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.
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:
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