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Cannes: Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey Talk ‘Mud’

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Cannes: Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey Talk ‘Mud’
Photo Source: Getty Images
Sunday was the last day of the Cannes Film Festival, but in the minds of festival-goers Saturday might have well as been the end.

The overcrowded press room, where it has been impossible to find a seat all week, was eerily empty, and walking around the Croisette was no longer a traffic jam of people.

I spent the morning sitting down with New York University graduate Matthew James Reilly, a short film director, who's film "Abigail," won second-prize from the Cinéfonation, a sidebar of the festival for student short films.

Other awards were announced as well on Saturday including the prizes for the Un Certain Regard selection. The main Prize went to Michel Franco for his film "Después de Lucia," and a Special Jury Prize was given to "Le Grand Soir" by Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern.

"This was an extraordinarily strong group of films and our deliberations were passionate," Tim Roth, president of the Un Certain Regard jury, said. "The filmmakers never once failed us."

The Official Selection screenings weren't over, however, and after my interview with Reilly, I headed straight for the press conference for Jeff Nichols' "Mud," starring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey.

Set on the Mississippi River, the film tells the story of a boy and his friend who come across Mud (McConaughey), a man on the run for a crime who has come back to the area to find the love of his life Juniper (Witherspoon).
For Witherspoon, the film's authentic portrayal of the American South was important.

"There's very few movies about the American South that are accurate, and I feel like this is one them," Witherspoon said. "I grew up with my brother in a creek on a dirt bike riding around, doing motocross, down in the dirt, fishing in Tennessee. So, when I read Jeff's script, it just felt like home."

McConaughey was attracted to the central theme of love.

"I loved revisiting the first time you fall in love," he said. "It is often ruthless. My character has his head in the clouds. If he were to come back down to earth, he'd die of a broken heart."

The film seemed to be universally enjoyed by all, and most critics agreed that it was a good way to wrap up the festival.

Of course, even in Cannes after the last premiere of competition films, there is always something else to do. Elijah Wood's new movie "Maniac" premiered out of competition in a midnight screening to the delight of fans of art-house slasher flicks.

For those who needed to get in any last minute Cannes partying, the clubs on the Croisette were winding down. (Nikki Beach had no private parties, so it closed early, as did the Majestic.) But filmmakers overflowed onto the sidewalks from bars off side streets, proving that no matter how far along the festival is, there are always going to be people partying until 7 a.m.

It just wouldn't be the Cannes Film Festival without late movies and even later parties.

Keep up with all the fun at the Cannes Film Festival by checking out daily reports on BackStage.com, and follow @BackStageCast on Twitter for live updates.

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