The list of films in competition at 2016 Cannes festival has been unveiled. If no African director is listed, two films from the continent will nevertheless participate in the festival’s off, and all hopes for a Golden Palm rests on a Tunisian short film.
In less than a month, all eyes will be on the red carpet and large screens of the 69th ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival, to be held from May 11 to 22. Meanwhile, the suspense around competition of feature films was lifted Thursday, April 14 at the highly anticipated annual press conference, revealing the famous official selection. Of the 20 competing films, none is African. But the continent will not in the least remain absent from the Croisette, and a Tunisian short film has attracted the organizers.
South Africa Sean Penn, Egypt and Chad out of competition
The film The Last Face, Sean Penn, is among this year’s candidates for the prestigious list. Shot in Cape Town, South Africa, this feature film tells the love story between a doctor engaged in a humanitarian organization in Liberia and another doctor of the organization. Featuring Javier Bardem, Charlize Theron, Adele Exarchopoulos but also the Zimbabwean actress Sibongile Mlambo or the Kenyan-born actress and mannequin Ebby Weyime.
Africa will be represented out of competition, in the “Un certain regard” category (a section derived from the official selection that highlights the work of lesser-known directors) and “Special Session”. Moviegoers will indeed find the Eshtebak movies, by the Egyptian Mohamed Diab and Hissen Habré, a Chadian tragedy, by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.
At the end of the press conference, an Egyptian reporter asked why no Arab film included in competition. “An Egyptian film is part of the official selection (…) And it is often the films that will be part of films in competition in the coming years,” responded to Thierry Fremaux, delegate-general of the festival.
As for the names of the Fifteen Directors, it will take a week to discover them.
A Tunisian short film in official competition
The Tunisian short film The wool on the back (15 minutes), by the director Lotfi Achour, with Tunisian actress Anissa Daoud and songwriter Jawhar Basti, is also part of the official selection of the festival. In 2014, Lotfi Achour had already won the prize for best short film in the Arab world at the International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi (ADFF) United Arab Emirates with his film Père.
The Selection of the short films includes ten competing films from out of about
5000 received by “Cannes Short Film”.
A festival under high security
The Cannes Film Festival will be surrounded by the “highest level of security possible” across the city, announced the Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and the Mayor of Cannes David Lisnard in a statement. The move comes, they remind us, “in the context of terrorist threat that everyone has in mind. ”
– By Rebecca Chaouch