CANNES, France (Reuters) – French director Jacques Audiard was hailed at the Cannes film festival on Saturday for his grittily realistic prison thriller "A Prophet."
The film shows the gradual rise of a young prisoner and gives an unsparing picture of life in the rundown French jail system, whose bad conditions have prompted a wave of protests by jail staff in recent weeks.
However, Audiard, whose previous films include "De battre mon coeur s'est arrete" (The Beat my Heart Skipped) said his intent had been to make a thriller, not a social documentary or an attack the prison system.
"What interested me was taking a prison as a metaphor for society," he told a press conference after the film's loudly applauded first screening at Cannes.
"But I wasn't interested in denouncing anything, that would have taken me somewhere else. I really wanted to make a genre film with actors that weren't known," he said.