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Cannes Update: Male Dinosaurs Misspeak, Jury and Jarmusch's 'Only Lovers Left Alive' Press Conferences (Videos)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 27, 2013 at 4:09PM

The Cannes Film Festival always unveils a few stragglers at the end of the fest, and the 66th installment was no exception. There were quite a few from the likes of Roman Polanski ("Venus in Fur") and Jim Jarmusch ("Only Lovers Left Alive"). While the Cannes jury stepped into the modern world with its rare unanimous choice of a three-hour lesbian romance as this year's winner, ( jury press conference is here), some of the male auteurs and stars at the festival, on the other hand, showed themselves to be politically incorrect dinosaurs.
'Only Lovers Left Alive' at Cannes
'Only Lovers Left Alive' at Cannes

Although Ohio-born Jarmusch hates to explain himself--“I really want this film to speak for itself. I don’t want to demystify it by analyzing or dissecting it or why we did this or what does this mean? I’m not sure I know what things mean in the film"--he admitted that the film took seven years to make (at one point Michael Fassbender was attached) and that both Swinton and John Hurt stuck with the project, which was finally funded in the U.K., France, Cyprus and Germany at $7 million. "It took a very, very long time," Jarmusch said, "and it’s getting more and more difficult for films that are maybe a little unusual or maybe not predictable or not satisfying people’s expectations of something -- which is the beauty of cinema: discovering new things of all forms."

Swinton tried to unravel the allure of vampires: “I suppose because they live these long, long, potentially never-ending lives, and we’re all so terrified of thinking of mortality that we’d rather think about being immortal,” she said. "I think the idea of invisibility and yet existing visibly is really beautiful and it was always coming. I was never surprised when Jim said to me, ‘Let’s make a vampire film.’ I felt like saying ‘You’ve been making vampire films for years,’ it feels like a very natural state, that invisible, immortal world.”

The always articulate Hiddleston (who tweets beautifully) was attracted to “the idea of a character who embodied a romanticism and melancholy, but still motivated by a curiosity towards the things that he loved. And I feel like he is fascinated by two separate things which are entwined: music and science. He’s enamored by vibrating particles: they might be stringed instruments and they might be stars. And he’s so passionate about these things, and he’s such a brilliant musician and engineer, but in a way he can’t see that. And she is broader and she can hold his fragility. And it was just a beautiful story about two people who loved each other and accepted each other and they happened to be vampires. And the idea of exploring love in a context of immortality, if you are challenged with immortality, is it a blessing? Is it a curse? And what does that do to your commitment?”

Both actors agreed that they were playing characters who were more animal than human. They thought of the vampires as feral wolves. “For some people this is vampire film, for some people it’s a fairy story and for other people, it’s a documentary,” Swinton said. Sony Pictures Classics will likely release the film this fall.

This article is related to: Cannes Film Festival, Jim Jarmusch, Only Lovers Left Alive , Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Festivals, Video, Roman Polanski

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.