Woody Allen, that delightful moviemaker from Manhattan, will screen his latest, Midnight in Paris as the opener in the 64th Cannes film festival on May 11. It will not be in competition.
Allen has always had a policy of not presenting his movies for competition in festivals. "I would be very surprised for Woody to be in competition," festival director, Thierry Fremaux, told the media. "I respect his point of view of not wanting to compete with other filmmakers."
Midnight in Paris, which was shot last year in the romantic French capital, brings together a broad international cast, including Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard, as well as Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Gad Elmaleh and Léa Seydoux.
In recent years, Allen has been paying tributes to different cities. His gripping, though somewhat morally and legally debase Matchpoint was shot in London, capturing the flavour and essence of the city’s stiff upper lipped elite class. We saw in it how a tennis player’s crave to be part of this group led him to crush his love.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona, set in the sunny Spanish city, sat more lightly on our shoulders, taking us though the lives of four people – an artist and his fiery wife and two young tourists. It was truly a fun work.
"Midnight in Paris is a wonderful love letter to Paris", declared Frémaux. "It’s a movie in which Woody Allen takes a deeper look at the issues raised in his last films: our relationship with history, art, pleasure and life. His 41st feature reveals once again his inspiration."
The movie about a family travelling to Paris on business, has the French first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, playing a museum director. When Allen, who also wrote the film, was shooting with her in Paris, several rumours began to float. One said that Allen was so displeased with Carla’s work that he re-took her scenes with Seydoux. The director vehemently denied this, and also another gossip about having to go in for over 30 takes in scenes with Carla.
Allen said, "I am appalled. I read these things and I could not believe my eyes...These are not exaggerations, but inventions from scratch. There is absolutely no truth." He described Carla as "very professional" and insisted he was pleased with her scenes, stating that "every frame will appear in the movie."
The Festival will run till May 22.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran has been covering the Cannes Film Festival for 20 years.)