New films from world cinema heavyweights, Asghar Farhadi, Jia Zhangke and Kore-Eda Hirokazu, head an impressive competition line-up for the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.
Three previous Palme d’Or winners return. Coen Brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ has looked a shoo-in for some time and Roman Polanski’s ‘Venus in Furs’ won’t raise too many eyebrows. The inclusion of Steven Soderbergh’s Liberace biopic ‘Behind the Candelabra’ is a surprise, with the TV movie seeming more likely to receive an out-of-competition screening. It makes for an interesting six months for Soderbergh, whose big screen swansong ‘Side Effects’ appeared at Berlin earlier this year.
The selection of Alexander Payne’s keenly awaited road movie, ‘Nebraska’, and Nicolas Winding Refn’s ‘Drive’ follow up ‘Only God Forgives’, with Ryan Gosling returning, will attract wide media attention. It is a second time in the competition for both filmmakers, as it is for Francois Ozon, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun and Takashi Miike.
After last year’s furore following an all-male line-up, Cannes organisers are likely to court further controversy this time around with only one of the films being directed by a woman. It was Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s third feature, ‘Un Chateau en Italie’ a comedy drama starring Louis Garrel.
Speculation that Steve McQueen’s ‘Twelve Years A Slave’ would be finished in time for a Cannes competition berth proved unfounded.
Behind the Candelabra
Steven Soderbergh’s TV feature adaptation of Scott Thorson’s controversial autobiography novel, ‘Behind the Candelabra : My Life with Liberace’, will receive its world premiere at Cannes ahead of screening on HBO later this month. Michael Douglas and Matt Damon star in the portrayal of Thorson’s disputed account of his six-year stormy relationship with the legendary entertainer. Soderbergh, who has recently announced his filmmaking retirement, premiered his big screen swan-song, ‘Side Effects’, earlier this year at Berlin.
Alex van Warmerdam
‘Brogman’ has the distinction of being the first feature from a Dutch filmmaker to receive a Palme d’Or nomination for 38 years. It is the eighth film from veteran Alex van Warmerdam and his awards include a FIPRESCI Prize, which he picked up at Venice for ‘De jurk’ during 1996. His latest stars Jan Bijvoet as a malevolent presence who shakes a modern suburban family from its complacency.
Africa’s most prominent filmmaker, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, returns to Cannes where he received a jury prize for ‘A Screaming Man’ three years ago. Newcomer, Soulémane Démé, plays a twenty something disabled man with aspirations of being a professional dancer, who must rethink his career after serious illness strikes a family member. As with all of Haroun’s recent films, it is set against the background of war-torn Chad.
Amat Escalante’s previous two films premiered in the Un Certain Regard at Cannes and ‘Sangre’ picked up a FIPRESCI Prize. An emerging presence in the Mexican new wave, his latest feature, ‘Heli’ steps up to compete for the Palme d’Or and explores family crisis, violence and corruption in Mexican society. Natalia Lopez is the editor, having previously worked on Carlos Reygadas’ last two films, and Reygadas, himself, is part of the production team, maintaining the strong collaboratory spirit of Mexican filmmaking.
Cannes favourite, James Gray, competes for the Palme d’Or for the fourth time with ‘The Immigrant’, a tough drama set in 1920’s New York. Marion Cotillard leads a stellar cast, including Jeremy Renner and Joaquin Phoenix, and plays a stranded Polish lady, who finds a potential lifeline from prostitution in unusual circumstances. Cotillard makes a second Cannes appearance in Guillaume Canet’s out-of-competition title, ‘Blood Ties’, which Gray also co-wrote.
Inside Llewyn Davis
With a Palme d’Or, three best director wins and eight competition selections, the Coen Brothers have established a special bond with Cannes, which always makes them a serious contender for the major prizes. Their next feature, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, starring Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake, returns to 1960s New York for a quirky take on the burgeoning folk scene, which, amongst others, brought Bob Dylan to the fore. CBS Films will delay its North America release until December as part of an awards campaign.
Jeune et Jolie
‘Jeune et Jolie’ (Young and Beautiful), marks François Ozon’s only second appearance in the main completion; the other being ‘Swimming Pool’ ten years ago. Ozon has kept much of the plot under wraps but, in broad terms, it is a challenging coming-of-age tale surrounding the sexual exploits of a 17-year-old girl. Up and coming actress, Marina Vacth, stars alongside Ozon regular, Charlotte Rampling.
Arnaud Desplechin brings together the intriguing combination of Benicio Del Toro and Matthieu Amalric for his latest feature, the much anticipated ‘Jimmy P’. Based on a true story, Desplechin takes a sideways look at Native American culture via an unlikely friendship between a Plains Indian of the Blackfeet nation and his psychoanalyst. It is the follow-up to Desplechin’s critically acclaimed, ‘A Christmas Tale’, and will be the fifth time that he has competed for the Palme d’Or.
La Grande Belleza
Paolo Sorrentino reunites with Toni Servillo for his latest feature, ‘La Grande Belleza’, where a world-weary journalist reflects upon his youth. It his fifth film in the main competition and marks a return to an Italian setting after his ambitious first English language film, ‘This Must Be the Place’. It remains to be seen whether Sorrentino plays on the Felliniesque nature of the plot as a homage.
La Vie D’Adele (Blue is the Warmest Colour)
Abdellatif Kechiche makes his first appearance on the Croisette with ‘La Vie D’Adele’ (‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’), the longest film in the main competition at almost three hours. Three of his previous four features have premiered at Venice at the other end of the festival season and ‘Couscous’ went on to win César awards for best film, director and original screenplay. Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux star in his latest, a daring tale of sexual identity.
Le Passé (The Past)
Asghar Farhadi follows the Golden Bear and Foreign Language Oscar winner, ‘A Separation’, with his first feature shot outside Iran. Arguably, the most keenly awaited film of this year’s Cannes, ‘Le Passé’ (‘The Past’), returns to the theme of separation when an Iranian man arrives in Paris for a divorce settlement but encounters a secret from his past. Leading Iranian actor, Ali Mosaffa, joins Bérénice Bejo (‘The Artist’) and Tahar Rahim (‘A Prophet’) in an outstanding cast.
Arnaud des Pallières
Arnaud des Pallières’ adaptation of Heinrich von Kleist’s highly acclaimed early 19th century novella ‘Michael Kohlhaas’ is this year’s surprise selection. Little known outside of his native France, ‘Parc’ was des Pallières’ only previous film to appear on the festival radar when it picked up a Bronze Horse at Stockholm five years ago. A strong cast, including Mads Mikkelsen, who won best actor at last year’s Cannes, will raise the profile of his latest feature.
Alexander Payne returns to the main competition for the second time after ‘About Schmidt’ over ten years ago. Bruce Dern and Will Forte star as an estranged father and son, who reunite for a road-trip to claim a million dollar sweepstake prize. It is the follow up to ‘The Descendants’ and will be Payne’s third road movie with quirky characters.
Only God Forgives
Nicolas Winding Refn
‘Only God Forgives’ reunites Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling, the director and star of the Cannes hit, ‘Drive’ and adds Kristin Scott Thomas to the mix. It takes us to the streets of Bangkok for a revenge thriller where Gosling plays a drug smuggler operating from a Thai boxing club. Refn has given meaning to title and raised the ante by disclosing that Gosling’s character ‘wants to fight God without knowing why’.
Only Lovers Left Alive
Jim Jarmusch received a grand jury prize for ‘Broken Flowers’ on his first appearance in the main competition and now returns as a late entry to this year’s line-up with ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’. It is the latest contribution to the current crop of vampire revisionist films with Jarmusch contemplating the nature of love when two protagonists have been together for centuries. Tilda Swinton, who featured in Jarmusch’s crime drama, ‘The Limits of Control’, stars alongside Tom Hiddleston.
Soshite Chichi Ni Naru (Like Father, Like Son)
Kore-Eda Hirokazu continues to probe into Japanese family life with his latest feature, ‘Soshite Chichi Ni Naru’ (‘Like Father, Like Son’). Pop star, Masaharu Fukuyama, plays a ruthless business man, who faces a crisis point when discovering that his real son was inadvertently switched at birth six years before. Hirokazu, a natural heir to Ozu, competed for the Palme d’Or with earlier films ‘Distance’ and ‘Nobody Knows’.
Tian Zhu Ding (A Touch of Sin)
Leading Chinese filmmaker, Jia Zhangke, returns to Cannes after two earlier appearances. His latest film, ‘Tian Zhu Ding’ (‘A Touch of Sin’) provides a look at contemporary China from the viewpoint of characters living in different parts of the country. Jia regular Zhao Tao joins Jiang Wu (‘Shower’) and Wang Baoqiang (‘Blind Shaft’) in a strong ensemble cast.
Un château en Italie
The accolade of being the only woman competing for the Palme d’Or goes to Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, as Cannes faces renewed criticism for its male dominated line-ups. Her latest film, ‘Un château en Italie’, portrays a powerful family of Italian industrialists as it falls apart at the end of an era. Bruni-Tedeschi, who is best known for her extensive career as an actress (‘Munich’, ‘5×2’, ‘A Perfect Couple’) stars alongside her husband, Louis Garrel and ‘Of Gods and Men’ director, Xavier Beauvois. ‘Actrices’ was her only other feature behind the camera to premiere at Cannes and it received an Un Certain Regard special jury prize six years ago.
Venus in Fur
Roman Polanski is sticking with adapting plays for the big screen notwithstanding his failure to transcend the theatrical origins of his last film, ‘Carnage’. This time around, Polanski has turned his attention to David Ives’s Broadway hit play, ‘Venus in Fur’, where an audition becomes a battle of wits between an actress and playwright embroiled in sexual power play. The two-hander stars Mathieu Amalric alongside Polanski’s wife, Emmanuelle Seigner.
Wara no Tate (Shield of Straw)
The prolific Japanese filmmaker, Takashi Miike, who makes Woody Allen’s one film a year schedule look positively pedestrian, competes for the Palme d’Or for the second time after ‘Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai’ two years ago. Miike provides more of his cult blend of V-Cinema action and high end sophistication in his latest production, ‘Wara no Tate’ (‘Shield of Straw’), a pumped up contemporary take on the ‘bounty’ sub-genre. Takao Osawa and Nanako Matsushima star as two cops protecting a confessed killer.generic sildalisgeneric sildalis onlinesildalis genericsildalis purchase
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