Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cannes is Coming. Tilda Fashion to Follow

World cinema fans can start salivating. The world's most famous film festival -- the Olympics of film? Only without those human rights squabbles and torch marathons -- kicks off next month. The question you're undoubtedly asking is this:

W.W.T.W ?
What Will Tilda Wear?

I kid. I kid. It wouldn't be Cannes without her but fashion can wait. For now we drool on the unseen films from an international who's who of filmmakers. There's a hundred plus more than those listed here of course: film markets, multiple sidebars, etcetera but here are the headliners.


La Mujer Sin Cabeza (Woman Without A Head) [Argentina]
Lucrecia Martel (pictured left) is definitely one to watch for the prizes. She's previously directed the extraordinarly well received La Ciénaga and The Holy Girl. I haven't seen the former but the latter was riveting and uniquely its own. Queue it.
Pablo Trapero directs this story of a convicted woman struggling to raise her son from within prison. Sounds like it offer up a meaty role for its lead actress.
Le Silence De Lorna (The Silence of Lorna) [Belgium]
This if from the Brothers Dardenne (Jean-Pierre & Luc, s'il vous plait) who Cannes truly loves giving them multiple wins in the past for Rosetta, Le Fils and L'Enfant. Belgium usually submits their films for Oscar consideration, but AMPAS ignores. The critical community has a decidedly different response. Watch for it to win something... best actress for Arta Dobroshi, the title character perhaps? Just speculatin'
Linha de Passe (Line of Passage) [Brazil]
Famed Brazilian auteur Walter Salles (pictured left. He made Central Station and The Motorcycle Diaries among others) co-directs this one with Daniela Thomas. It's about a group of poverty-stricken brothers playing amateur soccer in the outskirts of São Paulo.
Atom Egoyan hasn't really taken the film world unanimously by storm since The Sweet Hereafter (1997) Bonne chance. I have to say straightaway that the cast raises eyebrows: Scott Speedman and Rachel Blanchard starring in an Egoyan flick...together? Aside from the Canada connection...

24 City [China]
Jia Zhangke, born in the Shanxi province of China has made quite a name for himself with cinephiles for his work on The Platform, Still Life, The World and more. Will this film continue to cement his reputation?
La Frontiere De l'Aube (The Frontier Of Dawn) [France]
Philipe Garrel (Regular Lovers) directs his ubiquitous movie star son Louis (pictured left) in this new film. Seriously... Louis Garrel is in every French movie that makes it to the States these days. This is Garrel's (the senior) first time in the competitive lineup.
Un Conte de Noel (A Christmas Tale) by Arnaud Desplechin [France]
Arnaud Desplechin, who made the amazing and complex Kings & Queen (queue it!) returns with a film featuring much of the same cast. Wheeeeeee! or Oui! (they mean the same thing to me)
The Palermo Shooting [Germany]
This is from Wim Wenders, of Wings of Desire (1987) fame. Milla Jovovich and Dennis Hopper headline.
This film comes from frequent festival awards magnet, actor/director Kornél Mundruczó (pictured right). It's about a brother and sister reunited as adults in their birth village.
Waltz With Bashir [Israel]
Ari Folman wrote and directed this animated feature which is in Hebrew and German. For the curious: No, this isn't a first. No animated film has won the Palme D'Or, but they've competed before... most recently with Persepolis which tied for the Jury Prize at least year's festival.
Matteo Garrone (of First Love and The Embalmer fame) directs yet another film about Italian crime families. I shudder to think how many have been made just in my lifetime, let alone before.
Il Divo [Italy]
This biopic from Paolo Sorrentino is about Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti. Toni Servillo has the lead role. Their last collaboration (The Consequences of Love) netted Servillo various Best Actor awards.

Serbis (Service) [Philippines]
Brillante Mendoza (pictured left, who is sometimes referred to as "Dante") started directing features prolifically in 2005. Most of his films, including this one, have gay themes. His most well known is probably The Masseur. He gets his first competition spot @ Cannes with this film and it's the first Filipino film to make the competitive lineup in nearly a quarter century. This one is about male movie house prostitutes. --Thanks to various Pinoy readers for the info!
My Magic [Singapore]
Director Eric Khoo is probably most well known previously for the festival film Be With Me (2005).
Uc Maymun (The Three Monkeys) [Turkey]
Nuri Bilge Ceylan, who made some critical waves with Distant (2002) returns to the fest.
Che [United States]
Steven Soderbergh brings his Che Guevera biopic to France. Is this The Argentine and Guerilla together (they were reportedly being split up for American consumption) as one Lawrence of Arabia length spectacle?
Synecdoche, New York [United States]
Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman and a huge ensemble of great actresses. We slobbered all over it in a previous post
Changeling [United States]
Clint Eastwood and everyone's favorite globe-trotter Angelina Jolie will have the red carpet alight with a bajillion paparrazi flashbulbs. No, much more than that. Since it's Eastwood and Jolie you'll be hearing about this film on this and every other outlet you'll be sick of it by the time it is or isn't nominated for a heap of Oscars.

O U T * O F * C O M P E T I T I O N

The politics of who gets into and who is still prominently featured despite being outside of the competition are always unbeknownst to me. At any rate, here we'll see Kim Jee-Woon's 1930s western The Good, The Bad, The Weird from South Korea and Woody Allen's star-studded romantic dramedy (Cannes still loves him) Vicky Cristina Barcelona. I'm still a little disappointed in the way the release of Match Point was handled. It was Woody's biggest hit in quite a long while but it could have been even bigger with both Oscar and the general public. It was so mismanaged, shoved in for last minute Oscar consideration instead of capitalizing on its Cannes buzz with an early fall release. Hopefully, should reception of VCB be as rapturous across the Atlantic, the Weinstein's won't sit on the film. I know I know... that's a lot to hope for. The wannabe blockbusters that will be featured outside the competition (there's always a couple) are Kung Fu Panda --but will anything be a real competitor for Pixar's Wall•E (previous post) at the box office or at the Oscars next winter? -- and Steven Spielberg's fourth adventurous anthropologist film: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

P L E A S E * N O T E

We haven't heard all of the Cannes news yet. They've whittled 1692 (!) submissions down to the films selected for competition above (their eyes, their eyes, poor things) but there's generally one or two more last minute additions. Plus, they still haven't announced the coveted Opening or Closing night slots. We'll talk about the festival jury tomorrow. How confident do you feel about this lineup above?

Here's the official site of the festival.


Anonymous said...

The boys in "Linha de passe" play soccer in fact.

P.S.: I'm sad about Claire Denis' "White material" absence, but REALLY happy with the inclusion of Lucrecia Martel's "La mujer sin cabeza".

Anonymous said...

...(helping Nathaniel)...

"Linha de passe" follows five boys struggling for social ascension in the world of amateur soccer in São Paulo's poor periphery.

Anonymous said...

Barry Leinson's WHAT JUST HAPPENED is sais to be the movie of Closing....

Anonymous said...

I've heard rumors from Awards Daily(a trusted poster there who works for a french film magazine, I believe)that the opening night selection will either be Blindness, Australia, or In the Electric Mist and that we should find out for sure in less than a week.

He said (Nat, I know you're a member of AD so you can go and verify this yourself) that Australia at this point is looking to be the most likely to open right now.

It's looking like Blindness won't be ready in time.


hmmm. odd. since blindness is due in theaters earlier than australia. ah, the strange convultions of oscar strategies.

Anonymous said...

"Blindness" will compete in Venice; this information is already on its page on IMDb (section "release dates"). By now, Spielberg's new Indiana Jones is the most likely to be Cannes' opening night. Hors concours, of course.

Anonymous said...

Dear God,

Jolie is one busy lady.
Two films in Cannes, one in competition featuring a probable future Oscar-nominated performance, and another one who looks like it's the next animated franchise. And Atlas Shrugged has been confirmed by the producers.

I've got a new respect for her

Will she make it though ? She might give birth in the Palais des festivals

Kamila said...

There are three brazilian movies on the Cannes Film Festival which is amazing!

I am really happy to see that Steven Soderbergh was able to finish the editing of "Che", since there was a rumor that the two pictures would be out of the festival.

And I was surprised to see "Changeling" on the list. I can't wait to read the reaction to this picture.

Anonymous said...

Madonna's gonna be at Cannes!

Anonymous said...

Really lovely selection from a veritable smörgåsbord of world directors... and I really do think this announcement arrives in spite of early word that the selectors were finding it hard to find enough films of quality to show in competition.

On a personal note, disappointed to see Vick Cristina Barcelona will be playing outside of competition. (Scarlett, when will Oscar raise you one to your BAFTA?) Also wasn't a massive fan of The Holy Girl but the auteur-luster in me is still anticipating Martel's follow-up.

Anonymous said...

pivo, the Hollywood Reporter announced today along with the selection list that Indiana Jones is in fact NOT opening the fest as previously reported.

RJ said...

This lineup excites me sooooo much. So many good movies.

Oh, and Ashes of Time: Redux is playing . . . meaning we might get a decent DVD version soon!

Carl Joseph Papa said...

Hmmmm happy to be PINOY (Filipino) right now. Uhm Anyways "Serbis" is a movie about male prostitutes in movie houses. Apparently there is such in Philippines, especially in torn down movie house that are still operating.

The movie will feature "The Masseure"'s Coco Martin and one of the best actresses of the Philippines, Ms. Gina Pareno (Kubrador).

What's interesting about the movie is that the director really used real life movie house male prostitutes.

Hope this info gets you all interested and finally watch Filipino films :)

BTW. this is the first since 1984 that a Filipino film has been in contention. That feat was by Lino Brocka with his classic masterpiece "Ora Pro Nobis".

Anonymous said...

Soderbergh's "Che" is indeed the two movies put together as one. as it is featured as being a 4hour experience on the festival's press release.

RJ said...

A 4 hour long Che? I would so be there.


If it's well received it makes you wonder if they'd really split it apart a la Kill Bill before it hits theaters

RJ said...

I mean, I would see it as a 4 hour film in theatres if they released it that way. I've been anticipating this for ages. It's been too long since we've had a great movie over 3 hours long.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

It's always good to see familiar and beloved names, but I'm very curious who will be this year's Christian Mungiu.

That said, if I had the option to see one film from this year's selection, it wouild be Arnaud Desplechin's. If I could see two films, I'dd opt to see Desplechin's film twice.

Glenn said...

Nat, Vicky Christina Barcelona's current release date is for the end of the American summer.

Sounds like a good list. And it's always nice when they don't focus too much on America although, yet again, "foreign film" from countries where they speak English has yet again been snubbed entirely. It's hard to figure out what Australia, UK, Canada and so on have to do. They don't get recognised on a major scale at the American box office either because they're not exotic enough because they're not in another language, but then so many of the films that get released in a foreign language are the same ol French romcoms and such. Grrr.

The Cannes fest also has a strange connection to Dreamworks Animation. Shrek and Shrek 2 both played in competition if I'm not mistaken.

And, yeah, strange that Blindness would be done before Australia. And I have a feeling that Baz and co are going to want their world premiere to actually be in Australia.


well i'm aware of VCB's release date INTENDED. But it's the weinsteins and they just can't be trusted with release dates.

i'm worried.

i apologize for being such a broken record about this part of moviegoing but i'm totally meat and potatoes no frills when it comes to releases. When the movie is done just release it. UGH. I hate waiting for all these imaginary reasons or 'strategies' that don't always pay off. I'd love for film culture to be more focused on seeing movies rather than anticipating them. But the system seems to be set up to just hear about things for years before they're available for view :(

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

Glenn, the reason Australian and Canadian movies don't get recognised at Cannes and at the American box office is because they're generally not very good.

Actually, let me rephrase. When they're good (which, at least in the case of the tiny Australian industry, is proportionally often enough), they get plenty of recognition both from Cannes and the Americans (e.g. Muriel's Wedding, The Piano, Hanging Rock, Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge, Proof). And often Cannes promotes them even when they're not that good: 2:37, Japanese Story, Ten Canoes, Jindabyne, Suburban Mayhem. (OK, I admit the last two were in fact quite solid, if not necessarily brilliant; and I realise I'm in the minority re: my opinion of Ten Canoes.) Only two years ago, there were seven Australian films shortlisted at Cannes. That's a quarter of the Australian features made in 2006.

I'll admit I can't speak about the American box office since I don't really care about it (lots of perfectly strong, critically acclaimed films make no money in their US theatrical release). But I can assure you that Cannes appreciates the Aussies far more than they deserve.

Also nearly a quarter of this year's short films in official competition (2 out of the 9) are Australian. That's a major coup. We should quit complaining.

Glenn said...

The thing that peeves me is that there's absolutely no reason why something like, say, Tony Ayres' The Home Song Stories - a movie I didn't particularly care for much outside of Joan Chen's amazing perf - should go direct to DVD when even the most trifle of French romantic comedies or the most depressing east European drama get releases and make a few hundred thousand dollars or upwards of $1mil.

There's no reason why Noise and September shouldn't be blowing away festival audiences or why Rogue is getting shafted into limited theatres (and not even in NY or LA). I especially don't understand that last one considering the Weinsteins (surprise surprise) invested so much money in it yet they're putting into places like Tampa and saying crap like "it will expand in the coming weeks". Bullshit.

And I am quite positive that England, Canada, etc have films that can compare to the likes of The Brown Bunny, Southland Tales or Blueberry Nights (to use just three Cannes-reviled flicks). Our industries aren't that bad. You can bet your bottom dollar that there will be disasters at this year's fest as well.

Berlinale featured movies like The Black Balloon, September, Corroboree and Son of a Lion. Tribecca is featuring an Aussie horror flick called Dying Breed. If Balloon were filmed with natural light in Bosnia it'd win the Palme d'Or! I can guarantee it.

There's product it's just that when it doesn't come with a fancy language attached to it it becomes less enticing. What's even stranger that movies like Somersault, The Black Balloon and so on come along and their stars seem to become "the next big things" (Abbie Cornish, Sam Worthington and Nick Ford respectively) yet nobody seems to be seeing the movies in America! How did Abbie and Sam go from a movie that grossed a whole $92,000 to starring in Elizabeth sequels and James Cameron extravaganzas? Ford's movie hasn't even screened in America and he's been cast in Hollywood action movies! It boggles the mind.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

re: Home Song Stories
Even in Australia, nobody watched it and it had reserved reviews. Why should it warrant a cinema release internationally? And how many depressing Eastern European dramas get significant releases in cinemas? What's more, I can think of at least 5 recent depressing Eastern European dramas that were striking and brilliant. I can't really think of a single Australian one.

Along these lines - the crappy French commercial comedies and German historical dramas get thatrical releases because they do actually make a lot more money than the genuinely interesting French and German films. Both France and Germany have been making some of the most interesting films worldwide (Kings and Queen, Summer 04 etc.) in the past few years, but unless you attended a festival you wouldn't know it. And as far as I can tell, in the US, they don't make it beyond LA/NY three-print releases.

There is perfect reason why Noise and September aren't blowing international audiences away. I thought Noise was solid and comfortably the best Australian non-doco film of last year. Within an Australian context, it's a significant, innovative achievement. Within an international context, it's a vaguely odd, polished but ultimately pretty trite police procedural. September (again) made no money even in Australia. And the reviews were mixed.

The reason that Brown Bunny, Southland Tales et al. get festival attention is because they are challenging, bound to be much discussed failures made by marketable auteurs. No marketable auteurs are presently working in Australia and Canada (OK, Luhrmann is, but I'm guessing Australia is unfinished or wasn't submitted to Cannes). And why would any festivals be interested in challenging, bound to be walked out on failures by unknown Australian and Canadian directors?

Berlinale (which this year is said to have embraced a much lower standard than Cannes) featured Black Balloon in the family section. Nothing so candy-coated could (or should) ever go to Cannes. And nothing so candy-coated could or should ever be made in Bosnia (which can boast of a total of 1 Cannes success over the past 20 years, so that was a silly example). And if Black Balloon were a naturalistic film with natural lighting, it might have had a shot at Cannes because it would have been an altogether different film and very likely better.

Also Somersault did get a theatrical release and a chance to bomb miserably in America. And international film industry people look very carefully at emerging stars particularly in English speaking counctries, so it's no wonder Cornish got picked up (and I don't think it had much to do with her thespian skills in any case).

And to say foreign-language films that get selected for Cannes and the like are purely there because of their >>> *fancy* languages (*FANCY* languages? What are you, a One Nation Queensland farmer?) is to take away all credibility from your previous arguments.

Janice said...

On an another note - I'm happy to see that a restored print of Max Ophul's Lola Montez will be playing at the festival. I discovered (stumbled upon is a better term) Ophul's work in college (early '90's) and even on a tiny AV room monitor, the use of setting, mise en scene - and Peter Ustinov's performance - really affected me, (although The Earrings of Mme D is a better film). But it's nice to see an underrated director from the "classic era" get some love (Ophuls was a German who left during the Nazi occupation and eventually settled in France permanently, but not before stints as a director in Germany and the USA.)

Glenn said...

Money has nothing to do with films screening at festivals.

Anonymous said...

y kant goran rite

Do you not think of Cronenberg or Egoyan as marketable auteurs? Or Guy Maddin? I'm curious. I think Canada's been accurately represented in international film festivals for the strength of our "industry."

I think you can actually make an arguement that Cannes is kinder to English language films (as a rule) then they should be, rather than the opposite. The Coen Brothers are arguably their favourite autuer (nine films in competition). Films like "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers," "Sin City," and "About Schmidt" (among others) have played there. Very few non-English analogues exist to those types of films. And while sometimes I think there is a degree of snobbery at work (compared to say, Venice), I can deal with it.

As for American/domestic releases, the fact is, very few films get the release they deserve. Hell, when budget studio films starring Brad Pitt can't make over five million dollars (Assassination of Jesse James); nor really cool sci-fi extravaganzas (Sunshine), nor acclaimed adult dramas (Away From Her) or interesting biopics (I'm Not There).... The list goes on. It has nothing to do with quality of said releases (y kant goran rite, you point out yourself that certain failures are still marketable.)

[i]The Wind That Shakes the Barley[/i] with it's internationally acclaimed auteur and Palme D'Or grossed less then two million dollars. How much on an incentive is that for distributors? So foreign productions have a huge hindrance already. And foreign language productions even moreso.