Cannes Goes Punk

Neil Gaiman’s short story, “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” which John Cameron Mitchell adapted into a feature film of the same name, has had its moment at the Cannes Film Festival, including a spectacular runway and spectacularly bad reviews.

Mitchell describes his adaptation to The Hollywood Reporter as “a Romeo and Juliet story between a punk and an alien.” He says he filled in the very short story with his own stance: “We brought in the punk element, because it wasn’t really in the story. Then I kind of plumped up the Romeo and Juliet story. The punks and the aliens are fighting to keep the lovers apart.”

The few reviews so far are withering. Variety calls the “lifeless punk-meets-alien romance … the biggest dud I’ve seen at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.”

The Guardian writes ” What an extravagantly muddled, borderline incontinent film this is … If you only see one gritty punk-rock coming-of-age sci-fi kids fantasy caper in this lifetime, maybe double-check the listings before you alight on this one.”

The Hollywood Reporter calls it “Close encounters of the absurd kind … there’s too little narrative cohesion or persuasive subtext to make this much more than a low-budget folly that’s outre without always being terribly interesting.”

However, there was still some fun to be had. The film’s stars, Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning, lead a dramatic runway show when the cast showed up in their movie outfits, made of colorful latex (starting at :56):

Below is the trailer:

Gaiman’s story was nominated for the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Short Story and won the Locus Award in that category. It is collected in Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders (HC/Harper, 2010) and is posted on Gaiman’s websiteThe audio is there as well, read by Gaiman. It has also been adapted as a comic, Neil Gaiman’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman, Gabriel Bá, and Fábio Moon (PRH/Dark Horse, 2016). There is no US release date yet for the movie.

Comments are closed.