Cannes 2014: The Artist star Bérénice Bejo condemns Hollywood's reliance on Western heroes
Bérénice Bejo, star of the Oscar-winning film The Artist, has accused Hollywood war films of a cliched reliance on Western heroes always saving the day.
Bejo’s latest film is The Search, in which she plays an EU human rights observer sent to Chechnya during the 1999 war, who rescues a refugee child.
Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, Bejo said: “What interested me was that they wrote a character who was not the hero in the story. In films, in war, it’s always the Westerners who save everybody else. It’s the Westerners who know.
“Or there is a love story or something that always happens. What I loved in this screenplay is that's what underscored it all is the other people: those who suffer, the civilian population, who suffer in the war.”
The Search rekindles Bejo’s screen partnership with Michel Hazanavicius, director of The Artist and her husband. The Search is inspired by an Oscar-winning 1948 film of the same name with Montgomery Clift as a GI in ruined Berlin who chances across a lost Jewish boy.
Hazanavicius said he was driven to tell a story “that few people have told”. The French director alluded to his Lithuanian descent, saying: “It became quite a personal matter for me. People were being massacred, yet the international community was indifferent.”
Silent movie The Artist debuted at Cannes to huge acclaim in 2012 but The Search received largely negative reviews and was even booed at its debut screening ahead of a Wednesday night premiere.
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