James Gray at Cannes with 'The Immigrant'
SHOTLIST CANNES, France, 24 May 2013 SOURCE: AFPTV - Press conference with James Gray, Marion Cotillard SOUNDBITE 1, James Gray, Director (English, 17 sec): "I guess I'm unabashedly pro-immigration. I feel like immigration is the thing that keeps the country vital, and interesting, and flexible, and growing, and…is new blood." - Press conference with James Gray, Marion Cotillard SOUNDBITE 2, James Gray, Director (English, 28 sec): "You say, 'Oh, I want to shoot on Ellis Island, it's gonna be great!' -- but then you realise, it's a museum, it's open virtually 365 days a year, I don't know if maybe for Christmas it's closed…and they will not close down for you. So all that stuff in the great hall was shot at night, actually, with huge cranes holding these big 10,000-watt lights blasting light through the windows -- I mean it was nuts. If I knew what if would take, I'm not sure I would have done it again." - Press conference with James Gray, Marion Cotillard SOUNDBITE 3, Marion Cotillard, Actress (English, 32 sec): "I have 20 pages in Polish! This is…insane, and I remember one day James saying, 'You have a lot of Polish in this movie.' And I was like, 'Yeah. Yeah, I have 20 pages. You wrote them yourself.' And he was like, 'Oh yeah, I was wondering why you would spend your days in your notebook.' Because I had to work almost every night and day to get it right." - Press conference with James Gray, Marion Cotillard ----------------------------------------------------------- AFP TEXT STORY Entertainment-film-festival-Cannes-immigration At Cannes, pain and loss of migration come to the fore They set off with dreams of a new life only to find that peril, exploitation, loneliness and an aching rootlessness often await them. Migration, one of the great issues of globalisation but one that until now has been poorly explored at the movies, has emerged as a major theme at the Cannes Film Festival. A frontrunner for the coveted Palme d'Or on Sunday is "Tian Zhu Ding", a brutal portrayal of peasants who head to the cities for work in the capitalist-communist China of today. People struggle to keep their souls as they work in garment factories owned by greedy foreign bosses, and flounder in their relationships with distant families. To live with dignity, violence is their only choice -- a theme that also runs through "wuxia" martial arts movies. "The wuxia films are what gave me the inspiration," director Jia Zhangke told AFP. "There is a spirit of nobility which runs through these films, and it is the same one you will see in some people in today's society." Desperation and violence also lie at the core of "The Immigrant", in which Marion Cotillard stars as a devout Catholic Polish immigrant, who arrives at New York's Ellis Island in the 1920s and becomes ensnared in prostitution. Director James Gray said he wanted to make the movie as a period piece, reminding people today that immigrants may be despised when they arrive, but they eventually become accepted as part of a nation's wealth. "(Immigration) is one of the most important aspects of a dynamic culture," he told a press conference. "It enriches a society. It doesn't debase society." Other films, also well-received, touch on the plight of clandestine immigrants. "Stop-Over," a 149-minute documentary by Iranian-Swiss Kaveh Bakhtiari in the "Directors' Fortnight" screenings, follows a group of Iranian men who are smuggled across the border from Turkey to Greece but can go no further. Lacking a permit to stay in Greece and the visa that will get them to other European countries, the men eke out their lives in a tiny apartment in Athens, tossed between despondency and crazy hopes of a fake passport that will get them to Sweden or Norway or Spain or Italy. Bakhtiari's camcorder follows the Iranians as they make their rare forays out of their refuge, terrified of being arrested or beaten up by the Greek police or jailed. "Just buying a toothbrush meant running an unbelievable risk," said Bakhtiari. Greece's economic collapse and the rise of the xenophobic far right "has made the situation catastrophic," he said. "Migrants have become the scapegoats for the country's problems." "La Jaula de Oro" (The Cage of Gold), by Mexican-based Spanish director Diego Quemada-Diez, tells the odyssey of teenagers desperate to cross into the United States. Quemada-Diez said he was drawn to make the film after speaking to migrants who had braved violence, theft and arrest in their quest for the land of gold. "I felt their outrage in the face of global injustice, in the face of impassive governments," he said. "I had the feeling that the stories they told me had to be told to others... to make people reflect." "Born Somewhere" by Mohamed Hamidi explores the ravaged connections that come from migration as a young Frenchman returns to his family in Algeria. He meets a cousin who thinks of only one thing: shrugging off the poverty and hassle of life in North Africa and living in France. Over the last decade, thousands of economic migrants have arrived on the shores of Europe, and hundreds have drowned en route, sometimes ditched by their smugglers. "I've tried first and foremost to explain why men and women take such risks to leave their home and family," said Hamidi. "It's not to live on welfare or to get paid holidays -- it's just to get a better life for their children. Immigration is always talked about in general terms, but we forget that behind each family is a multitude of personal stories and life journeys." slb-ri/har/jhb
Arizona governor hopefuls debate hot-button issues
PHOENIX (AP) -- Illegal immigration took center stage Monday during a televised debate between six Republican candidates for Arizona governor. Although the candidates discussed other topics that included education and the economy, illegal immigration drew the most pointed comments from them during the hour-long debate. The candidates at the debate were Ken Bennett, Doug Ducey, Christine Jones, Frank Riggs, Scott Smith and Andrew Thomas. For example, Arizona Horizon host Ted Simons asked candidates why the Arizona economy has struggled to recover since the collapse of 2008. Thomas, the former Maricopa County attorney, said the answer is obvious: "These jobs are being taken by people who are coming into the country both legally and illegally." Riggs, a supporter of strict illegal immigration measures such as SB1070, disagreed. A tense exchange between Riggs, a former U.S. congressman, and Thomas ensued. "To constantly blame illegal immigrants for every challenge that we have as a state is absolutely irresponsible," Riggs said. The statewide and national debate over illegal immigration came to a head last month when the federal government began housing in a Nogales, Arizona, facility young immigrant children who had crossed the border alone and illegally into Texas. State officials who say Arizona has its own illegal immigration problems criticized the move and demanded the federal government stop transferring the children from Texas to Nogales. The U.S. Border Patrol has since stopped sending children to Nogales because of a steep fall in the number of children border crossers and the opening of a new holding facility in McAllen, Texas. Asked at the debate, which was broadcast on KAET Channel 8, what they would do to combat illegal immigration, the candidates had varying plans. Ducey, the state treasurer, said he would reprioritize public safety resources and allocate them to the border, readjusting the state Department of Public Safety budget while also considering privatizing the state lottery to pay for more enforcement. "I'm for all of the above and whatever it takes as a governor," Ducey said. Jones, a former Internet company executive, said she would deploy National Guard troops to the border and finish building fences in "strategic" areas of the border. "We're not talking about shutting the border. We're talking about understanding who's coming and going. Mexico is our single largest trading partner," she said. Riggs and Bennett, the secretary of state, said they would assign local police to help stop illegal immigration. Bennett said he would also invest in detection devices and push for more employer sanctions. But Smith cautioned his colleagues of the costs and logistics of such plans. Gov. Jan Brewer, also a Republican, has taken every step she could to stop illegal immigration, but that it is the federal government's duty to secure the border, he said. "Nobody here is talking reality," Smith said. One thing the candidates shared in common: a desire to attract more companies and jobs to Arizona. The candidates said the state needs to simplify its tax code and make it easier to conduct business. They sparred on education matters, however. Riggs said he would use executive powers to repeal Common Core standards on his first day in office. Common Core standards aim to focus learning on comprehension and real-life examples and were designed by a national, bipartisan group of governors and education leaders to better prepare students for college and the job market. Jones said she opposes the standards. "I'm opposed for a number of reasons. Especially when you're a teacher and you're in the classroom and a disproportionately large portion of your classroom is dedicated to following those standards," Jones said. But Smith said the Common Core debate had become political and not about education, although he did express concern over implementation of the standards. "We don't talk about children," he said. The debate was sponsored by the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission. The primary election will be held Aug. 26. The winner will go up against Democrat Fred DuVal in the November general election. Brewer, who cannot seek a third term, has not endorsed a candidate yet. © 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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