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iW Fest Wish List: Cannes Lineup Preview? 40+ Big Names to Watch For

iW Fest Wish List: Cannes Lineup Preview? 40+ Big Names to Watch For

EDITORS NOTE: The iW Cannes wish list was originally published earlier this month. The official selection of the festival is set to be announced on Thursday afternoon in Paris.

This year’s Cannes Film Festival is shaping up to be an all-star fest, according to many insiders and observers. Quentin Tarantino’s latest, “Inglourious Basterds,” is among the high-profile roster of new films tipped for the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. The Universal/Weinstein Company World War II drama, starring Brad Pitt, finished shooting back in February and is on tap to screen in competition in Cannes, according to Variety. Pedro Almodovar’s “Abrazos Rotos,” already open in Spain and Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist” are among the other notable titles tipped for the world’s most important film festival. The lineup for the 62nd annual event, set for May 13 – 24 in France, is expected to be announced on April 23rd.

Cannes ’09 will open with the Pixar Digital 3-D title, “UP,” as was recently announced. An animated 3D feature, “Up” was recently described by the festival as, “a comedy adventure in which 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen fulfils his dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America, only to discover that he has brought with him his biggest nightmare, a 9-year-old Wilderness Explorer stowaway.” Pixar parent Disney will open the film in the U.S. on May 29th and in France on July 29th.

Insiders and journalists began speculating about the Cannes lineup even as the Berlin International Film Festival was still going on back in February, but the prognosticating has started to heat up, so indieWIRE — without any inside knowledge — has put together our own a three-page tip sheet of some 45 films that we hope will end up on the Cannes roster. And we figured, why not share it with our readers to get input and feedback.

Based entirely on speculation and anticipation, among the biggest names on our current Cannes Film Festival wish list are Jane Campion with her new biopic about John Keats, “Bright Star,” Ken Loach and his comedy about French soccer star Eric Cantona, “Looking for Eric,” Todd Solondz’s long awaited “sequel” to “Happiness,” “Forgiveness,” and Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon.” Though once speculated to be joining the Cannes line up earlier in the year, Jim Jarmusch’s “The Limits of Control” seems unlikely for this year’s event afterall, with distributor Focus Features moving up the film’s U.S. release date recently to before Cannes begins May 13. Certainly not all of these titles will make their bow in Cannes, but with the many high profile directors with new work this year, the Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York fests don’t seem that far off.

The Wish List

“Los Abrazos rotos” (Broken Embraces) by Pedro Almodovar (Spain)
The drama-thriller starring longtime Almodovar star Penelope Cruz as well as Ruben Ochandiano and Blanca Portillo. U.S. distributor Sony Pictures Classics describes the film as “a four-way tale of amour-fou, shot in the style of ‘50s American film noir at its most hard-boiled, and will mix references to works like Nicholas Ray’s ‘In A Lonely Place’ and Vincente Minnelli’s ‘The Bad And The Beautiful’, with signature Almodovar themes such as Fate, the mystery of creation, guilt, unscrupulous power, the eternal search of fathers for sons, and sons for fathers.”
View the trailer

A scene from Pedro Almodovar’s “Los Abrazos rotos.” Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

“Agora” by Alejandro Amenabar (Spain)
Set in Egypt, the English-language film is described as a historical drama set about a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hopes of pursuing freedom while also falling in love with his master, a female philosophy professor and atheist. “Agora” stars Rachel Weisz and Max Minghella.

“Air Doll” by Hirokazu Kore-eda (Japan)
According to website lunapark6 the film stars South Korean actress Du-na Bae and Japanese actors Arata and Itsuji Itao with a cameo by Joe Odagiri. Du-na Bae plays an inflatable air doll that magically comes to life one day. She then takes a walk outside and eventually winds up entering a video rental store. There she spots a young man named Junichi (played by Arata) and falls in love.

“Antichrist” by Lars von Trier (Denmark)
Starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, the “Dogville” director’s latest thriller follows the story of a grieving couple who retreat to their cabin in the woods, “Eden,” hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things evolve badly.

“The Army of Crime” (L’Armee du Crime) by French-American director Robert Guediguian
Starring Louis Garrel and Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, the film is the story of the Manouchian Group, a WWII resistance movement led by the Armenian worker Missak Manouchian.

“Bright Star” by Jane Campion (U.K.)
The romantic-drama starring Abbie Cornish, Thomas Sangster and Paul Schneider is based on the three-year romance between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Their affair came to a crashing when Keats died at age 25.
View the trailer

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“Chloe” by Atom Egoyan (Canada)
With Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried and Julianne Moore, Egoyan’s drama-thriller centers on a doctor who hires an hooker to seduce her supposedly unfaithful husband, but strange circumstances then put the family in peril. The film just wrapped in Toronto, which makes timing for Cannes problematic.

“Coco Before Chanel” (Coco Avant Chanel) by Anne Fontaine (France)
Starring Audrey Tatou, the film focuses on the life of the fashion denizen before her empire.
View the trailer
View the silent film teaser trailer

“Copie conforme” (Certified Copy) by Abbas Kiarostami (Iran)
Starring Juliette Binoche and William Shimell, the drama centers on a middle-aged English writer who is in Italy to promote his latest book. While there, he meets a young French woman and travels off to San Gimignano with her.

A scene from Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.”

“Enter the Void” by Gaspar Noe (France)
Starring Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy, Noe describes the film as “The universal melodrama of a young man who, after the brutal death of his parents, promises that he will protect his little sister no matter what… Sensing that he himself is dying, he fights desperately to keep his promise.”

“Face” (Visages) by Tsai Ming-Liang (Taiwan)
Apparently commissioned by the Louvre Museum, according to Wildgrounds.com is described as “a variation of St John the Baptist and Oscar Wilde’s Salome. Starring Laetitia Casta, Jean-Pierre Léaud… Sounds very French Nouvelle Vague!”
View on-set footage in French.

“Fish Tank” by Andrea Arnold (U.K.)
Starring Michael Fassbender, Harry Treadaway, Jason Maza and Charlotte Collins. 15 year-old Mia’s world is turned upside down when her mother brings home a new boyfriend.

“Forgiveness” (aka “Life During Wartime”), by Todd Solondz (U.S.)
Solondz once described the film as a “companion piece to ‘Happiness’ and ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse.'” It is also described in a quote in Wikipedia as a “dark comedy of sexual obsession.” The film stars Allison Janney, Chane’t Johnson, Paul Reubens, Michael K. Williams, Ally Sheedy and Paul Dano.

“Hadewijch” by Bruno Dumont (France)
A quick search about the film did not turn up much information other then it’s a drama with Julie Sokolowski. The foreign sales agent is Pyramide International, according to French films promotion group, UniFrance.

“Herbes Folles” by Alain Resnais (France)
Starring Sabine Azema, Andre Dussolier and Emmanuelle Devos, the drama/thriller centers on the chance meeting “between a dentist and amateur pilot whose bag is snatched and its contents thrown across a car park, and a solitary man with a troubled past who retrieves her wallet. The unlikely chance meeting of the two leads to a certain romantic dithering that unfolds in eight phases, corresponding to the rules of flying, and in particular the safety procedures before take-off,” according to Yahoo Movies.

“Humpday” by Lynn Shelton (US)
Starring Mark Duplass and Joshua Leonard. From Eric Kohn’s review for indieWIRE: “Ben (Duplass) and Andrew (Leonard) abhor the idea of sleeping together, which paradoxically drives them to give it a shot… The carefree yin to Ben’s mellow yang, Andrew’s aimless lifestyle clashes with his friend’s settled ideals. He presents the [concept of making an amateur porn] during a late night drinking session, which sets up a serious discussion about it the next day. While initially attracted to fornicating as an ‘art project,’ they eventually turn it into a mutual challenge. Andrew, whose slapdash sex life involves trysts with an easygoing lesbian (Shelton), suggests that Ben’s ‘white picket fence’ reality prevents him from exploring new experiences. Ben takes a combative stance, insisting Andrew’s Jack Kerouac routine has worn thin. Both men think the other won’t go through with it, and the challenge begins.”

“The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” by Terry Gilliam (U.S.)
Set in the present day, and telling the story of Dr Parnassus and his extraordinary ‘Imaginarium’, a travelling show – where members of the audience get an irresistible opportunity to choose between light and joy or darkness and gloom. Heath Ledger died in the middle of production, and Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell, and Jude Law assumed his role in a curious restructuring of the film.
View the trailer

“Inglourious Basterds” by Quentin Tarantino (U.S.)
“The Basterds,” a group of Jewish-American soldiers are chosen to spread fear througout Nazi occupied Europe by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. The group crosses paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a Parisian cinema, which the soldiers target. Starring Brad Pitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Kruger, Cloris Leachman, Mike Myers, Samm Levine, Maggie Cheung, Daniel Bruhl.
View the trailer

“The Informant” by Steven Soderbergh (U.S.)
Starring Matt Damon, Scott Bakula adn Joel McHale, the dark comedy thriller follows the story of Ivy League Ph.D. Mark Whitacre, a rising star at Decatur, Illinois based Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) in the early 1990s who wound up blowing the whistle on the company’s price-fixing tactics.

“The Illusionist” by Sylvain Chomet (U.K., France)
In French and English, the animated film, according to IMDb is the story of a dying breed of stage entertainer whose thunder is being stolen by emerging rock stars. Forced to accept increasingly obscure assignments in fringe theaters, garden parties and bars, he meets a young fan who changes his life forever. The film is based on an unproduced Jacques Tati script.

A scene from Isabel Coixet’s “Map of the Sounds of Tokyo.”

“Looking For Eric” by Ken Loach (U.K.). This comic film from Palme d’Or winner Loach follows a depressed Mancunian postman, obsessed with football, whose life is descending in to crisis. That is, until he receives some life coaching from the famously philosophical football legend Eric Cantona (playing himself).
View the trailer

“Map of the Sounds of Tokyo” by Isabel Coixet (Spain).
Coixet follows up “Elegy” with this dual-identity dramatic thriller that centers on a fish-market employee who doubles as a contract killer. Rinko Kikuchi and Sergi López star (official website in Spanish).

“Micmacs à tire-larigot” (“Micmacs,” US Title) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (France).
The film centers on a man named Bazil (Dany Boon), the son of a bomb disposal expert who died in in the middle of the desert as a result of an explosion. Years later Bazil is in a club and receives a stray bullet in the head. He survives but must live with the bullet wedged in his head. This causes some strange side effects. He loses his job and soon gathers a rag-tag group and sets out to take down the weapons manufacturers, which caused the The film is described as a satirical comedy on the world of weapons merchants and is said to be in the same vein as “Amelie” and “Delicatessen.”

“Mother” by Bong Joon-Ho (Korea)
“The Host” director Bong’s latest dramatic thriller is the case of a mom who frantically searches for the killer that framed her son for a gruesome murder.
View the trailer

“Mr. Nobody” by Jaco van Dormael (Canada/Belgium/France).
Starring Jared Leto, Diane Kruger, Sarah Polley and Rhys Ifans, this fantasy film from van Dormael (winner of 1991 Golden Camera for “Toto le héros”) follows Nemo Nobody (Leto), who leads a normal life with his wife and three children until he wakes up to find himself in the year 2092. Aged 120, Mr. Nobody is now the oldest man in the world and the last mortal of a new mankind where nobody dies anymore.

“Non Ma Fille” (“Making Plans For Lena,” US Title) by Christophe Honore (France).
This drama stars Chiara Mastroianni as Lena, who valiantly overcomes many obstacles when her husband Nigel keaves her two kids. However, she still has to contend with her overwhelming family of do-gooders who will stop at nothing to make her happy. The film also stars Marina Fois, Jean-Marc Barr and Louis Garrel.

“Ne te retourne pas” by Marina de Van (France)
Starring Monica Bellucci, Sophie Marceau, Andrea Di Stefano. According to Baseline StudioSystems: “Jeanne, a married writer with two children, starts to see unsettling changes in her home. Her body is beginning to change but no one around her seems to notice. Her family dismisses these fears as the result of the stress of having to finish her next book, but Jeanne realizes that something far deeper, far more disturbing is taking place. A photograph at her mother’s house sends her in search of a woman in Italy. Here, transformed into another woman, RosaMaria, she will discover the strange secret of her true identity.”


“Ondine” by Neil Jordan (Ireland)
Starring Colin Farrell and Alicja Bachleda, Cinematical says the film is aobut “a mythical sea nymph who gets caught in the net of a fisherman (Farrell) and changes the lives of the people in his Irish town.”

“Persécution” by Patrice Chéreau (France)
Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg and Romain Duris, Chéreau calls his follow up to “Gabrielle” “a story of crazy love and emotional persecution.”

A scene from Fatih Akin’s “Soul Kitchen.”

“A Prophet” by Jacques Audiard (France)
Starring Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, and Adel Bencherif, As previously reported in indieWIRE, “The Prophet” is the story of Malik, a young Arab imprisoned because he wouldn’t snitch. At age 18, he arrives in a French prison completely lost. At first, he maintains obedience to the prison’s reigning Corsican mafia, and slowly rises in the ranks, playing a dangerous game of double-crossing the Corsicans, and ultimately destroys his enemies. Following his release six years later, he successfully builds his own empire and is the leader of the Arab mafia and a hero to his community.

“Queen of Clubs” (“La Dame de Trèfle”) by Jérôme Bonnell (France)
Starring Malik Zidi, Florence Loiret-Caille, and Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Cineuropa reports: “Written by 31-year-old Bonnell, the film centres on Aurélien (Zidi) who lives with his sister Argine (Loiret-Caille) in a strange cohabitation that they both accept. By day, Aurélien is a florist whereas by night, he hides stolen metal, an illegal activity orchestrated by Simon (Darroussin). But a chain of events drives Aurélien to commit an irreparable deed.”

“Regrets” by Cédric Kahn (France)
Starring Yvan Attal and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. From IMDB: “After the death of his mother, fortysomething introvert Mathieu enters into a second relationship with his high-school girlfriend, Maya.”

“A Serious Man” by Joel & Ethan Coen (U.S.)
Set in 1967 Minnestota, the Coen Brother’s next film is intended to in some ways reflect their childhood. The film follows Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), a Jewish academic living in a Minneapolis suburb in 1967 who encounters a spiritual and existential struggle when his wife Judith (Sari Wagner) contemplates leaving him for his colleague Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed). His brother, Arthur (Richard Kind), who lives on Larry’s couch, makes matters worse with his inability to care for himself. Roger Deakins returns as the Coens’ cinematographer after an absence from “Burn After Reading.”

“Soul Kitchen” by Fatih Akin (Germany).
Akin’s feature follow up to “The Edge of Heaven,” which won a screenplay award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, was first unveiled in 2004 but put on the backburner while he made “Heaven.” The Hamburg-set romantic comedy tells the story of Greek bar owner Zinos (Adam Bousdoukos) who has a relationship with a basketball player from Serbia, and attempts to keep his restaurant in business. The film also stars Birol Ünel (“Head-On”) and Moritz Bleibtreu.

“Tales From The Golden Age” by Ioana Uricaru, Hanno Hofer, Razvan Marculescu, Constantin Popescu and Cristian Mungiu (Romania)
A collection of Romanian urban legends from the communist era, written by Mungiu and directed by five different people. Described by CineEuropa as “an unconventional personal history of the late communist period in Romania, told through its urban myths from the perspective of ordinary people. Comic, bizarre, surprising, these myths drew on the often surreal events of everyday life under the communist regime.”

“Taking Woodstock” by Ang Lee (U.S.). The film, based upon the autobiography of the same name, follows the true story of Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin), an aspiring Greenwich Village interior designer whose parents owned a small motel in Upstate New York and at the time held the only musical festival permit in the entire town of Bethel, New York. Tiber offered both the Catskills motel and the permit to the Woodstock Festival’s organizers. The film also focuses on Tiber’s life as a closeted gay man hiding his marijuana as well as sexual orientation from his family, and his self-discovery following the Stonewall Riots. Co-stars Emile Hirsch, Imelda Staunton, Liev Schreiber and Jonathan Groff.
View the trailer.

“Tetro” by Francis Ford Coppola (US)
Starring Vincent Gallo and Maribel Verdú, the film is, according to the its official website, “the story of two brothers, of family lost and found and the conflicts and secrets within a highly creative Argentine-Italian family.”

“Thirst” by Park Chan-Wook (Korea)
From the director of “I’m a Cyborg,” his latest centers on a priest (Song Kang-Ho) who is accidentally transformed into a vampire when a medical experiment goes horribly awry. As he experiences drastic psychological and physiological changes, he must struggle to hold onto his humanity.
View the trailer

“This Is The End” (“Les Derniers jours du monde”) by Arnaud Larrieu and Jean-Marie Larrieu (France)
Starring Mathieu Amalric, Catherine Frot and Sergi López, “the Larrieu brothers’ fifth feature traces the protagonist’s sentimental and sensual journey during the last ten days before the end of the world, circa 2016. The film is adapted from Dominique Noguez’s eponymous novel” (according to Cineuropa).

A scene from Francis Ford Coppola’s “Tetro.”

“Untitled Michael Moore Project” by Michael Moore (U.S.).
Originally conceived as a follow-up to “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Moore’s latest work is a look at the global financial crisis and the U.S. economy during the transition between the incoming Obama Administration and the outgoing Bush Administration.

“Vengeance” by Johnny To (Hong Kong/France)
Starring Simon Yam, “Vengeance” is about a French chef and would be assassin who goes to Hong Kong to avenge a murder.
View the trailer

“Victoria’s Dance” (alternative title, “The Dancer and the Thief”) by Fernando Trueba (Spain)
Set in present-day Chile, legendary bank robber Vergara Grey is getting out of prison after 5 long years and is looking forward to a quiet, uneventful life together with his wife and son ” whom oddly he hasnt heard from in years. But soon his resolve is tested when he meets 19 year old Angel a young thief who insists the two join up to score the biggest heist of all time. Though tempted, he resists until he finds out that his beloved wife has gone off with a millionaire and his son wants to change his last name. Then Victoria, a graceful and mysteriously mute dancer living in a conservatory, steps into the picture. She captivates Vergara and Angel, as well as all others that cross her path, drastically changing their lives. Cast: Ricardo Darin and Abel Ayala.

“Vintner’s Luck” by Niki Caro (New Zealand)
Based on the novel The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox, is a 19th century fantasy romance set in France involving a winemaker who is visited by an angel once a year, until he falls in love with him. Cast: Jeremie Renier, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Gaspard Ulliel and Vera Farmiga.

“Vision” (Vision – Aus demLeben der Hildegard von Bingen) by Margarethe von Trotta (Germany)
About Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), one of the most important women of the medieval age. She was a visionary, poet, composer, naturalist healer and theologian, who founded convents, corresponded with secular and ecclesiastical leaders and produced an impressive body of written work. (Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Gerald Alexander held, Joachim Krol. (Description provided by Fancast.

“White Material” by Claire Denis (France)
Set in a coffee plantation and starring Isabelle Huppert and Christophe Lambert is a story scripted by novelist Marie Ndiaye. The plot remains under wraps, according to european-films.net.

“The White Ribbon” (Das Weisse Band) by Michael Haneke (Germany)
Cannes best director winner Michael Haneke’s (“Cache,” 2005) latest starring Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Tukur, Theo Trebs and Michael Schenk focuses on a rural German school in 1913, which seems to be the sight of ritual punishment. Does the ritual punishment have an affect on the school system and is this a precursor to the rise of fascism?

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