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Cannes Watch: Penn, Binoche, Crowe, Gosling, Douglas, Watts Head for Croisette

Cannes Watch: Penn, Binoche, Crowe, Gosling, Douglas, Watts Head for Croisette

Thompson on Hollywood

April 15 is both U.S. tax return day and Cannes announcement day, when we finally learned most of the festival’s official selection.

We already knew that three big-name Hollywood films would play out of competition. The opener is Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe. Oliver Stone makes his fest debut with his sequel to Wall Street, starring Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf and Carey Mulligan. Woody Allen returns with You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, starring Naomi Watts and Josh Brolin. And sure enough, Stephen Frears’ light-hearted Tamara Drewe, starring Bond and Titan girl Gemma Arterton, is wisely playing out of competition. IndieWIRE lists the full line-up, also on the jump (and check out the @iwcannes twitter feed, as well as The Auteurs.)

Thompson on Hollywood

On the more uncertain side, Terrence Malick’s otherworldly The Tree of Life was not announced. I had heard that Apparition was in negotiations with the festival in case Malick was prepared to show–he wouldn’t have to do the usual obligatory press rounds, for example. My sense is that Malick is refusing to be pressured and will screen if he wants to; we may not know until the last minute. Doug Liman’s take on the Valerie Plame affair, Fair Game, is an unusual choice for the Cannes competition. We must assume that one Sean Penn is better than none.

Thompson on Hollywood

If The Tree of Life does show, one-time jury president Penn would have two movies in the line-up. And The Tree of Life would return Brad Pitt (with Angelina Jolie in tow?) to the Croisette. (In other Penn news: he’s still onboard with Frances McDormand to shoot Il Divo director Paolo Sorrentino’s first English-language film, This Must be the Place, which was first announced in Cannes last year. Filming begins in August, tweets Production Weekly. The title comes from a Talking Heads song.)

Thompson on Hollywood

As I predicted, the Weinstein Co. will be repped at the fest by Sundance fave Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, showing in Un Certain Regard. It’s been a long time since the company went into Cannes empty-handed. (Harvey and Bob Weinstein are still in a heated negotiation to win back their library from Disney, which is looking to close a deal with either them or the Gores brothers.) Also from Sundance in Special Screenings is Mexican actor Diego Luna’s must-see feature directing debut, Abel.

Among other auteurs who will unveil their latest in competition are Abbas Kiarostami, Mike Leigh, Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu, Rachid Bouchareb, Takeshi Kitano, Nikita Mikalkov and Bertrand Tavernier; Gregg Araki’s Kaboom is a midnight screening (when will they put him in competition already?), while Manouel de Oliveira, Xavier Dolan, Jean-Luc Godard, Lodge Kerrigan and Cristi Puiu wound up in Un Certain Regard. (Anthony Kaufman ranks five he wants to see.)

The official selection is four shy of last year’s; at the press conference, Cannes director Thierry Fremaux indicated as many as six films could be added to the overall selection.

Among the auteurs who did not submit or make the deadline (or in some cases, the cut) for the fest were Wong Kar Wai (The Grand Master), Darren Aronofsky (The Black Swan), Clint Eastwood (Hereafter), Olivier Assayas (Carlos), Susanne Bier (The Revenge), Francois Ozon (Potiche had sought the opening slot), Bertrand Blier (The Sound of Ice Cubes), Guillaume Canet (Little White Lies), Tom Tykwer (Three), Julian Schnabel (Miral is aiming for Venice, along with Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere) and Gus Van Sant. Of two possible David O.Russell films, Nailed, financed by stressed-out financeer David Bergstein, remains unfinished. And the other, The Fighter, did not make the list.

Notably, no women filmmakers made the competition, although several are repped in Un Certain Regard and special screenings (Sophie Fiennes) and presumably the upcoming announcement for Director’s Fortnight. (Last year, Jane Campion’s Bright Star was in the main competition.)

For press who plan to attend, read this story about the Cannes badge heirarchy and weep.

directed by Mathieu Almaric
“Des Hommes et des Dieux”
directed by Xavier Beauvois
directed by Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu
“Hors la loi”
directed by Rachid Bouchareb
“Un Homme Qui Crie” (A Screaming Man)
directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
directed by Im Sangsoo
”Copie Conforme” (The Certified Copy)
directed by Abbas Kiarostami
directed by Takeshi Kitano
directed by Lee Chang-dong
”Another Year”
directed by Mike Leigh
”Fair Game”
directed by Doug Liman
“You, My Joy”
directed by Sergei Loznitsa
“La Nostra Vita”
directed by Daniele Luchetti
“Utomlyonnye Solntsem 2”
directed by Nikita Mikhalkov
“La Princesse de Monptpensier”
directed by Bertrand Tavernier
”(Loong Boonmee Raleuk Chaat” (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives)
directed by Apichatpong Weerasethak

“You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger,” directed by Woody Allen
“Tamara Drewe,” directed by Stephen Frears
“Wall Street – Money Never Sleeps,” directed by Oliver Stone

“Kaboom,” directed by Gregg Araki
“L’Autre Monde” (Blackhole), directed by Gilles Marchand

“Inside Job,” directed by Charles Ferguson
“Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow,” directed by Sophie Fiennes
“Nostalgia de la Luz” (Nostalgia for the Light), directed by Patricio Guzman
“Draquila – L’Italia Che Trema,” directed by Sabina Guzzanti
“Chantrapas,” directed by Otar Iosseliani
“Abel,” directed by Diego Luna

“Blue Valentine,” directed by Derek Cianfrance
“O Estranho Caso de Angelica,” (Anjelica), directed by Manouel de Oliveira
“Les Amours Imaginaires” (Heartbeats), directed by Xavier Dolan
“Los Labios,” directed by Ivan Fund and Santiago Loza
“Simon Werner a Disparu…” directed by Fabrice Gobert
“Film Socialisme,” directed by Jean-Luc Godard
“Unter Dir Die Stadt” (The City Below), directed by Christoph Hochhausler
“Rebecca H. (Return to the Dogs),” directed by Lodge Kerrigan
“Pal Adreinn” (Adrienn Pal), directed by Agnes Kocsis
“Udaan,” directed by Vikramaditya Motwane
“Marti Dupa Craciun” (Tuesday, After Christmas), directed by Radu Muntean
“Chatroom,” directed by Hideo Nakata
“Aurora,” directed by Cristi Puiu
“Ha Ha Ha,” directed by Hong Sangsoo
“Life Above All,” directed by Oliver Schmitz
“Octubre,” directed by Daniel Vega
“R U There,” directed by David Verbeek
“Rizhao Chongqing” (Chongqing Blues), directed by Xiaoshuai Wang

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For all the famous stars and filmmakers that will appear at the festival, it’s noticeable how few big-name directors are going to be screening their work in competition. Especially compared to last year, which looked like an auteurs’ grand slam compared to this year’s line-up.

I agree that Doug Liman’s inclusion sticks out among this bunch, as American mainstream directors mostly tend to only be included if they’re considered auteurs. Interesting choice. When Sean Penn was Jury President a couple of years ago, the Actor award went to Benicio Del Toro, whom he’d appeared with in Iñárritu’s “21 Grams”. Let’s see if Del Toro manages to swing this his former co-star’s (and/or director’s?) way as well.


Isn’t Valerie Plame OLD news??? Who is going to want to see that movie? It’ll do $1.50 at the box office. And I’m sure it was a lock for Cannes since it’ll be an anti-Bush film. I have no interest in seeing that and I disliked Bush as much as the next guy. Isn’t he OLD news as well???? Time to move on!


Interesting that so many of the directors represented in this item are in their 60s (e.g. Scott, Stone, Frears, Malick, Leigh, Kitano, Tavernier) or older (Allen, Eastwood, Blier, Godard). A golden age for “senior citizen” directors.

I remember when I was a film student, the only directors in that category who were still working were old masters like Billy Wilder, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Hitchcock, and George Cukor or old studio workhorses like Norman Taurog, Gordon Douglas, and Henry Hathaway. And, truth to tell, they weren’t doing their best work then, nor did they have that many films left in them. The guys doing their best work at that time, in my opinion, were the next generation, guys born in the ‘tens and ’20s like Don Siegel, Robert Aldrich, Sam Peckinpah, Kubrick, Frankenheimer, Sidney Lumet, Robert Altman, etc. Back then, the “up-and-comers” were today’s senior citizens, born in the 1930s like William Friedkin, Peter Bogdanovich, Mike Nichols and Francis Ford Coppola, or the ’40s like Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas, et al.

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