Cannes ’09-Lineup Announced

Last Updated: March 29, 2013By

What is the theme this year in Cannes, playing it safe? Well-known auteurs hog all the space on a line-up that’s bursting at the seams with big budget fare, with the occasional exception. In a way, you could say it’s been the same mix for years, and that’s because this is what works. But has the Cannes Festival selection process gotten stale? I beg to differ with my own assertion (if that’s even possible). I want to say, gentlemen, your selecting process has lost its sizzle. However, I will reserve the final judgement for after May 24th.

The heavy hitters (and therefore most anticipated, presumably) include Ang Lee, as I reported earlier, whose film “Taking Woodstock” is in the running for the Palme D’Or. Ken Loach, who won it in 2006 for “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” is back on the croisette with a new film called “Looking for Eric.”

Remember Gaspar Noe? He did “I stand alone,” and “Irreversible,” most notably (“Irreversible” is on SCREEN COMMENT’s Top Ten Films; yes, an unusual choice, I know). His “Enter The Void” (pictured) is set in Tokyo and goes soul-searchingly deep in its confrontations of the world of the living with that of the dead. I’m also quite curious about the Lars Von Trier film “Antichrist.” That image of Willem Dafoe on top of Charlotte Gainsbourg has already been forever been etched on my mind. Want… to… see…. More!

So should we expect murder, mayhem and darkness this time around at Cannes (again?) The big buzz this year is also for the new Michael Haneke film “Das Weisse Band.” I know little about it except that it’s set before WWI in a German village. Speaking of world wars, by now you know that Quentin Tarantino has finished a new film, strangely called “Inglourious Basterds,” and it’s–surprise!–very violent and about a small group of American Jews during WWII who unleash murder and mayhem upon the Third Reich. In a way, what better director than Tarantino to film this kind of gratuitous, action-driven script?
Well, my stomach is turning just to think about all the fake blood that will turn up. But then…. watching “Death Proof” at Cannes two years ago also turned out to be a thrilling experience (but I know some of my fellow media people in the Theatre Debussy that night were frozen by fear at the young American director’s unabashed appetite for gore), one that was eearily similar to bodyslamming at an Andrew W.K. show. The Philipines’ Brillante Mendoza will be presenting a second year in a row (last year’s “Serbis” was met with mixed reviews – I was a fan, except that the film had obvious technical shortcomings due to a very much last-minute post-prod job to make the festival’s presumed deadline–let’s hope the Philippinos are a little better prepared this year with “Kinatay”).
In the Un Certain Regard program Brazil will figure prominently as always with two films, one from Heitor Dhalia, “A Deriva” (remember that marvelous gem called “O Cheiro Do Ralo”?) and another from Joao Pedro Rodrigues (“Morrer como um homem”). I’ll also mention the Iranian film by Bahman Ghobadi (“Kasi az ghorbehaye irani khabar nadareh”) and Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.”