International Film Festival of Cannes, May 11th to 22nd,
is the largest media event in the world after the Olympics. The Red Carpet Gala Premieres of world
renowned auteur films, movie stars plus their photos go to every newspaper,
magazine and television station in the world.
year we’ll see the stars (and directors with their entourages) in films by
Woody Allen, Jim Jarmusch, Jodie Foster ♀, Stephen Spielberg, Jeff Nichols, Sean Penn,
Nicolas Winding Refn, Pedro Almodóvar, Ashghar Farhadi, Andrea Arnold ♀, Olivier Assayas, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Xavier
Dolan, Bruno Dumont, Nicole Garcia ♀, Ken Loach, Paul Verhoeven, Hirokazu Kore-Eda,
David Mackenzie, Matt Ross, Shane Black, Paul Schrader, Rithy Panh and others
from almost 30 countries as they pose on the red carpet.
Selection Competition shows films of bankable masters and Un Certain Regard
spotlights original and young talent. The Official Selection also includes Out
of Competition films, Special Screenings, Midnight Screenings, Cannes Classics, and the Cinéfondation Selection targeting film
schools. The Cannes Short
Film Corner offers
a panorama of short film production worldwide.
There are more short
films in the festival and three other “sidebar” festivals which have evolved since
Cannes began in 1946. Directors banded together to create the Directors’ Fortnight,
critics created the Critics
Week and 20 years ago independent filmmakers created ACID.
And with all this
hoopla, there are less than 95 feature films screening in all.
At the same time, there is an enormous film
market called the Marché
du Film. It is the most important event of the film industry,
the meeting point for more than 10,000 professionals, including 3,200
producers, 1,500 international sales agents licensing almost 4,000 films and
projects to 2,300 distributors from everywhere in the world (about 60
“territories” covering Europe, Latin America, Africa, Middle East, Asia and
North America), and 790 festival organizers all there to discover
the gems which will make them stand out.
There are gala
parties, panel discussions hosted by many different organizations, and for the
past three years there has been an increasingly bright spotlight on women and
the need for parity in all areas of the film industry.
theatrical and movie channel buyers are looking for undiscovered jewels,
whether in the festival or in the market, films which they judge will be most
appealing to their audiences.
the market itself, CMG is selling directors Dorota Kobiela and Welchman’s “Loving Vincent”,
an animated story of Vincent Van Gogh, still unfinished but which has “presold”
in 17 territories. It features over 120 of Vincent Van Gogh’s greatest
paintings with a plot drawn from the 800 letters written by the painter
himself, leading us to the significant people and events in the time leading up
to his unexpected death.
The other big issue
today is the unequal number of women in the directors’ ranks…4% worldwide is
not representative of the 51% population.
Cannes is working to show its interest in improving the numbers. The
need to find and show good films by women is important to everyone.
Cambodia and Singapore. Critics’ Week, devoted to first and second
features, chose 10 films out
of 1,100 feature-length submissions and is dominated by female film-makers,
with Justine Triet’s “In
Bed With Victoria”, a crime thriller, selected as the opening film. And
totally unique, closing night will be three short films – including Chloë
Sevigny’s adaptation of the Paul Bowles novel “Kitty”, “Smile” (“Bonne Figure”) by
of France and “En moi” by Laetitia Casta of France.
Other films from afar
include the Opening Night film of Un Certain Regard, “Eshtebak” (“Clash”)
by Egypt’s Mohamed Diab, Cambodia’s “Diamond island” by Davy Chou in
Competition in Critics’ Week, a Cambodian-French-German coproduction. There are two films from Lebanon,
“Fallen From Heaven” a first feature in ACID and “Tramontane” in Critics
Week. From Tunisia comes Karim Dridi’s
“Chouf” in the Official Selection Special Screenings.
Perhaps the most exotic film showing is the Afghanistan-Denmark-
France-Sweden coproduction, “Wolf and Sheep” in Directors’ Fortnight. In her debut feature, the young Afghan filmmaker Shahrbanoo Sadat portrays the
community in a small village in rural Afghanistan through shepherd children.
Although he is still
confined in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assange will make an appearance
at the Cannes film festival – via Laura Poitras’s documentary
“Risk”, which has been selected for the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar.
Iran’s famous Oscar-winning (“A Separation”) director,
Asghar Farhadi is here with “Inversion”.
As always everyone
will be running on adrenalin trying to accomplish everything in ten neverending