21 April 2007

To Cannes, we go!

Cannes has reached year 60, and their official line-up was announced yesterday with exciting results -- easily one of the more exciting line-ups in years. The opening film will be Wong Kar-wai's latest, his first English-language film, entitled My Blueberry Nights, starring singer Norah Jones, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, Ed Harris, Tim Roth, and David Strathairn. The rest of the films in competition are listed below:

Fatih (Head-On) Akin's Auf der Anderen Seite
Catherine (Fat Girl, Anatomy of Hell) Breillat's Une vieille maîtresse, starring Asia Argento, Anne Parillaud, Amira Casar, Lio, Roxane Mesquida, and Sarah Pratt (not with either Jeanne Moreau or Louis Garrel, as it was originally rumored)
The Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men, with Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Woody Harrelson, James Brolin, and Kelly Macdonald
David Fincher's Zodiac
James (The Yards, Little Odessa) Gray's We Own the Night, with Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, Robert Duvall, and Eva Mendes
Christophe (Ma mère) Honoré's Les chansons d'amour, with Ludivine Sagnier and Louis Garrel
Naomi (Shara) Kawase's The Mourning Forest
Kim (The Isle, Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall... and Spring, 3-Iron) Ki-duk's Breath
Emir (Underground, When Father Was Away on Business) Kusturica's Promise Me This
Lee (Oasis) Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine
Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
Raphaël Nadjari's Tehilim
Carlos (Battle in Heaven, Japón) Reygadas' Silent Light
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's Persepolis, in their first film
Julian (Basquiat, Before Night Falls) Schnabel's Le scaphandre et le papillon (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), with Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, and Marie-Josée Croze
Ulrich (Dog Days) Seidl's Import/Export, with Susanne Lothar (Funny Games)
Alexander (Russian Ark) Sokourov's Alexandra
Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof, without Rodriguez's Planet Terror in an extended hour-and-fifty-six minute version
Béla (Werckmeister Harmonies) Tarr's The Man from London, with Tilda Swinton (!!)
Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park, with a bunch of non-actors
Andrey (The Return) Zvyagintsev's The Banishment (Izgnanie)

Of course, two of the films have already hit the U.S. theatres (Zodiac and Death Proof, though I'm pretty sure the version they will show at Cannes will restore the "missing reel" of that pig-nosed girl from Shadowboxer doing a lap-dance for Kurt Russell), but I have to say I'm most excited about The Banishment and Une vieille maîtresse. Zvyagintsev's The Return was easily one of the finest film debuts this decade (alongside David Gordon Green's George Washington), and the fact that the premise of his film has been kept under wraps makes me even more excited. Asia Argento, in an interview, stated that one shouldn't expect the usual graphic nature of Breillat's early works with her new film, which is a period piece, apparently not written by Breillat. Regardless, the line-up looks phenomenal, and even though I know nothing about Tarr's latest, here's my fingers crossed for a Best Actress win for Tilda Swinton!

The jury will be headed by Stephen Frears (The Queen), and will include Toni Collette, former Best Actress winner Maggie Cheung, Maria de Medeiros (Henry & June, Pulp Fiction), Sarah Polley, Marco Bellocchio (Fists in the Pocket, Devil in the Flesh), author Orhan Pamuk, Michel Piccoli (Belle de jour, Phantom of Liberty), and Abderrahmane Sissako (Waiting for Happiness).

The closing film will be Denys Arcand's L'âge des ténèbres, starring Diane Kruger, Emma de Caunes, and Rufus Wainwright. Arcand has previously won a screenwriting award for The Barbarian Invasions (Les invasions barbares) and a jury prize for Jésus de Montréal.

Three promising filmmakers, among twelve others, will be presenting their works-in-progress: Bertrand (Tiresia) Bonello's De la guerre, João Pedro (O Fantasma, Two Drifters) Rodrigues' To Die Like a Man, and Tsai (Vive l'amour, What Time Is It There?) Ming-liang's Salome -- I would urge you to check out these directors' other films.

Playing in the Un Certain Regard competition will be a bunch of first-time filmmakers from all over the world, in addition to new films from Valeria (It's Easier for a Camel) Bruni-Tedeschi's La rêve de la nuit d'avant, Harmony (Gummo) Korine's Mister Lonely, starring Diego Luna as Michael Jackson, Samantha Morton as Marilyn Monroe, Anita Pallenberg as The Queen of England, Denis Lavant as Charlie Chaplin, as well as starring Werner Herzog and magician David Blaine, and Barbet (Barfly, Maîtresse) Schroeder's L'avocat de la terreur.

And, finally, Michael Moore's Sicko, a documentary about health insurance in the United States, Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Thirteen, and Michael Winterbottom's A Mighty Heart, with Angelina Jolie, will be screened out of competition. Olivier (demonlover, Irma Vep) Assayas' first English-language film Boarding Gate, with Asia Argento and Michael Madsen, Abel Ferrara's Go Go Tales, with Willem Dafoe, Bob Hoskins, Matthew Modine, Sylvia Miles, Pras, and the two It-Girls of this year's Cannes Anita Pallenberg and Asia Argento, and Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington's U2 3D will be playing at midnight screenings.

Whew, I hope you're now informed... and you can, of course, expect updates when the festival goes underway on the 16th of May.

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