Cannes. Making it on the roster is a sign of achievement and with the down-warding trend of quality coming out of Sundance, Cannes is now the first “major” event for cinemaholics. The biggest names, a massive line-up and a look ahead at to what the rest of us can expect to see playing festivals in the coming months.
It had previously been announced that Pixar’s Up would open the festival while Jan Kounen’s Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (the other film about the fashionista which boasts Mads Mikkelsen as Stravinsky) will close the event the announcement of the rest of this year’s line-up doesn’t show any immediate stand outs but closer inspection unveils some great material.
The reason for the immediate lack of “stand out” might be the absence of American filmmakers with the exception of Quentin Tarantino and his Inglourious Basterds and the US produced Taking Woodstock from Oscar winner Ang Lee but there are other gems here. Let’s take a peek:
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Almodóvar re-teams with recent muse Penélope Cruz for this thriller which sees the starlet as a killer plastic surgeon. I didn’t really much convincing beyond Almodóvar and Cruz together again.
Director: Andrea Arnold
I have yet to see Arnold’s Red Road which caused quite the commotion when it was released a few years ago but the Oscar winner is returning with this tale of a 15 year girl (new comer Katie Jarvis) whose life changes when her mother brings home a new man played by the excellent Michael Fassbender. It’s very vague but Fassbender is on my watch list.
Director: Jacques Audiard
The French director also wrote this story of a young Arab man who is sent to a French prison where he becomes a mafia kingpin. Audiard is not a newcomer to Cannes (he won Best Screenplay at Cannes 1996 with A Self-Made Hero) and I expect that this one, thought it sounds straight forward, has standout potential.
Director: Marco Bellocchio
Last year I was impressed by Il Divo (our review), and I’m hopeful that perhaps Bellocchio’s film about Mussolini’s secret lover, Ida Dalser, and their son Albino will be equally entertaining. I have my doubts (we’re not exactly talking about a young, up and coming director here) but I am curious.
Director: Jane Campion
The Oscar winning writer/director returns with a romance based on the three year relationship between John Keats and Fanny Brawne. As if Campion isn’t enough of an attraction, the film also stars talented young up and comers Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw.
Director: Xavier Giannoli
Not too much information on Giannoli’s film aside that it stars François Cluzet, Emmanuelle Devos, Stéphanie Sokolinski, Vincent Rottiers, Gérard Depardieu and tells the story of a con-man who is involved with a road-building scam until he falls in love with a woman who happens to be the mayor of a town through which the road is being built (or so I can make out from the film’s French description and the aid of an online translator).
Map of the Sounds of Tokyo
Director: Isabel Coixet
I’ve come to love Coixet’s films. My Life Without Me, The Secret Life of Words and recently Elegy (our review) have placed her squarely in the group of directors who I’ll watch direct anything but it helps when the material sounds this good.
Rinko Kikuchi stars in this dual-identity thriller in which she plays a fish market employee who is also a contract killer. Coixet is definitely treading new ground with this one and I can’t wait to see the result.
The White Ribbon
Director: Michael Haneke
The master of the mind-fuck returns with a story set in 1913 about a strange series of events that occur at a rural school in the North of Germany. I expect things aren’t as simple as the story implies but we’ll have to wait to see what he has in store for us this time.
Director: Ang Lee
The story of how Woodstock came to be should be an interesting one but I’ve already shared my thoughts on the film, the trailer for which seemed really bland, but who knows, maybe this has more going for it than I’m giving it credit for. We don’t have to wait much longer to find out.
Looking for Eric
Director: Ken Loach
The master returns with this charming looking comedy about a football fanatic postman who receives life coaching from the famously philosophical footballer Eric Cantona.
Director: Lou Ye
Little is known about Lou Ye’s new film aside from the fact that the Chinese director has once again defied the Chinese government by screening a film at Cannes without their permission. In 2006 the director screened Summer Palace without government approval, a move that got him banned. If nothing else, it should be interesting to see what he has to say this time around.
Director: Brillante Mendoza
I can’t find any information on Mendoza’s film but the Phillipino director has garnered praise and awards (including Lokarno).
Enter The Void
Director: Gaspar Noé
I’m not familiar with Noé’s work but if the stills are any indication, this is one of the film’s I’m most interested to see. The film stars Nathaniel Brown as a young man who, after his parents’ brutal death, promises to keep his sister safe at all costs. It may sound ordinary but the images are far from it.
Director: Park Chan-Wook
TPark Chan-Wook. A vampire tale. Nothing more to say other than it also stars the fabulous Kang-ho Song of The Good, the Bad, the Weird (our review) and The Host fame.
Les Herbes Folles
Director: Alain Resnais
A drama which retraces the encounter between a dentist and amateur pilot whose bag is snatched and its contents thrown across a car park, and a solitary man with a troubled past who retrieves her wallet.
To be honest, I could care less either way because it stars Mathieu Amalric and again, he’s one of these guys who I’ll watch in anything.
The Time That Remains
Director: Elia Suleiman
Suleiman’s film takes a look at the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 through to the present day. Perhaps not the most appealing of topics but one that is sure to be interesting.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
I’ve liked quite a few of Tarantino’s films but sometimes, the director is way off the mark for me thankfully, this doesn’t seem to be one of those times. Something about this film, about a group of Jewish-American soldiers whose mandate is to scare the pants out of the Third Reich by brutally killing them, looks awesome.
This one will, no doubt, open later this year but I’m interested to see what the critics make of it.
Director: Johnnie To
The prolific Johnnie To returns to stories of killers and assassins. His new tale tells the story of a French assassin-turned-chef who travels to Hong Kong to avenge a murder.
All I have to say is that it looks mighty nice and I’m not worried about missing it; I would put good money on the hunch that Tony Rayns’ will bring it to VIFF.
Director: Tsai Ming-liang
The director makes another trip to Cannes, this time around with a story of a Taiwanese film director who travels to the Louvre to shoot a film that explores the myth of Salomé. The film stars, in his second film in competition, Mathieu Amalric and French beauty Laetitia Casta as Salomé.
Director: Lars Von Trier
A couple, in the woods, trying to rebuild their relationship when nature takes a turn for the worst; basically everything that The Happening should have been. Add Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg into the mix and all I can say is “hell yes!”.
Also announced was the Un Certain Regard line-up which also features some fantastic looking films including Bong Joon Ho’s Mother, a collection of stories by a number of Romanian directors including Cristian Mungiu and Constantin Propescu titled Tales From The Golden Age, Denis Dercourt’s (of The Page Turner fame) return and Lee Daniel’s Precious which garnered much love earlier this year at Sundance when it premiered under the title Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire.
Un Certain Regard
Le père de mes enfants – Mia Hansen-Løve
Police, Adjective – Corneliu Porumboiu
Air Doll – Hirokazu Kore-Eda
Adrift – Heitor Dhalia
Nymph – Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
Independence – Raya Martin (Watch the trailer)
Demaine Dès L’Aube – Denis Dercourt
Eyes Wide Open – Haim Tabakman
The Silent Army – Jean van de Velde
Precious – Lee Daniels
Samson & Delilah – Warwick Thornton (Watch the Trailer)
Tale In The Darkness – Nikolay Khomeriki
The Wind Journeys – Ciro Guerra (Watch the Trailer)
Nobody Knows About The Persian Cats – Bahman Ghobadi
Tzar – Pavel Lounguine
Dogtooth – Giorgos Lanthimos
To Die Like A Man – João Pedro Rodrigues
Mother – Bong Joon-ho (Watch the Trailer)
Irene – Alain Cavalier
Tales From The Golden Age – Hanno Hofer, Razvan Marculescu, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Propescu, Ioanna Uricaru (Additional Details)
More, you say? How about the titles selected for the Director’s Fortnight? We’ve got those too.
Go Get Some Rosemary – Benny and Josh Safdie
La Pivellina – Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel
Yuki & Nina – Nobuhiro Suwa and Hyppolyte Girardot
I Love You Philip Morris – Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Watch the Trailer)
Ajami – Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani
Polytechnique – Denis Villeneueve (Watch the Trailer)
La Terre De La Folie – Luc Moullet
Ne Change Rien – Pedro Costa
Like You Know It All – Hong San-Soo
Les Beaux Gosses – Riad Sattouf
Eastern Plays – Kamen Kalev
Daniel Y Ana – Michel Franco
Here – Tzu-Nyen Ho
La Famille Wolberg – Axelle Ropert
Karoake – Chain Fui (Chris) Chong
Ajami – Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani
And of course, the mandatory mention of this year’s Cannes Jury which was quite the talk of the Row Three emails going back and forth yesterday, namely because of the inclusion of one Asia Argento. Not sure what the hubbub was all about (I don’t have any problems with her inclusion) but I think Kurt’s response was “Oi!”. Leading the jury is French actress Isabelle Huppert, only the fourth woman to have led a jury, Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan, American director James Gray, Korean writer/director Lee Chang-Dong, English writer Hanif Kureishi, actress Robin Wright Penn and Taiwanese actress Shu Qi.