A great ode to Paris from Woody Allen, enlightenment from Bernado Bertolucci and a spot of Lady Gaga: the first day of this edition of Cannes brought with it much excitement. And I even got to see two films! That is always the tricky balance – trying to see as many of the films on offer. As if there wasn’t enough of a choice with the new offerings, there are also remastered classics and old film re-screenings that one just doesn’t want to miss seeing up on the big screen.
Midnight in Paris officially opened the festival. Woody Allen picked Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams to star alongside Michael Shannon, Marion Cotillard, and a cast of cameos including Carla Is-she-or-isn’t-she-pregnant Bruni. A fun, poetic film that is, as Allen himself says, a subjective look at the city that sparks so much romance.
After that press conference, there was one with acclaimed Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci who was presented with an honorary Palme d’Or for his work, which includes Last Tango in Paris and Stealing Beauty. He offered great insights into film, and also told us he wants to make a 3D art-house film. Being in a wheelchair because of his declining health as a result of back surgeries, Bertolucci said he thought he was done with filmmaking, but that 3D film has re-inspired him, especially after having seen James Cameron’s mega-blockbuster, Avatar. “It made me ask,” he said, “why is 3-D considered good only for horror or science fiction? I thought, ‘If 8 ½ by Fellini was in 3-D, wouldn’t it be great?’… Another film that could have been great in 3-D was [Ingmar] Bergman’s Persona. How fascinating, this movie with close-ups of the two actors.”
Straight after that, the Jury took the panel, with Robert de Niro nonchalantly leading the group as the head. He said they wouldn’t be looking for anything specific but that they would see where the process goes. “I’m looking forward to seeing 20 films in this short time. It’s kind of like, as someone said, a vacation, where I get to see these films without any distractions that I would have in my normal life,” he commented. The Oscar winner doesn’t seem to put too much weight on awards, even though he has himself starred in two previous Palme d’Or-winning films Taxi Driver and The Mission.
Uma Thurman, who also serves on the jury, told a little story aboutQuentin Tarantino, who won the Palme in 1994 for Pulp Fiction. “Quentin Tarantino was flashing his Palme d’Or around his apartment one day and said, ‘Ya know the only list of people that’s better than the list of people who have this?” she recalled. “I said, ‘What’s that?’ And he said, ‘The list of people who don’t.’”
Managed to catch a brief couple of images of a brief performance by Lady Gaga at the Le Grand Journal stage. She performed Judas to promote her new album in France, and it seems she took a little inspiration from Jack Sparrow, whom we’ll be seeing this weekend here in Cannes.