Belfast Telegraph

Hazanavicius drama debuts at Cannes

Michel Hazanavicius has said he felt he could make any film he wanted after The Artist won five Oscars.

The director's black-and-white movie became a huge success after it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, and went on to be an Academy Award winner.

Hazanavicius - who has returned to the French Riviera three years later with his follow up, The Search - revealed he was met with virtually unlimited options for his next movie after The Artist.

He said: "I was in a very odd situation. I made a film which didn't comply with the rules of the market at all.

"And this film ended up getting a host of awards and it made money.

"I had the impression I could do just about anything I wanted to do."

The Search is a gritty drama about the Chechen War, very roughly based on the 1948 film of the same name by Fred Zinnemann about an American soldier and a Czech boy in post-World War II Germany.

Hazanavicius said he didn't feel any pressure following up The Artist, until Cannes, where The Search received largely negative reviews and some boos at its debut screening ahead of its premiere.

Producer Thomas Langmann said Hazanavicius' insistence on making a film about the Chechen War was even more bull-headed and anti-commercial than shooting in black-and-white for The Artist.

But the French filmmaker said: "You have to be a bit crazy, stupid or just not think too seriously about things. Otherwise you wouldn't be a director."

Hazanavicius said he was driven to tell a story "that few people have told".

"It became quite a personal matter for me," said the director, who alluded to his Lithuanian descent. "People were being massacred, yet the international community was indifferent."

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