Cannes news and notes:
Summit has picked up Doug Liman’s Fair Game in advance of its competition showing at Cannes. One reason why it’s in competition: Summit’s Patrick Wachsberger swapped it in for the missing Terrence Malick epic The Tree of Life, which the filmmaker was unwilling to rush. (Of course the Cannes folks had to believe that the film passed sufficient muster.) River Road’s Bill Pohlad has enjoyed a long relationship with Wachsberger, who handles foreign sales on his films. Hence, Summit landed North America and five territories for Fair Game. Several scribes have cracked that Cannes fest closer Julie Bertucelli’s Tree was the wrong “tree” film.
This leaves one other big Cannes title without a North American distributor: Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s Biutiful, which is being sold overseas by Focus International. But word from someone who has seen the film: while Javier Bardem is terrific, it may be too small for Focus Features, and is more the kind of movie Sony Pictures Classics handles.
The festival is shaping up to be like the real world: big Hollywood gorillas vs. micro-indies, studio worldwide market launches vs. art films for the likes of SPC and IFC. Should other North American buyers not bother? Of course there will be other stuff on sale at the market, like the Hunter S. Thompson Rum Diaries, starring Johnny Depp. Word on that one is so-so.
Bollywood film Raavan, which reunites star couple Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, will reportedly world-premiere May 14 at Cannes, although it is not yet listed in the official selection. Playing in competition at the fest is Nikita Mikhalkov’s sequel to Burnt by the Sun, which debuted at Cannes in 1994. He’s hoping that Burnt By The Sun 2: Exodus will fare better at the festival this month than it has at home in Russia, where he is considered a pro-Putin, state-friendly filmmaker. To his detriment.
It’s always possible there will some discoveries we’ve never heard of in the different selections, especially the Directors’ Fortnight, which has posted its schedule. Unfortunately for those accustomed to catching some of the Cannes program in Paris in advance of the fest, there will be no Paris screenings this year.