Festival De Cannes won't stop until something for everyone has graced its screen. At least, that's how it feels this week. From Wes Anderson's highly anticipated The French Dispatch; to Leos Carax's bezerk musical, Annette; to Paul Verhoeven's horny lesbian nunsploitation thriller, Benedetta, Cannes Film Festival 2021 has a line up like none other, and joining the program, is Val Kilmer's Val, a tender, brave, self-produced, self-filmed documentary of the actors expansive career.
Starting production through his childhood and into his teens, Kilmer has been shooting moments of his life through his own eyes since then, snippets of documentation of his experiences, from his roles as Doc Holliday, Batman, Jim Morrison, and Iceman, to his marriage which subsequently crumbled, to his fight with throat cancer which has rendered him almost completely unable to speak.
Kilmer partnered with directors and editors Leo Scott and Ting Po a few years back to begin sifting through the lifetime of footage the actor collected. The result of which, is told to be a look at the actor’s career and personal life in the spotlight, with all of the human condition on display, seen almost entirely though his eyes.
"I always felt that the stories behind the stories we were telling would make a great film. Reading between the lines chronicling the life of an actor." Kilmer told Vulture in an interview. "Life is a spiritual journey and my goal is to live in the moment. Being present-minded has taken me to places of the extreme, both light and dark. I’ve always had an opinion about the stories we were telling and this often led to a healthy amount of creative tension." He said, touching on his goals for the film, and his feelings towards being labelled as misunderstood as an actor. "But things aren’t always adversarial. I’ve had wonderful collaborations with filmmakers."