That's what Miramax and director Fernando Meirelles are hoping.
"I was thinking to myself 'maybe we shouldn't have done this.' There's an enormous amount of pressure that goes along with opening night," Battsek says now.
Perhaps the fact that he had so much success at Cannes 2007 with "No Country For Old Men" and "The Diving Bell And The Butterfly" had something to do with the decision to accept the daunting task of opening the 2008 edition.
Certainly the history of Cannes is littered with opening night critical disappointments. "The Da Vinci Code," anyone? How about "Vatel?" Anyone remember 2003's "Fanfan la Tulipe?" (It never even got a US release).
Critical response to "Blindness" at Cannes was mixed at best, including a good notice from The Guardian, but the Hollywood trade papers weren't kind.
"The personal and mass chaos that would result if the human race lost its sense of vision is conveyed with diminished impact and an excess of stylish tics," said Variety's reviewer.
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"Provocative cinema. But it is also predictable cinema," wrote the Hollywood Reporter.
Despite the naysayers, the film was still received with the usual standing ovation from the opening night audience but for director Fernando Meirelles who rushed post-production to make the date, he knew then the movie still needed work.
"The first time I watched the film, as unbelievable as it sounds,was in Cannes! We were really rushing to finish the film by May 23rd but they said 'No, you have to come to the opening night on the 14th' which took ten days out of our schedule, " he told us by phone from Sao Paulo Brazil just before boarding a plane for Toronto on Wednesday. "It was a pity because I didn't have time to finish the film and really see it before it showed."
He points out that Walter Salles finished his competition entry just the night before its showing and the previous year Wong Kar Wai only completed his film the DAY of its premiere. Another 2008 Cannes entry, Steven Soderbergh's "Che" has reportedly been cut by 17 minutes pre-Toronto (which many critics who panned it on the French Riviera might hope is just the beginning of trims for the bloated two part epic).
In Meirelles' case the Cannes experience convinced him to take "Blindness" back into editing for another three weeks of work, remixing the soundtrack, doing extensive color correction and adding scenes to the beginning of the film where all the characters start to go blind. He has also jettisoned what Variety referred to as Danny Glover's "incessant voiceover narration" which gave the film a different vibe.
"The book is so open I originally thought with V.O. it would add a second layer to the images but there was a lot of doubt about it. The screenwriter Don McKellar didn't like the idea but we tried it anyway. Now I feel the film is more true to the ( Jose Saramago) book," he says.
Meirelles also noted that because the audio was done in Brazil and the original color correction work in Toronto, that all the elements of the movie came together in Cannes at the very last minute. When he saw it projected in the Palais that glamorous May evening he was shocked at how dark the print was.
The new version is only about 30 seconds shorter but that's because the added scenes and deleted scenes (due to the excision of the narration) pretty much cancelled each other out.
The director is hoping Toronto film fest critics and audiences will appreciate it more with the changes.
"It recently premiered in Brazil with positive reviews and response and will be going to the Tokyo Festival too. It seems to be a totally different film. The audiences don't see it as politic or a thriller. They understand it's a metaphor about our universe," he said.
To ensure the press corps gets it, critics are being invited to Saturday night's North American premiere (at the Elgin) instead of the usual press screening. Meirelles thinks there's a certain emotional energy that you get in a packed movie house that critics don't normally have in small screening rooms.
For his part Battsek is very hopeful the reception in Toronto will be warmer than Cannes and helps launch "Blindness" which opens in the U.S. on September 26th into the fall awards season. He says the studio will campaign it , especially for Julianne Moore's fearless and luminous performance.
But Meirelles, who was nominated Best Director for "City Of God" and saw his "The Constant Gardner" win an Oscar for Rachel Weisz, isn't thinking about that.
"Awards are like a bonus. I don't do films to get awards. I work in Brazil. It's not like it is in L.A. American press starts talking about ( Oscars) in August. It adds pressure. That's not a good thing," he says.
Pressure is something Fernando Meirelles knows well.