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May 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The opening film at the Cannes Film Festival often seems to be selected with an eye on attracting a procession of glamorous stars who appear in it to the pristine red carpet rolled out at the Palais des Festivals. Last year’s flashy opener, Grace of Monaco, received scathing reviews from critics, but the red-carpet march, led by star Nicole Kidman, drew international coverage. So did the previous year’s — when Leonardo DiCaprio brought The Great Gatsby to town. On the other hand, this year’s opener, actress-director Emmanuelle Bercot’s Le Tête Haute (Standing Tall) was atypical in several ways. First, with the exception of the 71-year-old Catherine Deneuve, it features no alluring stars recognizable by most moviegoers internationally. 2. For a French film, it is remarkably upbeat. 3. Unlike most films that deal with social issues, it is surprisingly sympathetic with government authorities. 4. It is directed by a woman. 5. It has garnered several solid reviews, most laudatory — with reservations. The review by Peter Bradshaw, film critic for Britain’s Guardian newspaper, is typical. While having misgivings about the lengthy exposition at the beginning of the film and the performance of the non-professional actor who plays an angry juvenile delinquent, Bradshaw nevertheless concluded that the movie exhibits “quiet strength and purpose … a refreshingly high-minded film.” High-mindedness will be suspended tomorrow, however, when the festival screens George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, with Tom Hardy taking over the role of Max Rockatansky, the character Mel Gibson originated a generation ago.