Last year in Cannes, Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is The Warmest Color” (La Vie d’Adele) made history by becoming the first film centered on a same-sex relationship to win the Palme d’Or in the festival’s 66 year history.
This was the crowning achievement of a exceptional year for LGBT-themed cinema at the festival. So much so that “Blue Is The Warmest Color” — despite winning the top prize overall — did not win the Queer Palm, the award handed out to the festival’s best queer film. That award went to Alain Guiraudie’s sexy cruising thriller “Stranger By The Lake,” an Un Certain Regard selection that also won that program’s best director award. And there was Guillaume Gallienne’s “Me, Myself and Mom,” about Gallienne’s own upbringing as a female-identified boy who everyone thinks is gay (which won two awards at Director’s Fortnight) and, of course, Steven Soderbergh’s “Behind The Candelabra,” the only LGBT film that screened at Cannes that didn’t seem to win an award (though it went on to many an Emmy and Golden Globe).
But it doesn’t look like 2014 is going to eclipse that, or perhaps even come close. With the lineup announced this morning, only one LGBT-centric film, Bertrand Bonello’s Yves Saint Laurent biopic “Saint Laurent” (starring Gaspard Ulliel, Louis Garrel and Lea Seydoux, and not to be confused with Jalil Lespert’s “Yves Saint Laurent,” which premiered in Berlin) appears to be heading to the Croisette, unless you count the camp potential of opening night film “Grace of Monaco” or the fact that openly gay filmmaker Xavier Dolan has a film in competition (even though it’s his first not to feature a primary character that is LGBT).
One LGBT film most folks were expecting in the lineup was Ryan Murphy’s AIDS drama “The Normal Heart,” which — like last year’s “Behind The Candelabra” — would have debuted at Cannes and then hit HBO a week later. We don’t know why it didn’t make the cut, though one would suspect this was Cannes’ call and not HBO’s (why wouldn’t they want it at the festival?).
But perhaps there’s a surprise lurking in the festival’s lesser hyped sidebars (Xavier Dolan’s own, career-making “I Killed My Mother” was in Directors Fortnight, which has yet to announce its lineup). We’ll find out soon enough when Cannes kicks off on May 14th.