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.
After the Battle
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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’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’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.
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 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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
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 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 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
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
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’Or.buy female viagrafemale viagra for salewomens viagra onlinegeneric female viagra