Cannes 2009 Daily Report

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13 May 2009

The 2009 festival broke new ground by choosing an animated feature film, UP, for the opening gala – an appropriate tribute to Pixar, who have shown that design and animation, even at the highest level of contemporary technique, are finally secondary and supportive to the fundamental qualities of narrative, character and (in the highest sense) sentiment that are the essence of every kind of good film. As co-directors and co-writers, Pete Docter and Bob Peterson have come up with a very human fable about an old widower Carl, who decides to fulfil a life-long dream of tracing the steps of a long-ago explorer in South America. He hitches his house to a cloud of balloons (whose marketing was his life-long profession) and sails away – inadvertently taking with him a talkative, high-minded 8-year-old. The stunning sequence retracing Carl’s life-long attachment to his wife and her eventual death is in itself a small masterwork – though one which the rest of the narrative is challenged to match.