Cannes Film Festival 2012 (16-27 May)

May 27th, 2012 - Graham Eley

With Cannes predictions being almost as accurate as award season trends, it is often those outsiders for Palme d’Or success, which the pundits have overlooked in the build-up, that grab the headlines upon the announcement of the programme for the main competition.  So it proved today upon the unveiling of this year’s line-up where the inclusion of new films from world cinema heavyweights, Michael Haneke, Abbas Kiarostami and Jacques Audiard was such a shoo-in that their presence was barely newsworthy.  Amongst the surprises, on the other hand, there were some welcome entries, including John Hillcoat’s Lawless, which seemed set for a Venice world premiere at the end of festival season, and Alain Resnais’ follow up to his outstanding late work, Wild Grass.  Perhaps the most notable and telling absence was the complete lack of women filmmakers on the list.


Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom opens the festival on 16 May 2012 and will be the first opening film in competition for four years.  Claude Miller’s final film,Therese Desqueyroux, will close the film on 27 May 2012 out of competition.



Main Competition


After the Battle

Yousry Nasrallah


Egyptian filmmaker, Yousri Nasrallah, turns his attention to some of the complexities surrounding the Tahrir Square uprising that exist beyond the headlines of the world media.  Nasrallah explores the thorny subject of post-victory reprisals in a new political climate looking to distance itself from the past.  An unusual love story plays out against a community ostracising one of its militia members whom the Mubarak regime had intimidated into joining counter-revolution measures.  There are high expectations for this latest film to tackle the Arab Spring, being a topic that inventive documentaries have dominated so far.



The Angels’ Share

Ken Loach


Cannes favourite and former Palme d’Or winner, Ken Loach, returns to the Croisette with his latest feature, The Angels’ Share.  Downbeat Glaswegians chance their arm with a malt whiskey scam to escape the poverty trap in his fifth Scottish based feature but it will be lighter in tone than the others from this territory.  Roger Allam and John Henshaw star, and Loach’s long-term collaborator, Paul Laverty provides the script.



Beyond the Hills

Cristian Mungiu


A leading light of the Romanian New Wave, Cristian Mungiu, marked his last appearance on the Croisette with one of the strongest films of the last decade, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.  It has taken Mungiu five years to follow up his Palme d’Or winner after concentrating on the production of features for other filmmakers.  His new film, Beyond the Hills, returns to his native Romania for an oblique exploration of the intricacies surrounding global migration in relation to the territory.  Two friends from an orphanage reunite later in life, one having a solitary existence in a convent and the other visiting from a new home in Germany in the hope of persuading her to leave.




David Cronenberg


Cosmopolis, one of the most keenly awaited films at this year’s Cannes, sees David Cronenberg adapt Don DeLillo’s highly praised novel of the same name for a Godardian take on contemporary consumerism in a post-9/11 Manhattan.  With intriguing parallels to Godard’s masterpiece of Capitalist meltdown, Weekend, a successful banker loses his money in increasingly bizarre ways during a nightmare car trip across town.  Robert Pattinson leads a strong cast that includes Paul Giamatti, Juliette Binoche and Samantha Morton.



Holy Motors

Léos Carax


Léos Carax’s first feature for over twelve years sees a series of Orlando style transformations for the 21st century but over a period of 24 hours.  Denis Lavant, who starred in Carax’s debut feature, Boy Meets Girl, as the start of a long association, plays the protagonist who switches gender and class and builds-up a potentially intriguing cultural portrait in the process.  Kylie Minogue co-stars following an interesting against-type casting selection.



The Hunt

Thomas Vinterberg


Thomas Vinterberg returns to the themes of his Dogme 95 hit, Festen, but in reverse.  The ‘hunt’ of the title refers to the ‘mob’ mentality of villagers pursuing a kindergarten teacher falsely accused of assaulting a young girl.  Its inclusion in the main competition is a major boost for Vinterberg who has struggled to repeat the critical success of Festen.  In demand, Mads Mikkelsen plays the lead.



In Another Country

Hong Sang-Soo


There are high expectations for Hong Sang-Soo’s first English speaking film, In Another Country.  A potentially intriguing portrait of a Korean coastal town as seen by outsiders features the remarkable Isabelle Huppert playing three different women visiting the location for the first time.  Hong, a familiar presence at Cannes, bagged the  Prix Un Certain Regard two years ago for HaHaHa.



In the Fog

Sergei Loznitsa


Sergei Loznitsa’s My Joy, his first fiction film, was a surprise selection for the Cannes main competition two years ago and now he returns with his follow-up, In the Fog.  Set in German-occupied Belorussia during the Second World War, a man falsely accused of colluding with the Nazis faces an unexpected moral dilemma when fighting to clear his name.  Loznitsa made five feature documentaries before switching to fiction and won the Golden Horn at the Cracow Film Festival for Revue.



Killing Them Softly

Andrew Dominik


Andrew Dominik’s follow-up to his outstanding Assassination of Jesse James is one of the most keenly awaited films of the year.  Based on George V Higgins’s novel, Cogan’s Trade, but renamed Killing Them Softly, Dominik will look to revise the ‘mafia double-dealing’ sub-genre in the same bold manner as he tackled the Western in his previous film.  Brad Pitt leads a strong cast that includes Ben Mendelsohn and Ray Liotta.




John Hillcoat


Hard-edged Australian filmmaker, John Hillcoat (The Road), reunites with Nick Cave, who provides the script and soundtrack, for an adaptation of Matt Bondurant’s acclaimed novel, The Wettest County in the World.  Set in the Prohibition-era Virginia, three brothers protect their bootlegging empire in circumstances consistent with the film’s new title, Lawless.  Shia LaBeouf leads a strong cast that includes, amongst others, Gary Oldman, Guy Pearce and Mia Wasikowska.  Hillcoat and Cave last worked together on The Proposition, an uncompromisingly tough take on the outlaw sub-genre.



Like Someone in Love

Abbas Kiarostami


Abbas Kiarostami returns to Cannes with Like Someone in Love, his second feature made outside Iran and the follow up to the other, Certified Copy.  This time set in Japan, Aoi Miyazaki plays a student/prostitute who enters an ambiguous relationship with an older man that potentially changes her life.  Kiarostami has hinted that it will explore themes similar to Certified Copy but it is not clear whether this extends to playing the same Resnais-style Modernist games that wrong-footed some critics at Cannes two years ago.




Michael Haneke


Michael Haneke follows his 2009 Palme d’Or winner, The White Ribbon, with an exploration of suffering in old age and its impact on relationships.  French veterans, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, play a couple in their eighties struggling to cope with the aftermath of the wife’s recent stroke.  Isabelle Huppert, who starred in Haneke’s The Piano Teacher & Time of the Wolf, makes her second appearance in this year’s main competition as the couple’s daughter living abroad.



Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson


Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom will be the first opening film to appear in the main competition at Cannes for four years.  Returning to the mid-Sixties, two children elope from an insular New England island that the youth revolution has by-passed.  A string of ‘A’ listers, including Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Bill Murray, to name but a few, provide a strong red carpet opportunity for the opening night.  Focus Features has acquired worldwide rights and will release it simultaneously in the US and UK on May 25, 2012.




Jeff Nichols


One of the leading lights of American independent cinema, Jeff Nichols, won last year’s Grand Prix Nespresso for the outstanding Take Shelter as the best film in Cannes Critics’ Week.  He returns twelve months later in the main competition with Mud, in which a teenager helping an escaped convict becomes the latest pretext for Nichols taking a sideways look at contemporary America.  Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon star alongside newcomer, Tye Sheridan.



On the Road

Walter Salles


Given cinema’s obsession with adaptations, with varying motives, it is surprising that 65 years have elapsed before one of the cornerstones of Beat Generation cool, Jack Kerouac’s groundbreaking novel, On the Road, finally appears on the big screen.  After many false starts, Walter Salles (Central Station, The Motorcycle Diaries) had the task of creating something new and original from material that still retains its freshness and appeal with succeeding generations.  Sam Riley, who was superb playing another young icon, Joy Divisions’ Ian Curtis in Control, and Garrett Hedlund lead a cast that includes Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst and Amy Adams.



The Paperboy

Lee Daniels


Lee Daniels keenly awaited follow-up to his Academy Award nominated Precious, returns to 1960’s Miami for a switch from a contemporary social drama to the erotic thriller sub-genre.  Based upon Peter Dexter’s novel, The Paperboy, two young journalists cut corners fighting a ‘rough justice’ case for a death row inmate.  Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey play the journalists in a strong cast that includes Nicole Kidman and John Cusak.



Paradise: Love

Ulrich Seidl


Ulrich Seidl came to the fore internationally in the main competition at Cannes four years ago with Import/Export, one of the most thought provoking films to tackle the complexities of globalisation.  He now returns with his follow-up, Paradise: Love, a close look at various disadvantaged characters that society has defined as outsiders.  Maria Hofstätter, who starred in Seidl’s Dog Days, heads the cast.



Post Tenebras Lux (Light After Darkness)

Carlos Reygadas


Arguably the most important of the filmmakers that have spearheaded the acclaimed Mexican New Wave, the ruthlessly independent Carlos Reygadas follows his realist masterpiece, Silent Light, with another carrying an evocative Bergmanesque sounding title, Light After Darkness.  But this time around, Reygadas, will venture outside Mexico to various locations in Europe for a potentially intriguing modernist reflection on aspects of his own life.  Outstanding cinematographer, Alexis Zabe, returns from Silent Light.




Matteo Garrone


Matteo Garrone returns to the main competition at Cannes with his follow-up to Gomorrah, which won the Grand Prix four years ago.  The ‘reality’ of the film’s title is of the contrived kind that has emerged from reality TV.  Matteo Garrone targets, Grande Fratello, the Italian version of Big Brother but will have a wider application.  Claudia Gerini (The Passion of the Christ) stars alongside Ciro Petrone, who returns from Gomorrah, and Paola Minaccioni (Loose Cannons).



Rust & Bone

Jacques Audiard


Jacques Audiard renews his partnership with screenwriter, Thomas Bidgain, with whom he crafted A Prophet, this century’s most important addition to the gangster genre.  This time around they rework various short stories from Canadian writer Craig Davidson that sees a homeless man team-up with a trainer of killer whales who suffers a terrible accident.  In demand Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose, Midnight in Paris) stars alongside Matthias Schoenaerts.



Taste of Money

Sang-soo Im


Leading South Korean auteur, Sang-soo Im returns to Cannes with his potentially challenging drama, Taste of Money, where adult themes will be the pretext for establishing links between class, gender and capitalism.  Yun-shik Baek, who starred in Sang’s The President’s Last Bang, heads a cast that includes Kang-woo Kim (Hahaha) and Hyo-Jin Kim.  It will be Sang’s second film in succession to screen in Cannes’ main competition following The Housemaid two years ago.



You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet

Alain Resnais


One of the masters of Modernist cinema, Alain Resnais (Last Year at Marienbad, Hiroshima Mon Amour) returns to Cannes with You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet, a partial adaptation of Jean Anouilh’s wartime play Eurydice, itself an updated version of the Orpheus myth, set amongst a band of travelling players.  A stunning cast includes Michel Piccoli, who originally came to the fore in Godard’s Le Mépris, and two of today’s finest character actors, Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, A Christmas Tale) and  Lambert Wilson (Of Gods and Men).  In his previous film, Wild Grass, a critical success at Cannes 2009, Resnais displayed all of the inventive powers that we associate with his long career extending over 60 years.  This will be the fifth time that Resnais has competed for the Palme d’ female viagrabuy female viagra australiafemale viagra for salebuy female viagra ukwomens viagra onlinecheap female viagrageneric female viagra

Michael Haneke has won the Palme d’Or for the second time in four years for the pre-ceremony favourite, Love (Amour), starring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva as an elderly couple struggling to cope with the harsh reality of failing health.  There was a major surprise with the second prize, the Grand Prix, going to Matteo Garrone’s take on the Big Brother TV concept, Reality, which failed to make an impression with the critics.  The best director award went to Carlos Reygadas for another rank outsider, Post Tenebras Lux, an experimental work that excited a chorus of boos at its screening.  There was success for Cristian Mungiu’s popular, Beyond The Hills, with the Romanian auteur taking best screenplay, and co-stars Cosmina Stratan and Christina Flutor jointly winning best actress.  Mads Mikkelsen won best actor for his performance in The Hunt, Thomas Vinterberg’s first critical success since his debut feature, Festen.  But there was nothing for Leos Carax’s controversial Holy Motors, thought by many to be a serious contender.


Michel Franco’s hard-edged Mexican drama, Despues de Lucia (After Lucia), an uncompromising look at bullying and childhood alienation, took the top prize in the sidebar competition, Un Certain Regard, for new and emerging filmmakers.  The jury awarded the second prize to Benoit Delepine and Gustave Kervern’s punk rock comedy, Le Grand Soir.


There was more success for Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts Of The Southern Wild, taking the Camera d’Or for best debut feature.  The mystical tale of universal issues from the perspective of a young girl was the talk of Sundance last January where it won the grand jury prize.


International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESI) award its price to Serhiy Loznytsia’s Second World War drama, In the Fog, where a man falsely accused of colluding with the Nazis faces an unexpected moral dilemma.


Awards in full


Main Competition:


Palme d’Or – Feature Film

Amour (Love) by Michael Haneke


Grand Prix

Reality by Matteo Garrone


Prix du Jury (jury prize):

The Angles’ Share by Ken Loach


Prix de la Mise en Scene (best director):

Carlos Reygadas for Post Tenebraslux


Prix du Scenario (best screenplay):

Cristian Mungui for Dupa Dealuri (Beyond the Hills)


Prix d’interpretation masculine (best actor):

Mads Mikkelsen in Jagten (The Hunt) by Thomas Vinterberg


Prix d’interpretation feminine (best actress):

Cristina Flutur in Dupa Dealuri (Beyond the Hills) by Cristian Mungui


Un Certain Regard:


Prize of Un Certain Regard

Despues de Lucia by Michel Franco


Special Jury Prize

Le Grand Soir by Gustave Kervern, Benoît Delepine


Special Distinction of the Jury

Djeca (Children of Sarajevo) by Aida Begic


Best debut film:


Camera d’Or:


Beasts Of The Southern Wild by Benh Zeitlin


Short Film:


Palme d’Or- Short Film

Sessiz-Be Deng (Silent) by L. Rezan Yesilbas

Line-up for the official selections:




Moonrise Kingdom – Dir: Wes Anderson




Rust and Bone – Dir. Jacques Audiard

Holy Motors – Dir. Leos Carax

Cosmopolis – Dir. David Cronenberg

The Paperboy – Dir. Lee Daniels

Killing Them Softly – Dir. Andrew Dominik

Reality – Dir. Matteo Garrone

Love (Amour) – Dir. Michael Haneke

Lawless – Dir. John Hillcoat

In Another Country – Dir. Hong Sang-soo

Taste of Money – Dir. Im Sang-soo

Like Someone In Love – Dir. Abbas Kiarostami

The Angels’ Share – Dir. Ken Loach

In the Fog (Im Nebel) – Dir. Sergei Loznitsa

Beyond the Hills – Dir. Cristian Mungiu

After the Battle (Baad el Mawkeaa) – Dir. Yousry Nasrallah

Mud – Dir. Jeff Nichols

You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet – Dir. Alain Resnais

Post Tenebras Lux – Dir. Carlos Reygadas

On the Road – Dir. Walter Salles

Paradise: Love – Dir. Ulrich Seidl

The Hunt (Jagten) – Dir. Thomas Vinterberg



Therese Desqueyroux – Dir. Claude Miller




Miss Lovely – Dir. Ashim Ahluwalia

La Playa – Dir. Juan Andres Arango

God’s Horses (Les Chevaus de Dieu) – Dir. Nabil Ayouch

Trois Mondes – Dir. Catherine Corsini

Antiviral – Dir. Brandon Cronenberg

7 Days in Havana – Dirs. Laurent Cantet, Benicio Del Toro, Julio Medem, Gaspar Noé, Elia Suleiman, Juan Carlos Tabío, Pablo Trapero

Le Grand Soir – Dirs. Benoît Delépine & Gustave de Kervern

Laurence Anyways – Dir. Xavier Dolan

Despues de Lucia – Dir. Michel Franco

Aimer a Perdre la Raison – Dir. Joachim Lafosse

Mystery – Dir. Lou Ye

Student – Dir. Darezhan Omirbayev

The Pirogue (La Pirogue) – Dir. Moussa Touré

White Elephant (Elefante Blanco) – Dir. Pablo Trapero

Confession of a Child of the Century – Dir. Sylvie Verheyde

11.25 The Day He Chose His Own Fate – Dir. Koji Wakamatsu

Beasts of the Southern Wild – Dir. Benh Zeitlin




Hemingway & Gellhorn – Dir. Philip Kaufman

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – Dirs. Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon

Me and You – Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci




Polluting Paradise – Dir. Fatih Akin

Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir – Dir. Laurent Bouzereau

The Central Park Five – Dirs. Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon

Les Invisibles – Dir. Sebastien Lifshitz

Journal de France – Dirs. Claudine Nougaret & Raymond Depardon

A Musica Segundo Tom Jobim – Dir. Nelson Pereira dos Santos

Villegas – Dir. Gonzalo Tobal

Mekong Hotel – Dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul




Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D – Dir. Dario Argento

The Legend of Love & Sincerity (Ai To Makoto) – Dir. Takashi Miike



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