14th

SATURDAY MAY  14th

Bollywood celebrates on the Croisette

 

 

 

 

Bollywood celebrates on the Croisette 

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra © DR

Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told has been produced especially for the Festival de Cannes. A member of last year’s Jury, the great Indian film-maker Shekhar Kapur spoke to Thierry Frémaux about his surprise at finding so few Bollywood movies at Cannes. He set to work right away to produce this documentary and just one year on, Bollywood is being screened Out of Competition.

“For decades now, audiences of all ages have been blown away by a passion called Bollywood!” That’s how Shekhar Kapur represents his project, an anthology of the most beautiful moments in Indian cinema. Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Jeff Zimbalist (Favela Rising, The Two Escobars), the film retraces seventy years of Bollywood history, from its beginnings in black and white to the present day with movies in dazzling colour.

What is being celebrated at Cannes is a unique film industry with a style of its own. Known as massala, the Bollywood genre specialises in romantic tales told to music. The movies are a patchwork combining different themes – comedy, violence, love and drama come together in the same film – with a variety of dance styles, from traditional kathak to hip hop and disco. Over the last five years, under Western influence, Bollywood has lost some of its modesty. Only a few years ago, love scenes would have been unthinkable in massalas.

Bollywood has also inspired Western film-makers such as Danny Boyle. The British director called on Allah Rakha Rahman, a giant figure in Bollywood music, to compose part of the original soundtrack for Slumdog Millionaire. The film’s final dance sequence, shot in Bombay station, ends with Jai-Ho (‘hope’ in Hindi.), which won the Oscar for the best original song in 2009.

SATURDAY MAY  14th

Emir Kusturica named Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur 

Emir Kusturica © CR

Serbian film-maker Emir Kusturica was today invested with the insignia of Chevalier of the Order of the Légion d’honneur at the Café des Palmes.

In a speech given for the occasion, Frédéric Mitterrand, the French Minister of Culture and Communication, saluted the admirer of Federico Fellini, Luis Buñuel, Andreï Tarkovski, Milos Forman and Jean Renoir, and acknowledged his quest for a cinema that blends entertainment and philosophy. “The work of Emir Kusturica can be consumed without moderation. It crisscrosses, in an express train of course, the heart of a Europe marked by wounds, laughter and pride.”

Emir Kusturica is one of the rare directors to have received the Palme d’or twice, first in 1985 for When Father Was Away on Business and ten years later for Underground. Head of the Feature Film Jury at the 58th Festival, he is this year President of Un Certain Regard.

The director spoke in French to thank the Festival for being the only world class forum that allowed small countries to acquire international visibility, and for its defence of cultural diversity. He went on to stress the importance of the award of such an honour for a country like Serbia .

Peter Chan: 'This is the first time I conceived a film for its style' 

Peter Chan © AFP

Chinese director Peter Chan has come to present his film Wu Xia, screened at midnight last night, with actors Donnie Yen, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Jimmy Wang Yu, Tang Wei, Wai Ying Hung and Li Xiaoran, and the producer Jojo Hui in attendance.

Peter Chan on the film:

“The Wu Xia is a Chinese martial arts film genre that we have known for a long time, for 30 or 40 years; I grew up with it and it is a genre that is constantly renewing itself. With this film, we wanted to keep this tradition going.”

“In this film, we wanted to show what the impact of a hit, or a sword could be on the body. This is the first time that I conceived a film for its style, rather than for its content. I had never done that before.”

Donnie Yen talks about the director and the actor Jimmy Wang Yu:

“I am a fan of Peter Chan and it was a privilege to work with him on set and to learn so much. It was also a pleasure to act with Jimmy. During the film shoot, he would tell me funny stories about his experiences filming in the ‘70s.”

Jimmy Wang Yu, with a bit of humour, about the film and his role:

Wu Xia is like a sports car, it’s a film that has a powerful engine with Peter Chan as the engineer. Me, I’m just a spare part, but a good one and I make sure that this car wins all the races in the world.”

Bonsai, from the Cinéfondation to Un Certain Regard 

Cristìan Jiménez © DR

For his second feature film, Bonsai, Cristián Jiménez enjoyed more than 5 special months in Residence at the Cinéfondation in Paris where he was able to work on his script. Today he is presenting his film in Un Certain Regard.
In Residence at the Cinéfondation from the 1st March to the 15th July 2010, the Chilean director Cristián Jiménez was the only one of the intake to have already made a first film, Ilusiones Ópticas. Selected on the strength of his second feature film project, Bonsai, he was able to devote himself to the job of scriptwriting, adapting the novel of the same title by Alejandro Zambra. A story of love, books and plants, somewhere between fiction and memory…
Julio meets an old writer who is looking for an assistant to type his latest novel, but doesn’t get the job. Playing a trick on Blanca, his on-off mistress, he decides to write a manuscript which he tells her is the novelist’s own, drawing his inspiration from a passionate love affair he had with Emilia, eight years earlier.

“For me, one of the main challenges of the film was finding the right tone. The main story is potentially a drama, even a melodrama,” explains the director who chose to develop the two stories in parallel, non-chronologically. “Instead of the linear unfolding of events, I was interested in the contrast between two times, two towns, two distinct moments in the life of a person, two women, two energies, two distinct colours”. Cristián Jiménez admits on the subject of the novel: “I didn’t immediately see it as a film”. However, Bonsaï is today in Official Selection.

 

Johnny Depp 'Jack Sparrow is a weird combination of Keith Richard and Pepe le Pew' 

Johnny Depp © AFP

The press conference for the film Pirates of Caribbean: on stranger tides was held today, in attendance of the director Rob Marshall, actresses Astrid Berges-Frisbey and Penelope Cruz, actors Sam Claflin, Johnny Depp, Ian Mc Shane and Geoffrey Rush and the producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

 

Johnny Deep, about his character Jack Sparrow :

“He is a weird combination of a 18th century rock n’roll star, who looks like Keith Richards, and Pepe le Pew, a very romantic skunk !”

“Qualities to make a good pirate are ignorance and persistence !”

About how he is helped by his family:

“They have seen more of my films than I do ! I often test my characters on my children. Sometimes they say “stop it” ! But I haven’t been fired yet.”

About his work with Penelope Cruz:

“The opportunity to work with Penelope is a gift. She’s an amazing person, a loyal friend and she is so talented.”

Penelope Cruz on her work on the film with Johnny Depp:

 ”I feel very lucky to work and spend time with him. I’m a big fan ! His level of creativity is high, free and inspiring. And he is a unique human being.”

Ian Mc Shane about his character blackbeard:

“Blackbeared is iconic. It was nice to play an evil character. But we don’t call them evil characters, we call them complicated !”

 

About his previous films :

“There’s lots a my films that I don’t watch, and some of them that I can’t recall of. But that’s another story”.

From the LIP factor to Larzac: imagination (still) in power 

Christian Rouaud © DR

Presented in Special Screenings, Christian Rouaud‘s documentary Tous au Larzac tells the story of the ten-year combat to save the Larzac plateau in southwestern France. Ten years of delights and disputes, of twists and turns and tears. With victory as the outcome.

One day in October 1971, the French Defence Ministry decided, without prior consultation, to expand the area of the Larzac military base from 7,500 acres to 35,000 acres. The reaction of the local community was immediate and radical: “If they want to take our land and our farms, it’ll be over our dead bodies, and we won’t be the only ones”. The local farmers were quickly joined by the clergy, Occitan independence groups and revolutionaries nostalgic for May 1968. The struggle would last ten years, until the French Presidential elections in May 1981. The high point was the great march that set out from Larzac on 8 November 1978, arriving on 2 December in Paris, where 80,000 people were waiting.

Despite the dramatic nature of the issues, documentary film-maker Christian Rouaud has managed to turn the conflict into a joyful and light-hearted movie. Primarily because the combat is often heart-warming in itself but also because the characters tell the story with a fair amount of truculence and humour. Among them is the then unknown, and younger, José Bové, whose concern at that time was not leadership, but more concrete, even physical action.

What fascinates Christian Rouaud, who in 2007 directed des Lip, l’imagination au pouvoir (LIP: the LIP Factor – Imagination in Power), is the way in which the Larzac protestors were able to stay united. The film-maker has a theory: debate, and the desire to find a solution that suited everybody, in the same way as in the LIP co-operatives. “Where can we find the time to debate ideas today?” asks Christian Rouaud, who would like to see this story inspire the world today. For him, the success of the French protest movements of the 1970s owed everything to “an incredible freedom of invention and a special tone of voice, a combination of pride, impertinence and unlimited imagination”.

Interview with Olivier Assayas 

Olivier Assayas © AFP

The French director, Olivier Assayas, a Cannes regular, whose film Carlos was Out of Competition in 2010, is making the most of some respite before shooting his next film, After May, to sit on the feature film Jury of the 64th Festival presided by Robert de Niro. Interview.

This year you are on the Jury of the films In Competition presided by Robert de Niro, have you ever met him before? What does he evoke for you?
No, we never met before, but obviously he means a lot of things. Of course, I immediately think of all the films he made with Martin Scorsese, be it Raging Bull, Taxi Driver or The King of Comedy, which are all for me masterpieces and films which shaped me in the way I approach cinema.

What about the other jury members? What does this meeting of international cinema personalities mean to you?
There are several who I know and have great respect for. I was on a jury with Uma Thurman at Venice a few years ago and we got on very well. I’ve the greatest respect for the work of Mahamat Saleh Haroun and Johnnie To. Nansun Shi and I have known each other since I was writing about Asian cinema in the early 80′s, which doesn’t make you feel any younger! I’m also very friendly with Martina Gusman whose work I like, particularly in Pablo Trapero’s films.

You will be representing French taste in this Jury, how might that be different or complementary to the others?
I think that specifically when it comes to the French films, I’ll have to listen to what the international Jury members say. French films are immediately posited in pigeonholes, belonging to certain strata or clans within cinema… How we watch them lacks the same innocence or lack of judgementality as we might have with international films. That’s what I’d like to get away from, forget my knowledge of French cinema and manage to watch these films as if they were foreign, with the same lack of local culture.

You’ve presented many films in the Official Selection yourself, including 5 In Competition. What memories or anecdotes do you have? What does the Festival symbolise for you?
I’ve the impression of having seen Cannes every which way: as a film-mad teenager, short film maker, film critic, screenwriter, director… The fact that this time around I’m staying for the whole Festival and I’m going to be able to see all the films and like them, doesn’t remind me of the period when I used to come as a director, when you stay 3 days, doing a lot of official engagements and press, you can’t see anything and you go home extremely frustrated. This time, I’m seeing everything, a little bit like when I was a journalist, and, from this point of view, there’s something that reminds me of how it used to be.

And so how are you approaching this position of Jury membership?
By taste, I always prefer being judged to judging others. It’s simple, when you’re an artist, that’s really what it’s about. Basically, this Jury is very interesting and well balanced in a stimulating way, it’s not just a question of judgement but of discussion with people all of whom will have very well articulated views… There’s a real pleasure in this. I hope the best will come out on top.

Are you expecting anything from the films you’re going to see in advance?
To be surprised, of course, that’s all you can hope for!

What must a film be like to affect you? And how would you argue for it?
I have very eclectic tastes which aren’t necessarily aesthetic or moral about cinema. I can be equally enthused in different but comparable ways by the most personal type of film, or on the other hand, a complete genre film. We like films intuitively, you feel interest or other qualities. During a debate, in my opinion, it’s necessary to listen to what others might not have understood quite well enough and respond to that, pointing out the qualities which we ourselves have been receptive to.

We know your long-time attatchment to Asian cinema, is there another region of cinema which you are attracted to at the moment?
What has mainly emerged in the last few years is a Latin American cinema which used to be poorly represented in the international festivals. Now there’s a really fascinating Argentinian cinema and a Mexican cinema with a similar vitality to that of Asian cinema at the time it was making itself felt on the world stage. Today Asian cinema is recognised, mapped out, it’s no longer a terra incognita to be explored for the first time, so its films have full rights on the contemporary cinema circuit.

What do you take your inspiration from at the moment?
The world, experience, life, art, whether that be cinema, literature… What’s more, the world is changing in extremely surprising ways today, so it’s something that already nourishes the imagination.

What are the latest films that have made an impression on you and why?
I want to say Road to Nowhere by Monte Hellman and Essential Killing by Jerzy Skolimovski… Two very major filmmakers who, late on, who have made great modern films that are ambitious and bold… It’s stimulating.

What are you going to do after the Festival?
At the end of June I start shooting my next film: After May.

 

Bollywood celebrates on the Croisette 

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra © DR

Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told has been produced especially for the Festival de Cannes. A member of last year’s Jury, the great Indian film-maker Shekhar Kapur spoke to Thierry Frémaux about his surprise at finding so few Bollywood movies at Cannes. He set to work right away to produce this documentary and just one year on, Bollywood is being screened Out of Competition.

“For decades now, audiences of all ages have been blown away by a passion called Bollywood!” That’s how Shekhar Kapur represents his project, an anthology of the most beautiful moments in Indian cinema. Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Jeff Zimbalist (Favela Rising, The Two Escobars), the film retraces seventy years of Bollywood history, from its beginnings in black and white to the present day with movies in dazzling colour.

What is being celebrated at Cannes is a unique film industry with a style of its own. Known as massala, the Bollywood genre specialises in romantic tales told to music. The movies are a patchwork combining different themes – comedy, violence, love and drama come together in the same film – with a variety of dance styles, from traditional kathak to hip hop and disco. Over the last five years, under Western influence, Bollywood has lost some of its modesty. Only a few years ago, love scenes would have been unthinkable in massalas.

Bollywood has also inspired Western film-makers such as Danny Boyle. The British director called on Allah Rakha Rahman, a giant figure in Bollywood music, to compose part of the original soundtrack for Slumdog Millionaire. The film’s final dance sequence, shot in Bombay station, ends with Jai-Ho (‘hope’ in Hindi.), which won the Oscar for the best original song in 2009.

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