Stars and Elephants at Palm Springs
by Boyd van Hoeij
- Emmanuel Saada's feature debut Elephants had its world premiere at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, where international stars also picked up awards
The 24th edition of the Palm Springs International Film Festival got its start on January 3rd in the oasis town two hours west of Los Angeles.
The traditional Palm Springs Awards Gala took place over the first weekend of the festival, and honourees included Dame Helen Mirren, who recently starred in Hitchcock and who was crowned International Star of the Year; Best Actress winner Naomi Watts and UK director Tom Hooper (Les Misérables [+see also:
film profile]), who was awarded the Sonny Bono Visionary Award, named after the founder of the festival.
The programme of the festival proper overflows with foreign-language films, including more than 40 of the Foreign Language Oscar submissions and eight of the nine shortlisted titles. The final nominees (see news) were announced during the festival.
There’s also room for world, international, North American and US premieres of features at the festival that showcases films from around the world. Several French films were presented at the festival, including the shortlisted box-office smash The Intouchables [+see also:
film profile] but there’s also room for the world premiere of a small independent French film: Elephants from director Emmanuel Saada.
The film is a collection of stolen moments and glances from the lives of a small group of French friends, during and after a funeral that serves as a starting point.
The film isn’t interested in a narrative story so much as it tries to depict a collection of emotional states, which are beautifully suggested in light, painter-like touches.
Shot on digital video with its typically shallow depth of field and unsteady focus, Saada, who was personally responsible for the cinematography, succeeds in giving his impressive and semi-impressionistic debut an ethereal quality that reinforces the film's suggestion of evanescent emotions.
Elephants was produced by Fish & Films.
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