Native American actress proud to walk Cannes red carpet

Sat May 18, 2013 10:41am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

CANNES (Reuters) - Native American actress Misty Upham never dreamt she would be walking the red carpet at Cannes to showcase a film shot on her reservation.

Upham features in "Jimmy P. Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian", focused on the relationship between World War Two veteran Jimmy Picard, a Native American Blackfoot, and Georges Devereux, his psychoanalyst.

Upham said like Picard, played by Puerto Rican actor Benicio Del Toro, she is Blackfeet, the largest tribe in Montana state. She said she was a direct descendant of the last chief and grew up on the reservation where much of the movie was filmed.

"I had no dreams and no way to make a dream. I had to leave the reservation," Upham, 30, told a news conference on Saturday ahead of the premiere of the film's premiere by French director Arnaud Desplechin.

"So 18 years later ... (I am) coming a full circle to the reservation I left to fulfil my dream."

Upham says and another "Jimmy P." actress, Michelle Thrush, a Cree from Canada, are the first Native American women in the official selection at Cannes, although organizers of the festival, now in its 66th year, were unable to confirm it.

One of 20 films competing for the main prize at the 12-day event on the French Riviera, the movie was inspired by a true story in Devereux's 1951 book "Reality And Dream".

Set in 1948, the film follows Jimmy as he checks into a military hospital in Topeka, Kansas, that specializes in mental illness for war veterans to be treated for numerous symptoms, including temporary blindness, hearing loss and dizzy spells.   Continued...

Director Arnaud Desplechin (2ndR) and cast members Gina McKee (R), Misty Upham (2ndL) and Michelle Thrush pose during a photocall for the film 'Jimmy P.' (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian) at the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 18, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard