The Cannes Film Festival made public Thursday the films contesting in the 69th competition, which opens next month.
The dice have now been thrown in the run up to the awards ceremony on 22nd May and as the Festival’s artisitic Thierry Frémaux says, “we take risks in our selection, we love the films we choose and we never have regrets. No matter how they fare at the Festival.”
In Competition Films
Among the 20 films in competition are Andrea Arnold, Pedro Almodóvar, Xavier Dolan, Jim Jarmusch, Ken Loach, Olivier Assayas, Jeff Nichols, Brillante Mendoza, Cristian Mungiu and Nicolas Winding Refn.
The list of 20 films vying for the Golden Palm made public on Thursday in Paris, is a mixture of European, North American and East Asian cinema notably, and with one film from Latin America, from Brazil, ‘Aquarius’ by Kleber Mendonça Filho.
Some of the films in competition are from regulars whose films fit the social-realism bill in style as well as in content, like Britain’s Ken Loach ‘I, Daniel Blake’ or the Belgian Dardennes brothers, ‘The Unknown Girl’.
Some are known for their experimental style, like 63 year-old US film maker Jim Jarmusch, whose film ‘Paterson’ stars US actor Adam Driver and Iranian actress Golsh-ifteh Fara-hani. Jarmusch’s documentary on Iggy Pop will also be screened at Cannes, out of competition.
Nationality is a tricky thing in cinema and in recent years, the Cannes Film Festival has steered away from cataloguing its choices under a national flag.
This year it’s different, but how Canadian is a film by Canadian director from Québec, 27 year-old Xavier Dolan, whose crew includes a batch of famous French actors including Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Nathalie Baye, Léa Seydoux and Gaspard Ulliel for ‘It’s Only the End of the World’, an adaptation of a stage play by Jean-Luc Lagarce?
How French is French director Olivier Assayas ‘Personal Shopper’ starring US Hollywood darling Kristen Stewart (also performing in the opening film ‘Café Society’ by Woody Allen) and Norwegian Anders Danielsen Lie?
How American is US actor-director Sean Penn’s ‘The Last Face’, set in Liberia and staring US-South African actress Charlize Theron and Spanish Javier Bardem?
French directors and actors
French directors and actors are indeed quite prominent in this year’s Cannes competitions, the Golden Palm or Un certain regard.
More than usual, not so says Thierry Frémaux who told RFI that “three to four French films are always selected, it’s nothing new.”
Apart from the actors cast in films directed by North Americans, and Assayas, Cannes award-winner Bruno Dumont is back with hopes for gold with ‘Ma Loute’ or ‘Slack Bay’, Nicole Garcia with ‘Mal de Pierres’ or ‘From the Land of the Moon’ and the fourth French entry Alain Guiraudie with ‘Rester Vertical’ or ‘Staying Vertical’. In Un certain regard, which also gives out awards, there’s the Coulin sisters ‘Voir du Pays’, Stéphanie di Giusto’s ‘La Danseuse’ or ‘The Dancer’.
The ‘Un Certain Regard’ section fills in some geographical gaps, including a film from Japan by Hirokazu Kore-eda, After the Storm, Iran by Behnam Behzadi, Inversion, one from Egyptian Mohamed Diab, ‘Clash’, one Israeli film by Eran Kolirin and one Israelo-Palestinian film by Maha Haj which is one of the seven first feature films out of the total 17 in this section.
There is also one film from each of the following Argentina, Finland, Italy, Russia, Singapore and Spain, as well as a rare species in either competition, an animation film from The Netherlands by Michael Dudok de Wit called The Red Turtle.
Among the several films out of competition, in the so-called special screenings, an African-interest film in the form of a documentary by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun from Chad, called Hissen Habré une tragédie Chadienne.
The line-ups are where the excitement starts to build for Cannes. Less than four weeks to go before the red carpet is rolled out, and Woody Allen’s Cafe Society starring Kristen Stewart opens the Festival on 11th May.
– Rosslyn Hyams