PARIS – A kind of good-humored anticipation is manifest inside UGC’s Normandie movie theater on the Champs Elysées: today we find out who the Cannes nominees are. I plop into a chair next to a friend, who, punctual as always, already found his seat. We come out of the theater about an hour later, our marching orders in hand. Eighteen films in the competition series, and eighteen other ones in the Un Certain Regard program.
I wondered as I scanned the large theater how many people seated inside it were privy ahead of time to the selection. Knowing programmer Thierry Frémaux’s (pictured) penchant for extreme discretion, they number in the very few.
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The official Cannes program includes two lineups, the competition films which go for a Palme D’Or win, and Un Certain Regard, “another look” at cinema that includes first works by schoolyard cinéastes just as probably as films by veteran lensmen. The series, a creation of Gilles Jacob’s, was launched in 1978 to help the winning films tap into France’s rich and diverse financing ecosystem. In my opinion, this particular series has lost its focus long ago but the films, they’re good, most of the time, and I’ve discovered some extraordinary (if not always enduring) filmmakers there–Mattheus Nachtergaele, for example (now you see him, now you don’t).
This year marks Gilles Jacob’s last go-around as festival president. Next month he will take his final bow after thirty-seven years at the presidency. CanalPlus’s co-founder Pierre Lescure will be taking over in 2015, as was decided by the festival’s board of trustees earlier this year. During this morning’s conference Frémaux marked the passing of the Jacob era with a generous, but noticeably brief, tribute to Jacob’s tenure.
Jacob, an avid user of Twitter who’s been known for the occasional leak waxed philosophical on the unequal process of selecting movies, his presentation as generous and compelling as usual (Jacob is a terrific narrator) mixing the right amount of wit with ambassadorial flair. He paid touching tribute to Frémaux’s efforts in carving out this year’s selection (and the job of short-listing the forty or so movies must be very difficult, so give credit where credit is due).
The Cannes Festival celebrates two things, cinema’s continuity and new talent. This year’s program appears–challenging, generous and diverse–appears to do just that, with two women filmmakers showing films in competition, Naomi Kawase and Alice Rohrwacher, and a very heterogeneous and cosmopolitan group of filmmakers.
Jean-Luc Godard will make a comeback in the competition section (he was in Cannes in 2010 with “Film Socialisme”) with “Adieu au langage” (“Goodbye language,” in French).
One announced film that will likely result in many Twilight fans traveling down to the French Riviera to catch a glimpse of their idols is Olivier Assayas’s “Sils Maria,” (AKA “Clouds of Sils Maria”) which stars Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche. David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the stars,” stars none other than Robert Pattinson. Assayas has already been to Cannes a number of times to present films. In 2007 he was presenting “Boarding Gate,” which stars Asia Argento.
Argento, a regular in Cannes herself who has several movies under her belt and recently released her first full-length L.P., will be presenting her first movie in the official selection this year. She previously brought “The Heart is deceitful above all things,” which she directed, to Critics’ Week.
During this morning’s presentation the Télérama journalist (tweets in French) asked for an update concerning Terrence Malick’s movie. According to Frémaux, Malick told him, “I’m still tinkering with it,” which leaves the door open for an appearance in Cannes next year, perhaps?
Turkey was supposed to be represented by two Cannes frequent-flyers, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Fatih Akin. The former will be presenting “Kis Uykusu” (“Winter sleep”), which clocks in at three hours and sixteen minutes. But the latter retracted his movie”The Cut” from the selection for “personal reasons.” No more is known about this. Could it be that Akin became offended after finding out that Atom Egoyan will be presenting a film (“Captives”) in the same year as he? It turns out that this particular hypothesis is wrong, according to a reliable source (more information will be made available later).
As was previously announced, Olivier Dahan‘s “Grace Of Monaco” starring Nicole Kidman (and co-starring Frank Langella and Tim Roth) will open the 2014 line. The closing film has not been announced yet. Whatever it will be, the selection as it stands now is already filled with the promise of a great 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
Below is the full list of this year’s movies to be presented in Cannes:
“Grace of Monaco,” by Olivier Dahan (OPENING MOVIE)
“Sils Maria,” Olivier Assayas
“Saint Laurent,” Bertrand Bonello
“Kis Uykusu,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan
“Maps to the stars,” David Cronenberg
“Two days, one night,” Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne
“Mommy,” Xavier Dolan
“Captives,” Atom Egoyan
“Adieu au langage,” Jean-luc Godard
“The Search,” Michel Hazanavicius
“The Homesman,” Tommy Lee Jones
“Futatsume no mado,” Naomi Kawase
“Mr. Turner,” Mike Leigh
“Jimmy’s Hall,” Ken Loach
“Foxcatcher,” Bennett Miller
“Le Meraviglie,” Alice Rohrwacher
“Timbuktu,” Abderrahmane Sissako
“Relatos Salvajes,” Damian Szifron
“Leviathan,” Andrey Zvyagintsev
UN CERTAIN REGARD
“Party Girl,” by Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis
“Sin Titulo,” Lisandro Alonso
“Incompresa,” Asia Argento
“Titli,” Kanu Behl
“Eleanor Rigby,” Ned Benson
“Bird People,” Pascale Ferran
“Lost River,” Ryan Gosling
“Amour Fou,” jessica Hausner
“Charlie’s Country,” Rol De Heer
“Snow in Paradise,” Andrew Hulme
“Dohee-Ya,” July Jung
“Xenia,” Panos Koutras
“Run,” Philippe Lacôte
“Turist,” Ruben Oestlund
“Hermosa Juventud,” Jaime Rosales
“Fantasia,” Wang Chao
“The salt of the earth,” Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
“Harcheck mi headro,” Keren Yedaya