‘Miss Sun­shine’ star Dano to make di­rec­to­rial de­but at Cannes

Cannes in­vite shows Iran cin­ema still alive: Panahi

Arab Times - - FEATURES -

PARIS, France, April 16, (AFP): Hol­ly­wood star Paul Dano’s muchan­tic­i­pated di­rec­to­rial de­but, “Wildlife”, will open Crit­ics’ Week at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val next month, the or­gan­is­ers said Mon­day.

The film by the “There Will Be Blood” and “Lit­tle Miss Sun­shine” ac­tor fea­tures his friend Jake Gyl­len­haal, who played op­po­site Dano in the Os­car-nom­i­nated “Pris­on­ers” in 2013.

The film is based on a Richard Ford novel about a teenager watch­ing his par­ents’ mar­riage fall apart.

Crit­ics’ Week di­rec­tor Charles Tes­son said it in­cludes an “ex­tremely im­pres­sive” per­for­mance from Bri­tish ac­tress Carey Mul­li­gan, who was nom­i­nated for an Os­car for her per­for­mance in “An Ed­u­ca­tion”, the com­ing-of-age drama based on jour­nal­ist Lynn Bar­ber’s best­selling mem­oir.

“Paul Dano shows him­self to be a true cineaste in his first fea­ture film,” Tes­son told AFP, “a pro­foundly hu­man por­trait at the dis­in­te­gra­tion of an Amer­i­can fam­ily... done with el­e­gant clas­si­cism.”

The par­al­lel event for first- and sec­ond-time di­rec­tors, which starts on May 9, the day af­ter the main Cannes fes­ti­val, also fea­tures a par­ody of the life of a su­per­star foot­baller not un­like Cris­tiano Ron­aldo called “Dia­mantino”.

Al­though its Por­tugese-Amer­i­can co-di­rec­tor Gabriel Abrantes has said that the film is “not re­ally about” the Real Madrid star, Tes­son said the “de­light­ful off-the-wall” com­edy would ring bells with foot­ball fans.

Un­like the main fes­ti­val, which has been crit­i­cised for its dearth of fe­male tal­ent, Crit­ics’ Week is dom­i­nated by films by and about women.

While only three of the 18 films com­pet­ing for the top Palme d’Or prize are by women, they make up the ma­jor­ity in the Crit­ics’ Week com­pe­ti­tion.

In­dian di­rec­tor Ro­hena Gera turns the ro­man­tic com­edy on its head in her first fea­ture, “Sir”, Tes­son said, a master-ser­vant love story that shakes class and caste taboos star­ring ris­ing Bol­ly­wood ac­tress Til­lotama Shome.

“One Day” by the Hun­gar­ian Zsofia Szi­lagyi fol­lows the manic day of an over­stretched work­ing mother try­ing to hold her own and her fam­ily’s life to­gether, while “Woman at War” is the “funny and stir­ring” story of an Ice­landic en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist.

In­ves­ti­gates

Young doc­u­men­tary-maker Anja Kofmel in­ves­ti­gates the mur­der of her cousin, a jour­nal­ist who was killed dur­ing the wars in the for­mer Yu­goslavia, in her film, “Chris the Swiss”, which is partly an­i­mated.

“Sau­vage” takes on the rarely touched world of male pros­ti­tu­tion while an­other gritty French film “She­herazade” dives into the chaotic life of a young pros­ti­tute and her boyfriend in the port of Mar­seille.

French star Ro­main Duris plays a union stal­wart whose wife leaves him with their chil­dren in the Bel­gium drama “Our Bat­tles”, which is be­ing shown out of com­pe­ti­tion.

The line-up for the main com­pe­ti­tion at Cannes is markedly more po­lit­i­cal than usual, with an Ira­nian and Rus­sian di­rec­tor who are banned from leav­ing their coun­tries, in the run­ning for the Palme d’Or.

It is highly un­likely that Iran’s Ja­far Panahi and Rus­sia’s Kir­ill Sere­bren­nikov will be able to at­tend, de­spite pleas by fes­ti­val or­gan­is­ers and the French au­thor­i­ties.

The world’s big­gest film fes­ti­val runs from May 8 to 19.

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Iran’s banned film di­rec­tor Ja­far Panahi re­sponded Sun­day to his in­vi­ta­tion to the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val, call­ing it a sign that Ira­nian in­de­pen­dent cin­ema is still alive de­spite “many threats”.

“This year for the first time in the his­tory of Ira­nian cin­ema, two films by Ira­nian film­mak­ers are in the main com­pe­ti­tion at Cannes. This is a sign that Ira­nian cin­ema is alive and dy­namic,” he wrote in an open let­ter car­ried by re­formist news agency ILNA.

“But clearly this does not please those who want to see the death of in­de­pen­dent cin­ema in Iran under any pre­text and with many threats.”

Panahi was banned from mak­ing films and leav­ing the coun­try af­ter sup­port­ing mass protests in 2009 and mak­ing a se­ries of films that cri­tiqued the state of mod­ern Iran.

That has not stopped him from work­ing clan­des­tinely in the coun­try and his 2015 film “Taxi” won the Golden Bear at the Ber­lin Film Fes­ti­val to the con­ster­na­tion of his con­ser­va­tive crit­ics back home.

His new film “Three Faces” is one of 17 films com­pet­ing for the Palme D’Or at Cannes in May, along­side Iran’s two-time Os­car-win­ner As­ghar Farhadi with “Ev­ery­body Knows”.

Fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Thierry Fre­maux last week pleaded with Iran to let Panahi come to Cannes, while the So­ci­ety of Ira­nian Film Di­rec­tors wrote to Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani re­quest­ing per­mis­sion for him to leave.

“It is cer­tain that... the pres­sure will con­tinue, but in­de­pen­dent cin­ema will try to pre­serve its in­de­pen­dence with new voices,” said Panahi in his let­ter.

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