The star of Silence of the Lambs (1991), now known for her work as a director, is presenting her third feature length film Out of Competition, her first at Cannes. She co-stars in The Beaver with Mel Gibson, who hasn’t been in the running for the official selection since 1984.
Jodie Foster made her first appearance for the Official Selection at Cannes alongside Robert De Niro for Taxi Driver (1976, Palme d’or). Thirty six years later, it is no longer as an actress, but as a director that Foster returns to the Croisette. As fate would have it, The Beaver is being shown the same year that her mentor from her early career is president of the Jury for Feature Films.
The Beaver also marks a reunion for the director with her friend Mel Gibson, to whom she already starred opposite in Maverick (1994), by Richard Donner. Here Gibson is playing Walter Black, a family man suffering from depression who is unable to talk to those he loves. When his wife (Jodie Foster) kicks him out, the forty-something decides to get his life back on track again. He’s able to do that thanks to a beaver puppet, through which he’s finally able to talk about his feelings.
For her third film, Jodie Foster again explores family relations, a theme central to Little Man Tate (1991) and Home for the Holidays (1996), her other two full-length films. Visually, she chose a “realistic and natural style, without any grandstanding” that balances out the sometimes “dark and tragic” tone of the script. “I think that people create a sort of alter-ego for themselves” explains Steve Golin, producer of The Beaver. “The film is just a heightened example of that phenomenon”
The film is showing at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Grand Théâtre Lumière.