FRIDAY 20th MAY
THIS MUST BE THE PLACE
Cheyenne is a former rock star.
At 50 he still dresses “Goth” and lives in Dublin off his royalties.
The death of his father, with whom he wasn’t on speaking terms, brings him back to New York.
He discovers his father had an obsession: to seek revenge for a humiliation he had suffered.
Cheyenne decides to pick up where his father left off, and starts a journey, at his own pace, across America.
Press kit download (PDF)
- Paolo SORRENTINO – Director
- Umberto CONTARELLO – Screenplay
- Paolo SORRENTINO – Screenplay
- Luca BIGAZZI – Cinematography
- Stefania CELLA – Set Designer
- David BYRNE – Music
- Cristiano TRAVAGLIOLI – Film Editor
- Srdjan KURPJEL – Sound
Contacts and useful links
For his 4th selection in Competition, the Italian director presents This Must Be The Place, his first feature film in English. A road movie conceived in 2008 following the Jury Prize awarded at Cannes for Il Divo, his previous film.
Above all This Must Be The Place is a cinematographic love story. It is 2008, at the height of the Festival de Cannes, and Sean Penn has just put on the mantle of President of the Jury. The actor, awarded the Best Male Actor Prize in 1997 for She’s So Lovely, fell in love with Il Divo, Paolo Sorrentino’s latest feature film, presented In Competition. The film, a vitriolic look back at the final years in power of former Italian President Giulio Andreotti, walked off with the Jury Prize. Following a suggestion by Sean Penn, the idea of a collaboration between the two men began to take shape.
It would take three years before the result hit cinema screens. Sean Penn plays Cheyenne, a nostalgic rock star who decides to abandon his secluded life in Ireland to find Aloise Muller, the former SS officer who was responsible for having tortured his father 60 years earlier at Auschwitz. An initiatory journey into the past, which leads to greater self-discovery.
To play alongside Sean Penn, Paolo Sorrentino, for whom This Must Be The Place is his first feature film in English, called on Frances McDormand (Hidden Agenda, Rangoon, Fargo) and Harry Dean Stanton, who had played opposite the American in She’s So Lovely. Meanwhile, the original soundtrack of the film, whose title is taken from a song by American band Talking Heads, was entrusted to the group’s ex-leader, David Byrne.
The Italian director Paolo Sorrentino came to present This Must Be The Place, his latest film selected In Competition, accompanied by the actor Sean Penn, who plays Cheyenne, the film’s principal character. Selected extracts.
Sean Penn on the beginnings of this collaboration with Paolo Sorrentino:
“We met at the Festival de Cannes in 2008, at the prize-giving. Paolo had just won the Jury Prize for Il Divo. I said something to him like “Whenever you want, wherever you want, whatever the script. I got this script a year later. I didn’t hesitate.”
The American actor on his work with the Italian directors:
“Paolo and I talked a great deal about depression and its impact on Cheyenne’s physical appearance. He had a very clear vision of things. It’s as if he was the piano player and I was the page turner. Paolo has magic hands when filming.”
Paolo Sorrentino recalls his experience of filming in the United States:
“Filming in the States, the cinema country par excellence, was very exciting. Approaching the space with the camera was very easy. We were like children discovering a new world. The starting idea of this film was to bring two characters face to face: a former Nazi and a man of 50 who was still a child.”
Sean Penn, on rock’n’roll :
“Rock’n’roll is extremely important. It’s a sort of polite society disease. The film follows its own story and Cheyenne pursues his quest to get out of depression”.
THIS MUST BE THE PLACE *** out of ****
The 2011 Cannes Film Festival is winding down. Most buyers have left and many journalists have followed them. Sean Penn already had a rather small role in Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life, one of the best reviewed movies of the fest and certainly the pick of many critics to snag the top prize. Now, at the last minute, Penn returns with one of the most eccentric, weirdly wonderful performances of his career. The Oscar race for Best Actor has just begun.
The movie by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino sounded like a train wreck: This Must Be The Place is the story of an aging rocker who goes on a quest to hunt down the Nazi that tormented his father in Auschwitz. Out of this very unpromising description comes a gentle, nutty, offbeat comic drama. Penn’s character is called Cheyenne, and he’s a reclusive pop star living in Ireland. Cheyenne stopped performing after two fans committed suicide to his mopey music. Now he just wanders out of his mansion dragging a shopping cart behind him, hanging out with a teenage girl whose brother has gone missing and generally just gliding through his days.
Penn plays Cheyenne like some demented cross between Robert Smith of The Cure and Andy Warhol. He has a little boy demeanor, a wary fascination with the world and a giggly little laugh. And yet he’s also wounded, smart and simmering with unresolved feelings for the Jewish father Penn hasn’t spoken with for more than 30 years. Unlike Johnny Depp’s oddball characterizations in movies like the Pirates franchise and Alice in Wonderland, Penn’s work is actually grounded in a character and a movie of genuine if overbaked substance, which makes it all the more satisfying. It ranks with his turn in Woody Allen’s Sweet And Lowdown and Fast Times At Ridgemont High as a comic highlight of Penn’s career and makes you wish he’d tackle comedy more often. Here’s a lowkey scene where Cheyenne says goodbye to his wife as he leaves for America to be by his father’s bedside. It does contain one crude word so it’s Not Suitable For Work, but it’s the only clip I could find.
The movie is episodic and indeed quixotic as Cheyenne quietly hunts down the Nazi who — if he’s even still alive — must be 95-years-old. Cheyenne visits relatives of the man, bumps into strangers and unexpectedly proves both savvy and determined at getting what he wants. The music is especially good, mixing in pop tunes with a traditional score that is very effective. Numerous set pieces work terrifically well (like a game of ping pong), though there’s no question the story overreaches a bit and the finale is a tad confusing. Still, the supporting cast is very strong, from Frances McDormand as Cheyenne’s understanding wife who works as a firewoman (I told you it was wacky) to Harry Dean Stanton as a guy Cheyenne befriends in a cafe.
What inspired Sorrentino (the director behind the excellent Il Divo) to come up with such a tale is beyond me, but he has expanded on the flowering of talent he showed in Il Divo by delivering a movie not just technically admirable but truly entertaining in a Hal Ashby, 1970s sort of way. It’s flawed, and some will dismiss it. But he’s provided a memorable role for one of the best actors of our time, a role that allows Penn to dig deep, but also giggle, and even offer a tip about how to keep lipstick fresh all day long.
MOVIES AT CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2011
Movies rated on a four star scale
Arirang no stars out of four
The Artist *** 1/2
The Footnote/Hearat Shulayam *** 1/2
Habemus Papam/We Have A Pope ***
Hanezu No Tsuki * 1/2
Hors Satan/Outside Satan **
Jeane Captive/The Silence Of Joan ** 1/2
The Kid With A Bike/Le Gamin Au Velo *** 1/2
La Fee/The Fairy ***
La Fin Du Silence/The End Of Silence **
L’Apollonide/House Of Tolerance * 1/2
Le Havre ** 1/2
Martha Marcy May Marlene ***
Michel Petrucciani ** 1/2
Midnight In Paris **
Polisse ** 1/2
Restless * 1/2
17 Filles/17 Girls **
Sleeping Beauty * 1/2
The Slut **
Take Shelter ***
This Must Be The Place ***
The Tree Of Life ****
We Need To Talk About Kevin ** 1/2
Wu Xia aka Dragon aka Swordsmen ** 1/2
- Nicolas WINDING REFN – Director
- Hossein AMINI – Screenplay
- Newton Thomas SIGEL – Cinematography
- Beth MICKLE – Set Designer
- Lisa SESSIONS MORGAN – Set Designer
- Christopher TANDON – Set Designer
- Mat NEWMAN – Film Editor
- Bob EBER – Sound
The Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn has come to present Drive in Competition, his first American film, adapted from the novel of the same name by James Sallis. This action film has a particular characteristic that the actors appreciate: real importance is placed on the characters.
For his first American film, Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn brings us a magnificent cast. The script really appealed to the actors, who were quick to come on board with the project. “I have always wanted to make an action film, but nowadays this genre tends to put all the emphasis on the action, to the detriment of the characters. I liked this script because it is based on a very strong character, at the same time as it develops a complex love story,” explains Ryan Gosling, who plays the main character, and who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in 2007 for Half Nelson by Ryan Fleck.
The story follows a young solitary man who works as a stunt man in Hollywood by day and as a driver for criminals at night. Shannon, his manager who gets him all his contracts, makes a proposal to Bernie Rose, a notorious scoundrel, to invest in a vehicle so his protégé can compete on the professional stock-car racing circuits. This is when the driver crosses paths with Irene and her son.
“I fell in love with this story and I bent over backwards to get the role,” admits Carrey Mulligan, nominated for an Oscar for best actress in 2010 for An Education by Lone Scherfiq and who plays Irene in Drive. Bryan Cranston, three-time Emmy Award winner for Best Actor in a dramatic series, had the same motivation for his role in this film as Shannon: “The script really pushed me to make the film. I couldn’t resist this character; I couldn’t wait to get into his skin.”
Nicolas Winding Refn presented Drive with the film’s lead actor Ryan Gosling. Alongside them were producers Marc E. Platt and Adam Siegel, editor Mat Newman and screenwriter Hossein Amini.
Nicolas Winding Refn spoke about the film:
“Being realistic is OK, but it’s not necessarily very interesting. We weren’t aiming to make a documentary. But we wanted to strike a balance so that the film wouldn’t become over-stylised.”
He also reflected on his first experience in Hollywood:
“It was extraordinary, I was in this house with a swimming pool and an orange grove, it was mythical for me to be in that place. And the incredible thing was that everybody was helping me, while I had all these negative preconceptions. The producers were always there for me. I was able to make the movie I wanted to make.”
Ryan Gosling talked about the film:
“We wanted to make a film that was hard-hitting without being macho. It needed a certain tenderness and purity. That’s why the dialogues are unlike those in other movies of this type. I wasn’t there just to play the macho opposite a sex symbol.”
Marc E. Platt admired Ryan Gosling’s acting prowess:
“When Ryan’s character spoke, it sounded wrong. He acted a lot with his body, he communicated his feelings with just a look. It was great art. You need a lot of experience to convey your feelings that way.”
Ryan Gosling remembered how the project got off the ground:
“Marc E. Platt sent me the script and I said ‘yes’ right away. He offered to let me choose the director. I immediately thought of Nicolas who is one of my favourite directors and who has his own style. I knew we could make a really special film if he accepted.”
THE MURDERER (THE YELLOW SEA) (THE YELLOW SEA)
Gu-nam is a cab driver who leads a pitiful life in Yanji City in Yanbian prefecture, a region between North Korea, China and Russia, where about 800,000 Korean-Chinese known as Joseonjok reside. His wife went to Korea to earn some money 6 months ago, but he hasn’t heard from her since. He plays mah-jong to make some extra cash, but his life only becomes more complicated and pathetic.
One day he meets a hitman named Myun-ga and receives a proposal to turn his life around by repaying his debt, and reuniting with his wife. All for a price of one hit. But everything will go wrong…
Press kit download (PDF)
Contacts and useful links
After Egypt, the invited country at the Festival, Cannes pays tribute to Tunisia with the screening of La Khaoufa Baada Al’Yaoum (No More Fear) in Special Screening. With this documentary, Mourad Ben Cheikh gives a testimonial to his engagement in the struggle for freedom in his country.
The young Lina Ben Mghenni recounts the events of Sidi Bouzid on a blog. Radhia Nasraoui, a lawyer, pays the price for dedication to defending human rights and journalist Karem Chérif ardently defends his community. Three destinies, three commitments to a cause but all share the same fear: they are more than just witnesses to the revolution that is underway. Through their actions and seen through their eyes, Mourad Ben Cheikh recounts the revolt of the whole country.
Barely finished, the Jasmin Revolution (No More Fear) was sent to Cannes on large screen. The film was shot under emergency conditions, in the thick of the action, from before the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi on 14 January up tp the fall of President Ben Ali.
Mourad Ben Cheikh could not miss out on the opportunity to be involved: “For a long time, my rage was silent, my eyes unable to look on with feeling. But that day of 14 January brought me strong feelings, I wept over it.” No more fear, “this slogan perfectly fits what happened: it is the wall of fear that came down.”
The Salle du Soixantième witnessed a moment of high emotion at the 64th Festival. Yesterday, Thierry Frémaux paid tribute to the late director Stanley Kubrick in the presence of his wife, Christiane Kubrick and Malcolm McDowell, star of A Clockwork Orange.
“I am proud to be here but I never wanted to be here. My husband should have been here but he didn’t come.” A moment of silence passes through the audience, touched by these words. They stand and applaud Christiane Kubrick. Deeply moved, the director’s widow continues, “He was too shy, he didn’t want to come. He was stupid – he should have come!”
Standing beside her, Malcolm McDowell, described by Thierry Frémaux as a “man as kind as he is frightening in A Clockwork Orange.” The star of Kubrick’s cult film has lost none of the charisma and piercing blue-eyed stare that haunted generations of cinema fans. “What happened to the last 40 years? I am proud to represent Stanley Kubrick. His film was inspired by the book by Anthony Burgess whose name should not be forgotten either.”
A preview of the restored version of A Clockwork Orange was then screened. “A film which remains fresh as ever”, says Thierry Frémaux. Many of the young people here are watching the film for the firs time, lucky enough to be seeing it on a big screen in the presence of some of those who made the film.
The tribute to Stanley Kubrick continues today with the Film Masterclass, with Malcolm McDowell at 2 p.m. in the Salle Buñuel.