Everyone is a-twitter with the Cannes lineup announcement this morning, and I can’t help but join in the hype. Is it a low-key year, a discovery year, a breakout year, a humdrum year, a predictable year, an exciting year? When I first saw the recognizable list of names at 8am this morning, I couldn’t help but get a little jazzed (but maybe that was the coffee). The fact is: We won’t know until we get there. The problem with Cannes’ auteur-driven programming is that most of the veteran competing directors have made some lame films along with their great films. You kind of have to go with your gut, and hope for the best, praying that these guys — and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there’s a single female director in the competition — will churn out a winner. Based on past experience, and admiration for their ambitions and their approaches, here are 5 films (beyond the obvious) that I’m most excited to see at this year’s festival:
“Poetry,” directed by Lee Chang-dong — After “Secret Sunshine,” Lee has proven himself to be a master of subtlety, irony and humanism. If “Poetry” is half as good, it will be worth the trip to France.
“Aurora,” directed by Cristi Puiu — What might a “crime story” look like from the director of “The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu”? I can’t wait to find out.
“Another Year,” directed by Mike Leigh — The British director has hit his stride in recent years. “All or Nothing,” “Vera Drake,” “Happy Go Lucky”: As far as I’m concerned, this is a must-see.
“Inside Job,” directed by Charles Ferguson — The Oscar-nominated docu filmmaker (“No End in Sight”) is debuting his latest out of competition, an inside look at the “financial crisis.” Though I could find no info about the film online, I was told Sony Pictures Classics is handling the U.S. release.
“Rebecca H. (Return to the Dogs)”, directed by Lodge Kerrigan — One of the most talented unsung American auteurs, Kerrigan gets under my skin. His last film, the punishing and powerful “Keane” was one of my favorite films of 2004. I didn’t know he had a knew one in the can and I’ll be the first in line to see it.