20 May 2024, 15:24

Trump biopic hits Cannes Film Festival


CANNES, France, May 20, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - A Donald Trump biopic and the latest
dark creation by David Cronenberg premiere in Cannes on Monday as the world-
famous film festival reaches its midway point.

"Emilia Perez", a musical about a narco boss having a sex change, is the
audacious frontrunner so far, after 11 of the 22 entries for the top prize
Palme d'Or have been seen.

The festival -- considered the film industry's foremost get-together --
concludes with its award ceremony on Saturday, with "Barbie" director Greta
Gerwig heading the jury.

But two more buzzy entries arrive on Monday.

"The Apprentice" is a biopic of Trump's formative years from Iranian-born
director Ali Abbasi -- bound to stir up controversy in an election year for
the United States.

It stars Sebastian Stan, best-known for playing the Winter Soldier in Marvel
films, though he also won best actor at this year's Berlin Film Festival and
widespread acclaim for his part as rocker Tommy Lee in series "Pam and

Later, Cronenberg -- director of many body-horror classics like "The Fly",
"Crash" and "Videodrome" -- returns to the Cote d'Azur festival with "The

Billed as his most personal film yet, it tells the story of a widowed
businessman (Vincent Cassell) who invents a machine to monitor the dead in
their graves.

It was partly inspired by the death in 2017 of Cronenberg's wife of 43 years.

"I don't really think of art as therapy," the Canadian director told Variety.
"Grief is forever, as far as I'm concerned. It doesn't go away. You can have
some distance from it, but I didn't experience any catharsis making the

Among entries to score well with critics during the first week was "Bird", a
gritty but sweet and fantastical tale about a young girl in working-class
England from director Andrea Arnold.

"Kinds of Kindness", the latest bizarro team-up between Emma Stone and Yorgos
Lanthimos, featured some ultra-dark comedy moments, including a thumb-and-
cauliflower dinner.

"Megalopolis", the decades-in-the-making epic from Francis Ford Coppola, has
perhaps been the most divisive entry, with some reviewers finding it a
profound end-of-life work of philosophy, and others a barely comprehensible

But the one to beat so far is "Emilia Perez", which has won a lot of acclaim
for stars Zoe Saldana, Selena Gomez and trans actor Karla Sofia Gascon in the
title role, as well as its risk-taking French director, Jacques Audiard, who
already has a Palme d'Or under his belt.

- Sagas -

The festival has also seen glitzy out-of-competition launches for two
Hollywood blockbusters that fancy themselves as "sagas".

The action-packed "Furiosa: a Mad Max Saga" received largely strong reviews,
while Kevin Costner returned to his favourite Western genre with the three-
hour "Horizon: An American Saga", just the first of four mooted chapters.

Like Coppola, Costner put millions of his own fortune into the decades-long
passion project.

"At a certain moment I just said OK, I'm going to do this myself. And so I
mortgaged property, I raised the money," he told AFP at the festival.

The early reviews were decidedly mixed, with The Hollywood Reporter deriding
it as a "clumsy slog".

But Costner says he is unconcerned about losing his money.

"If they take it away from me, I still have my movie. I still have my
integrity. I still listened to my heart," he said.


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