Cannes Film Festival Report: Standing Ovation for Clint Eastwood’s Changeling

Another screening. Another huge standing ovation. Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort The Changeling–starring Angelina Jolie as a mother who becomes overjoyed when she learns her kidnapped son is alive only to discover he may not be who he says he is–got a positive response from the audience. It shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise as Eastwood is a long time favorite in Cannes having been here in competition four times previously.

The very pregnant Jolie, who was just on the red carpet last Thursday for the Kung Fu Panda screening, returned again with hubby Brad Pitt Tuesday night and drew audible “ahhs” from the tony crowd inside the theatre, watching on a giant video screen as they emerged from their car.

Sharon StoneMystic River supporting Oscar winner Tim Robbins and Nick Nolte–along with Clint’s wife Dina and their daughter Morgan (who has a small bit in the film)–were among the guests who watched the star/director/producer/composer’s latest–a dark, complex film which is only nominally about a kidnapping and more about the cover-up by a corrupt Los Angeles Police department in the late 1920’s. If it weren’t true, it would be hard to believe something like this could ever happen.

An eight minute standing O followed the screening and early reviews have been mostly thumbs up, perhaps signaling a prize may be in store for Clint and/or Angelina Sunday night.

Sean Penn, who won the Oscar starring in Eastwood’s Mystic River, is president of the jury this year but, at least publicly, was not seen at the premiere. Jury members tend to see the contenders at one of several screenings available to them and don’t necessarily attend the twice nightly galas with any degree of regularity.

Whatever happens, certainly both Eastwood and Jolie will be talked up as Oscar contenders when the film opens in the U.S. in November.

Eastwood is currently about to star in and direct Gran Torino, a December release in which he plays a Korean war vet out to teach a lesson to a young neighbor who tries to steal his prized car.

And did we mention the man turns 78-years-old next week?