Not to be outdone by Matt Damon, Sean Penn looked like he was crying at Saturday night’s premiere of “Flag Day.”
The drama received a four-minute standing ovation interrupted by remarks from Penn, who praised his daughter, Dylan Frances Penn, for her debut starring role in a film.
Penn undertakes double work in the film, as both director and actor playing John Vogel, a bank robber and swindler. The character’s birthday falls on June 14, thus inspiring the film’s title.
Dylan plays his daughter Jennifer, an aspiring journalist struggling with her broken relationship with her family.
“To this cast, this cast, this audience and especially this daughter ̵
“Flag Day” is based on Jennifer Vogel’s 2004 memoir. The film is a family affair for Penn. Dylan’s younger brother Hopper plays her character’s siblings on screen.
The film seemed to do better than Penn’s last outing in Cannes – for the drama “The Last Face” in 2016, which was criticized by critics.
But the screening of “Flag Day” at. 22 did not electrify the Palais audience in the same way as other films that have played in competition at the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival.
Audience members were seen sleeping in their seats, and a smattering of people made their way to the exit during the film’s slower second hour.
“This was a terrible movie,” an audience member said.
Jez Butterworth adapted the script. Penn has said in recent interviews that the property was developed with Dylan in mind. Julia Roberts’ husband Danny Mother served as director of photography.
“Flag Day” follows a series of emotional premieres at a festival that many in global cinema thought was impossible to stage as the world struggles with the coronavirus pandemic.
The spirits have been high. Damon burst into tears after the premiere of Tom McCarthy’s “Stillwater” on Wednesday night. At Friday night’s annual Chopard gathering, jury president Spike Lee, jury member Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain said they were overwhelmed by returning to major theater films after a year and a half in quarantine
“Flag Day” opens in restricted US theaters on August 20 from United Artists Releasing.
Pictured from left to right: Hopper Jack Penn, Dylan Penn, Sean Penn, Katheryn Winnick, Danny Mother and Beckam Crawford.