ONLY GOD FORGIVES Cannes Festival Panel with Kristin Scott Thomas

Julian, an American fugitive from justice, runs a boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his drug business.

His mother, the head of a vast criminal organization, arrives from the US to collect the body of her favorite son, Billy. Julian’s brother has just been killed after having savagely murdered a young prostitute. Crazy with rage and thirsty for vengeance she demands the heads of the murderers from Julian.

But first, Julian must confront Chang, a mysterious retired policeman – and figurehead of a divine justice – who has resolved to scourge the corrupt underworld of brothels and fight clubs.

The original concept for the film was to make a movie about a man who wants to fight God. That is, of course, a very vast obstacle but when I was writing the film, I was going through some very existential times in my life – we were expecting our second child and it was a difficult pregnancy – and the idea of having a character who wants to fight God without knowing why very much appealed to me.

With that as the concept, I elaborated by adding a character who believes he is God (Chang), obviously the antagonist, with the protagonist being a gangster who is looking for religion to believe in (Julian). This itself is, of course, very existential because faith is based on the need for a higher answer but most of the time, we don’t know what the question is. When the answer comes, then, we must backtrack our lives in order to find the question. In this way, the film is conceived as an answer, with the question revealed at the end.

Kristin Scott Thomas is an English actress who gained international recognition in the 1990s for her roles in Bitter Moon, Four Weddings and A Funeral, for which she won the BAFTA Film Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and The English Patient, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination as well as an Academy Award® nomination for Best Actress.

Her subsequent films include Gosford Park, Mission: Impossible, The Horse Whisperer, Keeping Mum, Nowhere Boy, Easy Virtue and Tell No One. In addition, she received many accolades for her performance in I’ve Loved You So Long, including BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress. In 2009 she starred in Leaving, earning a nomination for Best Actress at the César Awards and winning Best Actress at the Evening Standard British Film Award.

Recent credits include Sarah’s Key, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Bel Ami with Robert Pattinson, based on the 1885 novel by Guy de Maupassant, and the film adaption of douglas Kennedy’s novel, The Woman in the Fifth, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski.


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