Assayas, Stewart defend film after boos at Cannes

Actress Kristen Stewart shrugs off the negative response for her film Personal Shopper as she walks the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival.
Director Olivier Assayas and actress Kristen Stewart on the red carpet for the screening of Personal Shopper in Cannes.
Director Olivier Assayas and actress Kristen Stewart on the red carpet for the screening of Personal Shopper in Cannes. PHOTO: REUTERS
Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani at the screening of Paterson in Cannes.
Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani at the screening of Paterson in Cannes. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

CANNES • Director Olivier Assayas and actress Kristen Stewart shrugged off the negative response that Personal Shopper, competing for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, received at the film's premiere.

There were a few boos at the end of the media and the general audience screenings on Monday as the viewers seemed disappointed by the ending, which sees Stewart, an American personal shopper in Paris, trying to connect with her dead brother.

She sees ghosts, receives mysterious text messages and finds herself embroiled in a brutal murder as she goes through what the actress described as an "identity crisis".

"Movies have a life of their own. People have expectations of a film and then the film is something else," Assayas, who directed Stewart in Clouds Of Sils Maria two years ago, told a news conference on Tuesday.

The Cannes crowd is never shy about showing its disappointment. Last year, American director Gus van Sant's Sea Of Trees also received boos.

"It happens to me once in a while where people just don't get the ending," added Assayas, whose film otherwise received good critiques. A journalist had told him that the boos were probably due to his movie's unclear ending.

Stewart said: "Hey, everyone did not boo. Let's be clear."

She has a few nude scenes in the film, but the role is more revealing for her raw, natural performance, critics said.

Vanity Fair called the movie "deeply strange" but said: "Stewart is not yet an actress of sprawling range, but what she's able to do in this vein, not so much playing a character as expressively inhabiting a mood, is rather remarkable."

Meanwhile, German director Maren Ade's comedy Toni Erdmann has emerged as the favourite to win the Palme d'Or top prize on Sunday. It soared to the top of reviewers' polls early at the festival, delighting reviewers with a bittersweet father-daughter tale that races to a touching and riotously funny final act.

Critics also raved about the soulful performance of Star Wars: The Force Awakens actor Adam Driver in American indie legend Jim Jarmusch's Paterson, his gentle portrait of a bus driver with a poetic streak.

Driver plays a former soldier who transcends his workaday life with artistic inspiration and a tender love for his wife who has big dreams of her own (Iranian-born actress Golshifteh Farahani).

Movie website Indiewire said it was Driver's "finest performance" and the "most intimate film" by Jarmusch.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2016, with the headline 'Assayas, Stewart defend film after boos at Cannes'. Print Edition | Subscribe