By Alicia García de Francisco
Cannes, Jul 9 (EFE).- Friendly, humble and with endless patience when it comes to signing autographs, Matt Damon stepped onto the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival as one of cinema’s biggest stars but also as an individual concerned about the human condition, as he presents the out-of-competition film entry Stillwater.
“It’s a very inhumane reality that we were asked to live in,” he said, celebrating the return to Cannes in its first edition since the Covid-19 pandemic began. “That lack of human connection… it’s not how we’re supposed to live.”
Stillwater was screened on Thursday night to a great reception, with a standing ovation by the crowd that moved Damon to tears.
The feature film revolves around Bill (Damon), an oil worker from Oklahoma who travels to France to clear the name of his daughter Allison (Abigail Breslin), who has been arrested and charged with murder.
The movie was directed by Tom McCarthy, who won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Spotlight in 2015.
“We didn’t want to make it expressly political,” said Damon, addressing his character’s conservative ideology. “He is who he is and he’s from where he’s from, and the movie has a lot of empathy for him.”
Bill swaps “the reddest state in the last two elections” for the very culturally diverse city of Marseille in southern France, triggering a sudden culture shock that carries some of the film’s greatest moments.
Disoriented by the change and overwhelmed by the situation, he finds support in Virginie (Camille Cottin) and her daughter (Lilou Siauvaud).
Himself a father, Damon said he quickly connected with his character, which was made easier as the scenes were shot in chronological order, helping the actors appreciate the script.
“I really respond to great writing. It’s hard to find these days,” he said. “It was one of those scripts. I finished it, put it down and thought about it for about 15 minutes. Then I picked it back up and read it again.” EFE