Cannes Day 9: Wes Anderson’s ‘Asteroid City’ Gets Muted Response as Fest Winds Down

The Cannes Film Festival comes to a close on Saturday and you can feel it. Things are starting to slow down, standing ovations aren’t as long and those on the Croisette are starting to get tired.

Beloved filmmaker Wes Anderson debuted his latest feature, “Asteroid City,” on Wednesday and the reaction was more muted than the reception to “Killers of the Flower Moon” or even the more mixed “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” TheWrap’s Steve Pond emphasized the whole did not live up to the sum of its parts, despite pristine craft as always.

“‘Asteroid City’ also feels like a wasted opportunity of sorts,” he said in his review. “At one point, a radio off-screen plays Slim Whitman’s ‘Indian Love Call,’ the song that killed all the alien invaders in Tim Burton’s ‘Mars Attacks.’ It couldn’t help but prompt a longing for the days when a stylized auteur could embrace sci-fi rather than burying it in stylization and layers of remove.”

The press conference for the film gave the cast and crew opportunities to discuss the process of putting the film together. “During the real intense part of the COVID period, we were writing the script,” Anderson said. “I don’t think there would have been a quarantine in the story if we weren’t experiencing it … And the making of the movie was still during COVID. We had COVID protocols, and it really suited us. I loved to form a troupe and stay together and sit at a long table and have dinner. The set was enormous — it was a desert, but it was a closed desert. Just us.”

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He laughed. “I don’t want to say it was good for the movie, but we used it in away that wasn’t bad.”

New Movies and Acquisitions

Director Karim Aïnouz has already set up his next project, after debuting his Alicia Vikander-starring Tudor drama, “Firebrand” over the weekend at Cannes. Aïnouz will direct “Rosebushpruning,” starring Kristen Stewart, Josh O’Connor and Elle Fanning, THR reports. The film is being backed by Mubi and The Match Factory. Adapted from Marco Bellocchio’s 1965 feature “Fists in the Pocket,” the film is described as a family and social values satire.

And Mubi has also secured U.S. distribution for Felipe Gálvez’s Chilean Western “The Settlers” for a theatrical release. According to THR, that feature “revolves around a wealthy landowner’s attempt to set the boundaries of his vast property and forge a route to the Atlantic Ocean through the expansive Patagonia region.”

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Two international features picked up U.S. distribution at the festival. Menemsha Films scooped up North American rights to Noam Kaplan’s (“Manpower”) “The Future,” said Screen International. It’s the second feature by the Israeli-born Kaplan and focuses on a profiler investigating a Palestinian woman accused of assassinating an Israeli minister.



“Robot Dreams”

Check out TheWrap’s Cannes magazine here and all of our Cannes 2023 coverage here.

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