If the first two days are any indication, the Cannes programmers may be laying down some thematic head trips this year. Three of the first three dramas in official selection have been set in prisons. First came Blindness, which takes place in quarantine concentration camp. This morning we saw Leonera (Lion’s Den), a movie from Argentina about a woman who gives birth to a child and raises him in prison for several years. And the sidebar program, Un Certain Regard, opened tonight with Hunger, a provocative feature directing debut by British artist Steve McQueen. It tells the story of the IRA’s Bobby Sands leading a hunger strike in Northern Ireland’s Maze Prison in 1981, which claimed 10 lives including his own.
Leonera offers an eye-opening look into the real phenomenon of prisons that double as nurseries. With toddlers swinging from the cell doors, this gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “monkey bars.” Leonera a gritty, earnest drama that mixes breast-feeding and screaming infants into more familiar scenarios of lesbian romance, shower assaults, strip-searches and bonfire riots. The film stars Argentine actress Martina Gusman as a woman charged with murdering her boyfriend who enters prison pregnant. Skinny and catlike with a model’s body, Gusman looks quite out of place among her sisterhood of butch inmates. And she looks so much like Angelina Jolie that it’s spooky. By the time she’s getting her shoulders tattooed, the resonance is downright distracting.
So it was very weird to see the real Angelina Jolie in the flesh, and very pregnant, just hours later—holding court at a press conference for Kung Fu Panda with Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman.
That’s my clip, shot on the little HDR-SR12s loaned to us by Sony Canada. But a print journalist, I don’t have permission to shoot the actual press conference. So here are highlights from accredited TV media, shot by the boys with big cameras at the back of the room: