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Cannes: Clint Eastwood Says ‘We’ve Lost Our Sense of Humor’

Variety logo Variety 5/21/2017 Stewart Clarke
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Clint Eastwood told a rapturous Cannes audience on Sunday that he will return to acting in front of the camera. Eastwood was giving a master class at the Cannes Film Festival and received a three-minute ovation from those able to get in to the packed auditorium, in a crowd that included Warner Bros. boss Kevin Tsujihara.

The star notably did not address the political situation in the U.S., focusing on his long career in front of and behind the camera. He did say that his first “Dirty Harry” movie was considered politically incorrect, and was the start of an ongoing era of political correctness. “We’re killing ourselves by doing that, we’ve lost our sense of humor,” he said.

Having mostly eschewed acting for directing in recent years, Eastwood’s last on-screen performance was in 2012’s “The Trouble With the Curve.” He said he missed performing “once in a while but not often,” but added he plans to return at some point, “I did a lot of it for a long time. I’ll visit it again someday.”

Eastwood, 86, spoke about growing up in Depression-era America. “At 5 or 6, you didn’t notice and didn’t know any different,” he said. “Once you got old enough to understand the time, you realize how much you appreciate [your parents] because they had to go through that.”

He added: “Everyone thinks this last recession was bad, but they don’t know what it is like.”

Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan asked Eastwood about his reputation for relying on his gut as a director: “Your instincts are sometimes better than your intellect,” Eastwood said. “Intellectualizing, or pseudo-intellectualizing, can get you in a real box.

“Film is an emotional art form, not an intellectual art form at all.”

Asked about current movies and directors he admires, the star said that between working on recent projects, “American Sniper” and “Sully,” he has not gotten to see new movies, but he did recently revisit “Sunset Boulevard.”

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