Last week, the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs announced that “Philippe Garrel, who attended the 1st edition of the Directors’ Fortnight with The Virgin’s Bed in 1969, will celebrate the opening of the 47th edition with his new film, In the Shadow of Women.” Then, over the weekend, we learned of two more additions: Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days and Miguel Gomes‘s Arabian Nights. Today, following yesterday’s announcement of the Critics’ Week lineup and the lineup for Cannes itself last week, we have the full lineup for Directors’ Fortnight 2015 (May 14 through 24).
First, though. Le Carrosse d’Or is being presented this year to Jia Zhangke, who’ll be giving a masterclass on May 14 after a screening of his 2000 film Platform.
Philippe Garrel’s In the Shadow of Women. From the festival: “Pierre and Manon make low-budget documentaries and live off odd jobs. When Pierre meets a young trainee, Elisabeth, she becomes his mistress. But Pierre doesn’t want to leave Manon—he wants to keep both women. Elisabeth discovers that Manon has a lover, and tells Pierre. Pierre returns to Manon, the woman he truly loves. Feeling betrayed, he begs her, neglecting Elisabeth… After Jealousy, Philippe Garrel delivers a new variation on the theme of romantic passion, the birth and death of relationships and the strange paths of desire.”
Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope. Dispatching from Sundance, where it won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Excellence in Editing, Vulture‘s Bilge Ebiri wrote: “Amid the worthy coming-of-age stories and quirky romances and moody ennui, there was no way an infectiously entertaining, twisty-turny punk-comedy-thriller wasn’t going to stand out. But that it somehow manages to be all that while also offering a savvy look at race and achievement in our hyperconnected age? Boom. Dope is Go meetsRisky Business meets True Romance meets Fingers, with a little bit of Boyz N the Hood andWe Are the Best! thrown in.” But Grantland‘s Wesley Morris argues that Famuyiwa is feeding audiences “black shit white people like.” Current Critics Round Up rating: 50/100.
Fernando León de Aranoa‘s A Perfect Day. From West End Films: “For new recruit humanitarian aid worker Sophie, a perfect day involves sunshine, breakfast in bed, sex and then flying off to a conflict zone. Today, well… at least she’s got the conflict zone. As Sophie and her seasoned colleagues Mambru and B race against time to save the water supply for an abandoned community, they must outwit pedantic UN bureaucrats, military factions and exploitative local criminals—all the while cleverly distracting Mambru’s ex-lover Katya, who has flown in from head office to shut their mission down.”
Nabil Ayouch‘s Much Loved. From Celluloid Dreams: “Marrakech today… Noha, Randa, Soukaina, and Hlima live a life of ‘love for sale.’ They’re whores, objects of desire, flashes of flesh. In the heat of the night money flows freely, to the rhythms of pleasures and humiliations suffered. But united in their womanhood, they’re queens of their kingdom. Full of light, dignity and joy, they manage to keep their spirits and dreams alive.”
Sharunas Bartas’s Peace to Us in Our Dreams. From Kino Elektron: “One summer day, a Man, his new Wife and his Daughter arrive to their countryside house to spend a weekend. Despite the fact the Man and his Wife love each other, their relationship is tensed and is on the brink of collapse. The Daughter befriends a Boy. They go for walks, swim in the lake, talk. One day, the Boy steals an optical sight rifle from a hunters’ company. A big chase starts in the countryside.”
Thomas Bidegain‘s Les Cowboys. Variety‘s Elsa Keslassy notes that this is “the anticipated feature debut” of “the critically-hailed screenwriter of Rust and Bone and A Prophet…. Penned by Bidegain and regular co-scribe Noé Debré, Cowboys follows a father [François Damiens] who teams with his son [Finnegan Oldfield] to search for his daughter, who disappeared after starting to date a young man who is a Muslim fundamentalist. The pair sets off on a journey to find the young woman at all costs and travel across the globe, from Lyon to Pakistan, where they enlist the help of an American headhunter [John C. Reilly].”
Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days. This may be “his best and most moving film,” declares Quinzaine artistic director Edouard Waintrop: “Mathieu Amalric and the young Quentin Dolmaire and Lou Roy-Lecollinet delight us with their excruciating and glowing quest for time and lost loves…” Why isn’t it in Cannes’ Official Selection? Thierry Fremaux’s told Screen‘s Melanie Goodfellow, “I like the film a lot but we decided to put people into Competition who had never come or [hardly ever] come before. He understood that. He is one of France’s greatest filmmakers but he has been in Official Selection several times and we decided to make other choices… but it’s complicated. If we had taken the Desplechin instead of [Valerie] Donzelli, they would be saying I didn’t have the courage to select a women with a third film.”
Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang. From Variety‘s Elsa Keslassy: “Co-written by Alice Winocour (Augustine) and Gamze Ergüven, the contemporary drama explores the dichotomy between religion and secularism, tradition and modernity through the tale of five teenage girls living in a remote village of Turkey. Pic follows the youngest, Lale, who is 13 years old, as she tries to break free with her sisters from the destiny that their family and traditions want to impose on them.”
Philippe Faucon’s Fatima. In a report for Arte, Virginie Apiou notes that Faucon grew up in Algeria and Morocco and has focused his work on immigration issues in France. Fatima, a portrait of three women, is about equal access to education.
Miguel Gomes‘s Arabian Nights. Presented in three “Volumes,” The Restless One, The Desolate One and The Enchanted One. From Quinzaine artistic director Edouard Waintrop: “The breath-taking triptych is inspired by the tales told by Scheherazade and by some events that occurred in Portugal between 2013 and 2014, while the country was subjected to a political power denying all forms of social justice. It will set the pace of our program. Each film, directed with a wild fantasy and a great freedom, will have its day.”
Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent. From Variety‘s John Hopewell and Leo Barraclough: “Inspired by the journals of the first explorers of the Colombian Amazon, Germany’s Theodor Koch-Grunberg and Harvard U’s Richard Evans Schultes, Embrace of the Serpent tells the epic story of the first contact, the encounter, approach, betrayal and, eventually, life-transcending friendship, between Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman, last survivor of his people, who has retreated alone to the deep jungle, and two scientists that, over the course of 40 years, search the Amazon for a sacred plant that can heal them.”
Jeremy Saulnier‘s The Green Room. The Playlist‘s Edward Davis notes that the film “follows a punk rock band who find themselves trapped in a secluded venue after stumbling upon an act of violence, fighting for their lives against a gang of white power skinheads.” With Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Mark Webber, Kai Lennox, Eric Edelstein and Saulnier’s Blue Ruin star Macon Blair. Twitter.
Marcia Tambutti’s Beyond My Grandfather Allende. From the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam: “Marcia, Salvador Allende’s granddaughter, faces family pain and silence; her grandfather’s mythification, and her own self-censorship, in order to recover his longed personal side buried by his political person.”
Jaco Van Dormael’s The Brand New Testament. From Le Pacte: “Set in Jaco Van Dormael’s native Belgium, The Brand New Testament is a surreal comedy in which God is a real life character who lives in Brussels. On earth though, God is a coward, with pathetical morals and being odious with his family. His daughter, Ea, is bored at home and can’t stand being locked up in a small apartment in ordinary Brussels, until the day she decides to revolt against her dad, hacks his computer and leak to the entire world their fatale date of death, causing everyone to suddenly have to think about what to do with the days, months, years they have left to live…”
Magnus von Horn’s The Here After. From Lava Films: “After having served time for murdering his girlfriend, John’s punishment has come to an end. But he soon discovers that the real pain he needs to experience has not yet begun.”
Chloé Zhao’s Songs My Brothers Taught Me. Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, dispatching to Keyframe from Sundance, noted that the film “took four years and over one hundred hours of footage to make. Shot on the American Indian reservation of Pine Ridge, the infamous South Dakota setting of Michael Apted’s 1992 duo Incident at Oglala and Thunderheart, as well as Chris Eyre’s Skins (2002). The still struggling community allowed director Zhao to integrate herself almost entirely to create a beautiful portrait of a brother and sister who are forging their own ways in their inevitable evolution. Stunning camerawork (debut feature by Joshua James Richards) and truly remarkable performances by its first time actors.”
Takashi Miike‘s Yakuza Apocalypse : The Great War of the Underworld. The synopsis via JoBlo: “Akira (Hayato Ichihara) admires Genyo Kamiura, who is the most powerful Yakuza. Genyo Kamiura has been targeted numerous times but has never died. He is called the invincible person. Because of Genyo Kamiura, Akira enters the world of the Yakuza. His colleagues treat him like an idiot; Akira can’t even get tattoos because of his sensitive skin. Akira becomes disappointed in the Yakuza world because it’s not like what they say in the movies, especially in terms of loyalty and charity depicted of the Yakuza. An assassin is then sent to take out Genyo Kamiura, whom the killers know is a vampire.”
Fyzal Boulifa’s Rate Me.
Nora El Hourch’s A Few Seconds.
Emmanuel Laskar’s Calme ta joie.
Martín Morgenfeld and Sebastián Schjaer’s The Broken Past.
Susana Nobre’s Trials, Exorcisms.
André Novais Oliveira’s Backyard.
Jean-Marc E. Roy and Philippe David Gagné’s Blue Thunder.
David Sandberg’s Kung Fury.
While I derived most of my films near exclusively from a single found footage source, The Exquisite Corpus is based on several different films, referencing the surrealist “exquisite corpse” technique. You’ll find several rushes from commercials, an American erotic thriller from the 1980s, a British comedy from the 1960s, a Danish as well as a French porn film (both most likely from the 1970s), an Italian soft-core sex movie from 1979, and a (British?) amateur movie—it could be considered a “nudist film” since there are no explicit sex scenes but all the actors run around naked, for no immediately obvious reason.
I mainly focused on these erotic films; they are related in that each tells a completely insane story that is entirely irrelevant but achieves the main goal of showing naked human bodies. I play on this attitude by raising the body of film itself to the forefront, which thereby becomes the central theme of The Exquisite Corpus.