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Check back for more dispatches at throughout the festival, which runs from May 17 to May 28. Right after it, at the film’s press conference, Nicole Kidman raved to press about her “passion for pushing boundaries” in a role that has her lying naked and lifeless across a bed for her husband, the heart surgeon, in a sex game called “general anesthetic.” In the afternoon, in a penthouse suite of the Carlton Hotel, as a seagull the size of a cat perched on the balcony ledge, Ben Stiller talked to me about creative challenges with a gaze that had the searing intensity of Derek Zoolander’s “Blue Steel.” Next to him, Adam Sandler looked ill at ease, and tried to put on a happy face as he complained about missing his kids back home in L. A few minutes later, I watched Dustin Hoffman fight back tears as he told an intimate story of seeing a family member take her last breath.

Everyone I met seemed desperate to talk about anything but movies. At this year’s Cannes, several times a day, we’ve been stepping out of the brilliant sunshine of the French Riviera, then herded through airport-level security to congregate in a dark theatre and watch civilization go straight to hell.

Having seen 12 of the 19 features in the main competition, plus a few outside of it, I’m now in the home stretch of the Cannes Film Festival, and a definite pathology has emerged: The most powerful movies all paint a severely grim picture of humanity, often featuring children in distress.

Those children include a Russian runaway who flees his divorcing parents in Andrey Zvyagintsev’s —a Noah Baumbach comedy in which the disturbed children are grown men.

Instead, she went to Cambridge University to study English literature.

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