Cannes 2024: Richard Gere, gentleman actor

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Richard Gere, before the screening of the film “Oh, Canada”, by Paul Schrader, in Cannes, May 18, 2024. CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP

Evergreen, Richard Gere. Late in life, the actor reconnected with his rural origins. He, who grew up on a farm in the northeast of the United States, recently acquired another, in the same region. Would he follow the broken ones of his ancestors, who were in milk? At the Cannes Film Festival, where he returned to competition with Oh, Canada, by Paul Schrader, it diffuses the ageless aura of a bovine divinity – sacred cow, winged bull, golden calf. Admire him ruminating quietly from one interview to the next, in the palace where the film’s promotion is being orchestrated: the air of the countryside succeeds for the actor, who wears his 74 years superbly.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers Cannes 2024: “Oh, Canada” by Paul Schrader, Richard Gere in the anti-biopic of the artist at the end of his life

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He was thirty-two years younger the last time he shared the stage with Uma Thurman, his partner in Oh, Canada. The film was called Hot-blooded for cold-blooded murder, a thriller that everyone, including its main actors, seems to have forgotten. For the duo, other memories surface: “Uma?” I met her when she was little, in the countryside, at her father’s house [le théologien Robert Thurman, spécialiste du bouddhisme tibétain], with the Dalai Lamarewinds this convinced Buddhist, figure of the Tibetan cause. We were driving back to New York, a snowstorm had created monster traffic…”

Since then, the two actors have been friends like pigs, at least if we rely on the complicity they display, side by side, in interviews. It is another animal that the actress summons to describe the reunion of Richard Gere with Paul Schrader, who had boosted his popularity thanks to American Gigolo (1980): “Paul and Richard?” They looked like two old doggies, delighted to sniff each other after all this time! »slips the actress with mischief.

Read the interview (2023): Article reserved for our subscribers Paul Schrader, filmmaker: “Death is my subject. And it’s better not to hang around! »

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“A kind of fever dream”

It is true that the 77-year-old filmmaker, lurking in a corner of the palace, has the air of a bulldog who has come back from everything – notably a long form of Covid-19 which failed to overwhelm him recently. Faced with the illness that would take away his friend the writer Russell Banks (1940-2023), Schrader felt the need to adapt one of his final novels, Oh, Canada (Actes Sud, 2022), the story of a documentary filmmaker on the verge of death, delivering his four truths in front of the camera of former students. “Good actors are not commonplacegrumbles Schrader, whose wife suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. How many left ? Two or three, max. Anthony Hopkins once played an old man who loses his mind [dans The Father, 2020]. Jonathan Pryce, too [dans Une vie, 2023]. So I thought of the good old gigolo, and I imagined him dying…”

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