J.C. Chandor is at Cannes for the first time, Out of Competition, to present his second feature film All is Lost. The history of a castaway which charts the struggle of a man, played by Robert Redford, faced with the ocean and himself.
Margin Call, a small film which made big waves first brought J.C. Chandor into the spotlight. The feature film on the world of finance and traders garnered around $20 million in world box office takings for a budget of $3.5 million, going on to win an Oscar nomination for best screenplay. This initial success subsequently opened up a rich seam of opportunities.
J.C. Chandor then decided to carry out a daring and personal project, that of a one man film in which Redford is the sole actor, and in which even the setting - a boat and the sea - remains minimalist.
All is Lost © RR
The director sees his film as "a very simple story, that of a man of advancing years who takes off for a four or five-month journey in his sailing boat. As fate has it, his boat is damaged in an accident and then we witness his struggle for survival."
J.C. Chandor does not hide the influence of Hemingway and The Old Man and the Sea on his screenplay. A sailor at heart, he explains, "I grew up among sailing boats and it's a world I know well. I've wanted to make a thriller about the high seas for a very long time."
Few young filmmakers have the chance to work with an actor of the stature of Robert Redford. J.C. Chandor was lucky enough to meet him at Sundance where Margin Call was selected in Competition. On the subject of the film, the actor states, "It was remarkable. No dialogue. Even though it wasn't all spelled out in black and white, I felt confident and I went into it with my eyes closed."
Interview- J.C. Chandor: " To me this film is not about audience, it is about the biggest question there is"
Are there any autobiographical matters in this movie?
Absolutely, I think a lot of my fears are in this movie. For example, my fear of being alone. It comes from my own issue with the fact that we are all going to die… I wanted everyone to be able to identify themselves with the character who faces universal challenges. It’s autobiographical because when you do a movie, you kind of do it all alone.
Despite all the tragic things that happen to him, the character never prays. Why?
I don’t know, I didn’t have him pray, so I guess that means something about my position on that. I think in some way, many of the silent moments are a form of praying. He goes through the seven stages of grief of his own life.
What are the common points between your two movies?
The connection between the two is that I like to entertain the audience. It’s a movie, it’s not a cure for cancer. So it’s supposed to be a fun ride. Maybe fun is not the right word but it’s supposed to be a ride, an adventure.
It is a risky choice to make a movie with only one actor. Aren’t you afraid that the movie has less audience than Margin Call?
To me, this film is not about audience, it is about the biggest question there is… The character is a standard for people who are up against incredible misery. There is something inside each of us, to make us keep going and going, because we don’t have other choices. The biggest question for me is why we do that. The movie is just an expression of that question.
Wednesday 22nd May / Grand Théâtre Lumière / 11.00 a.m.- 7.00 p.m.
Thursday 23rd May / Salle du Soixantième / 10.30 p.m.
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