CANNES WATCH: Cotillard's look, 'It Follows' buzz

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CANNES, France (AP) — The Associated Press is all over the Cannes Film Festival — from its glitzy premieres to the celeb parties and quirky moments in between. Here's what reporters have seen and heard:

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LOOK OF THE DAY: MARION COTILLARD

Taking an edgy style risk, Marion Cotillard showed up at the Cannes Film Festival wearing a short Maison Martin Margiela couture dress made of bric-a-brac from a flea market.

The gamble paid off beautifully.

Cotillard was the star of the "Two Days, One Night" screening Tuesday by Belgian director-brothers Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne.

Cotillard's colorful minidress in silk organdy and pongee, which sported a turtleneck, was make of myriad bric-a-brac including screws, beads, buttons and bits of beer cans from Paris and Brussels.

It came from the Maison Martin Margiela spring-summer 2014 collection and took a reported 67 hours to make.

The marvelous look was the most inventive seen at the festival so far.

— By Thomas Adamson — http://twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

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'IT FOLLOWS' SCARES UP BUZZ

It can be hard to stand out amid the hundreds of screenings at Cannes' sprawling festival. But this year, a little American indie has captured international attention with well-crafted horror.

"It Follows," directed by David Robert Mitchell, has been arguably the buzziest American film at Cannes next to Bennett Miller's wrestling drama "Foxcatcher," which boasts a far more famous cast and a major premiere at the Palais des Festival. It's the second film by Mitchell, whose micro-budget "The Myth of the American Sleepover" was acclaimed for its tender teen drama.

The concept of "It Follows" is simple: a kind of curse is passed like a sexually transmitted disease, and whoever has it is trailed by an unknown evil. While the conceit (not an unfamiliar one to the genre) runs thin at times, the thickly atmospheric filmmaking — heavily influenced by the '80s horror of John Carpenter — rarely does, despite a shoestring budget. Newcomer Maika Monroe excels as the infected protagonist, but Mitchell is clearly an up-and-coming talent capable of energizing tired genres.

The film screened in Critics' Week section, a Cannes sidebar featuring films only from first- and second-time filmmakers. While horror is rarely represented at festivals like Cannes, the inclusion of "It Follows" — and the response it has provoked — proves it will be one for horror fans and art-house moviegoers alike to look for when it hits theaters. "It Follows" is shopping for distribution at Cannes.

— By AP Film Writer Jake Coyle — http://twitter.com/jake_coyle

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BLOODY YEAR FOR ANIMALS IN FILM

Faint-hearted animal lovers are advised to give this year's Cannes Film Festival selection a wide berth.

An unusually high number of films in the 2014 selection feature creatures that meet gruesome ends in long drawn-out sequences that are sometimes crucial to the plot.

The bunny-boiling-style moments have had audience members gasping, and, at times, covering their eyes.

— Abderrahmane Sissako's acclaimed "Timbuktu" movie started the trend. His movie's turning point hinges on a graphic moment when the protagonist's cherished cow, GPS, is fatally speared in the neck and suffers a slow death on screen.

— The slow-burning drama "Winter Sleep" from Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan uses the shooting of a rabbit to illustrate how the protagonist, Ayudin, begins to face reality. There's a close up of the rabbit on its side, fighting for life.

— In Naomi Kawase's Japanese film "Still the Water," several goats have their throats graphically slit and their blood drained.

— In David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars," a troubled child-star brat called Benjie Weiss accidently shoots his friend's dog dead, thinking the gun barrel is empty.

— In the "Un Certain Regard" section, Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo's film "White God" sees a loveable K-9 being mistreated and abandoned on the street.

But in "The Wonders" by Alice Rohrwacher, the animal world could be said to get its own back. In one scene where Alexandra Lungu has to put a bee in her mouth, the first-time actress admitted at a press conference that she got bitten.

— By Thomas Adamson — http://twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

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KAPOOR READY FOR GAY BOLLYWOOD

Could there be a gay love story in Bollywood? One of its biggest stars says it's time to explore it.

Sonam Kapoor spoke about the possibility in an interview where she lamented India's laws on homosexuality: Last year, its Supreme Court upheld a ban on gay sex.

"Well you know, unfortunately, in our country right now recently there is a law which does not, which basically had said that homosexuality is not legal which is very sad," she said.

She added that India's legal stance is contrary to its culture in which "it's completely all-right, it's completely OK to be gay."

Kapoor is in Cannes as an ambassador for the beauty brand L'Oreal. In an interview Monday, Kapoor talked about last year's Palme d'Or winner, "Blue Is the Warmest Color," a lesbian love story, and whether such a film could be made for Bollywood.

Kapoor believes if gays are depicted on film, it could help bring change in her country.

"We've regressed instead of progressing," she said. "I think movies can influence the way people think sometimes and if we do start making love stories or we start making movies about people who are amazing human beings, people who have done something in life, people who are inspirational who aren't necessarily only straight, I think people will start appreciating them more," she said. "So yeah, I think we need to expose India a little bit more so we should make more movies about them."

— By Cristina Jaleru — http://www.twitter.com/cristinelle7

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COTILLARD'S CHALLENGE

Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard has an unusual confession: She's always wanted to play a man on screen.

At a press conference Tuesday in Cannes for "Two Days, One Night," the 38-year-old star was asked about roles she would like to do but has not yet had a chance to play.

"I've always had a fascination with playing a man. Because it appears impossible to me, it excites me. So there you go," she said.

If this gender-bending role does one day materialize, it would not be the first time that a woman has played a man in a movie.

In 2007, Cate Blanchett played Bob Dylan in "I'm Not There," and Tilda Swinton famously swapped genders in the 1992 art-house film "Orlando."

— By Thomas Adamson — http://twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

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BRODY TO PLAY CHARLES V

Filming hasn't started yet, but Adrien Brody is already starting to think about how he'll research his latest role as a 16th century emperor.

The Oscar-winner has signed on to play Charles V in "Emperor," a Lee Tamahori film that explores the reign of the Roman Empire ruler. Brody appeared with Tamahori to talk up the film in Cannes.

"Now is the time to amass all the information and sit with it and let it become a part of me, and so we will do that and see what we come up with," he said in an interview Monday.

The film won't be a studious version of Charles V's time in power. Promotional materials promise a film that explores "wealth, debauchery, violent relations, sex, manipulation and treason" and Brody said it's not aiming to be a historical document.

"We're consolidating 35 years in to two. There will be a great deal of imagination in play here and that's what's exciting," he said.

While Brody was promoting "Emperor," he also has other projects in play: He said "American Heist" is being shown to buyers in the Cannes film market, he is starting a production company and has a movie, "Third Person," out in June.

— By Adam Egan

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EDITOR'S NOTE — "Cannes Watch" shows you the Cannes Film Festival and the events surrounding it through the eyes of Associated Press journalists across Cannes and around the world. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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