Jude Law – © SvD Cinema Redux

The actors expected to be in attendance in Cannes today are: Helena ALBERGARIA, Yvan ATTAL, Irene AZUELA, Antonio BANDERAS, Claude BAZ. MOUSSAWBAA, Berenice BEJO, Rachel BLAKE, Elodie BOUCHEZ, Adrien BRODY, Emily BROWNING, Claudia CARDINALE, Han  CHIN, Kerry CONDON, Michael CONNORS, Ines DE LA FRESSANGE, Michel DELPECH, Catherine  DENEUVE, Marat DESCARTES, Faye DUNAWAY, Kirsten DUNST, Christopher EDWARDS, Yilmaz ERDOGAN, Charlotte GAINSBOURG, Gael GARCIA BERNAL, Louis GARREL, Julie GAYET, Vahina GIOCANTE, Melanie GRIFFITH, Layla HAKIM, Salma HAYEK, Noe HERNANDEZ, Dustin HOFFMAN, Henry HOPPER, Angelina JOLIE, Sandrine KIBERLAIN, Diane KRUGER, Mélanie LAURENT, Xiaoran LI, Gong LI, Heinz LIEVEN, Vincent LINDON, Yvonne MAALOUF, Chiara MASTROIANNI, Rachel MCADAMS, Ezra MILLER, Aimee MULLINS, Ahmet MÜMTAZTAYLAN, Sami NACERI, Gilda NOMACCE, Antoinette NOUFAILY, Michel PICCOLI, Brad PITT, Adèle POLZL HAENEL, Aishwarya RAI, John C.REILLY, Ludivine SAGNIER, Riccardo SCAMARCIO, Léa SEYDOUX, Michael SHEEN, Stephanie SIGMAN, Tilda SWINTON, Christopher THOMPSON, Mia WASIKOWSKA, Lambert WILSON, Owen WILSON, José YENKUE, Elsa ZYLBERSTEIN

Trip to the Moon

French duo Air provides soundtrack for revamped 1902 space fantasy.

Before CGI and 3D, there was French film pioneer Georges Melies, the forerunner of modern-day movie magic. His newly restored 1902 short A Trip to the Moon will precede Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris to open up this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

A must for any film student or special effects lover, the 14-minute space fantasy was adapted by Melies from the work of Jules Verne, and shot in a studio he built in the Paris suburb of Montreuil. Filled with dazzling set pieces and uncanny visual trickery, the most iconic being an image of a rocket ship poking into the moon’s eye, the movie went on to achieve instant success both in France and the U.S.

The massive restoration, budgeted at E400,000 and jointly financed by Serge Bromberg’s Lobster Films (Henri-George Clouzot’s Inferno), the Groupama Gan Foundation and the Technicolor Foundation, began in 1993 when a rare, hand-tinted print was uncovered in Barcelona. In 1999, Lobster began digitizing the footage frame by frame, and over ten years and 13,000 frames later, the film can now be seen in a full-blown color version for the first time since its debut more than a century ago.

Although silent film purists may gasp at the restorers’ choice to add a catchy soundtrack by French electro duo Air (Lost in Translation), Moon should continue its voyage after Cannes to play plenty of fests and film museums before it lands on DVD.    



An American in Paris 

Woody Allen © SvD Cinema Redux


Cannes Film Festival (Opening night, Out of Competition)


May 20 (Sony Pictures Classics)


Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen


Woody Allen

THE CANNES’ 64th International Filmfestival is being kicked off by Woody Allen’s opening film, Midnight in Paris, a romantic comedy with a finely honed narrative. After shooting movies in various European cities (London, Barcelona), Woody Allen focuses his camera on Paris to follow the nocturnal wanderings of Gil, played by Owen Wilson.

Woody Allen during the photo call May 11th just before 13h – Serge van Duijnhoven Cinema Redux

Long attached to the universe and characters of New York City (Manhattan, Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters etc.), Woody Allen has recently launched a second phase of his career in Europe, on the tracks of his cinema references (with Bergman at the head of the list). The movies he is making now have a different feel from his New York style. His favourite subjects however remain the same: couples, their disillusions and their complications, the family and the fear of the passing of time.

In Midnight in Paris, a couple comes to stay in the French capital for professional reasons. They discover that, despite their fantasies, Parisian life is not really right for them. Gil starts to look at night for what he can’t find during the day. During his nightly perambulations he comes across a cast of characters as disparate as they are impressive: Michael Sheen, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni and Gad Elmaleh.

Adrian Brody, magnificently performing as the ghost of Salvador Dali in Allen’s movie

Considered as the most European of US film-makers, Woody Allen once again shows us the multiple connections that exist between different countries and between life and art, allowing us to inaugurate the 64th Festival de Cannes in the most beautiful way possible.

Trailer of the movie Midnight in Paris:



Midnight in Paris

Owen Wilson

Woody Allen came to present his feature film Midnight in Paris, which will open the Festival, with actors Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, actresses Léa Seydoux, Rachel McAdams, and producer Jaume Roures

Woody Allen on Owen Wilson

 “Owen is the complete opposite of me, which is a huge help.  I am an Eureopean-looking East Coast intellectual. He is a West Coast blond, and a beach lover…”

Rachel Wilson and her character

 “Woody told me ‘You won’t be playing an object of desire. I hope it’s ok with you.’, and I was really excited about that. (…) Then Owen told me ‘You’re so much funnier when you’re mean’.”

About director of photography Darius Khondji

“I had noticed his work in Stealing beauty directed by Bertolucci, I was really impressed. I wanted to make Paris look beautiful.”

Woody Allen and his references

“When I was a young man, my friends and I were really influenced by European (Swedish and Italian) filmmakers, but also by French directors such as  Godard, Truffaut, Resnais, and René Clair.”

Woody Allen and the script

“The characters of Picasso, Hemingway and Dali were easy to portray. I didn’t try to make them meaningful and deep, just amusing.”

Woody’s in good form and Paris looks glorious in this droll time-traveling fantasy.

Literary giants of the 1920s and Owen Wilson interact in Woody Allen’s love letter to the City of Light.

As beguiling as a stroll around Paris on a warm spring evening — something that Owen Wilson’s character here becomes very fond of himself — Midnight in Paris represents Woody Allen’s companion piece to his The Purple Rose of Cairo, a fanciful time machine that allows him to indulge playfully in the artistic Paris of his, and many other people’s, dreams.  A sure-fire source of gentle amusement to Allen’s core audience but unlikely to connect with those with no knowledge of or feel for the Paris of the Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Picasso, this love letter to the City of Light looks to do better-than-average business for the writer-director in the U.S. upon its May 20 release, and expectations in certain foreign territories could be even higher.

As has happened before when Allen has filmed in photogenic foreign locales — London in Match Point, Barcelona in Vicki Cristina Barcelona — the director seems stimulated by discovering the possibilities of a new environment. In fact, Allen has worked in Paris before, as a writer and actor in What’s New Pussycat? 46 years ago and in one section of Everyone Says I Love You, but this is the first time he’s given the city the royal treatment.

Granted, it’s mostly a touristic view of the city, as witness the voluptuously photographed opening montage of famous sites, but that’s entirely acceptable given that the leading characters are well-off Americans on vacation. Playing Allen’s alter ego this time around is Owen Wilson as Gil, a highly successful hack Hollywood screenwriter still young enough to feel pangs over not having seriously tested himself as a novelist.

That things may not be entirely right between Gil and his pushy fiancée Inez (Rachel McAdams) becomes clear early on, as the couple tours around with Inez’s friends Carol (Nina Arianda) and Paul (Michael Sheen), the latter an insufferable expert on all things cultural (that Inez’s parents are right-wingers also allows Allen to sneak in some Tea Party jokes).  “Nostalgia is denial,” Paul intones to Gil, who is keen to break off on his own to indulge his own reveries of the literary Paris that fuels his creative imagination.

Lo and behold, that night, while wandering through a quiet part of the city, Gil is invited into an elegant old car carrying some inebriated revelers. Arriving at an even more elegant party, Gil shortly finds that he’s in the company of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and that it’s Cole Porter playing the piano. Later, they end up at a bar with Ernest Hemingway, who promises to show Gil’s unfinished novel to Gertrude Stein.

And so begins a flight of fancy that allows Gil to circulate with, and receive a measure of approval from, his lifelong literary heroes, not to mention such other giants as Dali (a vastly amusing Adrien Brody), Picasso, Man Ray, T.S. Eliot and Luis Bunuel, to whom the young American gives the premise of The Exterminating Angel. If not more important, he also meets the beauteous Adriana (Marion Cotillard), the former lover of Braque and Modigliani who’s now involved with Picasso, will shortly go off with Hemingway but is also curiously receptive to Gil, who seems somehow different than everyone else.

After trying but failing to bring the balky Inez along through the midnight portal along with him, Gil keeps returning to the 1920s night after night, getting pertinent advice from Stein about his novel and becoming seriously distracted by Adriana, who herself would prefer to have lived during La Belle Epoque. Although it’s all done glibly in traditional Allen one-liner style, the format nonetheless allows the writer, who has never been shy about honoring his idols in his work, to reflect on the way people have always idealized earlier periods and cultural moments, as if they were automatically superior to whatever exists at the time.  “Surely you don’t think the ‘20s is a Golden Age?” Adriana asks a bewildered Gil, who has always been so certain of it. “It’s the present. It’s dull,” she insists.

For anyone whose historical and cultural fantasies run anywhere near those that Allen toys with here, Midnight in Paris will be a pretty constant delight. As Allen surrogates go, Wilson is a pretty good one, being so different from the author physically and vocally that there’s little possibility of the annoying traces of imitation that have sometimes afflicted other actors in such roles. Cotillard is the perfect object of Gil’s romantic and creative dreams; Kathy Bates, speaking English, French and Spanish, makes Stein into a wonderfully appealing straight-shooter, Sheen has fun with his fatuous walking encyclopedia role and McAdams is a bundle of argumentative energy in a role one is meant to find a bit off-putting. French first lady Carla Bruni is perfectly acceptable in her three scenes as a tour guide at the Rodin Museum, while Corey Stoll very nicely pulls off the trick of both sending up Hemingway’s manly pretentions and honestly conveying his core artistic values.

Darius Khondji’s cinematography evokes to the hilt the gorgeously inviting Paris of so many people’s imaginations (while conveniently ignoring the rest), and the film has the concision and snappy pace of Allen’s best work.
Venue: Cannes Film Festival (Opening night, Out of Competition)
Opens: May 20 (Sony Pictures Classics)
Production: Mediapro, Versatil Cinema, Gravier Prods., Pontchartrain Prods.)
Cast: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni, Nina Arianda, Kurt Fuller, Tom Hiddleston, Alison Pill, Lea Seydoux, Corey Stoll
Director-screenwriter: Woody Allen
Producers: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, Jaume Roures
Executive producers: Javier Mendez
Director of photography: Darius Khondji
Production designer: Anne Seibel
Costume designer: Sonia Grande
Editor: Alisa Lepselter
Rated PG-13, 94 minutes



The coming together of the jury for main competition movies of the 64th edition of the Festival de Cannes , was quite a bummer. With jury-president Robert deNiro looking as blase and uninterested as he possibly could. Even the question if he in fact did fuck the wife of one of the journalists in the room, could not in any way stirr him up or provoke a sharpedged answer or reaction of any kind. Whereas Tim Burton inspired the goal of the Jury of last year as to valuate those films “that would knock on the doors of our dreams and windows of our imagination”, Mister de Niro merely stated that he willfully left the definition of his task to the direction of the Cannes Festival. Leaning back lazily, with lushy eyelads, looking like a coldblooded fish behind the glass of his aquarium, he told the gathered journalists that he was mainly keen “on happily floating my way through it all… Actually I don’t know what I’m looking for. It’s not every day you get to see 20 films in such a short space of time. It’s a bit like being on holiday.”

Luckily, director Olivier Asseyas rushed to the aid of blush de Niro, by stating that it was not up to the jury but to the movies presented in the competition, to set or even reset the standards. For: “all good movies, happen to set their own standards…”

Mahmet Saleh Haroun from Chad was the one exception who stood out, stating that the jury was not beforehand looknig for any political message in the films selected for the main competition. But that for anybody who belongs to the religion of film, the main temple of the Sublime Illusion called Film is still and definitely right here in Cannes…

Robert De Niro : 'I can't wait to see the films' 

Robert De Niro © AFP

Robert de Niro and his jury answer questions from journalists at this afternoon’s Feature Film Jury Press Conference.

Robert De Niro: “I don’t know what I’m looking for. It’s not every day you get to see 20 films in such a short space of time. It’s a bit like being on holiday.”

Uma Thurman: “I’ve come looking for inspiration, to understand why we’ve devoted our lives to cinema.”

Martina Gusman: “It’s a unique experience to be surrounded by such talented people. I’m totally fired up. It’s like a dream.”

Olivier Assayas: “You have to take the strongest and most stimulating films and find some common ground. You can’t satisfy everyone, but like any Jury, we’re going to try to be as fair and generous as possible.”

Mahamat Saleh Haroun: “My film’s appearance at Cannes and the prize it won revolutionised Chadian cinema. There were no cinemas left, and then one reopened the following January. There is a film school project planned for 2013, and a broadcasting licence fee has been created to finance films. The country’s authorities have realised that it’s important to be where it’s at.”

Linn Ullmann: “In Norway, everyone goes skiing with their parents… except for our family. But I saw two films a day every summer, and at the start of each film my father (Ingmar Bergman – Ed) said to me “there’s your training, right there”

On the absence of Chinese films from the Official Selection:
Johnnie To: “They’re making a lot of films in China, too many perhaps…”

Nansun Shi: “There are ups and downs. That doesn’t mean there’s not quality cinema. It’s about the calendar too. Chinese cinema is well represented at many festivals.”



Honorary Palme 2011 for director Bernardo Bertolucci

This is a novelty for the Festival de Cannes: from 2011, the organizers will award an annual Honorary Palme d’or, which will be presented during the Opening Ceremony.

This recognition is attributed to an important filmmaker, whose work is authoritative but never got a Palme d’or. In the recent past, Woody Allen, in 2002, or Clint Eastwood in 2009, were awarded this distinction by President Gilles Jacob, on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Festival de Cannes. Now, the act becomes tradition and will be annual, taking place at the opening of the event.

In 2011, the Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci will receive this honour.

The filmmaker (poet Attilio Bertolucci’s son) has marked Italian cinema with intimate masterpieces as well as monumental frescoes: from Prima della Revoluzione (1964) to Novecento (1976), from The Conformist (1970) to The Last Emperor (1987), his political and social involvement, driven by a profound lyricism and an elegant and accurate direction, gives his films a unique place in the history of world cinema.

“The quality of his work, which appears today in all its uniqueness and the extent of this work we perceive every day more vividly, the strength of his commitment to cinema and the ties that bind him to Cannes, make Bernaldo Bertollucci the first legitimate recipient.” say President Gilles Jacob and Thierry Frémaux General Delegate.

The Honorary Palme will be attributed to him Wednesday, May 11, at the Opening Ceremony of the 64th edition of the Festival, in the presence of the Jury chaired by Robert De Niro, who was one of the actors in Novecento (1900).

Opening Ceremony of the 64th Festival de Cannes 

Robert de Niro © AFP

Declaro il Festivale di Cannes aperto. I declare the Festival de Cannes open.” This year, the Festival de Cannes was opened by Bernardo Bertolucci. The Italian Director was awarded an honorary Palme d’or d’honneur by Gilles Jacob, in the presence of the Jury and the Mistress of Ceremonies, Mélanie Laurent.

“I stand before you tonight, and seen from here, the cinema is a magical thing.”. With these words Mélanie Laurent welcomes the Jury presided by Robert de Niro onto the stage of the Grand Théâtre Lumière. At his side, actresses  Uma Thurman and Martina Gusman, Hong Kong producer Nansun Shi, the writer Linn Ulmann,Jude Law and directors Johnnie To, Olivier Assayas and Mahamat Saleh Haroun.

The young French actress continues, “When you look up the word ‘actor’ in the dictionary, you find ‘Robert de Niro’ written there. Take a look for yourselves”. At that moment, the big screen of the Grand Théâtre Lumière reveals a montage of de Niro’s finest performances. Heat, The Godfather, A Bronx Tale and the incomparableTaxi Driver. De Niro himself finally arrives onstage and utters a few words in French. “Thanks for having invited me to be the President of the 64th Festival de Cannes. I hope I’ll do a good job and thanks again.”

In a first musical tribute to Robert de Niro, his home town and that of the festival he founded, the Tribeca Film Festival, young jazzman Jamie Cullum plays a medley of Frank Sinatra’s New York New York and Alicia Keys’ New York. To close the ceremony, an honorary Palme d’or is awarded to Bernardo Bertolucci. “I want toe dedicate this honour to Woody Allen and Bobby de Niro. And also to all those Italians who have had the courage to struggle, to criticise and to get angry.” The Palme given to Bernardo Bertolucci will henceforth be awarded at the opening ceremony of the Festival each year.

Amongst the innovations of the 2011 edition is the idea of welcoming a guest country to Cannes each year; Egypt will be the first country, chosen this year to begin the tradition.
Egypt will be welcomed in 2011 as a country who, through its revolution of January 25, has informed the world of its need to change the course of history and of its need for freedom, while demonstrating its collective strength and expressing its desire for democracy; it will also be welcomed as a country with a strong history in film, whose presence in Cannes has always been justified.

This day, when the late Youssef Chahine will be remembered, will serve to underline the strength of Egyptian cinema, which will be represented by directors, actors, producers and technicians.

This tribute to Egypt will take place on Wednesday May 18 and will unfold as follows:

– screening of 18 jours, a work grouping the short films of Sherif Arafa, Yousry Nasrallah, Mariam Abou Ouf, Marwan Hamed, Mohamed Aly, Kamla Abou Zikri, Sherif El Bendari, Khaled Marei, Ahmad Abdallah and Ahmad Alaa.

Ten film-makers, twenty actors, six writers, eight cameramen, eight sound engineers, five set-designers, three costume designers, seven film editors, three post-production companies and a dozen technicians filmed ten short film stories based on the January 25 revolution in Egypt, all under pressure, without a budget and on a totally voluntary basis. Ten stories they had either witnessed, heard or imagined. All profits from the film will be given towards the organisation of political and public education missions in Egyptian villages.

The screening will be followed by an official dinner organised as a tribute to Egypt, with many guests invited, including the Egyptian Culture Minister and the Egyptian ambassador to France.

In addition :

– as part of the Cannes Classics selection : screening of a new copy of Facteur (Al Bostagui) by Hussein Kamal (Egypt, 1968)

– at the Cinéma de la Plage : screening of Le Cri d’une fourmi by Sameh Abdel Aziz (Egypt, 2011)

And finally a concert with a group of Egyptian musicians, West El Balad, will kick-start the “Fête des Sélections”, a party to be held for the Official Selection on May 18.

Special Screenings :

Plus jamais peur by Mourad Ben Cheikh (Tunisia), a documentary about the Tunisian revolution. A delegation of Egyptian film-makers will also take part in the opening night upon the invitation of French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand.

The Big Fix by Josh Tickell (USA), a documentary produced by Peter Fonda.

School Screenings for secondary pupils:

Les Hommes Libres by Ismäel Ferrouki (Morocco/France) with Michael Lonsdale and Tahar Rahim

Prodigies an 3D animation film by Antoine Charreyron

Photo du film Tamantashar Yom (18 jours) 

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