by Xinhua writers Yu Zhongwen, Shang Xu
CANNES, France, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The last two films, by French and Russian directors respectively, were screened in Competition at the current 67th Cannes Film Festival on Friday.
With the screening of his latest film Sils Maria (Clouds of Sils Maria) , French director Olivier Assayas is back in competition for the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) for the best film, the top prize of the international film gala.
After Les destinees sentimentales (Sentimental Destinies) in 2000, Demonlover in 2002 and Clean in 2004, Assayas this time looks at the subject of passing time and generational line.
The film is telling the story of an actress, who is at the height of her art, retraces the successes she experienced when she was 18.
At the peak of her career, Maria Enders, played by Juliette Binoche, is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous 20 years ago when she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young girl. But now she is being asked to take the other role, that of the older Helena, according to the official synopsis.
The sensitive actress began to wonder about her age for the first time in her life, a subject close to the heart of the director: the question of passing time.
Talking about her view on the past, Binoche told reporters that "Actually I don't think about the past. I'm a big fan of the present."
"Over the years you're moulded and shaped by life, like clay. Change is a good thing!" said the French actress at a press conference on Friday following the screening of the film.
Being an actress herself, she said she has the advantage of playing an actress.
"We had a great time portraying our world. I know how it works so I didn't need to do three months of research! " Binoche said.
Assayas spoke highly of the team's work during the filming, saying "It only works with a cast that has that sort of generosity. Once you have the total trust of the cast, there's no stopping you."
"We found a way to work without rehearsing. I want to record their first impressions and make that the core of the film," he added.
Meanwhile on Friday, Leviathan directed by Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev was screened in Competition.
Leviathan, the portrait of "a tragic hero who is tortured by his fears," is a modern retelling of the Biblical story of Job set in contemporary Russia.
Kolia, who lives in a small town near the Barents Sea in north Russia, runs an auto-repair shop next to the house where he lives with his wife Lilya and his son from a previous marriage Romka.
Vadim Sergeyich, the Mayor of the town, wants to take away his business, his house and his land. Kolia asks his best friend Dmitri, a lawyer from Moscow, to help him, unaware that this would change his life forever.
Explaining the film's unusual subject, Zvyagintsev said it's inspired by a stroy told by his friend.
"A friend told me the story of a man who lived in Colorado and who revolted against a powerful enterprise. The man destroyed buildings before taking his own life," the director told the press conference on the screening day.
"This story could have taken place anywhere. We transposed the story to Russia, and there is a precedent; ancient history. The story of poor Job, in the Bible. That's where the Leviathan came from," explained Zvyagintsev.
Zvyagintsev won the Special Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard with Elena In 2011. His filmThe Banishment won the Best Actor Award for lead actor Konstantin Lavronenko In 2007.
A total of 18 feature films have been selected in Competition for the Palme d'Or.
Following the screening of Sils Maria (Clouds of Sils Maria) and Leviathan, all the 18 selected films have been screened in Competition. The winners will be announced on May 24.
Meanwhile on Friday, the awards of 2014 Un Certain Regard, part of the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival, were announced.
The Un Certain Regard Award goes to Feher Isten directed by Kornel Mundruczo, while the Jury Prize is awarded to Turist by Ruben Ostlund.
The Un Certain Regard Special Prize goes to The Salt of The Earth by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, while the Ensemble Prize for Party Girl by Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis.
The Best Actor Award belongs to David Gulpilil in Charlie's Country, directed by Rolf de Heer.
The Un Certain Regard selection, which was created in 1978, runs parallel to the competition for the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm), the top prize of the film festival.
This section presents a score of films with various types of visions and styles seeking international recognition.