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The Palme d’Or has been awarded – to Michael Haneke’s Amour, as many had predicted it would. There was talk that possibly Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone could have scooped it, or even the wacky Holy Motors, starring Denis Lavant and Kylie Minogue. Those films also didn’t pick up anything in other categories either, with the Grand Prix going to Reality by Matteo Garrone, Best Director to Carlos Reygadas for Post Tenebras Lux, Best Actor to Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt and Best Actress to Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan in Beyond the Hills by former Palme winner Cristian Mungiu.
Actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva flank Michael Haneke Pic: festival-cannes.fr
Mungiu’s film also earned him a Best Screenplay award. Ken Loach’s The Angels’ Share scored the Jury Prize, while Beasts of the Southern Wild by Benh Zeitlin picked up the Camera d’Or prize in the Un Certain Regard section, which runs parallel to the fest’s official in competition selection.
And so, that’s a wrap for this year’s festival. Thanks to the National Film and Video Foundation for partly helping me get to Cannes so that I could report on all the news coming out of the festival and watch how South Africa has grown in its participation at the event. Also thanks to my fabulous journo gal pals MJ, Alicia and Lisa who make this work that much easier (it ain’t a walk on the beach, you know…)
Ireland's Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan with SA's Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, after signing a co-production treaty.
There’s been a strong contingent of young stars in Cannes this year. Today’s screening of Cosmopolis, and the premiere happening this evening, sees Robert Pattinson back in Cannes, following his first foray here when he came to present Twilight footage before the first film came out. Starring in director David Cronenberg’s film adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel, Robert goes tête-à-tête with Paul Giamatti in the movie, which is an overflow of information as it plays upon the themes of social and economic crisis that’s befallen our society. Rob’s girlfriend, Kristen Stewart, who’s here with On the Road, is expected to join him on the red carpet at tonight’s premiere. Possible candidates to take over from Cannes “It” couple – Brad and Angelina…?
Don DeLillo, David Cronenberg and Robert Pattinson
It was great to have Don DeLillo on the panel for the press conference. It’s always interesting to get an author’s take on the film interpretation of their work. DeLillo said they’re totally different life forms and that although they were his words, it felt like he was looking at something new. The director said it took him 6 days to write the screenplay, but that, like any other art work created, he didn’t mess with the basic structure and style of the book. “It’s like a Bob Dylan song,” he said. “Everyone knows the lyrics and how it goes, so you don’t mess with the rhythm. You just try to bring out something new.”
Lee Daniels also ventured into a novel once again, for his second film offering. Following on from Precious, which debuted here in2009, the director roped in another young talent – this time Zac Efron, who plays a character he says appealed to him because it was “raw and dangerous”. There are some surprising scenes with him, and Matthew McConaughey too, is seen in a different light. Nicole Kidman, John Cusack and Macy Gray were also at the press conference.
Meanwhile, the sun is still shining at Cannes – and that makes me happy!
On The Road is one of the films I’ve been looking forward to seeing at Cannes. Brazilian director Walter Salles says it took many years to adapt the classic book by the iconic author onto the big screen, after producer Roman Coppola’s father, Francis Ford, was given the rights many years ago. It’s a heady trip down the road of inspiration, Beat-style, but as Salles told us in the press conference, Neal Cassady’s son John said to him this was not a story about the beat generation itself but about the formative years, and what led to the creation of this influential group. The film’s stars Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Tom Sturridge and Danny Morgan were at the press con to talk about the film.
The cast, producers and director, Walter Salles, of On The Road
Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley, Walter Salles and Garrett Hedlund - Pic: festival-cannes.fr
It was also a big day in Cannes for Kylie Minogue who is part of the latest film from French director Leos Carax that’s been generating a lot of buzz around the fest so far – especially from The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, who gave it a 5 star rating and Empire’s Damon Wise, who said it’s films like this one that are the very reason he comes to Cannes.
The film I saw today is one of the reasons I love Cannes so much. Yes, it’s pretty and glamorous and gorgeous to be by the seaside, and there are celebs every where you go. But it’s the discovery of new films, and being moved by a cinematic experience that I appreciate even more. Today that happened to me in the movie Rust and Bone, or De Rouille et d’os , which stars Marion Cotillard and Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts. It’s a love story, but about how disabilities, both physical and other, shape life and one’s character. Marion plays a Marineworld instructor who loses her legs in an accident. Matthias is an emotionally crippled father of a 5-year-old he doesn’t quite know how to handle. It’s such a rewarding film experience that I wanted to keep clapping long after the credits stopped rolling and the music had ended. The music! You could put Bon Iver over anything and it would look and sound good, but the use of Justin Vernon’s music here and the score by Alexander Desplat wraps around the story and pushes it that much further into your mind and heart. There’s already Oscar buzz around the film, and word is, this French film may be the next The Artist, with Matthias the next Jean DuJardin. The film premiered in Cannes in the evening and has been drawing fantastic reviews.
Cannes is a wonderful pot of spontaneous serendipity. My friend and fellow journalist Marie Joelle and I went out for the night. As we walked into the JW Marriott hotel on the way to Le Club, we seemed to become a part of a group of people that included Marion Cotillard and her friends. We all got into the lift, as I invisibly zipped my lips in an effort not to scream out how amazing she was in the movie I had just seen a few hours earlier. After some time in the club, and as she was on her way out, I finally did convey my gratitude for her performance, and got a smile from that beautiful petite face. Below is the pic MJ managed to snap before cameras were told to be put away.
And with that – the 65th Cannes Film Festival is a go!
Wes Anderson’s movie, Moonrise Kingdom officially opened the festival. I saw the screening in the morning – pain au chocolat in hand – and was carried away by the whimsical delight of first love, set against a backdrop only Wes Anderson himself can create. At the press conference, the cast of Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton and Bruce Willis delighted us with anecdotes about the kind of set the director creates and how much fun and relaxed it is to work with him. Bill, dressed in a fantastic checked shirt, joked that he only works now because Wes keeps giving him parts and keeping him employed.
Tilda Swinton and Wes Anderson
After that press conference, there was another one introducing the jury that will decide which films will be awarded top honours at the end of the festival. Led by Italian director Nanni Moretti, the jury consists of 8 other filmmakers, a bunch he calls “very joyful, very happy people” – Palestinian actress and director Hiam Abbass, British writer/director Andrea Arnold, French actress Emmanuelle Devos, actress Diane Kruger, designer Jean Paul Gaultier, Haitian writer/director Raoul Peck, writer/director (and recent Oscar winner) Alexander Payne, and actor Ewan McGregor, who joked that he’d been running five miles a day for three months in preparation for Cannes.
I asked Gaultier about what he wants to bring to the jury – seeing as it’s the first time a designer has been on it – and he replied that he’s coming in as a fan who loves movies and critiques them like any other cinema-goer. “We go in asking, are they good or bad? Sometimes you go ‘oh my God this is so beautiful’, and sometimes you don’t feel anything. But it can be inspiring too, and I will share my reaction,” he added.
Reactions were shared when General Aladeen, aka Sacha Baron Cohen arrived on a camel at the Carlton Hotel for his movie The Dictator. I was in the cinema so I missed the stunt, but having seen him in New York recently, I have no doubt it drew just the kind of buzz he wanted here – before all the official business of Cannes kicked off.
So here I am, back on the Croisette for my 6th year in a row of covering the Cannes Film Festival – and it’s celebrations all round for it’s 65th anniversary!
Much has been made of the fact that this year’s Cannes has a strong cast of American filmmakers and movie titles vying for some of that film fest buzz. It also seems apt then that the festival poster stars Marilyn Monroe, the most iconic of American actresses.
All these big names means a fabulous array of stars will shine on the red carpet, including Cannes’ darling couple, Brad and Angie, who caused much excitement when they announced their engagement a few weeks ago, and have become a fixture on the red carpet every year that I’ve been here. They shack up with their kids on a French estate and have a grand time. I’ll never forget when they decided to take the kids shopping at Bon Point, which was two doors away from where I was staying. They caused such a spectacular scene that stopped traffic in the street and had every passer-by giddy with excitement – okay, so even I got caught up in the thrill when Brad smiled from under his white fedora, his then-blonde locks shining in the South of France sun.
Brad will be here again this year with Killing Them Softly, and over the course of the next 12 days, the festival will premiere films starring the likes of Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Hardy, Zac Efron, Shia LaBeouf, Amy Adams, Viggo Mortensen, and Matthew McConaughey. The animated Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted will throw in a little fun to the mix as well. Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom officially opens the festival tomorrow night.
My first Cannes was on the very auspicious occasion of the event celebrating its 60th Anniversary. This year, the grande dame of film festivals turns 65 – another great step in film history. It’s also a year of celebrating family ties that influence a new generation of filmmakers. David Cronenberg will show his film, Cosmopolis, based on a Don DeLillo novel, while son Brandon debuts his first, called Antiviral, and Katrine Boorman will pay tribute to her father, director and actor John, with Me and My Dad, screening in Cannes Classics.
As ever, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the South Africans taking part at this year’s event too. Although we don’t have any films screening in an official capacity, the country’s strongest contingent of South African producers, directors and actors are attending, many with the support of the National Film and Video Foundation (which has also contributed towards some of the cost of my being here) that hosts the SA Pavilion on the glorious seafront.