Winding up the Competition, the Cannes Film Festival welcomes a Taiwanese filmmaker, Tsai Ming-Liang, with the presentation of his latest film, Face, starring three French actors: Fanny Ardant – whose directorial debut film Ashes and Blood is up for a Caméra d’Or, Laetitia Casta and Jean-Pierre Léaud. This film project developed at the bidding of the Louvre museum, which incited Tsai Ming-Liang to set the mythical story of Salome to film, including scenes shot in the museum itself. Even though the director speaks neither English nor French, he knew that it was Jean-Pierre Léaud he wanted to play Herod. In order to create box office interest, the production decided to cast an internationally renowned top model in the role of Salome. But things don’t always happen as expected…
Tsai Ming-Liang is not new to the Cannes Film Festival, having presented The Hole in 1998, What Time is it There? in 2001 and as part of the collective film To Each His Own Cinema , screened Out of Competition in 2007.
Tsai Ming-Liang was so surprised to be contacted by the Louvre to make this film. "Confronted with this gigantic museum, known all over the world, which holds such works of art over the centuries, it was an unprecedented challenge for me,” confided the director. “I told myself: ‘how can I create a work which may stand side by side with masterpieces which have crossed the ages and time and are absolutely unique?’ What reassured me, as I stood under the pyramid conceived by Mr. Pei, I told myself, one must be oneself, just do what you want to do, to do what I think I must do, then I will be accepted and tolerated by these giants who have traversed time.”
As for his style of filming, Tsai Ming-Liang finds it similar to painting. "The way I film is similar to the work of a painter. Each of my films is a painting, and here, it is a big painting which has no logic in its dramaturgy as we are used to seeing. I abolished a certain logic to show a world of dreams intertwined with reality."