Three Asian stars – two directors and a Bollywood actress – share their best memories of the Cannes Film Festival, which will wrap up on May 28 after nearly two weeks on center stage in the south of France.
To Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-Eda, Cannes “is always a time to be proud to belong to the film community, a time to always be inspired.”
But the first thing that always comes to mind when he thinks of Cannes is 2004, the year his film “Nobody Knows” screened at the festival.
The youngest of the child actors he was with got sick.
“We were driving towards the red carpet when he started to say he wasn’t feeling well and he wanted to throw up,” Kore-Eda said. “I could see myself looking for a plastic bag in the car. We were telling ourselves that we needed to open the windows, but if we opened the windows and he threw up, it wouldn’t do.”
“Every time I think of Cannes, I think about that slightly funny story, but there are also touching memories, like the applause after the screening of Like Father, Like Son,” in 2013.
Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan first came to Cannes in 2002 with the Hindi melodrama “Devdas.”
“It was the first time that an Indian movie was screened here… soon after, I was here as a jury member, which was a first for any Indian actor. It was an honor and an incredible experience.
“Down the years, it’s virtually like I am a part of the family here and I feel very much at home.
“My first experience was truly memorable and exceedingly special… We always heard how the duration of our cinema can sometimes be a bit overwhelming for audiences beyond [our] shores and Devdas by that measure is a long film,” she said of the three-hour drama.
“If I remember correctly, we got a 10-minute applause. It meant the world to us. It was by far the most touching and overwhelming experience for us because it was quite unexpected.”
Celebrated Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s first experience of Cannes was in 1999 and remains a particularly poignant memory.
“As it was the [Directors’] Fortnight and not the competition; things were a little more relaxed. I remember I was not overly dazzled – on the contrary, I had rather a good time,” he said.
“It was the first time I had seen the Mediterranean Sea, the first time I had been to the south of France. Everything I did was a first for me, so in that sense yes, I was impressed.”
But the director’s most “unforgettable” memory came four years later when his film Bright Future was selected for competition.
In the same competition, “there was a Clint Eastwood film, Mystic River. I didn’t get to meet him directly, but when we got to the red carpet, I saw Clint Eastwood go up the steps. There he was before me. Just then I didn’t look at him as a director, but as a fan.”