Hollywood's 'Dragons' mix with Turkish delight at Cannes

Fri May 16, 2014 2:46pm EDT
 
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By Michael Roddy

CANNES France (Reuters) - The glitz of Hollywood and its "How to Train Your Dragon" franchise shared center stage at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday with a Turkish movie lasting more than three hours that quotes Shakespeare and uses a Schubert sonata as its theme.

There could hardly have been a bigger cinematic tent than the Palais des Festivals venue in the Mediterranean seaside town where "How to Train Your Dragon 2" got a special screening alongside Turkish director Nuri Ceylan's masterly competition entry "Winter Sleep" about an intellectual bully who runs a "Hotel Othello" in the snowswept Anatolian steppe.

The one brought Hollywood glamour, even of the animated variety, to a festival that is a bit short on that front. Fans wearing Viking helmets with huge horns meandered across La Croisette, Cannes's palm-lined boulevard, ahead of the film's global premiere on Friday night at the festival.

Cannes-regular Ceylan's searing study of a former actor convinced he is always in the right took its time to unfurl to a gripping climax, played out in a snowstorm, in a film that is a strong favorite to win the Palme d'Or on May 24.

"Master at his work again, he is truly the most contemporary master I have ever seen," said film critic Sunil Doshi of the Indian newspaper The Mint, who was among the packed cinema audience who gave the film a standing ovation.

"It's amazing, just awesome."

The audience response to the film by Ceylan, who won a best director award at Cannes in 2008 for his "Three Monkeys", came a day after British director Mike Leigh's "Mr Turner", based on the life of the pre-Impressionist English painter JMW Turner, got a resounding rave from critics.

Those two films helped to balance a negative critical and audience response to the festival's opening film, "Grace of Monaco" starring Nicole Kidman as the American actress Grace Kelly who married Prince Rainier of Monaco.   Continued...

 
Director Dean DeBlois (R), cast members (L-2ndR) Djimon Hounsou who voices Drago Bludvist character, America Ferrera who voices Astrid character, Kit Harington who voices Eret character, Cate Blanchett who voices Valka character, and Jay Baruchel who voices Hiccup character, pose with a figure of Toothless the Dragon character during a photocall for the film "How to Train Your Dragon 2" out of competition at the 67th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 16, 2014.     REUTERS/Regis Duvignau