Cannes – Spanish actor Javier Bardem proved to feel at home in the Cannes Film Festival. He arrived to applause and said goodbye with the same enthusiasm after almost two hours of talk in which the public thanked him for his confessions and sincerity.
The contest had invited him to talk about his work and the 53-year-old interpreter did not disappoint: “Having your own opinions today is risky, but we must have them because if we only say what people expect us to say, there is no discussion. Having enemies and an opinion is fine. Otherwise it is impossible to grow”, he pointed out at the event last Friday.
In Cannes, with an acting award in 2010 for “Biutiful”, in the past he had also presented in competition “No Country for Old Men” (2007), “The Last Face” (2016) and “Everyone knows” (2018) , and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (2008) out of competition, but in this 75th edition, which closed on Saturday, her presence was a mere walk down memory lane.
It started out as “a piece of meat,” he joked. In “The Ages of Lulu” (1990), her first film, she had accompanied her sister Mónica to a casting, they invited her to do a test and she only had to take off her shirt. “I said to myself, is this acting? Ok, I guess I can be an actor.”
Those first roles were “very physical” and he said to face them with the yearning of age: “When you are 20 years old you want to be the best, show what you are, but I no longer have that pressure and now I enjoy what I do for what it is”.
In those beginnings he coincided in “Jamón Jamon” (1992) with Penelope Cruzwith whom filming together again in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” marked the beginning of their relationship.
“Every time Penelope and I were working we looked at each other like when you’re in class and you don’t talk to the person you like. The last day of shooting I thought ‘shit, I haven’t told him anything’. And then it was a ‘hello,’ ‘hello,’ and now we’re married with two kids.”
Woody Allen, the director, gave them a recording of one of their kisses as a wedding present. “We had a scene where we were kissing. We were on the bed, we were kissing, we kept kissing and I thought this is okay, it’s taking a long time, but it’s okay. I turned around and there were no cameras, they were gone.”
With anecdotes like that, he won over an audience that had already arrived dedicated and to whom he admitted to being “a lucky guy.”
surprised with his luck
“When I started I never thought I was going to make a living doing this and having worked inside and outside of Spain with the best directors is something I would not even have dared to dream of. Every time I get a role I take a breath and say thank you because I don’t know when the time will come when they stop offering me one.”
Nominated for an Oscar four times in total, and winner of the same in 2008 for “No Country for Old Men”, the actor pointed out that the biggest difference between a big production and a small one is the waiting times, so long in the big ones that you they can lose the thread.
The interpreter made a double defense of platforms and movie theaters. The former, he said, are providing a lot of work and opportunities to make risky films, “but it’s sad that they don’t get the time they need on the screen.”
Bardem admitted, however, that it is becoming more and more difficult to appreciate the films: “I see it with my own children. They find it difficult to decide what to watch and it worries me, because for them, for all of us, it is difficult to be focused on one thing”.
In a conversation in which the questions from the public made him go from the professional to the personal, he also pointed out that he educates his children so that they know that it is okay to show their feelings: “When I see a man who gets excited and allows himself to be sensitive I see him as a strong man, rather than the other way around, and I want to make sure they understand that.”
Bardem also confessed that if he does not have everything under control, he does not know how to act, although with directors like Julian Schnabel, with whom he worked on “Before Night Falls”, it is only possible to get carried away, and although the general delegate of the event, Thierry Frémaux, assured that he embodies Spain, he said he did not represent anyone but himself.