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Monday, June 11, 2012

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Today is a huge day for Indian director Anurag Kashyap, whose production Peddlers is being screened at Cannes, followed by the premiere of his directorial venture Gangs of Wasseypur on Tuesday. Journalists from all over the world have been invited to a celebratory party at the India Pavilion in the evening, where champagne flows freely, and trays of paneer tikka and samosa are quickly emptied.
Meanwhile, the man of the moment is the one Kashyap shares his initials with – Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. His film Like Someone in Love surprised everyone when it was screened yesterday, by dealing entirely with Japanese characters in Tokyo, with no connection to Iran in the storyline. Appearing at the press conference, the director speaks of the universal theme of his film, and jokes that he had changed an entire scene out of respect for lead actor Tadashi Okuno’s reservations about touching a woman’s cheek.
The day begins with a screening of Vous N’Avez Encore Rien Vu (You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!) by 89-year-old French director Alain Resnais. A quirky, gimmicky film, it has a star cast who appear as themselves, prompting laughs from those familiar with French cinema.
It’s also an important day for women directors – there are none in the competition section, but Bosnian director Aida Begic is one of the few whose films are being shown in the Un Certain Regard section. She receives a standing ovation for her powerful story, Djeca, which focuses on a young woman trying to bring up her troubled younger brother while searching for financial stability in Sarajevo.
Then, we watch Jeremy Irons get his hands dirty in the documentary Trashed, which tells us how the world is going to get jacked for building giant piles of garbage in coastal areas.
I head off to the India Pavilion for an interview with Anurag Kashyap, and am surprised by the number of foreign television and radio crews gathering at the party for a dose of Bollywood. We’re all given red gamchas, and some of the nonplussed foreigners begin drying their faces off before realising that’s not what it’s meant for.
Yeah, it’s still raining at Cannes. As he grabs a sip and puff between interviews, Kashyap sports the gamcha around his head, and then lowers it to his neck when the rain lets off. The other big news in the India Pavilion is that Sabyasachi Mukherjee has announced he is not designing Aishwarya Rai’s red carpet costume.
On the red carpet itself, a snail has temporarily stolen the thunder. Camera crews lunge at it, and the snail is christened several different names, depending on the ethnicities of the cameramen. After its allotted fifteen seconds of fame, it crawls away as the photographers turn back to the better dressed.
The Cronenberg father-son duo, David and Brandon, make their appearances, as do Aida Begic, Abbas Kiarostami and Alain Resnais, complete with their cast and crew. South Korean director Hong Sang-soo’s film In Another Country is also being screened at the red carpet event.
Once that’s done with, we queue up to watch The Angels’ Share, by Ken Loach. It has us laughing from the start, as a drunken man tries not to get killed by a train in Glasgow. The film follows four bumbling youngsters, as they set out on a heist that will change their lives, for better or worse. After all the intense cinema and depressing philosophical reflection of the past few days, we’re glad for the break.
Strangely enough, the organisers have put in subtitles for the nearly indecipherable Scottish accent, whereas they’d decided to go without for the screening of Lawless, which had an American, a Briton and several Australians speaking in Southern accents.


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