Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cannes: With Famous Directors Come Disappointments

*my internet has been acting up all day and I'm afraid Blogger isn't allowing me to post images. I'll rejigger this tomorrow*

The Cannes lineup has spread like wildfire and despite the presence of world class names like Lars Von Trier, Jane Campion, Ang Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Ken Loach, Michael Haneke and Pedro Almodovar I can't help but feel a pang of disappointment. Apparently unless your name is one of the aforementioned English-language directors (or are just plain buzzy in "certain circles") then you don't seem to get a look in with an English-language film. It's incredibly frustrating to routinely see the Un Certain Regard sidebar filled with titles that look so promising (and in some cases, have already proven their worth) and yet the main competition gets movies like Sin City and any number of soon-to-be-critically-mauled titles.

We'll never know why Samson and Delilah wasn't chosen for the main competition, but I am 100% certain that if it were from a far more fashionable nation for filmmaking then it would have been a shoo-in. But, alas, it is not in competition and the latest movies by Almodovar and Tarantino are. Who's shocked by THAT?!? Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to their movies so much that I can hardly stand it, but you're not going to find the next 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days by sticking with your favourites. The director of that Palme d'Or winner, by the way, has a film... in Un Certain Regard.

There are some noteworthy inclusions outside of the usual suspects. Andrea Arnold has apparently become one of the selector committee's new favourites. Her debut Red Road was included three years ago - and what a movie it was. if I could re-do my top ten from 2007 it would be a definite placer, such are the perils of watching movies late to list deadlines! - and now her latest, Fish Tank has also been chosen. I loathed Isabel Coixet's My Life Without Me, but am head over heels with Elegy so I will be paying attention to how her Map of the Sounds of Tokyo (what an intriguing title) pans out.

Gasper Noe's latest is Enter the Void and it's in competition. It has a great teaser poster (left) and... that's all I know. Tsai Ming-liang's Faces [Visages] has been on my radar for a while and I included it on my Top 50 Anticipated of 2009 list so I can't wait for that one too. I spoke of Jane Campion before and she's another one I'm glad to see selected. Her UK/Australia/Some Other Countries co-production Bright Star stars Ben Wishaw and Abbie Cornish and will be vying to become Campion's second Palme d'Or after 1994's The Piano.

Here is a list of the titles in competition for the Palme d'Or.

* Pedro Almodovar - Broken Embraces
* Andrea Arnold - Fish Tank
* Jacques Audiard - Un Prophete
* Marco Bellocchio – Vicenre
* Jane Campion - Bright Star
* Xavier Giannoli – A L'Origine
* Isabel Coixet – Map of the Sounds of Tokyo
* Michael Haneke -The White Ribbon
* Ang Lee – Taking Woodstock
* Ken Loach – Looking for Eric
* Lou Ye - Spring Fever
* Brillante Mendoza – Kinaray
* Gaspar Noe – Enter The Void
* Park Chan-wook – Thirst
* Alain Resnais – Les Herbes Folles
* Elia Suleiman – The Time That Remains
* Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds
* Johnnie To – Vengeance
* Tsai Ming-liang – Face
* Lars Von Trier – Antichrist

The Un Certain Regard sidebar features Warwick Thornton's very good Samson and Delilah, Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Lee Daniels' Precious (MO'NIQUE AT CANNES, Y'ALL!!!) and Bong Joon-ho's Mother amongst many others.

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