Cannes kicks into high gear with 'Mad Max' film

14th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

The Cannes Film Festival slipped into high gear on its second day Thursday by screening a new "Mad Max" blockbuster and firing the starter's gun on its competition for the Palme d'Or.

"Mad Max: Fury Road", a demented sci-fi road battle movie starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, gave a jolt of adrenaline and glitz to the Riviera event, which leans heavily to arthouse fare.

Wednesday's opening day was by comparison low-key, with a small-scale French social drama starring Catherine Deneuve, "Standing Tall", the red-carpet event.

Although largely Australian and not in the Palme competition, "Fury Road" was bringing a bit of Hollywood to the festival, confirming the event's status as the premier international showcase for commercial and arthouse fare.

Advance press screenings brought rave reviews for its superlative stunts and action sequences.

The official, black-tie viewing -- coinciding with its worldwide roll-out -- was to take place late Thursday with stars attending.

Rolling Stone magazine said the movie was a "brilliant cinematic fireball" and The Hollywood Reporter noted that its director, George Miller, "kicks more ass, as well as all other parts of the anatomy, than any film ever made by a 70-year-old".

Hardy, who plays second fiddle to Theron's steely character, told reporters the movie, essentially a lengthy battle-on-vehicles epic, was "relentless and incredibly visceral".

"It's like watching the Cirque du Soleil at some Led Zeppelin fetish club," he said.

- Competition kicks off -

No other film to be shown at Cannes will match "Fury Road"'s budget (estimated at $150 million) or wide box office take. But the festival revels in displaying the two driving forces of cinema: business and art.

"Fury Road" fulfils the commercial side of things. Cannes's competition for the Palme prize takes care of the rest.

Thursday saw the first two of the 19 films in competition unspooled.

One was a gentle Japanese family drama adapted from a manga, "Our Little Sister", which tells the story of three siblings who meet their orphaned teenage half-sister for the first time at their father's funeral and invite her to live with them.

Director Hirokazu Koreeda told AFP he got so swept up reading the original manga that he had to buy its movie rights.

"I said to myself, 'I know someone else is going to make a film out of it'. And so I thought, I would prefer it be me and no one but me," he said.

The second competition entry was "Tale of Tales", an Italian-directed movie shot in English with an international cast including Salma Hayek and Vincent Cassel.

Critics gave warm reviews to the fantasy film, which brought together three fairytales inspired by a 17th-century poet called Giambattista Basile and mixed them into a baroque, bloody compilation.

"The key to the film is desire which becomes obsession and creates conflicts," director Matteo Garrone told a news conference.


© 2015 AFP

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