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Culture

French actor Vincent Cassel redeems and redeemed in Maïwenn's Mon Roi

media Emmanuelle Bercot and Vincent Cassel in Mon Roi directed by Maïwenn, one of the films competing for Palme d'or at the Cannes Film Festival 2015 Shanna Besson

Director Maïwenn's film is the first of the four French entries in competition in 2015. Mon Roi (My King) is a love story which starts out in burning passion but becomes complicated.

 

Mon Roi is Maïwenn's second film in competition at Cannes after Polisse won the Jury Prize in 2011.

It's her fourth feature. It's close-up, personal and full of colour. 

Click here for our coverage of Cannes Film Festival 2015

Emmanuelle Bercot whose film Standing Tall opened the Cannes Film Festival this year plays a criminal lawyer called Tony (short for Marie-Antoinette).

She and rich restaurateur Georgio (Vincent Cassel) fall in love and fail to live happily ever after, at least, not together.

The relationship is complicated. Fortunately, Tony is supported by a comical, doting brother (Louis Garrel) and compassionate sister-in-law (Isild Le Besco).

Cassel said his character was "so nasty on paper, that I set out to change his tone, and ended up fighting for mens' rights. We always say it's tough being a woman. I now think it's also tough being a man, especially a man in love."

With the focus on women's place as directors at Cannes this year and his troubled, deeply needy character, Cassel made sense of gender equality.

The action is seen through flash backs as Tony recovers from a skiing injury to the knee which she's told, in psychological terms, means she can't let go.

After much pain, effort and jolly camaraderie with a group of youngish, multicultural fellow-patients, Tony pulls through.

Director Maïwenn says, "the flash backs give her a chance to reflect on her life".

Crammed with dialogue, Mon Roi is made watchable by Cassel's acting.

"I'd never had so much freedom on a shoot," he told reporters. "It was uplifting."

 
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