Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Irish science fiction flick makes it into Cannes Directors’ Fortnight

Ruairi Robinson’s feature debut — co-financed by the Irish Film Board — will play in the prestigious sidebar.

Tue, Apr 23, 2013, 12:32


The films competing in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes were announced today. Irish interest emerges in the form of Ruairi Robinson’s Last Days on Mars. You may recognise that name. A decade ago, Ruairi received an Oscar nomination for his superb animated short Fifty Percent Grey (see below). His debut feature stars Liev Schreiber and Romola Garai in the tale of a perilous mission to the red planet. Adapted from a story by Sydney J Bounds, the picture, partly financed by the Irish Film Board, features visual effects from a team based at Screen Scene in Dublin. Robinson commented: “Having my film selected for Directors’ Fortnight is very exciting and a wonderful endorsement of the creative talents of my cast and crew. My head just exploded.” The picture is shot by the extraordinarily gifted Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan and co-produced by domestic genre specialists Fantastic Films.

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The Directors’ Fortnight is a semi-official strand run in parallel with the main competition. Conceived in 1969 by the French Directors Guild — in response to political furore surrounding the 1968 Festival — it has gone on to discover a great many tasty, offbeat talents. Lenny Abrahamson’s Garage graced the event in 2007.

This year’s line-up looks to include more mainstream fare than in previous seasons. Edouard Waintrop, festival director, commented: ”In 2012, we ended up with a strong selection of films, but I felt that we needed a larger U.S. presence This year, we’re right where we need to be.”

It is a very, very tasty looking programme. Events kick off with Ari Folman’s animated drama The Congress. Folman made his name at Cannes with the well-remembered Waltz with Bashir. Frank Pavich’s Jodorowsky’s Dune deals with the great Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s efforts to film that popular Frank Herbert science-fiction novel. More exciting still, Alejandro, director of El Topo and Sante Samgre, returns with The Dance of Reality, his first feature in 23 years. Jim Mickle’s We Are What We Are remakes a notoriously gruesome Mexican cannibal thriller that — rather nearly — premiered at Directors’ Fortnight in 2010.

This year’s Quinzaine des Réalisateurs really does look hotter than ever. Young Ruairi is in good company. The full list of competitors is below:

A Strange Course of Events by Raphaël Nadjari

Les Apaches* by Thierry de Peretti

Ate ver a luz* by Basil Da Cunha

Blue Ruin by Jeremy Saulnier

The Congress by Ari Folman

La danza de la realidad by Alejandro Jodorowsky

L’Escale* by Kaveh Bakhtiari

La Fille du 14 Juillet* by Antonin Peretjatko

Henri by Yolande Moreau

Ilo Ilo* by Anthony Chen

Jodorowsky’s Dune by Franck Pavich

Last Days on Mars* by Ruairi Robinson

Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table !* by Guillaume Gallienne

Magic Magic by Sebastian Silva

On the Job by Erik Matti

The Selfish Giant by Clio Barnard

Tip Top by Serge Bozon

Ugly by Anurag Kashyap

Un voyageur by Marcel Ophuls

El verano de los peces voladores by Marcela Said

We Are What We Are by Jim Mickle