Watts’ film ‘deservedly booed’

17 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cannes: Matthew McConaughey Responds to ‘Sea of Trees’ Boos.

Naomi Watts and Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey have defended director Gus Van Sant, who has been panned at the Cannes Film Festival for his latest effort, The Sea of Trees.CANNES– A day after premiering to a chorus of boos and laughter at its press screening, “Sea of Trees” earned a short and sweet standing ovation during his official premiere on Saturday evening in Cannes. The assembled journalists tip-toed carefully around the subject, sometimes avoiding it entirely and occasionally offering the mild suggestion that perhaps the film wasn’t among Gus Van Sant’s finest, but without ever going in for the kill.

McConaughey, who plays an American who travels to Japan’s “suicide forest” after the death of his wife, did say earlier today during the presser that he “Anyone has any right to either boo or ovate,” but he and co-star Naomi Watts looked tense, especially McConaughey who is usually rather upbeat if not rowdy, when stepping onto the Palais’ red carpet. McConaughey’s career has been flying high since he bagged an Academy Award last year for Dallas Buyers Club and critical adulation for his role in the gritty television series True Detective. As if expecting the issue to arise, the director, plus stars Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts, appeared somewhat subdued, McConaughey even putting up a rather defensive, unsmiling front to otherwise respectful questions. In the film, Arthur performs a Google search looking for “the perfect place to die” and ends up wandering through a dense forest near the foothills of Mount Fuji that attracts dozens of depressed people each year.

Once there though he encounters an injured local trying to find his way out of the forest and in helping this stranger he finds the will to live. “There were many times during the making of this where I thought, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing,’ ” he said. “That frustrated me for a long time.” Though he also added, “I like the film,” he said. “I’m happy to be here, happy to be invited. Through conversations and flashbacks, the film shows Arthur’s downward spiral back in Massachusetts with an alcoholic wife (Watts) and a stalling academic career. Pre-empted with the classic “I really loved the film, however a lot of colleagues disagreed with me” get out clause, Van Sant and McConaughey were asked to comment on the bad reception. “Anyone has as much right to boo as they do to ovate,” said McConaughey, before the mic was quickly moved on by the moderator.

Happy that the film got in.” Of course, it isn’t rare for films to get booed at Cannes – Pulp Fiction, Taxi Driver and Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette were all famously met with jeers during their initial screenings at the festival. Plot twists that most viewers saw coming and a sentimental ending accompanied by swelling string music seemed to nix Van Sant’s shot at claiming a second Palme d’Or after his 2003 triumph with Elephant. But Van Sant was pressed to answer, although his response was a little more rambling. “I read a review this morning, and it was one of those reviews, it was very definitive, I was imagining everyone was the same person as the one writing the review, and I thought now I know where we stand,” he said. “I remember there was always a story after Elephant screened, there were fisticuffs, fighting over whether it was good or bad, actually punching. Who knows, day by day, whether the screening was today or yesterday, whether it makes a difference, I’m not sure at the end of a particularly screening, I don’t know.”

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