The president of the Cannes Film Festival has defended his decision to give Iranian actress Leila Hatami a kiss on the cheek on Sunday (18May14) after officials in her native country lashed out at the star for allowing him to compromise her "chastity".
Cannes festival jury member Hatami and event boss Gilles Jacob came under fire from Iran's deputy culture minister, Hossein Noushabadi, this weekend after they were pictured sharing the traditional French greeting of a kiss on each cheek. Noushabadi accused Hatami, one of the Islamic nation's biggest screen stars, of acting inappropriately in front of the world's cameras, stating, "Those who attend intentional events should take heed of the credibility and chastity of Iranians so that a bad image of Iranian women will not be demonstrated to the world. "(The) Iranian woman is the symbol of chastity and innocence."
However, Jacob has now spoken out against the backlash, insisting Hatami was not to blame for the friendly public display of affection, which he insists has been blown out of proportion. Taking to his Twitter.com blog, he writes, "It was me who gave a kiss to Madame Hatami. In that moment, she represented to me all of Iranian cinema... This controversy based on a normal Western custom is baseless."
Hatami is one of five women on the judging panel for the Cannes Film Festival's biggest prize, the Palme d'Or. She joins the likes of Sofia Coppola and jury president Jane Campion. Willem Dafoe, Mexican actor/director Gael Garcia Bernal and filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn are also among the movie celebrities on the 2014 Cannes jury.
After losing out to Ang Lee at the 2013 Oscars, a win that would have earned him his third Best Director statue, Steven Spielberg has found an equally prestigious gig: leading the 2013 Cannes Film Festival jury.
Slated to begin on May 15, the Festival de Cannes enters its 66th year, with the legendary director presiding over the committee that will hand out the coveted Palme d'Or award. Spielberg is no stranger to Cannes, having screened Sugarland Express, The Color Purple, and E.T. at the festival. In a press release, film festival President Gilles Jacob admits to having chased Spielberg for years, never being able to secure him as Jury President due to his demanding shooting schedule. From the sounds of it, the Lincoln director couldn't be happier to squeeze Cannes into his 2013.
“My admiration for the steadfast mission of the Festival to champion the international language of movies is second to none," says Spielberg. "The most prestigious of its kind, the festival has always established the motion picture as a cross cultural and generational medium.”
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Unlike the Academy Awards or most big name film festivals, Cannes is known for its worldly and eclectic lineups — not your standard Hollywood "prestige films." And while Spielberg continues to challenge himself with topics and styles outside his comfort zone, he certainly has an American film industry gloss to his movies. Which makes us wonder: will Spielberg wind up picking the most "Spielbergian" film of the crop? Cannes may be a chance for Spielberg to show off his tastes for movies he would never make, but we wouldn't be surprised if the winner winds up being an uplifting story following a person struggling against great odds (if it's a kid, even better) accompanied by a sweeping score and peppered with instances of the Spielberg Face: that mouth-agape moment embodying true amazement.
That's half of what's expected from the head juror: personal reflection. What Spielberg brings to the table as a filmmaker and as a movie-watcher will be reflected in his decision — and he won't be alone. Here are a few examples of Jury Presidents of yesteryears and the Cannes films they bestowed with the Palme d'Or. Just surprising enough:
2011: Robert De Niro, Tree of Life
As a performer highly regarded across the globe, it's not surprising that De Niro gravitated towards the grandest of 2011 competition entries. Terrence Malick's didn't win over everyone in France — apparently, they're not as keen on wheat fields as most Americans — but the story of troubled boyhood must have resonated with an actor who made a career out of playing dangerously warped men.
2010: Tim Burton, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Apichatpong Weerasethakul's winning film Uncle Boonmee revolves around a dying man wading through his memories alongside his family… including the ghosts of his loved ones. The weird and wonderful played right to Burton's tastes.
2009: Isabele Huppert, The White Ribbon
The White Ribbon is a dense, chilling exploration of how even the nicest kids can grow up to be murderous Nazis, but there may have been a little favoritism when Michael Haneke (Amour) picked up his second Palme d'Or: Huppert previously starred in his 2001 film The Piano Teacher.
2008: Sean Penn, The Class
Penn leads a double life: he's an award-winning actor who spends most of his time promoting social advocacy. The Class speaks to his off-screen quests, diving into the tricky world of education and boiling it down to human stories.
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2004: Quentin Tarantino, Fahrenheit 9/11
His divisive and, often times, bizarre tastes (a published list of his favorite films of 2011 included Moneyball and The Three Musketeers) made Tarantino an unpredictable jury member. The fact that he landed on Michael Moore's caustic George W. Bush documentary — the first non-fiction film to win the Palme d'Or since 1956 — was both a shock and perfectly aligned with his sensibilities.
1994: Clint Eastwood, Pulp Fiction
Speaking of Tarantino, cinema's resident badass took the opportunity to award the rising directorial star at the 1994 Cannes Film Fest. When anyone pictured a lawman stuffing a gun in goon's face, the man holding the pistol was Eastwood. He was iconic. Tarantino's Pulp Fiction reshaped the identity of violence in movies, and it's logical that Eastwood would be the man to award the work.
1976: Tennessee Williams, Taxi Driver
Even today, Williams is one of the most recognizable American dramatists, a voice capable of reflecting the underbelly of the country's picture perfect image (in fact, he feels so mythical, it's hard to believe he was once a Cannes judge). So leave it to Williams to name Martin Scorsese's harrowing Taxi Driver — one of the director's many this-can't-possibly-be-how-this-country-actually-is-oh-wait-it-totally-is-NOOOOO films from the '70s and '80s — with the Palme.
1966: Sophia Loren, The Birds, the Bees and the Italians
Legendary Italian bombshell picks Italian sex comedy? Perfetto!
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He died in Paris on Monday (30Jul12) - just one day after his 91st birthday.
Marker is perhaps best known for his 28-minute post-apocalyptic short film La jetee, but he first rose to fame in 1952 with his movie debut Olympia 52, which documented the Helsinki Olympic Games in Finland.
In 1961 he interviewed former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro for the movie Cuba Si!, and he later gained notoriety for A Grin Without a Cat, which examined the socialist movement. His film projects also included AK, a documentary about iconic Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.
Throughout his varied career, Marker, who was also an essayist, dabbled in film criticism, photography and digital technology - one of his most famous works, Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men, was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2005.
Cannes Film Festival President Gilles Jacob remembered the star with a post on his Twitter.com account on Monday, calling him an "indefatigable filmmaker" and a "curious mind" with "immense talents".
The Hollywood actor set up the J/P Haitian Relief Organization to help rebuild the country in the wake of its devastating 2010 earthquake, and he will be raising funds for the cause during this year's (12) famous movie event.
Haiti: Carnival in Cannes will be a fundraising diner held during the festival in aid of Penn's charity as well as filmmaker Paul Haggis' Artists for Peace organisation and the Happy Hearts Fund, set up by model Petra Nemcova.
Festival president Gilles Jacob says, "People say that a great actor is by nature egocentric, and that a great director is focused on his art. Sean Penn is both a great actor and director. What he does above and beyond that for the people and the land of Haiti, giving freely of himself, his abiding presence, his work - one could almost say the work of his own hands - his whole discreet, human, moral and altruistic involvement as a benefactor, commands our greatest respect."
The dinner will be held on 18 May (12).
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
The veteran star, who landed his big break in Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless in 1960, was presented with a prestigious Palme d'Or prize in recognition of his five decades in the spotlight, starring in classics of the New Wave era such as Leon Morin, Priest, The Fingerman and Pierrot le fou.
The 78 year old, who suffered a stroke in 2001, walked with a cane as he stepped up to accept the award from festival president Gilles Jacob, telling the audience, "I am very moved by this honour, which I've no right to."
The presentation was followed by the premiere of his documentary, Belmondo, The Career.
The legendary French star passed away in Paris. Details about his cause of death were unavailable as WENN went press.
Terzieff enjoyed a career spanning more than five decades and established himself as a stage and film actor.
He worked with noted directors including Jean-Luc Godard, Luis Bunuel and Pier Paolo Pasolini, but dedicated the majority of his time and effort to the theatre, with performances in Rouge Baiser, Germinal in 1993 and The Raft of the Medusa in 1998.
Terzieff was a triple winner of the Moliere Award, which honours the best in French theatre, taking home the Best Director title in 1988 for Fall, and again in 1993 for Another Time. Earlier this year (10), he was named Best Actor for his role in The Dresser and Philoctetes.
Tributes for Terzieff poured in over the weekend (02-04Jul10), with French leader Sarkozy honouring the star as "an exceptional actor and man" who avoided "posturing or masquerades".
French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand also credited Terzieff with leaving "an unforgettable mark" on the stage and film industries, while the president of the Cannes Film Festival, Gilles Jacob, added that Terzieff was an "immense" talent.
The Cannes Film Festival has announced that Tim Burton will head up the jury for the 63rd running of the event this May. Burton previously served on Isabelle Adjani's jury in 1997 while his Ed Wood screened in competition at the festival in 1995.
In a press release, Burton said, "After spending my early life watching triple features and 48-hour horror movie marathons, I'm finally ready for this. It's a great honor and I look forward, with my fellow jurors, to watching some great films from around the world. When you think of Cannes you think of world cinema. And as films have always been like dreams to me, this is a dream come true."
Cannes president Gilles Jacob noted, "It's the first time an artist whose origins are in animation will preside over the jury of the Festival de Cannes. A filmmaker with a heart of gold and silver hands, Tim Burton is first and foremost a poet. He’s a magician of visual delights who turns the screen into a fairy wonder. We hope his sweet madness and gothic humor will pervade the Croisette, bringing Christmas to all. Christmas and Halloween..."
The announcement of the jury president, which generally comes in January each year -- albeit usually earlier than today's announcement -- heralds the beginning of the long but swift-paced march to the Croisette in May.
With Sundance in full-swing and Berlin about to open in a few weeks, attention will fast be turning to the mother of all international film festivals and what will open, what is rumored for competition, what will be ready and what won't. (As if on cue, just as I typed those words, the first Cannes newsletter arrived in my in box...)
The official press conference of the competition films will be held, as usual, in mid-late April.
The festival runs May 12 to 23.
French actress Catherine Deneuve has been presented with an honorary award at
the Cannes Film Festival, in recognition of her life's work and "legendary"
The prestigious festival's president Gilles Jacob singled out "the French
Katharine Hepburn" for the special prize, because he was baffled the silver
screen superstar had never picked up an award at the South of France film
So he decided to hand her a one-off statuette to compensate for the
"short-sighted" juries of the past- and celebrate her career achievements.
He said, "I give you the Palme that some short-sighted jury wasted elsewhere.
Not only are you beautiful - you inspire so many film directors - but also you
are an excellent actress. Not all legendary actresses are American."
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The Associated Press reported that as director Woody Allen made his way up the famed red-carpeted steps at the Cannes International Film Festival in France on Wednesday for the very first time in his career, he expressed how he felt:
"I'm suppressing panic…[but] I've already rented the tuxedo, so there's no backing out."
Even though Allen may have been displaying his well-known neurosis, people in the crowd at the opening of the world's biggest film festival were more than elated to be welcoming a director they admire so very much.
Allen has long been considered one of the greatest directors of all time in Europe and especially France, but the usually reclusive director has never attended the famed festival, despite being asked several times.
This year, he decided it was time.
"The French have been so supportive and so affectionate to me," Allen told reporters. "I felt that, after so many years, I wanted to give some gratitude to the French people. I wanted to say yes--once."
"I'm in the clouds," Gilles Jacob, the festival president, told AP. He confessed he'd been asking Allen to come for 25 years.
Allen's newest comedy, Hollywood Ending, will be shown out of competition and seems fitting for the director's grand appearance because the film jokes about how Allen is better received in France than in the United States.
His attendance at Cannes comes on the heels of his other rare appearance at the Academy Awards show this past March. But don't think this is a new and improved Allen who has finally come out of his self-imposed isolation.
"I know it looks like I've had some kind of religious conversion, but I'll be back in the house in a few hours," he joked.