“Armageddon Time,” which premiered Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival, takes audiences to the dawn of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, exploring issues of race and privilege in American society with a star-studded cast that includes Anne Hathaway, Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Strong and Jessica Chastain.
The film directed by James Gray is told through the eyes of young Paul Graff, played by Michael Banks Repeta. It tells the story of his friendship with Johnny, played by Jaylin Webb. Together, the two boys have big ambitions – but come up against inflexible social structures.
“It’s very emotional for me, it’s kind of my story,” Gray said in tears, to a standing ovation.
The 64-year-old director, who has had four other films compete at the festival in recent years, said it was his first time addressing an audience there.
Gray’s latest film, which is distributed by Comcast Corp’s Universal Pictures, is one of 21 films in the running for the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. It takes its title from a quote from Reagan, who is heard on television warning that this may be the generation that knows about Armageddon.
“We finished the movie on Saturday in total panic and flew this thing here, so you’re the very first people on Earth to see it,” Gray said, causing an eruption of cheers and applause in the theater. crowded.