Sean Penn and the actors from his latest directorial effort The Last Face took the dais at the Cannes Film Festival to talk about his love-in-war pic. In fielding a question about the virtues of a socio-political movie, which is set against several war torn areas of Africa, i.e. Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Liberia, Penn took a second to knock Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump: “I think it’s important to entertain if entertainment isn’t synonymous with Donald Trump. Too much of film; I think we’ve lost sense of — it’s almost as if Greek tragedy is forgotten…To find beauty in things is the way to fix things. I think what we’re calling beauty today is a perversion of it, and that’s lamentable.”
Moments before the cast filed in, news broke that there was a bitter reaction to The Last Face on Twitter. Some felt that Penn put the love story before the cart of African politics in the movie. Penn, in sum, couldn’t care less what the naysayers are sayin’.
“I just finished the film, so it’s not a discussion I would be of any value to. I stand behind the film as it is, and everyone is going to be entitled to their response,” the Oscar-winning actor told the Cannes press corps.
With The Last Face, Penn returns to Africa but in the capacity of director. He previously made a turn in the gritty mercenary pic The Gunman last year which which was set partially against Congo’s mining politics. Last Face centers around a love affair between relief-aid doctor Dr. Miguel Leon (Javier Bardem) and Dr. Wren Petersen (Charlize Theron) who try to keep their love alive amid conflict in the Africa war zones where they’re serving. On the top of today’s sesh, producer Matt Palmieri said that Penn was the right director for the human rights movie “because he has his own NGO”.
On why he made the movie, Penn told the press that it’s matters “that come in question. I approach the process looking at a world, where the definition of empowerment have great accepted successes, there’s a strange dichotomy where the world is on its hardest times and more people are suffering. With a film (like this) love as it is in war, how these things blend; they constantly interest me.”
One reporter observed how Penn is bravely competing in competition with The Last Face when other American directors dare not this year at the festival.
“I don’t know if I ever thought about what makes competition important or (what is) a strong relationship with competition” said Penn, “Being in competition is having the movie seen.”