Thursday, May 22, 2014

Black Ties, Haute Couture And Bedraggled Scribes Walk The Red Carpet At Cannes



Thu may 15, 2014

clip_image002CANNES: Opening day at the Cannes film festival is a frantic rush on many levels. The first challenge is to get settled wherever you are staying. Early morning delegates fresh off their flights rush to the Monoprix to shop for the coming ten days. There they bump into other bedraggled friends / film professionals – more here than at any other festival event. From the supermarket, the rush is to get the timings of the day’s main events.

Opening day is devoted to key Press Conferences and the gala opening films. The Press saw the much awaited Grace of Monaco in the morning. The big screening is after the grand red carpet festival opening. Black tie for the gentlemen and haute couture for the ladies. Celebrities sail up the steps and onstage every other minute.

But earlier, at 1 pm, diligent journos battle their way into the packed (no standing) Press Conference for Grace of Monaco. It is directed by Olivier Duhan and stars Nicole Kidman alongside Tim Roth and Parker Posey. Nicole Kidman has an easy-going readiness to answer questions, even leading ones, with a fluent confidence and clarity. How did she react to the princely children’s unhappiness with the probing into details of their parent’s troubled marriage? Kidman says she was saddened. But the film had made clear at the start that this is a fictionalized account of events related to reality.  When asked if she would ever be moved to giving up acting, she answered at once: “Absolutely.” She believes what the film says, that love can surpass ambition. She regretted that her most prestigious moments (such as the time she won the Oscar) always coincided with the lows in her personal life. She added that she did not have the privilege of marrying a prince, but very quickly she said her husband  was indeed a prince among men.

The director and his team dodged questions on the film politicising the royal wedding by linking it to the time when France was all set to take over Monaco. They believed that the film had a human angle to it of a very unusual royal marriage  and how it affected the mind and destiny of Grace Kelly, Hollywood’s leading star, who gave up her country and her career for the life of a Princess. The film shows her drawing close to her near-defeated husband and then taking the losing situation into her own hands and bringing it around with her innate wisdom and her love for family.

The evening had another Press screening competition film in store for us. It was  the only  African film to compete, Timbuktu,  by the reputed director Abderrahmane Sissako , on how the  gun-toting vigilante fundamentalist groups of today’s violent times can target the poor and innocent destitute fleeing in abject fear with nowhere to go.

The  Cannes international jury  this year has distinguished names:  Jane Campion (Director, Screenwriter, Producer – New Zealand), Carole Bouquet (Actress – France), Sofia Coppola (Director, Screenwriter, Producer – United States),  Leila Hatami (Actress – Iran), Jeon Do-yeon (Actress – South Korea), Willem Dafoe (Actor – United States), Gael Garcia Bernal (Actor, Director, Producer – Mexico), Jia A Zhangke (Director, Screenwriter, Producer – China) and  Nicolas Winding Refn (Director, Screenwriter, Producer – Denmark).  

The 2014 jury is an unusual one, in that it is very woman friendly.  The President of the Jury is a woman – Jane Campion. She is also the only woman to have won the Palme D’Or in Cannes for her film, The Piano  in the year 1993.  In the 67th Cannes, the  women jury members (5 in number) outnumber the male ones (4 in all). The Cannes festival was criticised last year for not featuring even one woman filmmaker in competition and also sidelining them in other sections. The powers-that-be appear to have made ample amends.

Courtesy: - India's first independent on-line daily which was launched in January 27, 2014 - reproducing Uma da Cunha's column

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