British auteur Andrea Arnold, whose latest movie, American Honey, is part of the Cannes Film Festival Competition, has said that much of the feature is “most me”. She averred during the recent Tribeca Film Festival: “It felt like a nice thing. There are times you’re trying to trust yourself but you’re second guessing as well. This time I was really trying to trust myself, and it’s the most I’ve ever done.”
Arnold’s 2006 Cannes competitor, Read Road, was a fascinating psychological study of a CCTV security officer and her dilemma as she watches on her monitor a man from her past, a man who brings back distasteful memories.
Arnold’s 2009 Fish Tank -- which also vied for the Palm d”Or -- traces the miserable plight of a rebellious teenage girl, who is about to kicked out of school and her selfish mother. The movie had some incredible things to say about such delinquency in British society, and one remembers, the former Guardian film critic Derick Malcolm, saying that much of what was in Fish Tank was “very true... British society is like this”.
Arnold’s latest Cannes Competition title, American Honey, is also a story of intractability and defiance, and it follows some teenagers who sell magazines across America’s Midwest, and it stars newcomer Sasha Lane, along with Shia Labeouf (seen in Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac) and Riley Keough.
rnold, who for the first time went to the US to shoot, said, “I was inspired to make the movie after reading a New York Times article on the subject... I went on six or seven road trips by myself, to make an emotional connection with America. Some of the poverty shocked me. It seemed more intense than in Britain. I did a lot of driving in the South, I was quite upset by what I saw, closed factories and shops and loads of drugs.”
(Gautaman Bhaskaran will cover the Cannes Film Festival from May 11 to May 22.)