By Malti Sahai
The 68th Cannes Film Festival opened May 13. In the spot light on the Red Carpet was French actress- director Emmanuelle Bercot. Her film ‘La Tate Haute’ (Standing Tall) is only the second film by a woman director to open the festival since 1987, when Diane Kury premiered her film ‘A Man in Love’.
This selection is being seen as a new initiative by Thierry Fremaux (Cannes General Delegate) who along with corporate partner Keling has this year also introduced a new (Woman in Motion) program. This programme aims at highlighting woman’s achievements and presence within the film industry.
There was anticipation in the air heralding the new beginning. It was particularly satisfying to see Bercot walk up the famous Red Carpet accompanied by French film legend Catherine Deneuve, alongside Benoit Magimel, Sara Forestier and Rod Paradot.
The film tells the story of a juvenile delinquent (Rod Paradot) chronicling his upbringing from childhood to adulthood as a children’s judge (Catherine Deneuve) and a social worker try to save him. A gritty social drama the film addresses universal issues faced by the underprivileged when deserted by the establishment. Thierry Fremoux when commenting on his choice of the opening film had said “It was a clear reflection of our desire to see the festival open with a different film, which is both bold and moving....It deals with the flaws in our society as well as generosity and love, and we want to address these things...It focuses on universal social issues, making it a perfect fit for the global audiences at Cannes.
Also seen walking up the “Red Carpet” were, Joel and Ethan Coen. The two Precedents of the Jury for the competition of the 68th Cannes Film festival along with the seven other jury members from across the globe. These included three actresses- Britain’s Sien Miller, Spaniard Rossy de Palma and French actress Sophie Marceau (who is also a director)- as well as Malian composer and singer Rokia Traore, Mexican director and producer Guillermo del Toro, Cadian director and producer Xavier Dolan and and US actor Jake Gyllenhaal. It is two decades since an Indian film screened in Competition. However, our two L’oreal brand ambassadors Aishwaria Rai Bachchan and Som Kapoor have kept the flag flying adding to the glamour quotient. Some of our stars and filmmakers have maged to get themselves noticed by their fans. However we still have a long way to go.
The opening lineup of stars and filmmakers on the Red Carpet at Cannes has always been a healthy mix of glamour and substance. Emmanuelle Bercot, the director of the opening film and star in Maiwenn’s (Mon Roi.) screening in Competition represents a combition of both.Her presence highlighted an initiative by the festival, to consider women not only as mere muses in designer dresses but as creators in their own right.