Wednesday, April 15, 2015
A couple of days ago festival organizers announced the film that will open the festival on May 13 and to the surprise of many an unexpected film got the honor: La Tête Haute by Emmanuelle Bercot.
Truth is that many, including me, were expecting a French film to open the current edition and we were not wrong at all, which honestly makes me very happy that fest returns to open with Great cinema, the kind of cinema that the fest is famous for and with which its valuable reputation was built upon. The curve ball came when Thierry Frémaux announced the name of the film and on top, that film is directed by a female director. That's exactly what was unexpected as in the 68 years of festival history is only the second time that the fest opening film is by a female director. Sigh.
So it took 28 years to have another female director opening the festival after Diane Kurys opened the fest in 1987 with Un homme amoureux (A Man in Love). As a reference, some of us know Kurys better from her previous film, outstanding lesbian interest Entre Nous with Isabelle Huppert.
Anyway, the good news is that film was in my wish list and not surprisingly was number 1 in the Cannes Wish List part 1, so now you know why I am so pleased with the opening film selection. Let's learn a bit more about the film.
La Tête Haute tells the story of Malony, and his upbringing from six to eighteen years, as a children's judge and social worker try to save him. It was filmed in the Nord-Pas de Calais, Rhône-Alpes and Paris area regions, with the participation of Catherine Deneuve, Benoît Magimel, Sara Forestier and Rod Paradot, who plays the main character.
"The choice of this film may seem surprising, given the rules generally applied to the Festival de Cannes Opening Ceremony,” explains Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate of the Event. "It is a clear reflection of our desire to see the Festival start with a different piece, which is both bold and moving. Emmanuelle Bercot's film makes important statements about contemporary society, in keeping with modern cinema. It focuses on universal social issues, making it a perfect fit for the global audience at Cannes."
The world première of La Tête Haute will be shown in the Grand Théâtre Lumière in the Palais des Festivals, and will be released in French cinemas the same day, on Wednesday 13 May. The film has already been sold in multiple countries. As in previous years, the cinemas screening the film will be able to take part in the festivities and screen the Opening Ceremony, courtesy of Canal+ and an agreement between the Festival and the FNCF (French National Cinema Federation). This year, Lambert Wilson will host the ceremony.
Emmanuelle Bercot is a film director, screenwriter and actress. She studied dance at Cours Florent before attending La Fémis film school. Her talent was discovered at the 1997 Festival de Cannes, where her short film, Les Vacances, received the Jury Prize. This was confirmed two years later with a second Cinéfondation Prize for La Puce, her final-year student film. In 2001, her first feature film, Clement (Clément), in which she plays the main character, made the Un Certain Regard Official Selection. Since then, she has directed several films, including Elle s'en va in 2014, in which Catherine Deneuve gave one of her best performances.
Emmanuelle Bercot also co-wrote the script for Maïwenn's Polisse, which earned her the main role in her latest film, Mon Roi. IF Mon Roi makes the selection -as many expect-, Emmanuelle Bercot will also be in Cannes as a lead actress, which is interesting to say the least.
The greatest news is that the opening day red carpet will be truly glamorous as none other than Catherine Deneuve will walk among the sea of photographers along great Benoît Magimel, newcomer Rod Paradot, Sara Forestier and the director, Emmanuelle Bercot.
Now we have to see how the international press will critique the 2015 Cannes opening film as lately most news tend to be very negative toward the opening film and the festival. I'm just hoping that this French film could motivate more positive international press coverage as know that surely European press coverage will be on the positive side.
The Official Selection will be announced at 11:00 am Paris time on Thursday, April 16.