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CANNES 2017 Official Selection

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The hunt for the Palme d’Or is on


- With one former winner, the return of 14 directors to these dizzy heights, five newcomers and 11 European filmmakers, the Cannes competition looks set to get pulses racing

The hunt for the Palme d’Or is on
The Killing of a Sacred Deer by Yorgos Lanthimos

“Long, fraught and intense.” These were the words used by General Delegate Thierry Frémaux (flanked by president Pierre Lescure) to describe the process that eventually led them to choose the 18 titles (for the time being) in the running for the Palme d'Or of the 70th Cannes Film Festival (17-28 May), the Official Selection of which was unveiled late this morning in Paris, following a period of particularly heightened suspense. “The films arrived late in the day,” continued the selector, who also highlighted the fact that the criticism often levelled at the festival for presenting a large number of “regulars” was relative after all, as it’s not easy to find films worthy of the level of the Cannes competition when so many of the great filmmakers are not available. But this doesn’t stop the world’s most stunning showcase of global cinema from once again being incredibly attractive, with its batch of safe bets and a handful of surprises.   

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Shining bright in competition are a former winner, in the guise of Austria’s Michael Haneke (Palme d'Or in 2009 and 2012, Best Director Award in 2005, Grand Prix in 2001 – his seventh time taking part), and six filmmakers who have already won awards (either directly or thanks to their actors) up on the legendary stage of Cannes’ Théâtre Lumière: Japan’s Naomi Kawase (fourth time), Russia’s Andrey Zvyagintsev (third), American director Todd Haynes (third), France’s Michel Hazanavicius (third), Greece’s Yorgos Lanthimos (second) and Germany’s Fatih Akin (second). 

Also marking their return to the hunt for the Palme d’Or are Korea’s Hong Sang-soo (fourth), Hungary’s Kornél Mundruczó, Ukraine’s Sergei Loznitsa, and France’s Jacques Doillon (selected 33 years after his last appearance at this level) and François Ozon, all for the third time, and, for the second time, US director Sofia Coppola and Scotland’s Lynne Ramsay

Making their debut appearances at these dizzy heights are France’s Robin Campillo, Korea’s Bong Joon-ho and three Americans: Noah Baumbach and brothers Ben and Joshua Safdie.

With one director from Scotland (Ramsay), four from France (Hazanavicius, Ozon, Doillon and Campillo), one from Austria (Haneke), one from Germany (Akin), one from Greece (Lanthimos), one from Hungary (Mundruczó), one from Russia (Zvyagintsev) and one from Ukraine (Loznitsa), Europe clearly leads the pack, with 11 films set to lock horns. The USA will be banking on four titles (by Coppola, Haynes, Noah Baumbach and the Safdie brothers), while Asia can count three hopefuls (Japan’s Kawase, and Korea’s Hong Sang-soo and Bong Joon-ho). In contrast, the rest of the world lacks any presence whatsoever, most notably South America – but watch this space, because the list of contenders will be topped off in the coming weeks, probably with one or two additional titles. Also of note this year is the presence of three female directors in the battle for the supreme reward, as well as Netflix’s Cannes initiation, with two titles in the running (helmed by Bong Joon-ho and Noah Baumbach). 

While the festival will be opened out of competition by French director Arnaud Desplechin’s Ismael’s Ghosts, the remainder of the Official Selection (which for the time being totals 49 features, including 12 by female directors and nine feature debuts) is chock-full of cinematic gems. Among them, we should mention out-of-competition films by John Cameron MitchellTakashi Miike, and the duo Agnès Varda and JR; special screenings, including another movie by Hong Sang-soo (Claire’s Camera, toplined by Isabelle Huppert); documentaries by Claude LanzmannRaymond Depardon and Vanessa Redgrave, plus the sequel to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth; an installation-cum-exhibition for a virtual-reality short film by Alejandro González Iñarritu; the swansong by the late Abbas Kiarostami; and a number of series, with the entirety of Top of the Lake: China Girl by Jane Campion and the first two episodes of the follow-up to the legendary Twin Peaks by David Lynch. And that’s not to mention an Un Certain Regard selection of a very high standard (16 features for the time being, including films by Laurent CantetKiyoshi KurosawaMathieu Amalric and Michel Franco - read news), all of which should make for an anniversary edition of Cannes that will put the emphasis on festivities.

The titles in the Official Selection of the 70th Cannes Film Festival:


Ismael's Ghosts - Arnaud Desplechin (opening film) (France)
The Meyerowitz Stories - Noah Baumbach (United States)
In the Fade - Fatih Akin (Germany/France)
Okja - Bong Joon-ho (South Korea/United States)
BPM (Beats Per Minute) - Robin Campillo (France)
The Beguiled - Sofia Coppola (United States)
Rodin [+see also:
film profile
 - Jacques Doillon (France/Belgium)
Happy End - Michael Haneke (France/Germany/Austria)
Wonderstruck - Todd Haynes (United States)
Redoubtable [+see also:
film profile
 - Michel Hazanavicius (France)
The Day After (Geu-hu) - Hong Sang-soo (South Korea)
RadianceNaomi Kawase (Japan/France)
The Killing of a Sacred Deer - Yorgos Lanthimos (United Kingdom/Ireland/United States)
A Gentle Creature - Sergei Loznitsa (France/Netherlands/Germany/Lithuania)
Jupiter's Moon - Kornél Mundruczó (Hungary/Germany)
L'Amant double [+see also:
film profile
 - François Ozon (France/Belgium)
You Were Never Really Here - Lynne Ramsay (United Kingdom/France)
Good Time - Benny & Josh Safdie (United States)
Loveless - Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia/France/Belgium/Germany)

Out of Competition:

How to Talk to Girls at Parties - John Cameron Mitchell (United Kingdom/United States)
Blade of the Immortal - Takashi Miike (Japan)
Visages, villages - Agnès Varda, JR (France)

Special Screenings:

An Inconvenient Sequel - Bonni Cohen, John Shenk (United States)
12 Jours
 - Raymond Depardon (France)
 - Anahita Ghazvinizadeh (United States/Qatar)
Promised Land - Eugene Jarecki (United States)
Napalm - Claude Lanzmann (France)
Sea Sorrow
 - Vanessa Redgrave (United Kingdom)
Demons in Paradise - Jude Ratman (Sri Lanka/France)
Claire's Camera (Keul-le-eo-ui ka-me-la) - Hong Sang-soo (France/South Korea)

Special Screenings - Events:

Top of the Lake: China Girl - Jane Campion, Ariel Kleiman (TV series) (Australia/United Kingdom/New Zealand/United States)
Carne y arena - Alejandro González Iñárritu (virtual reality - installation)
Twin Peaks - David Lynch (TV series) (United States)
24 Frames - Abbas Kiarostami (Iran)
Come Swim - Kristen Stewart (short film) (United States)

Midnight Screenings:

The Villainess (Ak-nyeo) - Jung Byung-Gil (South Korea)
The Merciless (Bulhandang) - Byun Sung-Hyun (South Korea)
Prayer Before Dawn - Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire (United Kingdom/France)

(Translated from French)

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