Friday, April 20, 2007

Cannes 60: The Jury. The Films. The Competition

What will lucky travellers see at Cannes this year? What films will we hear reactions to very very soon...

My Blueberry Nights Wong Kar Wai's first English language feature --a road movie starring Norah Jones and several famous actors including Jude Law and Natalie Portman.

The Age of Darkness is a comedy about a civil servant with a highly active imagination from Canadian writer/director Denys Arcand. Arcand is a Cannes and Oscar fixture for films like Jesus of Montreal and The Barbarian Invasions. This film stars Marc Labrèche and features and appearance by Rufus Wainwright as a young prince.

GALA (Not in Competition)
Sicko Michael Moore's documentary expose on the Heath Care industry (good topic choice, right? Should provoke lots of anger)
Ocean's Thirteen by Steven Soderbergh. They usually have at least one commercial effort that gets a high profile. This ensures a high American movie star contingency showing up...or at least 13 of them.
A Mighty Heart Michael Winterbottom directs Angelina Jolie as Marianne Pearl, wife of the slain journalist Daniel in this true story. Can she snag an Oscar nom for playing a real person (that's usually strong bait for AMPAS regardless) ?

British director Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dangerous Liaisons) heads the international prize giving group which also includes actors Michel Piccoli (La Belle Noiseuse) from France, film experience fav' Toni Collette from Australia, Canadian Sarah Polley (who is moving into directing now with Away From Her), Cannes winner Maggie Cheung (Clean, In the Mood for Love) from Hong Kong, and Maria De Medeiros (Pulp Fiction, Henry & June) from Portugal, Italian director Marco Bellochio (My Mother's Smile, Good Morning Night) and nobel prize winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk.

They'll be choosing from the films playing...


Une Vieille Maitresse by provocatrice Catherine Breillat. Her most recent film was Anatomy of Hell but she's most famous for Fat Girl (France)
Les Chansons d'amour a musical by provocateur Christophe Honoré who gained fame from films like the incest drama Ma Mére with Isabelle Huppert. This film stars The Dreamers Louis Garrel and Swimming Pool's Ludivine Sagnier (France)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Before Night Falls artist turned auteur Julian Schnabel. If memory serve this biopic of editor Jean-Dominique Bauby (who suffered a stroke that paralyzed his entire body) was once slated to star Johnny Depp. Obviously that version didn't happen but we've got a fine actor in his place. It's now Mathieu Almaric, who starred in Kings and Queen (tfe top ten list 2005), in the lead role. (France)
Auf der anderen Seite des Lebens by Fatih Akin. He made an international splash with the strong erotic drama Head On a few years ago and if you haven't seen that one. By all means, rent it. (Turkey)
No Country For Old Men by The Coen Brothers. They have fallen out of favor since the heady days of Fargo. Can they regain their cultural capital? This is an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel and stars Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem (US)
Zodiac by David Fincher (US) my review

We Own The Night by The Yards director James Gray. This movie is about a nightclub manager who must save his family from the Russian mafia. Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, and Robert Duvall star. (US)
Mogari No Mor by Golden Camera winning director Naomi Kawase (Japan)
Promise Me This by award gobbling Emir Kusturica (Underground, When Father Was Away on Business) who has won the Golden Palm twice (Serbia)
Secret Sunshine a romantic comedy by Lee Chang-dong of Oasis fame (South Korea)
4 luni, 3 saptamini si 2 zile by Cristian Mungiu who had a strong festival run with Occident in 2002 (Romania)
Tehilim by Raphael Nadjari (France)
Silent Light by Battle in Heaven bad boy Carlos Reygadas (Mexico)
Persepolis an animated adaptation of the famous graphic novel (pictured to your left) about an Iranian girl directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud with the voices of Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Chiara Mastroianni and Gena Rowlands (France)

Import/Export by Ulrich Seidl (Austria)
Alexandra by Aleksandr Sokurov who had his biggest success with the technical bravura of Russian Ark five years ago. His films Father and Son and Molokh took home prizes at Cannes in past years. (Russia)
Death Proof by Quentin Tarantino. I've already said my bit here (US)
The Man From London by the influential Bela Tarr. A switchman at a railway station witnesses a murder. Tilda Swinton appears. In what role I know not. But she's there. And it should be noted don't you think? (Hungary)
Paranoid Park by Gus Van Sant who took two prizes at Cannes for Elephant in 2003. Here he's adapting a Blake Nelson novel about a teenager who commits an accidental crime. (US)
The Banishment by Andrey Zvyagintsev who made the well received father/son drama The Return (Russia)
Breath (pictured) by Kim Ki-Duk who directed the exquisite spring, summer, fall, winter...and spring (tfe top ten list 2004) among many others. This one is about a distraught woman who visits a death row inmate repeatedly. She decorates his cell using the seasonal motifs (South Korea)

* Any predictions as to which films Toni, Stephen, Maggie, Orhan et al. will favor?

[You can read more info --there's lots more-- at European Films, Twitch and GreenCine amongst other fine sites]


Naughty Jean-Baptiste said...

The lineup is orgasmic. No other word for it.

Anonymous said...

One slight correction: Fatih Akin's entry comes from Germany, not from Turkey.

We Germans tend to be rather pettish about that. Especially since German entries in Cannes have been extremely rare in the past 20 years or so...


hmmm, it's listed as Turkey on the list I culled this from. Isn't Faith Turkish working in Germany?

it's all very confusing since My Blueberry Nights is listed as Hong Kong but it's in English and set in the US.


and by Faith I meant Fatih.

Anonymous said...

Whether or not it wins anything at Cannes, I predict that the Coens are going to regain major critical favor with this one.

Oh, and Fincher will win the Directing prize.

Anonymous said...

Well, the title is definitely German (it translates as On the Other Side of Life), it's been on the news here as a German entry and I know it's co-starring Hanna Schygulla, so it's a fair guess it is actually German.

And Fatih Akin is in fact German, born and bred in Hamburg. His parents immigrated to Germany some time in the the 60s.

Anonymous said...

The list looks wonderful.

Nat, you missed Kim Ki-Duk's Breath in the lineup. Some news release actually missed this too, but it is in the official Cannes press kit.

adam k. said...

What an interesting jury. And Cannes always has cool winners.

My Blueberry Nights sounds so bizarre. An American film from contemplative Asian Wong Kar Wai, with Norah Jones and lots of famous pretty people? And with that title? It sounds like it could be major oscar bait if not for the title.

And I'd like to think a VERY famous star + real person role + good director = awardsy role. We'll see.

adam k. said...

That last part was in reference to Jolie and A Might Heart. In case that wasn't clear.


Whiplash Willi, thanks for clearing that up to my non fact-checking self. apologies. I really liked Head On. Hope this movie is as strong.

I did miss the Ki-Duk so i'll have to add it.oops

Anonymous said...

I'm really surprised that Hou Hsiao-hsien's Red Balloon, with Juliette Binoche, didn't make it in. You would think Hou + shot in France = Cannes catnip.

Anonymous said...

No reason to apologize, some part of secretly enjoys nitpicking, so you probably even did me a favour.

Must be a German thing.

Boyd said...

Fatih's film is actually both Turkish and German, though it is a majority Turkish co-production (i.e. the biggest share of the money came from Turkey); the Turkish titles is
Yasamin kiyisinda.

It's definitely the film I'm most psyched to see in Cannes... though I'm also looking forward to the Christophe Honoré musical (must check whether Louis Garrel succeeds in dropping his pants even in an all-singing, all-dancing environment); the Breillat (always provocative, plus it's a period piece and I'm a sucker for those); the Kusturica and the Van Sant.


i know we are never privy to this sort of info but I'm already dying to know what Toni Collette thinks about every single film ;)

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see Sicko is going to debut at Cannes. According to a new Moore biography, Citizen Moore (RDR Books) this film is likely to ignite the health care debate going in to the 2008 election. Moore suggests that America doesn't have national health care because we don't look out for one another. In other words if you've got cancer, that's your problem. While this is arguable there is no doubt that Americans pay more per capita than any other country, even though our infant mortality rates are higher and longevity is lower than countries like Japan, Germany and Sweden.

Glenn Dunks said...

You also didn't mention that freakin' DEATH PROOF is in competition. With added scenes and minus artificial scratches and missing reels and all that stuff apparently.


yeah death proof is mentioned. i only gave it one line though.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Technically I'm not the world's biggest Wong Kar-wai fan (and I hold no affection whatsoever for Norah Jones or Jude Law) but I admire all his work so far enough to always be excited for his next movie.

On the other hand I *am* the world's biggest fan of the Coen Brothers (despite the recent slump, I won't let go of my optimism), Kim Ki-duk and Emir Kusturica, so I won't be able to sleep until I see each of their films, which - considering Australian distribution patterns - will probably be May next year. Oh well.

Also, Persepolis looks very promising (mostly since I'm a budding graphic novel junkie), as does Fatih Akin's new one.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Oh, and I'd also be excited for any new movie by Michael Winterbottom, unless it has a title like "A Mighty Heart" (I can already hear the trailers proclaiming it a triumph of the human spirit and listing the various Oscar and Golden Globe nominations among the cast and crew), or if it stars a Hollywood couple with flawless skin.

Glenn Dunks said...

Who is this James Gray man and why is his third film (We Own The Night) his second film in competition for the Palme d'Or (after The Yards). I didn't even think The Yards was meant to be any good. Hmmm.

The Chemistry Guru said...

Re: Michael Winterbottom

9 Songs has to be the worst film ever.

Anonymous said...

Wong Kar Wai regular's Chang Chen will be the convicted prisoner in Kim Ki-duk's new BREATH. I think this is another pretty good reason to wait for this film. In the meantime I suggest everybody who admire this actor to not to miss his perf in THE GO MASTER, directed by the festival favourite Tian Zhuangzhuang.
Mirko S.


kokodee --agreed on 9 songs. awful. but winterbottom does have some interesting films, too. he's as prolific as woody allen

mirko --thanks for the tip. i had no idea but i like chang chen

Glenn Dunks said...

He may indeed be as prolific as Allen, but he's as prolific as Allen in his awful phase.

I'm sure it's just my adverse reaction to pretty much everything Winterbottom makes, but I can't stand them (yet I still watch them hoping to finally find something to like). I didn't even like Tristram Shandy, and that was sad because I so thought I would.

Unknown said...

I have no idea who might win prizes with this jury, but I'm most excited to see the films by Tarr, Lee and Van Sant myself.

In the Un Certain Regard section I'm most curious about the new Harmony Kormine film and the Singapore-set Pleasure Factory, Ekachai Uekrongtham's follow-up to Beautiful Boxer.

I imagine this will all be altered by the reviews when they start to come out.

Anonymous said...

James Gray's film is the best one in the competition lineup. Hands down. "The Yards" is a pretty damn good movie, too. Now that Gray's cut is available on DVD, watch it, Kamikaze!

Anonymous said...

Now that he's getting the awards, the Germans claim Fatih Akın is German. If he wasn't successful in the film industry, he would be just another immigrant.
By the way, the lead is Nurgul Yesilcay, not Hanna Schygulla, and the language is Turkish, but it's a co-production. Just check the credits.