Impressions from the Directors: the importance of the Cannes Festival

Festival de CannesImpressions from the Directors: the importance of the Cannes Festival
Cannes, France,(rushprnews) May 20, 2007 – During a meeting with the press, certain of the 35 directors present for this 60th celebration shared their impressions about the importance of the Cannes Festival.

Elia Suleiman: “This is a place where actually films get exposure, they get screened, they get sold, get distributed, everything. It is really the most important festival of all times. Sometimes it’s crazy because it’s crazy, but most of the time you go home with something from here. Certainly for my films, it’s quite an essential place to come to.”

Takeshi Kitano: “Speaking of Cannes, I think it’s the place where you can see all kinds of bright sides and dark sides of the cinema industry, and of cinema as an art form in general; both are gathered in one place. Definitely the biggest festival in the world!”

Catherine DeneuveRoman Polanski: “I think Cannes is really the symbol of the movie fest. I remember from film school that the films that were awarded here were always brought to Poland. I remember seeing films like Jeux interdits or Marty or 8 ½, at each stage of cinema there was something significant that became popular because of this Festival.”

Raul Ruiz: “I have been to Cannes 16 times, for 15 films and once for jury duty. Cannes masterfully handles society life with short but appreciable ceremonies, and red carpet “penguins”. It’s lively.”

Wim Wenders: “Every year people have said that it [Cannes] has changed. Even when I came for the first time in 1975, they told me, ‘it’s different now’. I don’t think it does change. I see more that it continues than it’s changing, and of course it always has to place itself on this tightrope between the circus and the blockbuster and the cinema. Each time it is a new definition of where cinema is heading.”

Walter Salles: “Cannes is above all a place of exchanges, of discoveries, of resistance and a place that assures the continuation of “auteur” cinema in a manner so as to be a mirror image of specific societies and cultures. In this vein of thinking, the Festival is about to celebrate the anniversary of a young girl with a long future ahead.”

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu: “I think what this festival is doing is trying to find the best filmmakers around the world, new filmmakers, new tendencies and to expose. The festival will be as good as the filmmaking around the world is.”

 Impressions from the Directors: the visions of Gilles Jacob

During a meeting with the press, certain of the 35 directors present for this 60th celebration shared their impressions about the visions of Gilles Jacob.

Raymond Depardon: “I have presented films here in Cannes at different periods of time and I’m quite moved that Gilles Jacob would include me in this group of filmmakers. I came to the festival for the first time in 1960 as a young photographer. Cannes presents a cinema for all and also a cinema that requires further reflection. Gilles Jacob is very keen on that.”

Raul Ruiz: “It’s a delight to be a preferred filmmaker and especially a favored filmmaker of Gilles Jacob.”

Amos Gitai: “I think the fact that Gilles Jacob conceived to transform this 60th meeting point into cinema, makes the meeting on the screen not just in lobbies of hotel. I think it’s a great idea. As long as Gilles is around – the guardian angel and aristocrat of the place – Cannes is a very important meeting point.”

Wim Wenders: “Making a film together, it’s an amazing experience. I mean, everyone made their own and only today we realized that we did it as a family. And only tonight we’re going to going to have that feast together and it is something that we all owe to Gilles, the integrity of his work and the continuity of his work. That he managed to have these relationships with all these people, that he could call all of us on the phone and none of us – more or less – said no. He is a great gentleman of contemporary cinema.”
 Press Conference: “Tehilim”
Raphaël Nadjari, whose film Tehilim was presented in Competition today, met the press this Friday afternoon to answer journalists’ questions about the film. He was joined by actors Michael Moshonov, Limor Goldstein, and Yonathan Alster, as well as the film’s producers, Geoffroy Grison and Marek Rozenbaum. Highlights follow:

Raphaël Nadjari on the questions raised by the film: “Must one believe or not, pray or not, be religious or not? We raise these questions, but we don’t give any answers. Nevertheless, two elements had emerged when we finished shooting. First, no one has a monopoly on the truth; truth is something people find together. Second, faced with a feeling of loss, something that affects many people, what’s necessary is to find hope.”

Raphaël Nadjari on the relationship between the private and the universal: “We have to be able to question ourselves in terms of something besides current events. I prefer to take a more intimate approach to reaching a global vision. One must distance oneself from ideology to achieve some form of understanding.”

Michael Moshonov on the shoot: “This film was a big adventure and a wonderful experience. I had never worked on this type of film, with a lot of improvisation. When I got to Tel Aviv and the shooting started, I was in a state of shock. I myself had a very deep bond with my father. When my character loses his father, he loses everything, which forces him to become a man. Each of the characters in the film is on a quest for the father.”

Limor Goldstein, on the film’s subject: “It’s the story of a loss. How can you deal with yourself and your emotions after such a great loss? How can you survive, and make your family survive?”

Raphaël Nadjari, on his work with the actors: “The actors and I formed a dislocated but very organic whole. I had to manage a substance that was on the move, constantly coming apart and rebuilding itself. Each of the actors had an approach that was simultaneously autonomous and organic, part of the whole. It was a collaborative effort.”

On the reasons for the father’s disappearance:

Michael Moshonov: “I always thought he might have fled to get away from us. There is this idea that he could have abandoned us, but, at the same time, we’re in Israel, so he might very well have been kidnapped. The more you think about it, the more new ideas come to you.”

Raphaël Nadjari: “Each character has his or her own idea of what happened to the father. One thing is certain: something happened, and it caused him to run away. That’s what’s interesting. Each character tries to put the story together in his own way. The goal of the film is to arrive at several possible interpretations, so that each one can invest something personal. That’s why we left the blank spaces on the screen.”

Raphaël Nadjari, on the languages the film was shot in: “In my opinion, film is a means of breaking through barriers: Charlie Chaplin looked like a waiflike European, but that didn’t keep him from being a hero in Japan. Perhaps if several different languages were spoken in the films of today, it would be a way of going back to silent film…”

 Impressions from the Directors: Being part of this body of filmmakers

During a meeting with the press, certain of the 35 directors present for this 60th celebration shared their impressions about being part of this body of filmmakers.

Elia Suleiman: “It’s exciting for me to say the least, because some of the filmmakers were inspiration for me when I started to make films. I can say easily that a filmmaker like Hou Hsiao Hsien was a great inspiration, so now to see him and me in the same group, which is first of all very flattering and then it’s quite exciting.”

Takeshi Kitano: “I have to be honest; some of these filmmakers have made films that are way beyond my filmmaking capacities, so I’m very awestruck.”

Amos Gitai: “I think they are powerful filmmakers, independent human beings who have interesting portrayals of the places they come from. They don’t just come with big flags but they also are individuals. So by being individuals they give us a completely different reading of what we are used to thinking about the places they come from.”

Raymond Depardon: “I am touched to be among these great filmmakers, to whom we owe even the idea of filming.”

Roman Polanski: “I think that putting 35 directors together and having them each making a little film is already an achievement. I would not expect that that would ever work you see. I’m really blown away.”

Wim Wenders: “I’m older than the festival; I’m 62. I was at the 50th anniversary. We all get older. I look around this room at all these directors; none of them are youngsters anymore and I think this festival has helped us be who we are, what we are and vice versa. These 35 people have helped the festival to be what it is.”

Walter Salles: “It’s a tremendous honor for me to be part of this group, many of whom were very influential in me becoming a filmmaker myself. This invitation to participate is a huge gift.”


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Anne Howard writer and publicist

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