Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Robert Redford swans through Cannes

The blonde man gives out about America at his press conference

Thu, May 23, 2013, 11:45


As you may suspect, the streets and corridors of Cannes are groaning with celebrities. Actually, that’s not quite true. The movie stars get driven from posh hotel to screening in black limousines and we rarely get to see the slightest glimpse of them. But we did get to sit in front of Robert Redford at a press conference. The blonde one was in town for a screening of J C Chandor’s All is Lost, in which he plays a man adrift in a boat.

Even in this environment, somebody like Redford can still cause cameras to flash and hardened film fans to swoon. It transpired that he has lost none of his liberal zeal. “Certain things have got lost,” he said. “Our belief system had holes punched in it by scandals that occurred, whether it was Watergate, the quiz show scandal, or Iran-Contra; it’s still going on. Beneath all the propaganda is a big grey area, another America that doesn’t get any attention; I decided to make that the subject of my films.”

He didn’t stop there. Noting that the film — in which his character is left powerless by the mighty sea — looks like a counterweight to all the swollen-crotched sabre-rattling in Washington, he offered another dig at the Body American.

“We are in a dire situation; the planet is speaking with a very loud voice,” he said. “In the US we call it Manifest Destiny, where we keep pushing and developing, never mind what you destroy in your wake, whether its Native American culture or the natural environment. I’ve also seen the relentless pace of technological increase. It’s getting faster and faster; and it fascinates me to ask: how long will it go on before it burns out.”

Nicely put. He’s still got it.