Thumbs up for Eastwood's The Exchange at Cannes
The movie, directed by Clint Eastwood, is based on the theme of children in danger.20 May 2008
CANNES - Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie drew warm applause at Cannes Tuesday for a wrenching drama based on a true story of a single mother in 1920s California whose son vanishes.
Eastwood, who will turn 78 next week, directed "The Exchange", a picture that picks up the themes of children in danger and lost innocence that have marked much of his acclaimed late-career work.
The film, originally titled "Changeling", tells the story of Christine Collins (Jolie) whose nine-year-old son Walter goes missing.
Months later police turn up with a boy they say is Walter. But Christine senses immediately he is not her son and her suspicion is quickly confirmed.
Helped by pastor and community activist Gustav Briegleb (John Malkovich), she battles to prove that the corrupt and incompetent Los Angeles Police Department will go to any lengths to make the case disappear.
Eastwood said he was captivated by the story after producer Brian Grazer ("A Beautiful Mind") introduced him to the script.
"Children in danger of course is about the highest form of drama you can have," he said.
Eastwood said he was also drawn to stories of people who question authority.
"Most stories of intrigue certainly are trying to get at the truth and telling the truth is one of the most important things for an actor," he said.
"To be truthful is the greatest virtue on the planet and that's what makes every drama interesting."
Eastwood entered the picture in the competition for Cannes' coveted Palme d'Or despite walking away empty-handed in 2003 for his entry "Mystic River".
The Hollywood veteran told reporters he was ready to go head-to-head with top directors from around the world at cinema's most important showcase.
"To play it out of competition is kind of playing it safe," he said. "I'm not above it - I put it out there for what it is."
Jolie, who is heavily pregnant with twins, arrived in Cannes last week to tout an animated children's movie "Kung Fu Panda".
The mother of three adopted children as well as a biological daughter with Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt told reporters she was able to tap into her own feelings about family in playing the role of Christine Collins.
"Certainly so much of it is being a mother and imagining if it was happening to me -- my pain and my frustration," said Jolie, 32.
She said also based her character in part on her own mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, who died in 2007.
"I lost my mother a few months before (shooting) the film," she said. "To me she's very much like my mother - my mother was very passive in many ways and very, very sweet but when it came to her children she was a lion.
"It was a way to kind of revisit my mother after (her) passing, spend time with her."
Eastwood is to personally present a public screening Thursday on the Riviera town's palm-fringed beach of a restored version of his 1971 cop classic "Dirty Harry".
He denied rumours he was interested in making a new picture as the Magnum-toting strongman. Jolie joked she was ready to take over the franchise.
"Dirty Harriet," Eastwood quipped.
Gwyneth Paltrow brought another dash of Hollywood glamour to Cannes Tuesday as she promoted "Two Lovers", a James Gray drama also vying for the festival's top prize.
The event wraps up Sunday with a gala awards ceremony.
[AFP / Expatica]