A day at Cannes: rubbing shoulders with Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu
The beauty of Cannes is you can collide with artists anywhere – especially in hotel lobbies. So as I made my way through the Martinez going to an interview with Andie Macdowell, I spotted multiple Oscar-winning filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron. We had met years ago at a film premiere and he obviously didn’t recognize me but when I mentioned that I’m Vinod Chopra’s wife, his face lit up (many years ago, they served on a jury together). I got a big hug and a promise that he will consider coming to Mumbai to do a master class. My day was already made!
Andie has been the brand ambassador for L’Oreal for 33 years now. 30 years ago, her breakthrough film Sex, Lies and Videotape won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. She didn’t come then because she had just had a baby but since then, she has more than made up for it. I asked her what the experience of acting for so many decades had taught her. She said that experience has taught her that actors don’t need to speak to make an impact. She looks for the silences between the lines.
The day also included two strong films – Werner Herzog’s Family Romance LLC and Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Sciamma’s film is an exquisite and layered love story between two women. The film is set in Brittany just a little after 1770. A painter is hired to create a portrait of a young lady, which will be sent to her fiancée in Milan who she has never met. The painter and the subject meet and slowly a connection develops between the two women. The film also delves into art and creation, the position of women and the deep bonds that women share. Incidentally there aren’t any significant male characters in the film and it struck me that this is what women are usually reduced to. Sciamma creates a tender and heartbreaking love story with great control and finesse. And the actors – Noemie Merlant and Adele Haenel - are terrific. Already several critics are dubbing this a leading contender for the Palme d’Or.
Meanwhile Herzog amazes with his passion. He’s 76 and has made over 60 features and documentaries. He made his first film at 19. Family Romance LLC is a docu-fiction – which means it’s based on a reality but it’s fiction. The film is about a real Japanese company, which hires out stand-in relatives and friends. So you can rent a father or a friend. The real life proprietor of the firm Ishii Yuchii plays himself but the scenarios are scripted. The film meanders on far too long but ultimately it’s strangely moving study of loneliness and family ties.
My day also ended with a Mexican master – at a bustling party thrown by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, I spotted jury president Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu. He was surrounded by people so I did, ‘door se darshan.’ And now my day was complete.
Author tweets @anupamachopra
Follow her on Instagram @anupama.chopra