The first major look at the line-up of the 68th Cannes Film Festival was revealed last night, with films from Todd Haynes, Dennis Villeneuve and Yorgos Lanthimos already building buzz. The festival will run from the 13-24th of May.
Snowtown director Justin Kurzel’s adaptation of Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard will open in competition (Snowtown screened at Cannes in 2011 as part of the Critics’ Week sidebar), as will Todd Haynes’ latest, Carol, which stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Other competition titles include Dogtooth director and past winner of the Prix Un Certain Regard Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster, Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan, Maiwenn’s Mon Roi, Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees, Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario (starring Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin) and Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, which stars Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel. Norweigan director Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs, Valerie Donzelli’s Marguerite and Julien and Jia Zhangke’s Mountains May Depart, his first film shot outside of China, will also screen in competition – Zhangke’s film A Touch of Sin also screened at Cannes, where it was nominated for the Palme d’Or and won Best Screenplay.
Un Certain Regard, typically a space for more innovative and exciting filmmaking, was also announced. Titles to look out for include Un Certain Regard regular, Romanian director Corneliu Porombiou, with The Treasure, and Italian director Roberto Minervini with The Other Side, whose Stop The Pounding Heart had a special screening at Cannes in 2013. Un Certain Regard is always worth following closely, as its selections can become stalwarts of the year’s festival circuit.
Kung Fu Panda director Mark Osbourne’s adaptation of the beloved French children’s book The Little Prince will screen out of competition, as will Woody Allen’s latest Irrational Man and George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. Midnight screening’s include Asif Kapadia’s Amy, the Amy Winehouse documentary, and Hong Won-Chan’s investigative drama Office.
Particularly pertinent to Sydney audiences is the timing of the Cannes line-up announcements. With the Sydney Film Festival full program to be revealed on the 6th of May, there’s time for Sydney programmers to snag a few last minute titles riding the Cannes hype. In past few years the timeline of Cannes announcement and their own has allowed Sydney Film Festival to snag films like Xavier Dolan’s Mommy and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep in 2014 and Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra alongside Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring in 2013.
Earlier this week it was announced that the festival would be opened by La Tête Haute (Standing Tall), by Emmauelle Bercot – the first female directed film to open the festival since 1987. The film stars Catherine Deneuve and follows a juvenile delinquent and the effort of a children’s judge and social worked to save him from himself. Given that the last two festival openers have tended to be male-directed, big budget studio films (conducive to a star studded red carpet but not, perhaps, an interesting contribution to film) like The Great Gatsby and Grace of Monaco, the Festival appears to be setting themselves up for a culture change. On the same day it was announced that the jury would be headed up by Italian actress Isabella Rossellini.
It also appears that Katzenberg and the Dreamworks team have been kicked out of their annual spot, with Pixar’s Inside Out opening out of competition. Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda 2, Shrek 2 and How to Train Your Dragon 2 have all premiered at Cannes.
The festival has also announced their series of special screenings, including Natalie Portman’s directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, and the fantastically titled L’esprit de l’escalier from Pabla Lucavic.
As always, women are underrepresented outside of the two headline announcements of a female jury president and a female-directed opener, and there are surprisingly few documentaries, besides Amy. With Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week still to come, plus the usual slew of last minute additions, there’s plenty more to look out for.