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