“My Little Princess” inaugurated the series on Monday night, at the Buñuel Hall (8pm), as the feature chosen for the Semaine de la Critique anniversary gala, marking 50 years since the founding of the section. It was an honour for the director Eva Ionesco, of Romanian descent, to be able to present her debut feature in such a festive ambiance. The Delegate General of the festival, Mr. Thierry Frémaux, made a special point of attending the event, besides the film team. In his speech, he praised the production and the director, acclaiming the presence, on stage, as well as on screen, of one of the great names of contemporary, French and world, cinema – Isabelle Huppert, the actress in the lead role, that of the photographer Hanna.
The second name on the credits, as well as in the ceremony, alongside Isabelle, was Anamaria Vartolomei, a very young actress, who, at twelve and a half, offers an impeccable performance as Violetta, the object of her mother’s adoration, as well as her favourite “model”. You can hear a bit of Romanian in the film, spoken mainly by the grandma, “Mamie”, played by Georgetta Leahu.
All in all, a lush, baroque, somewhat theatrical production, adeptly retracing the special destiny of a child whose mother pushes on the way to glory, yet unflinchingly revealing the price one has to pay for it, the trials that lie along the path to stardom.
As many of the productions in the 2011 edition, this is a tale about children bereft of their childhood, a poignant reflection of the here and now. The film was shown, once again, yesterday, at 3pm, this time at Miramar, the hall traditionally allotted to the Semaine de la Critique section.
Yesterday around noon on the Palais’s third floor, we could watch a selection of Romanian shorts (Romanian Short Waves).
Today we’re in for two other important events from the “Romanian agenda”. At 11am, at Debussy, Catalin Mitulescu’s “Loverboy”, starring Ada Condeescu and Georg Pistereanu, will enter the competition.
At 10pm, at “Cheri, Cheri Beach”, somewhere between the Carlton and Martinez hotels, 600 guests are expected to attend the Romanian party, where the musical ambiance will be provided by the Taraf de Haïdouks.
Jean Paul Belmondo was also celebrated at the “Debussy”, with a screening of the biographic documentary “Belmondo, Itinéraire …”.
It’s also time for the heavyweight productions, signed by Cannes laureates. Yesterday was Aki Kaurismaki’s turn, with “Le Havre”, and today Lars von Trier is to present his latest film, “Melancholia”.