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Cannes Update: First Looks, Ash Delays, Loach Add, Italian Controversy

Cannes Update: First Looks, Ash Delays, Loach Add, Italian Controversy

As weary transatlantic travelers straggle into Cannes hours late from flying around clouds of volcanic ash (word is, it’s chilly on the Cote d’Azur), as predicted, the Festival has added one more movie to its 2010 competition line-up. Iraq film Route Irish comes from Cannes perennial Ken Loach, who showed Waiting for Eric last year and won the 2006 Palme d’Or for The Wind that Shakes the Barley, one of those well-reviewed films that barely moved the needle when IFC released it stateside. In anticipation, Loach has posted a selection of his films for free-viewing on YouTube. My fave of the lot: IRA thriller Hidden Agenda (which unfortunately has been pulled down by MGM). Loach was ahead of the cinema verite curve; you could argue that his naturalistic doc-style filmmaking approach has taken over indie cinema. Nobody does it better. Why isn’t he more successful? He takes on local stories with local accents and doesn’t pander. Some films cross over, most don’t.

UPDATE: Director Ridley Scott will miss opening night screening of Robin Hood due to knee surgery recovery, reports Screen.

Every year, various film writers look at the Cannes selection sight unseen and question its relevance. Here’s this year’s model, accusing the fest of “protecting an old and endangered tradition of auteur cinema.” There’s less of that this year than usual, due to what was available, mostly. Not that they wouldn’t have liked it that way. Carrie Rickey brings up another question of relevance: why aren’t Americans seeing more foreign films?

Folks are posting first-looks at some of the Cannes selection. Here’s a tantalizing teaser of Juliette Binoche in Copie Conforme from Abbas Kiarostami, who won the Palm d’Or in 1997 for Taste of Cherry. Here’s Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful (poster above); Mike Leigh’s Another Year and The Ring creator Hideo Nakata’s latest cyber-thriller, Un Certain Regard entry Chatroom, starring Brit rising star Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass). Here’s the trailer.

Before it starts, Cannes has already generated one controversy: Sabina Guzzanti’s Silvio Berlusconi expose Draquila: Italy Trembles, led Italy’s culture minister to snub Cannes, calling the film “propaganda that offends the truth and the entire Italian population.”

Cannes joins other fests entering the digital distribution age, reports THR, via simultaneous screenings during the fest on VOD and TV of two official selections: Jean-Luc Godard’s Socialism on May 18, and Olivier Assayas’ 5 1/2 hour mini-series Carlos (poster at right) on May 19. UPDATE: The Cannes market, which sees a 5% rise in registration over 2009, has also scheduled some 65 screenings of movies in 3D, reports Screen.

Musician Liam Gallagher is expected to announce his first feature, an upcoming Beatles project about the Fab Four’s final years, at Cannes, reports Total Film. Based on Richard DiLello’s non-fiction book The Longest Cocktail Party: An Insider’s Diary of the Beatles, Their Million Dollar Apple Empire and Its Wild Rise and Fall, the film is produced by Gallagher’s film company, In 1 Productions, partnered with Revolution Films.

Among the line-up of panels at the American Pavilion (which survived tough times last year and is back on the Croisette for the 22nd time, with indieWIRE as a media sponsor), are the annual directors and shorts panel (including The Clerk’s Tale‘s James Franco), and examinations of film finance (moderated by Screen’s Mike Goodridge) and women in film (moderated by me), which includes lawyer Linda Lichter, IFC acquisitions exec Arianna Boccho and producers Lynette Howell (Blue Valentine), Adele Romanski (/Myth of the American Sleepover) and Andrea Sperling (Kaboom).

Meanwhile, my KLM flight Monday from JFK to Nice has been delayed by three four hours. Fingers crossed.

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