At a press conference in Paris this morning, Cannes Film Festival President Gilles Jacob and General Delegate Thierry Frémaux, presented the lineup for this year’s edition, the 66th.
We’ve known for some time that Cannes will open on May 15 with Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, with Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan. Luhrmann: “We are thrilled to return to a country, place and festival that has always been so close to our hearts, not only because my first film Strictly Ballroom was screened there 21 years ago, but also because F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote some of the most poignant and beautiful passages of his extraordinary novel just a short distance away at a villa outside Saint-Raphaël.”
Jérôme Salle’s Zulu, adapted from the novel by Caryl Férey, will close the festival on May 26: “The action takes place in Cape Town, in a South Africa still overshadowed by apartheid, where destitute townships rubs shoulders with affluent neighborhoods. Two cops on the beat, Orlando Bloom and Forest Whitaker are caught up in a suspenseful search which combines elements of political film noir and social study.”
This year’s jury will be headed by Steven Spielberg.
Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s Un Chateau en Italie. From Ioncinema: “A family is forced to sell their Italian home. revolves around a woman who meets a man and whose dreams resurface. It’s the story of her ill brother and their mother, and of the destiny of a grand family from the Italian industrial bourgeoisie. It’s the story of a family falling apart, of the end of an era, and of a budding romance.”
Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis. With Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, and Justin Timberlake. It’s 1961, and a singer-songwriter is trying to make his mark on New York’s folk music scene. Loosely based on Dave Van Ronk’s posthumously published memoir The Mayor of MacDougal Street (2005).
Arnaud des Pallieres’s Michael Kohlhaas. Profiling Mads Mikkelsen for the Guardian, Henry Barnes notes that this is “a revenge story about a horse merchant-turned-vigilante, based on Heinrich von Kleist’s novella.” The film also features Bruno Ganz, Denis Lavant, and David Bennent.
Arnaud Desplechin’s Jimmy P. From Ioncinema: “Adapted from the 1951 non-fiction account by psychoanalyst Georges Devereux, Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian, the film will follow the true story of Picard [Benicio Del Toro], a Plains Indian of the Blackfeet nation, as he returns from WWII and begins experiencing unexplainable symptoms shortly thereafter. He then travels to the famous Winter Hospital in Topeka, Kansas, where he meets Devereux [Mathieu Amalric], thus beginning a professional and personal friendship guided by compassion and understanding of Native American culture.”
Amat Escalante‘s Heli. Once again, Ioncinema: “Shot in various locations outside the city of Guanajuato, where most citizens work for an automobile assembly plant or the local drug cartel, Heli is confronted with police corruption, drug trafficking, sexual exploitation, love, guilt and revenge in the search for his father who has mysteriously disappeared.”
Asghar Farhadi’s Le Passe (The Past). From a description posted along with the first trailer (in French, without subtitles): “An Iranian man having long-term domestic problems with his French wife, deserts his wife and two children to go back to his homeland, Iran. In the meantime, his wife is seeing a French man and therefore writes to him and asks for a divorce which compels the man to come back to France, only to see his wife’s new partner in his home beside his children.”
James Gray’s The Immigrant. Last year, when the film was still called Lowlife, the Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth spoke with Gray, noting that this is the director’s “first period movie, the picture stars regular collaborator Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner, and Marion Cotillard, in the story of a woman immigrating from Poland whose sister gets caught in the confines of Ellis Island. She is then forced to dabble in burlesque and vaudeville for money once she lands, but a magician comes along who hopes to save her and reunite her with her sister.” Gray: “I think it’s going to be my best work.”
Mahamat-Saleh Haroun‘s Grisgris. With Soulémane Démé, Mariam Monory, Cyril Guei, and Marius Yelolo. According to Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa, the story centers on “Grigris, 25, who dreams of becoming a dancer although his paralysed leg should exclude him from everything. It’s quite a challenge. But his dreams are shattered when his uncle falls seriously ill. To save him, he decides to work for petrol smugglers…”
Jia Zhangke’s Tian Zhu Ding (A Touch of Sin). Four stories, evidently… Anyone?
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Soshite Chichi Ni Naru. From Ioncinema: “Translated as And then I Become a Father, this sees Fukuyama Masaharu play an elite, unlikable, money-driven, businessman who works for a major corporation. He encounters the biggest crisis of his life when he finds out that he had unwittingly raised somebody else’s son for the past 6 years because his own son was accidentally switched at birth.”
Abdellatif Kechiche’s La Vie d’Adele. Formerly known as Blue Is the Warmest Color. From Wild Bunch: “5-year-old Adèle dreams of finding the love of her life. When she meets Thomas—a dark, handsome, friendly stranger who falls for her instantly—her dream seems to have come true. But an unsettling erotic reverie upsets the romance before it begins. Adèle imagines that the mysterious, blue-haired girl she encountered in the street slips into her bed and possesses her with an overwhelming voluptuous pleasure. She can no longer deny her true desires—Adèle likes girls. Then the gorgeous, sensual blue-haired girl reappears, and approaches her. A passionate and chaotic love story has begun…” With Adèle Exarchopoulos as Adèle and Léa Seydoux as Emma.
Takashi Miike‘s Wara No Tate (Shield of Straw). With Takao Osawa and Nanako Matsushima. In Variety, Mark Schilling notes that the film is “based on Kazuhiro Kiuchi’s eponymous best-seller about cops transporting a confessed killer across country. They must evade bounty hunters out to collect the $12 million price on the murderer’s head offered by the victim’s rich grandfather.” The Playlist has the trailer (no subtitles).
François Ozon’s Jeune et Jolie (Young & Beautiful). With Marine Vacth, Géraldine Pailhas, Frédéric Pierrot, Fantin Ravat, and Johan Leisen. For the moment, Ozon‘s official synopsis simply reads: “A contemporary portrait of a teenage girl of 17, in 4 seasons and 4 songs.” The Playlist has a teaser (in French, no subs).
Alexander Payne’s Nebraska. From Wikipedia: “A father and son trek from Montana to Nebraska to claim prize money. Along the way, the two meet up with friends, relatives and acquaintances to whom the father owes money…. Payne originally considered Gene Hackman for the role of the elderly father Woody Grant, but he had already retired and couldn’t be convinced to take the role. Although Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Jack Nicholson, and Robert Forester were all considered for the role, Bruce Dern was ultimately cast because: ‘Well, he’s of the right age now and he can be both ingenuous and ornery. And he’s a cool actor. And in a contextual level I haven’t seen on the big screen a great Bruce Dern performance in a few years and I’m curious to see what he can do. He’s a helluva nice guy as well.'”
Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur. Late last year, the Guardian‘s Xan Brooks noted that this’ll be an adaptation of “the Tony award-winning stage-play by David Ives,” featuring Polanski’s wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, “as Vanda, the apparently fragile actor who auditions for a role in a sadomasochistic drama. French actor Louis Garrel has signed on to play the director. Polanski’s version of Venus in Fur will relocate the action from New York to Paris, the director’s regular base since he fled the US in 1978. ‘I’ve been looking for a chance to make a film in French with Emmanuelle for a long time,’ he said in a statement. ‘Reading Venus in Fur, I realized the moment had arrived.'”
Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra. Set to air on HBO on May 26, Soderbergh’s last, last, no, really, last film (he says) features Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his young lover. At Indiewire, Alison Willmore, who has the trailer, notes that the film “tracks a years-long relationship marked by excess, love, plastic surgery, drugs and a famous palimony suit.”
Paolo Sorrentino’s La grande bellezza. From Ioncinema: “The story of an aging journalist Jap Gambardella (Toni Servillo) who bitterly recollects his passionate, lost youth. A portrait of today’s Rome.” Here‘s an unsubtitled teaser.
Alex Van Warmerdam’s Borgman. The Dutch site Cineart calls this one “a dark story” in which Camiel Borgman (Jan Mugwort) arrives as an outsider in a well-to-do neighborhood, setting off “a series of disturbing events” that challenge “the carefully constructed façade of an arrogant, wealthy couple, their three children and the nanny.” Here‘s a teaser, no subs.
Nicholas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives. With Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Tom Burke. In brief, although Wikipedia has more, Julian (Gosling) “runs a Thai boxing club as a front organization for his family’s drug smuggling operation, as he is forced by his mother Jenna [Thomas] to find and kill the individual responsible for his brother’s recent death.” The neon poster appeared just yesterday.
OUT OF COMPETITION
Guillaume Canet’s Blood Ties. Set in the 70’s, this’ll be a remake of Jacques Maillot’s 2008 thriller Les liens du sang (2008), an adaptation of the novel by Bruno and Michel Papet about two brothers who get mixed up in organized crime. Blood Ties features Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, and Matthias Schoenaerts.
J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost. Robert Redford is the only cast member in Chandor’s followup to his debut, Margin Call. Redford will play a man lost at sea—and, reportedly, there will be no dialogue.
JERRY LEWIS TRIBUTE
Daniel Noah’s Max Rose. The IMDb synopsis: “A jazz pianist makes a discovery days before the death of his wife that causes him to believe his sixty-five year marriage was a lie. He embarks on an exploration of his own past that brings him face to face with a menagerie of characters from a bygone era.” Last month, Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr. noted that this’ll be Lewis’s first starring role since Funny Bones (1995): “While he has done stage work, the 86-year-old Lewis hasn’t done much in the way of films in a long time. Before Funny Bones his last big starring role came in 1983’s Martin Scorsese-directed The King of Comedy, opposite Robert De Niro.” A revival of which will be closing Tribeca. In Max Rose, “Lewis stars with Claire Bloom, Kevin Pollak, Argo‘s Kerry Bishe and Mort Sahl. It’s a reunion for Sahl and Lewis, as Sahl appeared on Lewis’ 1963 comedy variety series.”
Stephen Frears’s Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight. Last June, Benjamin Walker, who appears alongside archival footage of the legendary boxer, told the Playlist‘s Gabe Toro that the film focuses on “a usually unspoken part of Ali’s history that many biographical stories about the fighter have decided to skip over. ‘It’s about an aspect of Muhammad Ali’s legacy that a lot of people don’t know about,’ he says. ‘That he was a conscientious objector, and as a black Muslim, he had to fight for his right to [refuse the draft], and it went up to the Supreme Court. Frank Langella and Christopher Plummer play Supreme Court justices, and I play the clerk who tries to make him do the right thing.'”
Roberto Minervini’s Stop the Pounding Heart.
Roman Polanski’s Week End of a Champion. A 1971 documentary. “Never heard of it?” asks Cain Rodriguez at the Playlist. “That may be because the film, which focuses on Formula 1 racing champion Jackie Stewart, never saw any kind of release in the United States. Produced after Rosemary’s Baby and a couple of years before Chinatown, this forgotten piece of his filmography occurred at the height of the filmmaker’s powers and follows Stewart on the weekend of his famed Monte Carlo Grand Prix victory. The two men were friends, and their relationship gave Polanski ‘a privileged insight into [Stewart’s] strategy and first-hand approach of how he planned to win the Monte Carlo Grand Prix.’ It seems to have won critics over back in the day, earning Special Recognition from the Berlin International Film Festival.”
James Toback’s Seduced and Abandoned. Last October, Movieline‘s Frank DiGiacomo spoke with Alec Baldwin, who told him that “interviews he and Toback conducted [at Cannes in 2012] with venerable filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski and Bernardo Bertolucci will comprise the core of the project. ‘They are the pillars of the film,’ said Baldwin, who described Seduced and Abandoned as a ‘meta’ documentary about filmmakers who venture to the carnival-like South of France festival to raise funds for their latest projects.”
Taisia Igumentseva’s Otdat Konci (Bite the Dust). From Rock Films: “Everyone knows everyone else in the tiny village. An elderly herdsman, Vasilich, devotes all his time to taking care of a doe-eyed cow named Candy; lonely Granny Zina curses the government; married women glance enviously at other women’s husbands; and the local inventor, Vanya, entertains the children with his ingenious devices. One day, the villagers hear the terrible news on TV that the most powerful solar flare ever has taken place, the effects of which will destroy all of mankind in 24 hours. After recovering from the initial shock, the villagers come up with their own way to bid farewell to life. They decide to throw an end-of-the-world party. Tables are set, pies are baked, and some gather their last courage to make major life decisions. But the end never comes… Instead, things get a bit hot under the collar. The villagers realize that life as they know it is over…”
Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout. According to the Mangalorean, this is “the story of a rookie Indian cop, who faces a suspected gangster in a dead-end and has to decide whether to shoot him or not. Three separate scenarios explore the impact of his decision on other people’s lives.” In February 2012, Liz Shackleton spoke at length with Kumar about the project for Screen Daily.
Johnnie To‘s Blind Detective. At Twitch, James Marsh notes that this one “stars Andy Lau as the titular handicapped sleuth, who is called in by Sammi Cheng’s cop to track a vicious killer on the streets of Hong Kong.”
Cannes will mark the 100th anniversary of Indian cinema with a gala screening of Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, and Karan Johar’s Bombay Talkies, a collection of four stories featuring the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Katrina Kaif, Randeep Hooda, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
UN CERTAIN REGARD
Yesterday, the festival announced that Thomas Vinterberg, whose The Hunt screened in Competition last year, will be president of the Un Certain Regard jury.
That tweet was immediately followed by another: Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, with Emma Watson, Taïssa Farmiga, Leslie Mann, and Kirsten Dunst, will open Un Certain Regard on May 16. From the festival: “Inspired by a true story, The Bling Ring recounts a group of adolescents who are fascinated by ‘beautiful people’ and the world of brands, tracking the whereabouts and activities of celebrities online so that they can rob their homes. They steal over three million dollars of luxury items: jewelry, clothing, shoes, etc. Among their victims are Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and Rachel Bilson. The media nicknamed this gang the ‘Bling Ring.'” Says Coppola: “I am happy to come back to the Festival de Cannes. Marie-Antoinette was in competition in 2006, I presented my first film Virgin Suicides at the Directors’ Fortnight.”
Hany Abu-Assad’s Omar. Scott Roxborough in the Hollywood Reporter: “The drama, the story of three childhood friends and a young woman who are torn apart in their fight for freedom, is billed as the first fully-financed film to come out of the Palestinian cinema industry. Omar stars Waleed Zuaiter, who has appeared on Showtime Emmy-winning series Homeland, alongside Adam Bakri, Samer Bisharat, Eyad Hourani and Leem Lubany.”
Adolfo Alix Jr.’s Death March. With Sam Milby and Zanjoe Marudo. The story centers on the forcible transfer of 76,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war by the Japanese Army in 1942. From ABS-CBN: “Taking inspiration from films in the 1920s, Death March was entirely shot in a studio against a backdrop, according to Alix, who started working on the movie last August.”
Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station. Quite the hit at Sundance when it was called simply Fruitvale. Here‘s the roundup of reviews and more.
Claire Denis‘s Les Salauds (The Bastards). From Wild Bunch: “Container ship captain Marco Silvestri is called urgently back to Paris. His sister, Sandra, is desperate… her husband has committed suicide, the family business has gone under, her daughter has been admitted into psychiatric care. Sandra accuses the powerful businessman, Edouard Laporte of being responsible. Determined to find the businessman’s weak spot and exact a terrible revenge for the violence done to his family, Marco moves into the building where Laporte’s mistress, Raphaëlle, lives with her son.” With Vincent Lindon, Chiara Mastroianni, Julie Bataille, and Michel Subor.
Lav Diaz‘s Norte, Hangganan Ng Kasaysayan. InterAksyon notes that this will be Diaz’s Cannes debut: “Not much is known about his film, which used to have the working title of Parol. Diaz shot it in Ilocos, with Sid Lucero, Archie Alemania, Angeli Bayani, and Soliman Cruz in the cast.”
James Franco’s As I Lay Dying. An adaptation of Faulkner’s 1930 novel, with Franco (naturally) as Darl Bundren and Logan Marshall-Green as his brother, Jewel. A few months ago at We Got This Covered, Blake Dew posted a batch of photos from the production.
Valeria Golino’s Miele. Jasmine Tringa plays Miele, 32, alone. For the past three years, she’s been assisting those looking to end their suffering. One day, a 70-year-old in perfect health asks for her help.
Alain Guiraudie’s L’Inconnu du lac. From Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa: “Written by the director, the screenplay follows Franck, 40, who spends his summer afternoons at a meeting place on the edge of a lake. He splits his days between two men. He develops a very strong, completely platonic friendship with the first, Henri. And with the second, Michel, he finds great physical and passionate love. This, despite the fact that Michel drowned his previous lover, and that Franck witnessed it.”
Flora Lau’s Bends. With Carina Lau and Chen Kun. Last October, Screen‘s Liz Shackleton noted that “the film revolves around the relationship between a Hong Kong housewife and her driver from mainland China. While the housewife is struggling to keep up appearances following the disappearance of her husband, the driver is figuring out a way to bring his pregnant wife and daughter to Hong Kong.”
Rithy Panh’s L’Image Manquante. From the director of S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (2003). As far as I can tell from this piece in the Nouvel Observateur, the film will pick up from the moment Panh recognizes his father, whom he hadn’t seen in 30 years, in a photographic archive.
Diego Quemada-Diez’s La Jaula de Oro. From the festival’s Atelier: “A group of Central-American teenagers depart from the slums of Guatemala City escaping poverty and violence, towards the promised land of California. A Mexican indigenous Mayan from a remote village walks north on the railroad tracks. Travelling in cargo trains, soon they meet and travel together. On their journey, they confront the most sinister dangers: raids, assaults, robbery, mutilation, rape, prostitution, and kidnappings. After many obstacles, only two of them arrive to the US to end up brutally treated, imprisoned and [put on trial].”
Mohammad Rasoulof‘s Anonymous. Farah Nayeri, reporting for Bloomberg, notes that the film “was shot secretly and smuggled out of Iran.” We may not know much more than that for the time being. “Rasoulof is one of three Iranian filmmakers who were arrested in March 2010, and released on bail the same month.”
Cloé Robichaud’s Sarah préfère la course. Sophie Desmarai plays Sarah, a young runner invited to join a prestigious athletic team at a university in Montreal—far from her home in Quebec City. Without support from her mother, she marries her friend Anthony just to score loans and grants. But her first love is the race.
Rebecca Zlotowski’s Grand Central. From Ioncinema‘s Eric La