Girl Talk is a bi-weekly look at women in film — past, present and future.
“Lost in Paris,” directed by Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon
The filmmaking duo (Dominique Abel is a man, Fiona Gordon is a woman), are Cannes regulars, thanks to their highly original offerings like 2008’s Critics’ Week pick “Rumba” and their 2011 Directors’ Fortnight feature “The Fairy.” “Lost in Paris” was long tipped to appear on this year’s slate, billed as an off-beat comedy about a Canadian who ends up, you guessed it, lost in Paris amidst a slew of wild catastrophes. The film commenced production in June of last year and is reportedly complete, though not at Cannes.
“Planetarium,” directed by Rebecca Zlotowski
Rebecca Zlotowski is another Cannes alum, having premiered her feature debut “Belle epine” (starring Cannes darling Lea Seydoux) during Critics’ Week in 2010. Her follow-up, “Grand Central,” screened in the Un Certain Regard section in 2013, where it picked up the François Chalais Award. And yet her newest offering is nowhere to be seen at the festival, a supernatural story about French sisters that stars Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp (who will be at the festival in support of Stéphanie Di Giusto’s “The Dancer,” which will screen in the Un Certain Regard section).
“La fille de brest,” directed by Emmanuelle Bercot
Emmanuelle Bercot opened the festival just last year with her “Standing Tall” (and then, for good measure, also won the best actress award for her turn in Maïwenn’s “Mon Roi”) but her upcoming drama, reportedly in post production, isn’t screening this year. A dramatization of the 2009 anti-diabetic drug Mediator health scandal, the film has been likened to “Erin Brockovich” and reportedly features a major breakthrough from star Sidse Babett Knudsen.
“A United Kingdom,” directed by Amma Asante
British filmmaker Amma Asante has yet to show a film at Cannes, but her burgeoning directing career has already spawned two lauded features: The 2004 drama “A Way of Life” (which earned Asante the BAFTA Carl Foreman Award, given to the best debut by a British director) and 2013’s period piece “Belle,” which bowed at TIFF and helped launch the career of Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Asante’s newest film combines a respected cast (including David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike) and an emotional true love story (it follows the romance between Botswana president Seretse Goitsebeng Maphiri Khama and his British bride). The film hasn’t yet set a date, but is believed to be bound for a 2016 release.
“The Zookeeper’s Wife,” directed by Niki Caro
Niki Caro is also no stranger to Cannes, as her short “Sure to Rise” debuted in the shorts section back in 1994. Caro was infamously surprised by her experience at Cannes, though, commenting during a 2009 interview with “NZ On Screen” that she was “still terrified” of the festival. Her latest features a Cannes-friendly cast, including stars Jessica Chastain and Daniel Bruhl, and is adapted from Diane Ackerman’s bestselling novel of the same name. It is expected to open this year, likely during awards season with a push from distributor Focus Features.
“Zama,” directed by Lurcecia Martel
Lucrecia Martel has twice competed for the Palme d’Or – once in 2004 with “The Holy Girl” and again in 2008 with “The Headless Woman” – and has had serious success elsewhere on the festival circuit, including winning Berlin’s Alfred Bauer Award in 2001 with “La Cienega.” And Martel has another one on deck, with “Zama,” her new take on the classic Argentian novel of the same name by Antonio Di Benedetto. Martel’s version of Di Bendetto’s existential masterpiece about loneliness and ambition is reportedly in post.
“Queen of Katwe,” directed by Mira Nair
Mira Nair picked up both the Camera d’Or and the Audience Award in 1988 for her feature “Salaam Bombay!,” a Hindi-language project featuring a large cast of actual street children. She returned to the festival as a jury member in 1990, but has yet to screen another film there. Her latest, the Lupita Nyong’o-starring true story “Queen of Katwe,” will hit screens in September, thanks to Disney, and while Cannes does value its indie cred, it has rarely backed down from showing a splashy studio film (this year Cannes will be home to another Disney title, Steven Spielberg’s “The BFG”).
“The Bad Batch,” directed by Ana Lily Amirpour
Does a film about cannibals starring Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, and Jason Momoa scream “Cannes”? We think so. Ana Lily Amirpour has some serious chops and some major festival love after her jaw-dropping feature debut, “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.” That film screened at Deauville, London and Sundance, among many others, and earned two Indie Spirit Award nominations. Her latest is due out this year, and it will likely only earn the Iranian-American director more fans.
“Things to Come,” directed by Mia Hansen-Løve
Although Cannes prefers a slate full of world premieres, they do occasionally kit out their lineup with some festival re-runs (this year, Matt Ross’ Sundance premiere “Captain Fantastic” will screen in Un Certain Regard), and they could certainly do worse than featuring the newest film from prolific French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve. Her latest feature, the Isabelle Huppert-starring “Things to Come,” debuted at Berlin, where it earned Hansen-Løve the Silver Bear for best directing. And she’s been to Cannes before, both in 2007 with ” Tout est pardonné” and in 2009 with “Father of My Children,” which won the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize.
“Certain Women,” directed by Kelly Reichardt
Another Sundance holdover that would fit in well at Cannes? Kelly Reichardt’s triptych “Certain Women,” featuring three interconnected stories all inspired by the short works of Maile Meloy. The feature even boasts a Cannes-friendly cast, including her “Wendy & Lucy” star Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart, who will be at this year’s festival with two other films, “Café Society” and “Personal Shopper.”
“The Innocents,” directed by Anne Fontaine
Formerly titled “Agnus Dei,” Anne Fontaine’s fact-based historical drama also had its debut at Sundance earlier this year, where the sensitively rendered story of a post-World War II Polish nunnery with a huge secret was surprisingly overlooked by most critics and movie-goers. If there’s any female filmmaker worth granting a Cannes holdover to, it’s Fontaine, who has screened four films at the festival (though never in competition) and led the Un Certain Regard jury in 2002. The film starts a limited run this July.
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Check out a trailer for one of Cannes’ female-directed features, “Toni Erdmann,” below: