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Penn in Cannes: Opening Night Fogs Up 3D Glasses

UPenn in Cannes

Yesterday, our DT correspondent Brian Tran (W’10) talked about how this year’s Penn in Cannes experience was more promising than last year in terms of not necessarily begging to get into films as he had done last year. In today’s post, Brian talks about the opening night of the festival and his take on the Pixar film Up:

“The opening night film of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival was Disney-Pixar’s 3D film, “Up.” First, it was hilarious to see all 2,300 film-goers, dressed in their Armani tuxes and Dior gowns, donning heavy unwieldy 3D glasses. I don’t know if these will be the glasses used in theaters across America when the film is released on May 29th, but these glasses were definitely at the forefront of 3D technology. They had thick polarized lenses that were actually light sensitive based on a little black area in between the eyes. When the theater got dark, the glasses would switch on and the lenses would turn blue, then green, then clear. Very cool.

The film itself was an absolute delight, capitalizing on all of Pixar’s many strengths to create a smooth, quickly paced, emotional journey that never failed to amaze. “Up” tells the story of Carl, a cantankerous old man, who when evicted from his long time home, decides to take matters into his own hands. He attaches tens of thousands of helium balloons to his house and takes flight to South America, meeting fascinating and hilarious characters along the way.

Definitely the funniest Pixar film yet, “Up” is still grounded in very real emotions and the filmmakers never shy away from putting their characters in real danger. The first ten minutes of the film are pure brilliance, using a montage to tell the story of Carl and his wife.  It showcases how they first met, through their happy marriage, their struggles with childbearing and ending with her death. Like Wall-E, this montage doesn’t use a single word of dialogue, yet by the end, many audience members were wiping tears out from under their heavy 3D glasses.

UPenn in CannesThe 3D itself was a showstopper, with the audience breaking into applause the second Cinderella’s castle appeared in the opening credits and the fireworks explode out into the audience. It’s obvious that Pixar put a lot of effort in redefining what 3D movies are meant to evoke in an audience. Instead of cheap gimmicky “pop out” moments, the entire film is in complete 3D at all times, creating the effect of looking “into” a window and watching the events unfold, instead of seeing things come “out.” Of course, there are still exciting moments that utilize the technology to great effect, such as a chase sequence where bees and rocks fly out past your head. Also, the 3D was used to emphasize the emotional baseline of the film. When Carl is alone in his house, constricted and solitary, the film is quite flat. However, when the house busts free of its foundation and the multicolored balloons erupt into the sky, the film suddenly draws much more depth to create a sense of freedom and giddiness.

Overall, I loved the film and that opinion is clearly shared by the Cannes audience, which included actresses Aishwarya Rai, Tilda Swinton, and Penn alum Elizabeth Banks (C’96).”

Check back tomorrow as Brian talks about more of the must sees and the must skips!

Check out all of Brian’s posts about this year’s (2009) Cannes Film Festival

Check out last year’s (2008) Penn in Cannes posts HERE

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