Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The Cannes programme springs a few surprises

There are fewer English-language films than last year. There’s no Steve McQueen. Just one female director makes it into the main race.

Thu, Apr 18, 2013, 12:28

   

So, it looks as if a recent story in the Hollywood Reporter claiming that Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave would not be ready in time for Cannes was on the money. The much-anticipated drama is one of several that failed to turn up when the Cannes authorities announced their main programme this morning. Also missing from the line-up are Ari Folman’s The Congress, Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Real.

Alexander’s Payne’s Nebraska, which few thought ready, makes it into the corral. The appearance of Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra — a study of Liberace starring Michael Douglas — was much less of a surprise (though it was made for TV). If Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives hadn’t been up for the big gong then there would have been some kind of riot. Everybody knew that the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis was a dead cert. Roman Polanski is back with Venus in Fur.

Fabulous enough for you?

The real story, however, is the festival’s return to traditional values. Last year, the authorities surprised observers by including a near-unprecedented number of English-language films. A great many of them turned out to be disappointments (The Paper Boy, anyone?) This year we are presented with an impressively sober array of pictures from every corner of the cinema universe. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Grisgris flies the flag for Africa. Paulo Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza makes the Italian case.

So, we have a strong programme that covers populist and high-brow interests? Everybody is happy?  Not quite. Once again a glaring anomaly jumps out. In 2012, Cannes was heavily criticised for not including a single film by a woman in the main competition. This year they have managed just the one. To be fair, Claire Denis’s Bastards has turned up in the funkier Un Certain Regard (at her own request?) and Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring will open that section. But this is still a fairly disappointing response to last year’s hoopla. The only contribution from the female wing is Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s Un Chateau en Italie.

Over in Un Certain Regard, we also notice that — largely unexpectedly — James Franco’s take on William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying has made the cut. When does this man sleep? Expect him to mount some sort of installation in between press conferences. More to follow.

Here are the complete lists:

IN COMPETITION

Jury chair: Steven Spielberg

Only God Forgives, dir Nicolas Winding Refn

Borgman, dir Alex Can Warmerdam

La Grande Bellezza, dir Paulo Sorrentino

Behind the Candelabra, dir Steven Soderbergh

La Venus a la Fourrure, dir Roman Polanski

Nebraska, dir Alexander Payne

Jeune et Jolie, dir François Ozon

La Vie d’Adele, dir Abdellatif Kechiche

Wara No Tate, dir Takashi Miike

Soshite Chichi Ni Naru, dir Kore-Eda Hirokazu

Tian Zhu Ding, dir Jia Zhangke

Grisgris, dir Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

The Immigrant, dir James Gray

Heli, dir Amat Escalante

Le Passe, dir Asghar Farhadi

Michael Kohlhaas, dir Arnaud Despallieres

Inside Llewyn Davis, dir Ethan and Joel Coen

Un Chateau en Italie, dir Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi

UN CERTAIN REGARD

Jury chair: Thomas Vinterberg

THE BLING RING, dir Sofia Coppola

L’INCONNU DU LA, dir Alain GUIRAUDIE

BENDS, dir Flora LAU

L’IMAGE MANQUANTE, dir Rithy PANH

LA JAULA DE ORO, dir Diego QUEMADA-DIEZ

ANONYMOUS, dir Mohammad RASOULOF

SARAH PRÉFÈRE LA COURSE, dir Chloé ROBICHAUD

GRAND CENTRAL, dir Rebecca Zlotowski

FRUITVALE STATIO, dir Ryan COOGLER

LES SALAUDS, dir Claire DENIS

NORTE, HANGGANAN NG KASAYSAYAN, dir Lav DIAZ

AS I LAY DYING, dir James FRANCO

MIELE, dir Valeria GOLINO

OMAR, dir Hany ABU-ASSAD

DEATH MARCH, dir Adolfo ALIX JR

 

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