19.April.2012: The Cannes Film Festival announced its full competition lineup yesterday, and it’s heavy on (male) auteurs: Anderson, Carax, Cronenberg, Garrone, Haneke, Hillcoat, Hong, Kiarostami, Loach, Mungiu, Resnais, Seidl, and the list goes on. The festival, which runs from May 16–27, will open with Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and closes with the recently deceased Claude Miller’s final film, Thérèse Desqueyroux. “Another colossal buffet of cinematic prestige from Cannes,” writes The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw in his roundup of the selection, “a festival so spoiled for choice that it can afford to put brilliant and well-known directors and heavy-hitters on the sidebars.”
At Indiewire, pioneering cinema-vérité filmmaker Robert Drew writes an obituary for his companion in life and filmmaking, Anne Drew, who died April 12: “As a central partner for more than four decades in our documentary film company Drew Associates, Anne edited and produced cinema verite films on ballet, war, Duke Ellington, Indira Gandhi, and President John F. Kennedy, among others. Her work was broadcast on television and celebrated at film festivals worldwide. Anne was fearless in going after her stories. Filming in mobs in India, or being arrested by Noriega’s thugs in Panama, or facing armed militiamen in Montana, she produced films with a human touch that moved and informed.”
Ever exquisite in its despair, the long obscure 1977 Robert Bresson feature The Devil, Probably opens for a weeklong run at Brooklyn’s BAMcinématek today. Erstwhile Voidoid Richard Hell introduces the punk-era film next Thursday, but in the meantime Dennis Lim has a thoughtful appreciation for Artforum. “How to account for the intensity of feeling this film inspires,” he asks. “Speaking from experience, I can only suggest that for those on its wavelength, The Devil, Probably has the force of a revelation, even on repeat encounters. It’s an existentialist horror movie, complete with zombielike cast and looming apocalypse, and in place of scare tactics, a brutal, breathtaking logic and concision.” It’s also worth noting that the revised edition of James Quandt’s Robert Bresson anthology has been published, and it’s tremendous.
The San Francisco International Film Festival opened last night, and in late-breaking news the festival announced that it would award the inaugural Graham Leggat Award to Benh Zeitlin of Beasts of the Southern Wild fame. It’s an appropriate choice, explains San Francisco Film Society interim executive director Melanie Blum, because “Graham was part of the original granting panel that awarded Benh one of two SFFS/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaker postproduction grants, totaling $105,000, for Beasts of the Southern Wild.”
San Francisco filmmaker Sam Green will be premiering his new live documentary, The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, with a live score by Yo La Tengo at SFIFF next week, but in the meantime Green’s earlier examination of utopic thinking, the Esperanto-themed The Universal Language, is one of Fandor’s four new featured films of the week. The other selections are Peter Tscherkassky’s Outer Space, winner of the “Golden Spire” at the 2000 SFIFF and called “too arresting to ignore” by Guy Maddin, who would know; Stephen Fung’s martial arts showcase, House of Fury; and a must-see doc for foodies, El Bulli: Cooking in Progress.