by Xinhua writers Yu Zhongwen, Shang Xu
CANNES, France, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Hollywood filmmaker Tommy Lee Jones on Sunday presented his film "The Homesman" in Competition at the 67th Cannes Film Festival, along with another movie by Italian woman director Alice Rohrwacher.
The Jones' film, inspired by the novel of the same name by Glendon Swarthout, is the fifth feature film directed by Jones, a veteran Hollywood actor who has been active in the screen since 1970s.
In the movie, Mary Bee Cuddy, 31, lives a solitary existence in a mid-western frontier town of the United States in the 19th century.
According to the official synopsis, she is designated to take back three mad women to the east. On the way from Nebraska to Iowa, those women find refuge at last, and Cuddy saves the life of Briggs, a claim-jumper and outlaw.
He agrees to help in her mission through snowstorms and perilous encounters with settlers, Indians and the harshness of the Frontier territory.
Actress Hilary Swank plays Cuddy, and Jones plays Briggs by himself.
Commenting on playing characters such as Cuddy, Swank said: "Some of the characters I've played are deep, solid people. That's certainly true of Mary Bee Cuddy."
"Today, the idea of virtue is far less understood. It's important to portray such solid characters," Swank told a press conference on Sunday.
Luc Besson, one of the four producers presented at the press conference, said "The Homesman" is a highly instructive film on the U.S. history.
"This film portrays a vision of the United States which is little known in Europe. It's a very exotic vision for us. We didn't know that times were as hard as this," Besson told reporters.
"We all know about the American dream but it's good to know what went on before the dream," added Besson.
Meanwhile, Jones said originality is the primary driving force for him to make movies.
"I look for originality, that's the main thing. When you find it you just don't hesitate," said Jones.
"Here, we were lucky enough to find something very original. You don't feel like you're in a system," added Jones.
In the fourth day of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, two of the 18 films selected to compete for the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm), the top prize of the film gala, as well as other prizes, were presented.
Besides "The Homesman", "Le Meraviglie" (The Wonders) directed by Italian woman filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher, was also presented on Sunday in Competition.
"Le Meraviglie" is her second film and a work that "she has endeavored to anchor firmly in reality," according to the festival daily.
The movie lasts one hour and 50 minutes, telling the story of a self-sufficient family of beekeepers.
By telling the story of the family and the events they experience, the young filmmaker, 33, wanted to answer the question of the "destruction of regional identities in Italy and the difficulties faced by people living in isolated regions."
The credits of "Le Meraviglie" feature the director's sister, actress Alba Rohrwacher, and Italian actress and fashion model Monica Bellucci, who plays a television presenter in the movie.
Rorhwacher, accompanied by the main actresses including Bellucci and Alba Rorhwacher, held a press conference about the film on Sunday.
Rorhwacher said the movie is "a very personal film, all about an environment that's very familiar to me. The film describes the kind of family we all know."
"It's not an autobiographical story even though my father is in fact a beekeeper. I wanted a feeling of being at home while working and that's why bees feature in the film," explained the young director.
"We wanted to make a realistic film in order to leave a certain space for the spectator, at a time where that's in short supply," continued the director.
Meanwhile, talking about her decision to play in this film, actress Bellucci said "The main reason I do this job is to enjoy human experiences."
"Working on Alice's film was a very intense experience for me. I was touched by her honesty and integrity," said the model-turned actress.
The 67th Cannes Film Festival opened here on Wednesday evening and will last till May 25.
By Sunday, a total of eight movies in Competition have been screened since the opening of the film festival on Wednesday evening.
The winners will be announced on May 24, one day before the originally planned date due to the European Parliament elections on May 25.