Sunday 28 December 2014

Art imitates life at Cannes festival as immigration film vies for Palme d'Or

Alexandria Sage Cannes

Published 25/05/2013 | 05:00

Cast member Marion Cotillard gestures as she poses during a photocall for the film "The Immigrant" at the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 24, 2013.          REUTERS/Regis Duvignau (FRANCE  - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)
Cast member Marion Cotillard gestures as she poses during a photocall for the film "The Immigrant" at the 66th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 24, 2013. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau (FRANCE - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

America's immigration debate finds echoes in a period drama that premiered at the Cannes film festival about a Polish woman who fights to survive in 1920s New York.

'The Immigrant' features French Oscar winner Marion Cotillard as the immigrant Ewa, speaking English and Polish in the film. The film competes with another period piece to premiere on day 10 of the festival: 'Michael Kohlhaas', starring last year's best actor winner at Cannes, Denmark's Mads Mikkelsen.

Both films are competing for the Palme d'Or, the top prize that will be awarded at the close of the festival.

The many Ellis Island scenes in 'The Immigrant', director James Gray's first period film, underline his sympathy for those seeking a better life in America.

Premiering his film as the US Congress debates legislation that could affect 11 million illegal immigrants, Mr Gray said that the criticisms of Italians and Jews at the turn of the century were today being used against Mexicans.

"I'm unabashedly pro-immigration," said Mr Gray.

Irish Independent

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