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The Cannes 2011 Cheat Sheet: Details on all Competition Titles

The Cannes 2011 Cheat Sheet: Details on all Competition Titles

Now that the Cannes competition has been announced, what’s actually showing? Many of these movies don’t even have IMDb pages and the festival won’t provide official press kits, HD pictures and trailers of the films until a week before the opening of the event. And that’s too long.

So here’s a closer look at the titles. Below you’ll find loglines, North American distribution status and a few “talking points” — the trivia, curiosities and gossip attached to each project. (If you’d like to add your own, leave them in the comments or email editors@indiewire.com.)

“La Piel Que Habito” (The Skin that I Live In), directed by Pedro Almodovar
Adapted by Almodovar from the novel “Mygale” by Thierry Jonquet, Antonio Banderas plays a plastic surgeon seeking revenge on the men who raped his daughter.
NA Distribution: Sony Pictures Classics
Talking points: Almodovar has been to Cannes often enough to be its mascot, but there was a question if he would take the film to Venice or Toronto.

“L’Apollonide,” directed by Bertrand Bonello
Written by Bonello, “L’Apollonide” is portait of life in an early 20th century Paris bordello, focusing on a prostitute whose face was scarred by a violently disfiguring “smile.”
NA Distribution: Available
Talking Points: Was last in Cannes for “Tiresaa” in 2003, the story of a Brazilian transgender kidnapped by an obsessive lover. Bonello also directed “The Pornographer” in 2001.

“Drive,” directed by Nicolas Winding Refn
The filmmaker behind the “Pusher” trilogy directs Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan in the story of a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a wheelman when he discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong. Hossein Amini adapted the script from a novel by James Sallis.
NA Distribution: Film District
Talking Points: The logline sounds like pure pulp, but given its competition status (and it’s Refn’s Cannes debut), that’s obviously not the case. Refn will next direct Gosling in the remake of “Logan’s Run” for Warner Bros.

“Footnote,” directed by Joseph Cedar
Father and son are rival professors in the Talmud department of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. Their competition for Israel’s most prestigious award, the Israel Prize, forces a final confrontation.
NA Distribution: Available
Talking Points: Was rumored for Berlin 2011. Cedar’s prior film, the 2007 “Beaufort,” received an Oscar nomination for best foreign film.

“Ichimei” (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai), directed by Takashi Miike
A 3D remake of the 1962 Japanese samurai classic “Harakiri” by the prolific, controversial and violence-loving Miike .
Talking points: Miike’s samurai are in Cannes competition. In 3D.

“Le Havre,” directed by Aki Kaurismäki
A French-language drama set in French port city Le Havre about a shoeshiner who tries to save an immigrant child.
NA Distribution: Available
Talking Points: Finnish director Kaurismäki’s first French-language film since “La Vie de Bohème” in 1992. His last film was the 2006 “Lights in the Dusk,” which also screened at Cannes.

“Hanezu No Tsuki,” directed by Naomi Kawase
Based on a novel by Masako Bando. Depicts the Asuka area from ancient to modern times.
NA Distribution: Available
Talking Points: Kawase won the Grand Prix at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival for “Mogari no Mori.”

“The Kid With The Bike,” directed by Dardenne Brothers
The story of an 11-year-old boy, abandoned by his father, who falls into the care of an inexperienced young woman.
NA Distribution: Available
Talking Points: AKA “Set Me Free.” Has the siblings working once more with actor Jérémie Renier.

“Melancholia,” directed by Lars Von Trier
Starring Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg in the story of a group of people who discover that the earth is on a collision course with another planet.
NA Distribution: Magnolia Pictures
Talking Points: Magnolia snapped this up after the surprise screening of a 15-minute excerpt during the Berlin Film Festival. A star-studded ensemble includes Kiefer Sutherland, John Hurt, Alexander and Stellan Sakarsgard, Udo Kier and Brady Corbet.

“Michael,” directed by Markus Schleinzer
In his directorial debut, Schleinzer wrote and directed this drama about a troubled relationship between a young boy and a 35-year-old man.
NA Distribution: Available
Talking Points: The directorial debut of Schleinzer, a casting director (and sometime actor) whose films include “Mein Bester Feind,” “The Piano Teacher” and “The White Ribbon.” It’s also the only German-language film in competition.

“Once Upon A Time in Anatolia,” directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Written and directed by Turkish filmmaker Bilge Ceylan
Story of a doctor in the Anatolian steppe, a massive ecoregion in central Turkey.
NA Distribution: Available
Talking Points: Supposedly the biggest production to date from the filmmaker who won best director at Cannes in 2008 for “Three Monkeys,” the 2006 FIPRESCI prize for “Climates” and the 2003 Grand Prize of the Jury for “Distant.”

“Pater,” directed by Alain Cavalier
Stars Cavalier with comedian Vincent Lindon in a film shot (entirely?) in Paris’ Hotel Bristol. Cavalier told Le Monde that the film is “about the return of the prodigal son… the filmmaker and actor, the president and his prime minister. In ‘Pater,’ you will see the both in life and in fiction they invented together. “
NA Distribution: Available
Talking Points: A Louis Malle protege, Cavailier won a special Cannes jury prize in 1986 for “Therese.” At the Cannes press conference announcing the lineup, Thierry Fremaux describes the film as “particularly odd.”

“Polisse,” directed by Maiwenn Le Besco
Le Besco also wrote and stars in this drama, in which a journalist who’s covering the police that’s assigned to a juvenile division begins an affair with one of her subjects.
NA Distribution: Available
Talking points: At 35, she’s one of the younger filmmakers in the competition. As an actress, her work includes “High Tension.” This is her third feature and her first to be presented in Cannes.

“Sleeping Beauty,” directed by Julia Leigh
Emily Browning (“Sucker Punch”) portrays a beautiful university student who becomes part of a strange brothel, one in which she works while asleep in a “sleeping beauty chamber.”
NA Distribution: Available
Talking Points: This one is guaranteed to be a hot title. An Australian production, it’s the directorial debut of Julia Leigh and is presented by Jane Campion. It was also on the 2008 Black Listed script.

“La source des femmes,” directed by Radu Mihaileanu
This French-language comedy/drama from Romanian filmmaker Mihaileanu centers on a battle of the sexes in which village women threaten to withhold sexual favors if their men refuse to fetch their well water.
NA Distribution: Available
Talking Points: Mihaileanu’s last film, “The Concert,” was distributed by the Weinstein Co. and received a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign film. Paramount Classics distributed his 1998 film, “Train of Life.”

“This Must Be The Place,” directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Sean Penn plays Cheyenne, a rock star who, bored in his retirement, seeks out his father’s executioner, an ex-Nazi war criminal.
NA Distribution: Overture Films
Talking Points: This is the first English-language film for Sorrentino, who won the jury prize in 2008 for “Il Divo.” His other Cannes titles include “L’amico di famiglia” in 2006 and “The Consequences of Love” in 2004.

“The Tree of Life,” directed by Terrence Malick
The competition’s most exposed, and most anticipated, film about which the least is known. We’ve all seen the trailer; it’s life, death, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and possibly something about dinosaurs.
NA Distribution: Fox Searchlight
Talking Points: For all the chatter about Malick’s film, he kept us guessing: Many believed that it wouldn’t screen in competition.

“We Have a Pope,” directed by Nanni Moretti
Moretti also co-wrote and stars in what sounds like a papal variation of “Analyze This!”: It’s a comedy about the relationship between the newly elected Pope and his therapist.
NA Distribution: Available
Talking Points: Moretti’s a longtime Cannes darling; his films include “Il caimano” in 2006, “The Son’s Room” in 2003 and “Caro Diario” in 1993.

“We Need To Talk About Kevin,” directed by Lynne Ramsay
John C. Reilly and Tilda Swinton star in this adaptation of Lionel Shriver’s bestselling and prize-winning novel about parents who must deal with the aftermath of a school massacre — and their son was the shooter.
NA Distribution: Available
Talking Points: Has all the earmarks of a hot property, but may also have to contend with the June 2011 Anchor Bay release of “Beautiful Boy,” which premiered at Toronto last fall and features Michael Sheen and Maria Bello as parents having to contend with a similar tragedy.

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