Week two of Cannes film festival gets off to explosive start

Mon May 20, 2013 9:19am EDT
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By Alexandria Sage

CANNES (Reuters) - Japanese director Takashi Miike got the final week of the Cannes film festival off to an explosive start on Monday, with big budget cop thriller "Shield of Straw" a sharp contrast to the more intense, intimate movies screened so far.

Typically for Cannes, where critical passions run high, both exuberant cheers and boos rang out after an advance press screening of "Wara No Tate" ("Shield of Straw"), one of 20 entries vying for the top Palme d'Or prize awarded on Sunday.

Miike, whose last appearance at the world's most important cinema showcase was in 2011, said the selection committee's decision to include his high-octane cop movie in the main lineup came as a shock.

"When I learned this film was selected I was very surprised, I was really astonished," Miike told reporters ahead of its official Monday evening premiere.

"If I got the Palme d'Or I'd be delighted of course," he said. "But I don't really think this is a film made for the Palme d'Or. But I'm delighted to know that a rather different kind of film, another class of film is in the selection."

Halfway through the festival, critics have seen a varied array of films, from Ethan and Joel Coen's quirky ode to folk music "Inside Llewyn Davis" to Amat Escalante's powerful "Heli" about Mexico's drug war.

The competition has also included the intense psychological drama "Le Passe" ("The Past") directed by Iran's Asghar Farhadi, whose "A Separation" won a best foreign language Oscar.

Eagerly-awaited movies to launch this week include U.S. director Steven Soderbergh's "Behind the Candelabra" about pianist Liberace and starring Michael Douglas, and "La Venus a la Fourrure" ("Venus in Fur") by Roman Polanski about an actress trying to convince a director to cast her in his latest play.   Continued...

Director Takashi Miike poses during a photocall for the film "Wara No Tate" (Shield of Straw) at the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 20, 2013. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau