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Candid at Cannes 2015: Opening Night & Day 2

May 15, 2015

FestivalsFilm + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


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The red carpet has been rolled out for The Cannes Film Festival’s 68th edition, running from the 13th to the 24th of May, an opportunity to find the best films which will be on offer this year – as well as sometimes the ones to avoid.

It’s a huge event in the world of cinema, combining the love of film with the glitz and glamour of fame, yet making an important contribution by introducing new talent through the Camera d’Or prize for best first feature film of the festival and by accepting films from different backgrounds in its ‘Un Certain Regard’ category to capture the experimental direction cinema may take.

As usual, the jury for the main competition (pictured above) is composed of some of the most talented artists in the industry, both in front of and behind the camera. This year the illustrious names include the jury’s presidents, filmmakers and siblings Joel and Ethan Coen, filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, filmmaker/actor Xavier Dolan, composer and singer/song-writer Rokia Traoré, and last but not least actors Jake Gyllenhaal, Sienna Miller, Sophie Marceau and Rossy De Palma.

The selection of films in Competition has a great variety of acting talent, from Michael Caine’s new film Youth to Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Todd Haynes’ Carol. There are also some high profile debuts like for instance Natalie Portman’s first foray into directing with A Tale of Love and Darkness but also the return of old talent like Woody Allen, whose Blue Jasmine left a huge impression back in 2013 and whose new film, Irrational Man, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone screens today out of competition.

The opening night saw the premiere of Emmanuelle Bercot’s La Tete Haute (Standing Tall), the journey of a teen, from age six to eighteen, through the juvenile justice system, and the tireless efforts of a judge and a counselor to save him. Whilst last night it was time for some Hollywood spotlight with the European premiere of Mad Max: Fury Road, George Miller’s triumphant return to his cult franchise after 30 years with a new cast and story that has left everyone impressed as what will probably be the best action flick of the year. You can find our full review here.

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Of course in Cannes foreign language films reign supreme. We saw two films competing in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ section. The first one is An (roughly translated as ‘bean paste’), a Japanese film by Naomi Kawase, which elicited a solid applause across the audience at its press screening. It’s a simple but effective story surrounding the running of a small sweet shop by a man who wishes he were elsewhere but things start to turn around when he hires an old lady with a special recipe.

The other title is the Romanian film Un Etaj Mai Jos (One Floor Below) by Radu Muntean whose unusual filming style left a lot to be desired – this time the applause ended as quickly as it started and a few journalists had already walked out during the screening. It’s a shame considering the film’s strong premise about a man who has information regarding a death in his apartment block but decides to remain silent.

Stay tuned for more daily updates from La Croisette.

Sunny Ramgolam