As noted yesterday, speculation as to which films would make the lineup for this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the 67th edition running from May 14 through 25, has been furious right on up to today’s announcement. The festival’s made its Cinéfondation and Short Films selections. Now, here come the big guns.
The headline this year will be that there are fifteen films directed by women in the official lineup. Note, too, that a few more films may be added to the lineup over the next few days.
Olivier Assayas‘s Sils Maria. Here‘s a fan site with stills, updates—and a synopsis: “At the peak of her international career, Maria Enders [Juliette Binoche] is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous twenty years ago. But back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young girl who disarms and eventually drives the older Helena to suicide. Now she is being asked to step into the role of Helena. Maria spends most of her time with her personal assistant Valentine [Kristen Stewart], who has become her sole, if somewhat nebulous friend. And when Jo-Ann [Chloe Moretz], a young Hollywood starlet with a penchant for scandal takes on the role of Sigrid, Maria is faced with a rival and unsettling mirror of a youth that she has no choice but to confront.” The cast also features Lars Eidinger, Hanns Zischler and Brady Corbet.
Bertrand Bonello’s Saint Laurent. Gaspard Ulliel plays the famed fashion designer in a biopic focusing on the years 1965 through 1976. The cast also features Léa Seydoux, Louis Garrel and Jérémie Renier.
Nuri Bilge Ceylan‘s Winter Sleep. Ioncinema notes that this nearly three-hour film focuses on “Aydin (Haluk Bilginer), a retired actor who runs a small hotel in central Anatolia and is emotionally distant from his young wife Nihal (Melisa Sozen) and his sister Necla (Demet Akbag), who is still suffering from her recent divorce. When the winter and snow sets in, boredom revives resentment, pushing Aydin to leave.”
David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars. Here’s another film with a fan site posting pix, updates, etc. The current synopsis at Wikipedia: “Following the lives of Weiss family, an archetypical Hollywood dynasty, Dr. Stafford Weiss [John Cusack] is a psychotherapist, who has made a fortune with his self-help manuals; his wife Cristina [Olivia Williams] manages the career of their thirteen-year-old son, Benjie [Evan Bird], a child star, who recently came out of a drug rehabilitation program, which he entered at the age of nine; their daughter Agatha [Mia Wasikowska] has recently been released from a sanatorium where she was admitted for the treatment of criminal pyromania. After her release from the sanatorium, she befriends a limo driver and aspiring actor, Jerome Fontana Robert Pattinson]. Havana Segrand [Julianne Moore], one of Stafford’s clients and an actress, has a unique new assistant. She wants to shoot a remake of the 1960s movie, starring her mother Clarice [Sarah Gadon] which made her famous. Clarice has been dead for sometime now and visions of her ghost come to haunt Havana at night.”
No subs, but still
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s Two Days, One Night. From Deadline: Marion Cotillard “plays Sandra, a young woman who has only one weekend to convince her colleagues they must give up their bonuses in order for her to keep her job. Longtime Dardenne collaborator [Fabrizio] Rongione plays Cotillard’s husband.”
Xavier Dolan’s Mommy. From Peter Knegt: “The film follows Diane ‘Die’ Després [Anne Dorval], a feisty, widowed single mom trying to bring up her 15-year-old ADHD son (Antoine-Olivier Pilon, a Quebec TV teenage heartthrob who starred in the College Boy video Dolan directed last year), is graced with the help of benevolent, virtually mute Kyla [Suzanne Clément], a neighbor who tries to help them start fresh.”
Atom Egoyan‘s Captives. From The Film Farm: “A pick up truck pulls off the highway at a diner. Confident that his young daughter is safe in the back seat and promising to return with ice cream, the father slips out of his truck and into the diner. When he returns, she is gone. The psychological thriller, The Captive examines how this kidnapping destroys the relationships among those involved. As the film teases out the complex threads weaving together the victim, her family, the predators and the investigators, the mystery of what happened to the child, during the eight years she was missing, is revealed.” With Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson, Mireille Enos, Kevin Durand, Alexia Fast and Bruce Greenwood.
Jean-Luc Godard‘s Adieu au langage. The short synopsis via Wild Bunch: “A married woman and a single man meet. They love, they argue, fists fly. A dog strays between town and country. The seasons pass. A second film begins…” With Héloise Godet, Jessica Erickson, Kamel Abdeli, Richard Chevallier, Alexandre Païta and Zoé Bruneau. Last year, we posted an entry on a diary-like report from the set by Daniel Ludwig, who has a supporting role.
Michel Hazanavicius’s The Search. Piecing together two reports from Deadline, this is a Chechnya-set adaptation of Fred Zinnemann’s 1948 Oscar-winner. Hazanavicius, who wrote the screenplay, has shifted the setting from post-World War II Berlin to Chechnya, where an NGO worker “bonds with a small boy who’s been separated from his mother in the war-torn nation.” With Bérénice Bejo and Annette Bening.
Tommy Lee Jones’s The Homesman. From Ethan Anderton at FirstShowing: Jones plays “a claim-jumping rascal of a man saved from a hanging by a pioneer woman (Hilary Swank) who has a unique request in return. The man must usher three insane women on an odyssey from Nebraska to Iowa, braving the elements and avoiding thieves, dangerous Indians and more along the way. The film also features Miranda Otto, Jesse Plemmons, Hailee Steinfeld, Tim Blake Nelson and Meryl Streep.”
Naomi Kawase’s The Still Water (Futatsume No Mado). “Kawase has returned to her southern island roots,” reported Hiroki Ito in the Asahi Shimbun in October. “‘I want to capture Amami’s nature, culture and splendid people in my film and present it to the world,’ said Kawase, who won the 2007 Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix for her movie The Mourning Forest… Amami-Oshima island, in Kagoshima Prefecture… is a subtropical island located between the main islands of Kyushu and Okinawa.” The story centers on a teenage boy and girl. “Kawase said she wants to make an emotional drama that is interwoven with births and deaths while also showing the co-existence of humans and nature.” Kawase has “observed local festivals passed down for generations in each community to pray for a bountiful harvest. Accordingly she has adjusted her script while soaking in the culture as well as the breathtaking landscape.” The cast includes Tetta Sugimoto, Miyuki Matsuda, Makiko Watanabe, Hideo Sakaki, Fujio Tokita, and Hasiken, “a musician who lives on the island and will write music for the movie…. About 100 islanders, including high school students and elderly locals, will also appear in the movie as extras.”
Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner. Timothy Spall plays the British Romantic landscape painter J.M.W. Turner. With Lesley Manville and Roger Ashton-Griffiths. Notes Film4: “Previous Leigh collaborators feature both in front of and behind the camera—with actors including Marion Bailey, Dorothy Atkinson and Paul Jesson, and the crew led by producer Georgina Lowe, cinematographer Dick Pope, costume designer Jacqueline Durran and make-up and hair designer Christine Blundell (an Oscar winner for the director’s Topsy-Turvy).”
Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall. This may be Loach’s “final feature before his retirement to documentaries,” notes the Guardian. “The story of an Irish communist returning home after a decade-long exile to reopen his dance hall, Jimmy’s Hall is a product of the fruitful collaboration between Loach and writer Paul Laverty; this will be their 14th film together, if you include the shorties in Tickets and 11’09”01 – September 11.”
Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. According to the Playlist‘s Kevin Jagernauth, this is the story of “John du Pont, a multimillionaire, paranoid schizophrenic, who builds a wrestling training facility on his 800-acre property, and his relationship with longtime friend and Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler David Schultz, that takes a sinister turn.” With Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Steve Carell, Vanessa Redgrave and Sienna Miller.
Alice Rohrwacher’s Le Meraviglie. From SwissFilms: “Fourteen-year-old Gelsomina lives in the Umbrian countryside with her sweetly dysfunctional family. Her secluded microcosm is shattered by the arrival of Martin, a young German criminal on a rehab program.” With Monica Bellluci, Alexandra Lungu, Sam Louwyck, Sabine Timoteo, Alba Rohrwacher and Agnese Graziani.
Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu. Sissako, via Le Pacte: “On July 22nd 2012 in Aguelhok, a small town in Northern Mali, a young couple living in perfect happiness with their two children was stoned to death. The crime they committed: not being married before God. Aguelhok is neither Damascus nor Teheran. And in no way am I looking to over-emotionalize these events for the purposes of a moving film. What I do want to do is bear witness as a filmmaker. Because I will never be able to say I didn’t know. And because of what I know now, I must tell this story—in the hope that no child may ever have to learn this same lesson in the future. That their parents could die, simply because they love each other.”
Damian Szifron’s Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes). No subs on that trailer, but there you go. This’ll be a collection of six stories “that combine suspense, humor and violence,” according to the Facebook page. The Almodóvar brothers are among the many producers. With Ricardo Darin, Oscar Martinez, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Erica Rivas, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylberberg and Dario Grandinetti.
Andrey Zvyagintsev‘s Leviathan. From Variety‘s John Hopewell: “Written by Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin, and starring Alexey Serebryakov, Elena Lyadova and Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Leviathan turns on Nikolai who lives with his teenage son, Romka, and his young wife, Lilya, in a small town near the Barents Sea, in North Russia, in a little bay where the whales enter sometimes. The corrupt local mayor is attempting to embargo Nikolai’s house, small auto-repair shop and lands, keeping them for himself. Nikolai calls in an old army comrade, now a hot-shot lawyer, who ultimately decides that the only way to fight back is to dig up dirt on the mayor.” Here‘s a bit more.
OUT OF COMPETITION
Dean Deblois’s How to Train Your Dragon 2. The second film in a projected trilogy; here’s the site, where you can watch the trailer.
Olivier Dahan’s Grace of Monaco, the opening night film. From Warner Bros. UK: “Set in 1962, six years after her celebrated Wedding of the Century, Grace of Monaco is an intimate snapshot of a year in the life of the twentieth century’s most iconic Princess—Grace Kelly—as she strived to reconcile her past and her present, a yearning for a return to the big screen with her newfound role as a mother of two, monarch of a European principality and wife to Prince Ranier III.” With Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Frank Langella, Derek Jacobi, Jeanne Balibar and on and on.
Keren Yedaya’s Harcheck Mi Headro. Hm. Anybody? We do know that “Yedaya is known as a political activist for feminism and women’s rights and takes part in protests against Israeli military presence in the West Bank. Her films are reflections of her political activism.” And we know that Cannes president Gilles Jacob and general delegate Thierry Fremaux have promised that this one will be controversial.
Zhang Yimou’s Coming Home (Gui Lai). According to Film Business Asia, the “drama stars Chen Daoming as a political prisoner who returns home to his wife, played by Gong Li, after the end of the Cultural Revolution.” And a report in China Daily notes that it’s based on Yan Geling’s novel, Lu Fan Yanshi (The Criminal Lu Yanshi). “In the original novel, the young wife has to bear an arranged marriage and her husband’s deliberate ignorance; when she is aging, she has to bear her husband’s long, forced absence.”
UN CERTAIN REGARD
Lisandro Alonso‘s Jauja. This is likely what has been known up until today as Untitled Lisandro Alonso Project, starring Viggo Mortensen. From the IMDb: “A father and daughter journey from Denmark to an unknown desert that exists in a realm beyond the confines of civilization.”
Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis’s Party Girl. Cannes notes that the film “shows the life of Angélique, a 60 year-old night club hostess who still loves men and enjoys partying, but now as the senior member on staff, feels she has reached the end of the line. On an impulse, she agrees to marry her regular client, Michel. The film is a portrait of a free woman who has chosen to live on the margins of conventional society, and delves deep into a France that is often underrepresented. With total realism, the lead role is played by the real-life Angélique.”
Mathieu Amalric‘s La Chambre Bleue. Based on the recently reissued Georges Simenon novel from 1964 about a couple, to be played by Amalric and Léa Drucker, whose torrid affair leads to a double murder.
— Asia Argento (@AsiaArgento) April 17, 2014
Asia Argento’s L’incomprise. According to ANSA, this is a semi-autobiographical film set in 1984 about a nine-year-old girl who dreams of being loved by her parents. With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Gabriel Garko and Gianmarco Tognazzi.
Kanu Behl’s Titli. It “created buzz when it won the DI Award for the Best Work-in-Progress Lab Project at NFDC Film Bazaar last year,” reports Dear Cinema. The synopsis: “In the badlands of Delhi’s dystopic underbelly, Titli, the youngest member of a violent car-jacking brotherhood plots a desperate bid to escape the ‘family’ business. His struggle to do so is countered at each stage by his indignant brothers, who finally try marrying him off to ‘settle’ him. Titli, finds an unlikely ally in his new wife, caught though she is in her own web of warped reality and dysfunctional dreams. They form a strange, beneficial partnership, only to confront their inability to escape the bindings of their family roots. But is escape, the same as freedom.” With Ranvir Shorey, Amit Sial and newcomer Shashank Arora. “London-based international sales and finance outfit WestEnd Films has scooped up rights,” reports Variety‘s Leo Barraclough.
Ned Benson’s Eleanor Rigby. When it screened as a “work in progress” at Toronto last fall, the Dissolve‘s Noel Murray found it “problematic but admirable…, a film that couches a fascinating narrative experiment in the familiar language of an earnest indie drama about broken people. Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy play a married couple who drift apart after a crisis, and the movie covers the very different paths these two take on the way to regaining some control in their lives. The gimmick of the film is that it’s really two full 95-minute standalone features—labeled Him and Her, and theoretically able to be watched in any order—which tell the same story twice, from different angles…. Benson does a fine job of keeping his heroes’ pain simple enough to be relatable, rather than forcing ‘movie-ish’ conflict. But he also indulges in one of my most-hated indie film tricks: teasing the audience with hints at a sad backstory, then parceling that backstory out, unnaturally.” The version showing at Cannes is one minute short of two hours.
Rolf De Heer‘s Charlie’s Country. It’s “the third film in an informal trilogy of collaborations between writer/director Rolf de Heer and actor David Gulpilil,” wrote Jane Howard last fall in a dispatch to the Guardian from the Adelaide Film Festival. “Ten Canoes (2006) showed Aboriginal culture before white settlement, and The Tracker (2002) explored the relationship between white and Aboriginal men in the early 20th century. Now Charlie’s Country explores the ongoing repercussions in contemporary Australia…. De Heer’s film is a slow indictment of the colonialist relationship between white law and Indigenous people.”
Pascale Ferran‘s Bird People. From Films Distribution: “In the Paris airport zone, two strangers are trying to make sense out of their lives: an American engineer under professional and emotional pressure who decides to radically change the course of his life, and a young hotel chambermaid who faces a life-altering supernatural experience.” With Josh Charles, Anaïs Demoustier, Roschdy Zem and Taklyt Vongdara.
Ryan Gosling’s Lost River. Gosling has also written and produced his directorial debut, whose former title was How to Catch a Monster. The synopsis: “A single mother enters a dark lifestyle, while her son uncovers a road leading to an underwater utopia.” With Christina Hendricks, Matt Smith, Saoirse Ronan and Eva Mendes.
Jessica Hausner’s Amour fou. From the site: “Amour Fou is inspired by the life and death of the poet Heinrich von Kleist and his partner in death, Henriette Vogel. However, rather than being a biographical portrait, the film is a parable about the ambivalence of love. Amour Fou deals with the ambivalence and absurdity inherent in the very concept of two people committing suicide because of their love for one another. Committing this act is the yearning to escape the inevitability of death through love, to avoid dying alone and to oppose all-powerful death by dictating the terms of one’s death. However, the fundamental absurdity lies in the fact that the joined act cannot be experienced jointly in any complete sense, since love is fickle and ambivalent, and everybody—in the end—must die alone.” With Christian Friedel, Birte Schnoeink and Stephan Grossmann.
Andrew Hulme’s Snow in Paradise. A “hard-hitting thriller based on a true story of one man’s journey to control his violence through religion. It’s a journey of redemption that takes us from the estates of Hoxton through ever-changing Dalston to the world of the Islamic whirling dervishes.” According to the Facebook page. With Frederick Schmidt, Martin Askew, Aymen Hamdouchi and David Spinx.
July Jung’s A Girl at My Door (Dohee-Ya). From AsianWiki: “Do-Hee (Kim Sae-Ron) experiences family violence. Young-Nam (Bae Doo-Na) works as the head of police substation. She tries to protect Do-Hee from her violent stepfather Yong-Ha (Song Sae-Byeok). Though Do-Hee looks naive, she hides a secret. Young-Nam becomes involved in a case with her life at stake.” Produced by Lee Chang-dong.
Panos Koutras’s Xenia. From MPM Film: “After the death of their mother, Dany, 16, leaves Crete to join his older brother, Odysseas, who lives in Athens. Born from an Albanian mother and a Greek father they never met, the two brothers, strangers in their own country, decide to go to Thessaloniki to look for their father and force him to officially recognize them. At the same time in Thessaloniki, is held the selection for the cult show, Greek Star. Dany dreams that his brother Odysseas, a gifted singer, could become the new star of the contest, in a country that refuses to accept them.” For Cineuropa, Joseph Proimakis reports on the difficult production.
Philippe Lacôte’s Run. From BAC Films: “Run is a runaway who has just killed the Prime Minister of his homeland. Disguised as a lunatic, he begins wandering across the city. He remembers his past through flashbacks: his childhood with Master Tourou when he was dreaming of becoming a rain-maker, his adventures with Gladys the eating champion and finally as a soldier at the heart of a political and military conflict in the Ivory Coast. This is how Run earned his name. He never chose any of these lives; he just manages to escape from one to the other.”
Ruben Östlund’s Tourist. “Östlund is without doubt one of Scandinavia’s most innovative directors,” wrote Jon Asp for Variety in January. “The $5 million-budgeted Tourist is his most ambitious film to date…. A Swedish family on ski holiday is shaken to its ground when an avalanche breaks out. The father can’t come to terms with his instinctive selfishness. Östlund’s ambition is, once again, ‘to take a stranglehold of the Nordic soul,’ but in a complete new scenery, almost like a chamber play.”
Jaime Rosales’s Hermosa Juventud. In today’s press conference, Fremaux remarked that the film captures “the beautiful and unfortunate Spanish youth” during this ongoing Euro-slash-financial crisis. According to CadenaSER, the film’s a mix of 16mm and digital footage, with 80% of it filmed by the crew, the other 20% by the nonprofessional actors. The story centers on Natalia and Carlos, two lovers in their 20s, who, in their dire need for cash, decide to shoot an amateur porn film.