwriter Lou Reed who is a self – Passionate jerk. Like Kilmer, Reed claimed that anyone who beefed with her was merely interfering with her artistic process, but unlike “Val”, the film isn’t afraid to show just how badly Reed is famous. wanted to be, and how annoyed he was with colleagues who could wrestle the spotlight.

Reid died in 2013, and other important figures in the film such as Andy Warhol (credited with driving the early career of Reid’s band, Velvet Underground) and singer Nico have long passed away. Haynes isn’t interested in including too many archival clips to bring those lost voices to life; Instead, this artistic documentary lets the surviving members of the band, such as player John Cale and drummer Mo Tucker, do the heavy lifting.

“The Velvet Underground” is no traditional music documentary: for one, it hardly uses any performance footage, although some of the band’s most iconic songs, such as “Candy Says” and “I’m Waiting for the Man,” Often playing background. Keeping audiences smack in the mid-60s, Haynes is more invested in embodying a vibe that produced seminal figures like Reed and Warhol.

And though Haynes is clearly a fan of his subject matter, he isn’t afraid to complicate that vibe. One of the film’s most welcome heads of critics amy taubin, which recalls what was so confusing about Warhol and Reed’s artistic scene, then adds an edgy observation: If you weren’t pretty enough, Taubin claims, all those men eventually lost interest in you. .

Let’s face it, famous people are narcissists: If you want to propel yourself to fame and then be there, it’s practically necessary. Haynes explores that concept in a way that “Val” cannot bring himself to do. Even though “The Velvet Underground” is less of a comprehensive documentary and more of a perfume that evokes a time and place that lasts, at least it offers some citrus notes in pursuit of a more complete fragrance. Don’t be afraid to add.

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