The 60th Cannes Film Festival has also announced its Directors’ Fortnight lineup this week. It’s a really compelling list of films by artists both established (Gregg Araki) and emerging (Ramin Bahrani). It only took one year of attending Cannes for me to appreciate that some of the festival’s best work is found in this section. Last year, this is where audiences discovered such films as Joon-ho Bong’s The Host, Julia Loktev’s Day Night Day Night, and Anders Morgenthaler’s Princess, among others. What will this year’s lineup hold? Will Chop Shop USA, Ramin Bahrani’s follow-up to the acclaimed Man Push Cart, wow audiences? Will experimental mainstay (and Swoon director) Tom Kalin’s feature, Savage Grace, be as strong as his other work? Will Anton Corbijn’s Joy Division story, Control, be as cool as I hope? Regardless, I’m just as eager to discover the work from artists around the globe, that I do not recognize.
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting the inclusion of Robinson Devor’s Zoo and Gregg Araki’s Smiley Face, among the list of films. Both of these American-made features premiered at Sundance and played SXSW. In the case of Zoo, it has played almost every American regional festival this spring (and opened in New York last weekend). It just goes to show that premiere status isn’t everything, even for Cannes, when you make a really good film. A really valuable lesson for American filmmakers who think their Cannes chances are dashed by premiering at U.S. festivals (just ask my Austin filmmaking friend Kyle Henry). That said, it also helps to have the backing of major international film companies and a history of acclaimed film work (which is true for both Zoo and Smiley Face).