Former glories and ambitious directors find sanctuary at Cannes
by Fabien Lemercier
16/05/2007 - The hunt for the Palme d’Or is open. The 60th Cannes Film Festival, which opens with Wong Kar-Wai’s My Blueberry Nights [trailer], will offer until May 27 a showcase of legends on the Croisette with 22 titles in competition from the crème de la crème of international filmmakers.
However this deluxe line-up – dominated by films from the US, Eastern Europe and France –also includes nine regulars at Cannes (including four previous winners) and in reality reveals itself as much more audacious than it at first seems with 13 new arrivals.
The list of "former glories" or Cannes winners is more than impressive and features Bosnian director Emir Kusturica (double Palme d’Or in 1985 and 1995, Best Director in 1989, fifth appearance in competition) and US helmers Gus Van Sant (2003 Palme d’Or and Best Director, in competition in 2005), Quentin Tarantino (winner in 1994) and Joel and Ethan Coen (1991 Best Director and Palme d’Or, Best Director in 1996 and 2001, seventh time in competition).
Other Cannes stars are China’s Wong Kar-Wai (fourth time in competition, Best Actor in 2000 and Best Director in 1997) and Russia’s Alexandre Sokourov (Best Screenplay in 1999 and fifth selection since then).
However in addition to these prize winning directors who age from 44 to 55, selector Thierry Frémaux has chosen younger filmmakers. Directors making a second appearance at the festival are Mexican helmer Carlos Reygadas (35, Special Mention for Camera d’Or in 2002 and in competition in 2005), US director James Gray (37, selected in 2000) and Japan’s Naomi Kawase (37, 1997 Caméra d’Or, in competition in 2003).
The festival artistic director is giving a chance to 13 young directors in festival sidebars, namely France’s Christophe Honoré(36, in Un Certain Regard 2002 and in Directors’ Fortnight 2006) and Raphaël Nadjari (35, discovered in Un Certain Regard 1999), and Romanian director Cristian Mungiu (39, in Directors’ Fortnight 2002 with his first feature).
Frémaux has selected two of the most spectacular revelations of recent years, at Berlin (Turkish/German helmer Fatih Akin, 33, 2004 Golden Bear) and at Venice (Russia’s Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2003 Golden Lion), a duo completed by Korea’s Kim Ki-duk, who won at both of the above festivals but is only making his first appearance this year at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard sidebar.
The programme is also focusing on contrasts with Hollywood auteur cinema by US director David Fincher and potentially geopolitical controversial black-and-white animated film by Iranian director Marjane Satrapi and her regular partner Vincent Paronnaud.
The Cannes Film Festival remains true its role of defending the most demanding auteur cinema by lining up for the first time in competition five directors in their fifties reputed for their artistic intransigence. From the fascinating Hungarian director Béla Tarr and the provocative Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl to the highly original New York painter Julian Schnabel (Special Jury Grand Prize at Venice 2000), the iconoclastic Korean writer Lee Chang-dong (2000 Directors’ Fortnight and 2003 Critics’ Week, former Korean Minister of Culture) and France’s Catherine Breillat, the competition of the 60th Cannes Film Festival is expected to be one of the most attractive and intriguing of recent years.
The remainder of the line-up for this anniversary edition lives up to expectations with a myriad of big names in Official Selection (Soderbergh, Moore, Arcand, Assayas, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Ferrara, Olmi, Winterbottom, Schlondorff), a radical Directors’ Fortnight (see news May 3 2007), a distinctly Hispanic Critics’ Week (see news April 26 2007) and a potent Film Market expected to generate up to €500m.
Wong Kar Wai - My Blueberry Nights [trailer] (CN)
Emir Kusturica - Promise Me This [trailer] (BA)
Fatih Akin - On the Other Side [trailer, film focus] (DE)
Bela Tarr - The Man From London [trailer] (HU)
Ulrich Seidl - Import/Export [trailer] (AT)
Cristian Mungiu - 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days [trailer, film focus] (RO)
Christophe Honoré - Les Chansons d'amour [trailer] (FR)
Catherine Breillat - An Old Mistress [trailer] (FR) Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly [trailer] (US/FR)
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud - Persepolis [trailer, film focus] (FR)
Raphael Nadjari - Tehilim [trailer] (IL)
Andrey Zvyagintsev - The Banishment (RU)
Alexandre Sokourov - Alexandra (RU)
Gus Van Sant - Paranoid Park [trailer] (US)
Quentin Tarantino - Death Proof
Joel and Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men (US)
James Gray - We Own the Night (US)
David Fincher - Zodiac (US)
Kim Ki-duk - Breath (KR)
Naomi Kawase - Mogari No Mori (JP)
Lee Chang-dong - Secret Sunshine (KR)
Carlos Reygadas - Silent Light [trailer] (MX)
(Translated from French)