Cannes 2003 To Feature Younger Established Filmmakers Instead of Older Masters
by Eugene Hernandez
Surveying this year's crop of Cannes filmmakers, many industry observers have noted that the list includes fewer of the old masters, with a greater emphasis on younger established filmmakers. The Festival de Cannes competition lineup includes 20 feature films, including a pair from the United States.
Among the most anticipated competition films is "Dogville," the latest from Lars von Trier, the Danish director who won the Cannes Palme d'Or in 2000 for "Dancer in the Dark." Shot in a studio with few props (on HD-24p and blown up to 35mm/Cinemascope), the movie is meant to reflect televised theater productions from the 1970s. Set in the Rocky Mountains in the 1930s, the film stars Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgard, the late Katrin Cartlidge, Paul Bettany, Philip Baker Hall, Chloe Sevigny, Jeremy Davies, Siobhan Fallon, and Lauren Bacall. Viebeke Windelov, through von Trier's production company Zentropa, produced the film; a U.S. distribution deal hasn't been negotiated yet although Fine Line has a first-look deal with von Trier.
Francois Ozon, the 35-year-old director of such films as "8 Women" and "Under the Sand," will be in competition with his first English language movie, "Swimming Pool." The Focus Features film, which opens soon in France before it hits America this summer, stars Charlotte Rampling ("Under the Sand") and Ludivine Sagnier ("8 Women"). Rampling's character, an uptight British crime novelist, decides to escape to her publisher's country house where she encounters his daughter, the sexy and promiscuous Julie (Sagnier).
American director Gus van Sant will be in competition with "Elephant," an HBO film that explores high school violence. Filled with long single takes, the film stars actual high school students. It was shot by Harris Savides on 35mm. Another HBO project at Cannes will be Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, "American Splendor," about the comic book artist Harvey Pekar. The film, which will be distributed later this year by Fine Line, will screen in the fest's Un Certain Regard section.
Another American in competition is Vincent Gallo ("Buffalo 66") who will present his second feature film, "The Brown Bunny." The picture, which stars writer/director/producer Gallo and Chloe Sevigny, is already getting a lot of buzz over a graphic oral sex scene between the two stars.
From the U.K., Peter Greenaway will present "The Tulse Luper Suitcase." The film has an all-star cast including Gallo, Kathy Bates, Deborah Harry, William Hurt, Don Johnson, Madonna, Molly Ringwald, Isabella Rossellini, and Sting. Among the other international filmmakers in the Cannes competition is Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation of Akira) with his latest film, "Bright Future." The director, considered a leader in Japan, began making 8mm films in high school and was later an assistant director with Shinji Somai. Among his previous films are "Cure," "License to Live," and "Charisma."
Iran's 23-year-old Samira Makhmalbaf ("The Apple," "Blackboards") will screen her latest, "A Cinq Heures De L'après-Midi," in competition. The daughter of master Iranian filmmaker Moshen Makhmalbaf, she will be in competition for the second time. The outspoken director learned filmmaking from her father, working as his assistant after leaving school at age 15.
Opening the Un Certain Regard section will be Arnaud Desplechin with his latest, "En Jouant 'Dans La Compagnie Des Hommes'." The 42-year-old Frenchman is known for "Esther Khan" and "Comment je me suis disputé...(ma vie sexuelle)" among others.
Some insiders, of course, are wondering about the films and filmmakers that will not be represented in Cannes this year. Among those directors whose new projects were said to be unready for presentation at the Festival de Cannes are Wong Kar Wai, Quentin Tarantino, the Coen Brothers, Emir Kusturica, Ingmar Bergman, Jane Campion, Emir Kusturica, Theo Angelopoulos, and Bernardo Bertolucci.
Festival organizers, on the other hand, are already highlighting the celebrities who are expected to visit the Croisette during the annual event, which will run May 14-25. Already expected to attend are Nicole Kidman, Chloe Sevigny, Lauren Bacall, Ben Gazzara, James Caan, Charlotte Rampling, Ludivine Sagnier, Bernard Giraudeau, Michel Piccoli, Elsa Zylberstein, Vincent Gallo, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Beatrice Dalle, Olivier Gourmet, Isabelle Huppert, Benoit Magimel, Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Keanu Reeves, Monica Bellucci, Lambert Wilson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Didier Bourdon, Helene de Fougerolles, Toni Collette, Peter Mullan, Tilda Swinton, Ewan McGregor, and Jean-Marc Barr.
Cannes 2003 will offer many tributes to Fellini, while Jeanne Moreau will be on hand to accept the Festival Trophy at a special dinner in her honor. The late director Maurice Pialat and the late producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier will also be honored at the festival.
On May 15, organizers will welcome the 25 European Ministers for Culture and the Arts. The group will meet to discuss "New Fields of European Cinema," and participate in a press conference.
Filmmaker Patrice Chereau will serve as jury president this year, while his jurors will be actors Aishwarya Rai from India, Jean Rochefort from France, Meg Ryan from the U.S., and Karin Viard from France, along with Italian writer Erri De Luca. Also on the jury are filmmakers Steven Soderbergh from the U.S., Danis Tanovic from Bosnia, and Jiang Wen from China. The Cinefondation jury for short films, which will be headed by Emir Kusturica, will include MoMA curator Mary Lea Bandy from the U.S., French actress and director Zabou Breitman, Lithuanian actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite, and French director Michel Ocelot. The juries will announce their selections at the Cannes closing ceremony on May 25 in France.
Lineups for the Directors Fortnight and Critics Week sections will be announced soon by organizers.
[For more information and the lineups, please visit indieWIRE's Cannes section: http://www.indiewire.com/cannes.]