The Cannes Film Festival has become renowned over 60 years for showcasing some of the year’s greatest narrative filmmaking from around the globe. But, slowly, the worlds of documentary and animation have given the traditional arthouse crowds something to think/talk about. Of course, a major participant of this, is Michael Moore. The American doc filmmaker will debut his third Cannes premiere, with the controversial and anticipated Sicko, out of competition. After the overwhelming Croisette successes of his films Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, it was assumed Cannes would be the place we’d all see Sicko first. And, in a real way, Moore has blazed a trail for more documentary appreciation at the Palais des Festivals.
Joining Moore out-of-competition, will be American doc mainstay Ken Burns, and his equally-controversial new epic, The War. Burns was a Telluride boy, and now, he’s bringing his PBS stylings to the South of France. Though, since The War will premiere on PBS in September, it’s highly likely the series will find a berth at the Colorado fest as well. I’m dying to see Burns’ new work, though I must admit, it may be hard to fit in a multi-part doc amidst the very many screenings taking place. Don’t get me wrong, it’s just hard sometimes to do a seven-part series justice in that sort of environment. We’ll see.
In addition, the new buzz documentary feature in Cannes’ competition, is Barbet Schroeder’s Terror’s Advocate, a look at Jacques Verges (defender of such lovables as Sadam Hussein, Pol Pot, and more). With an American deal already in place for Schroeder’s new doc (via Magnolia), this will be more a chance for the media to get their eyes on what promises to be a sensational piece of nonfiction film.
On the animation side of the Cannes lineup, there are no Hollywood releases as in years past. In 2006, DreamWorks’ Over the Hedge was the big Croisette premiere. And, in 2001, the original Shrek was the first animated feature to be in the Cannes competition, in decades. This year, the big competitive animated feature will be Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud. A 2D, black-and-white adaptation of the popular graphic novels, Sony Pictures Classics is already set to release this one stateside. How it will stand up to the live-action features in the Cannes competition, remains to be seen.