Biopic on Donald Trump hits Cannes Film Festival

The Apprentice is bound to stir up controversy in an election year for the United States

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Published: Mon 20 May 2024, 3:57 PM

A Donald Trump biopic and the latest dark creation by David Cronenberg premiere in Cannes on Monday as the world-famous film festival reaches midway.

Demi Moore looks a serious contender for the best actress award after rave reviews for The Substance, an ultra-gory horror about the pressures women face to maintain bodily perfection as they age. Deadline called the movie "the year's smartest, goriest horror breakout", while Variety singled out Moore as "nothing short of fearless".


The festival — considered the film industry's foremost get-together — concludes with its award ceremony on Saturday, with Barbie director Greta Gerwig heading the jury.

Two more buzzy entries arrive on Monday.


The Apprentice — a biopic of Trump's formative years from Iranian-born director Ali Abbasi — is bound to stir up controversy in an election year for the United States. It stars Sebastian Stan, best-known for playing the Winter Soldier in Marvel films. He also won best actor at this year's Berlin Film Festival and widespread acclaim for his part as rocker Tommy Lee in series Pam and Tommy.

Later, Cronenberg — director of many body-horror classics like The Fly, Crash and Videodrome — returns to the festival with The Shrouds.

Billed as his most personal film yet, it tells the story of a widowed businessman (Vincent Cassell) who invents a machine to monitor the dead in their graves.

It was partly inspired by the death in 2017 of Cronenberg's wife of 43 years.

"I don't really think of art as therapy," the Canadian director told Variety. "Grief is forever, as far as I'm concerned. It doesn't go away. You can have some distance from it, but I didn't experience any catharsis making the movie."

Among entries to score well with critics during the first week was Bird, a gritty but sweet and fantastical tale about a young girl in working-class England from director Andrea Arnold.

Kinds of Kindness, the latest bizarro team-up between Emma Stone and Yorgos Lanthimos, featured some ultra-dark comedy moments, including a thumb-and-cauliflower dinner.

Megalopolis, the decades-in-the-making epic from Francis Ford Coppola, has perhaps been the most divisive entry, with some reviewers finding it a profound end-of-life work of philosophy, and others a barely comprehensible mess.

The festival has also seen glitzy out-of-competition launches for two Hollywood blockbusters. — AFP

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