France loves ‘In­di­ana Jones’

But there are still lot­sof nerves at Cannes fest

USA TODAY International Edition - - Life - By An­thony Brezni­can USA TO­DAY

CANNES, France—“ Tres bien.” That is the first re­view af­ter the first pub­lic screen­ing of In­di­ana Jones and the King­dom of the Crys­tal Skull at the Cannes FilmFes­ti­val.

It came from 12-year-old Pablo Sch­mit as he ex­ited the theater Sun­day.

His mother, Ce­cile Al­cais, 38, trans­lated: “It’s very good.”

Then she said: “But Har­ri­son Ford is too old now. Har­ri­son is the hero, but he may be too old. (My son) prefers the young guy.” That would be Shia LaBeouf, who plays Jones’ side­kick, Mutt.

The best part for Pablo, though: “He’s go­ing to tell all his friends he was the first French boy to see the film,” his mother said. “He’s very happy.”

And so should be the In­di­ana Jones film­mak­ers. Cannes can be a dan­ger­ous place to open. Cannes fes­ti­val­go­ers — largely a mix of jour­nal­ists, crit­ics and in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives — are a no­to­ri­ously tough crowd. They tend to boo.

There were no boos at the end of the first Indy screen­ing but in­stead a round of ap­plause.

The ten­sion sur­round­ing the In­di­ana Jones screen­ing plays out through­out the fes­ti­val, just be­low its glam­orous sur­face, for any film mak­ing its de­but. Movie vet­er­ans, new­com­ers, es­tab­lished box-of­fice draws and peren­nial Os­car con­tenders alike de­scribe an in­tense anx­i­ety.

At the open­ing night pre­miere of Blind­ness, an apoc­a­lyp­tic drama about a world where every­one loses their sight, Ju­lianne Moore turned to co-star Gael Gar­cia Ber­nal and said, “I’m about to swal­lowmy tongue, I’mson­er­vous.”

“Be­ing on the red car­pet, it’s open­ing night, a big deal, and hav­ing not seen the fil­mall sort of­mademe a lit­tle ner­vous,” she said the next morn­ing. Word-of­mouth on Blind­ness was mild, and the re­views were good, though not great — over­all, a plus for the film. Nonethe­less, Moore was en­thu­si­as­tic once it was over.

“Is it more ex­cit­ing than a reg­u­lar New York pre­miere? Hell, yeah!” she says. “It feels like re­ally high stakes here. It feels like a big deal. My par­ents know about the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val. And I used to make the joke that my par­ents didn’t know the dif­fer­ence be­tween Mark Har­mon and Kevin Cost­ner.”

Dur­ing the day, crowds flocked around the his­toric (and heav­ily guarded) Ho­tel Carl­ton, the heart of celebrity ac­tiv­ity. Fans aimtheir cam­corders hop­ing to catch a glimpse of An­gelina Jolie slip­ping in for in­ter­views, but they are just as happy to see Michael Moore as he an­nounces his plans for a Fahren­heit 9/11 fol­low-up.

The nearly cen­tury-old sym­bol of Euro­pean el­e­gance this week is fes­tooned with kitschy ads for Get Smart and Han­cock and a gi­ant, tem­po­rary en­try­way de­signed­likeaMayan tem­ple fromIn­di­ana Jones. It’s the ho­tel where Cary Grant ro­manced Grace Kelly in Al­fred Hitch­cock’s to Catch a Thief (1955), and where Kelly was stay­ing when she met her fu­ture hus­band, Prince Rainier III of near­byMonaco.

It’s also where a young Ge­orge Lu­cas made the deal for his Star Wars script while show­ing his first film, 1971’s THX 1138.

“I came as a poor, des­ti­tute film stu­dent,” Lu­cas re­calls. “Ev­ery­body had turned Amer­i­can Graf­fiti down, but I talked to the head ofUnited Artists here, and so I said, ‘I’ve got this­movie, I’d re­ally like to pitch it.’ So I pitched it to him, and he said ‘OK, we’ll do it. Or at least, we’ll give you the $10 to write the script.’ He said, ‘Do you have any other films?’ I said, ‘Well, I’ve got this space opera thing, it’s kind of an ac­tion ad­ven­ture­film . . . .’ He­said, ‘OK, we’ll­makea deal for that, too.’ Just like that!” Other stu­dios ul­ti­mately made both films, but that con­ver­sa­tion on the third floor of the Carl­ton started it all.

Some celebri­ties came to Cannes this year with noth­ing to pro­mote but a cause. U2’s Bono loaned his star power to the de­but of The Third Wave, an Aus­tralian filmabout the tsunami in Sri Lanka three years ago. The singer was ac­com­pa­nied by the fes­ti­val’s bad-boy, fea­ture-film jury pres­i­dent Sean Penn, who has grabbed head­lines for puff­ing cig­a­rettes in­doors in an act of de­fi­ance against a re­cent French ban.

Mean­while, on the edge of town Fri­day night, the ul­tra-ex­clu­sive Restau­rant Te­tou played host to stars and moviemak­ing power bro­kers. Among them: Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Allen and Karen Allen.

Each came to Cannes for a dif­fer­ent rea­son: Karen Allen was re­lax­ing af­ter repris­ing her role as Marion Raven­wood in In­di­ana Jones. Allen brought Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a ro­man­tic com­edy star­ring Scar­lett Jo­hans­son, Pene­lope Cruz and Javier Bar­dem as en­tan­gled lovers in Spain. And Joneswas re­cruit­ing in­vestors for a film adap­ta­tion of Ernest Hem­ing­way’s last novel, Is­lands in the Stream, which he hopes to per­form in and di­rect fromhis own screen­play.

One film­maker ar­rived with low ex­pec­ta­tions and came away with mem­o­ries he said will last a life­time. Mark Os­borne co-di­rected the an­i­mated Kung Fu Panda and said he ex­pected the hard­line Cannes au­di­ence to jeer the chil­dren’s film. Os­borne said it felt like a dreamwhen the­movie got a rous­ing re­sponse at the black-tie pre­miere, with his idol, Lu­cas, in the au­di­ence.

“Every­one’s stand­ing up. I’m look­ing around at all these smil­ing faces, and the en­tire bal­cony is lean­ing over, ap­plaud­ing and smil­ing. That is burned in my mind,” he said. “I was here back in ’99 with a stop-motion an­i­ma­tion short called More. It­was­noth­ing like this. I re­mem­ber be­ing up in the bal­cony and peo­ple yelling at the screen and get­ting up in the mid­dle and walk­ing out.” This time, he adds: “I was just happy to not get booed.”

By Sean Gallup, Getty Images

Spain to France: Woody Allen signs au­to­graphs at the Vicky Cristina Barcelona pre­miere.

By Pas­cal Le Segretain, Getty Images

‘King­dom’ keep­ers: Ge­orge Lu­cas, left, Steven Spiel­berg, Karen Allen, Har­ri­son Ford, Shia LaBeouf and Cate Blanchett.

By Fran­cois Mori, AP

Smil­ing faces: Cannes jury pres­i­dent Sean Penn, left, and U2’s Bono ar­rive for the pre­miere of The Third­Wave, a filmabout the deadly tsunami.

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