- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Cannes believes in Woody Allen, even if he doesn’t
Question of the Day
Widely regarded as the most European of American directors, Allen has consistently garnered warm receptions for his films at the French Riviera cinema showcase _ even when they get panned at home.
His latest offering, “Midnight in Paris,” which opened the 12-day-long Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, looked like an immediate success. A clever and entertaining tale starring Owen Wilson as a Hollywood screenwriter who pines for the Paris of the 1920s, the movie is also a cinematic homage to the City of Light.
As expected, the crowd at its first press screening tittered throughout and broke into enthusiastic applause at the end.
Still, Allen sounded a typically self-effacing note at a post-film news conference.
“I’ve never considered myself an artist,” he told journalists. “I’ve aspired to be an artist, but I never had the depth or the substance or the gift to be an artist.
“If you think that Kurosawa was an artist, and Bergman was an artist and Bunuel was an artist and Fellini, then it’s clear as a bell that I’m not an artist,” he said, referring to cinema auteurs Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Luis Bunuel and Federico Fellini.
“Still,” he added, “I can make films and some of them come out good and some of them come out better and some of them come out worse.”
“Midnight in Paris” is Allen’s 41st feature film _ his 11th at Cannes _ and the New York-born director chalked the exceptional longevity of his career up to chance.
“I’ve had nothing but good luck,” he said.
After filming in New York for decades, Allen shifted to Europe, shooting four of his last movies in London and Barcelona. “Midnight” is his first set in Paris, a city he said he’d grown up watching in the French films he devoured as young man.
“I wanted to show the city emotionally, the way I felt about it,” Allen said. “It didn’t matter to me how real it was or what it reflected. I just wanted it to be the way I saw Paris. Paris through my eyes.”
The cast is star-studded. In addition to Rachel McAdams, who plays the Wilson character’s slightly shrewish fiancee, other A-list actors make cameo appearances as some of the most brilliant luminaries of the 20th century. Kathy Bates shows off her language skills in a turn as the American-born writer and polyglot Gertrude Stein, while Adrien Brody walks the thin line between genius and madness as Salvador Dali.
French stars, too, shine in the movie. Marion Cotillard, who won the best actress Academy Award in 2008 for “La Vie En Rose,” plays the lover of Picasso and Hemingway, and rising star Lea Seydoux is shyly radiant as a Paris antique dealer.
France’s high-wattage first lady, model-turned-singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, has a bit part as a tour guide who translates a French diary that helps Wilson’s character learn the lesson that the past is not necessarily all golden, after all.
TWT Video Picks
By Scott Pinsker
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Computer glitch caused odd Saturday release of D.C. guns ruling
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq