Friday, April 24, 2009

41st Quinzaine des Réalisateurs Lineup

This year the always interesting parallel section of the Cannes fest will run from May 14 to 24 and as programmed today the Directors’ Fortnight announced their Official Selection and these are the 24 films in competition.

Opening Film: Tetro, Francis Ford Coppola, Argentina, Spain, and Italy, 2009 (with Carmen Maura…) IMDb Movie Scenes Movie Site
Fresh faced and naïve, 17-year-old Bennie arrives in Buenos Aires in search of his older brother who has been missing for more than a decade, and had sworn never to see any of his family again. The family of Italian immigrants settled in Argentina, but with the great musical success of their domineering father Carlo, an acclaimed symphony conductor, moved to New York. When Bennie finds his brother, the brilliant but melancholy writer 'Tetro,' he is not welcomed with open arms.

*Closing Film: Ajami, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, Israel and Germany, 2009 allocine
Jaffa's Ajami neighborhood is a melting pot of cultures and conflicting views among Jews, Muslims and Christians. Sensitive 13-year-old Nasri and his older brother Omar live in fear when their entire family is in danger after their uncle foolishly wounds a prominent clan member. Naive young Palestinian refugee Malek works illegally in Israel to help finance the surgery that will save his mother's life. Affluent Palestinian Binj dreams of a bright future with his Jewish girlfriend. Jewish policeman Dando becomes obsessed with revenge when his brother is found dead in the West Bank...

Amreeka, Cherien Dabis, USA, Canada and Kuwait, 2009 IMDb Movie Site
Mouna, a divorcee with a teenage son, is an enthusiastic and optimistic Palestinian woman. Deep in the occupied territories, however, daily life is an ordeal. But then one day, she has the chance to leave this life and work in the United States - a stranger in her own land, Mouna can just as well be the same elsewhere. So she leaves with her son Fadi to join her sister living in Illinois. After the comfort of reunion, Mouna and Fadi now must find their place in this "Amreeka" they've dreamed of. But the United States, which has gone to war with the "devil" Saddam, has a strange sense of hospitality.

*Les Beaux Gosses, Riad Sattouf, France, 2009 (with Irene Jacob, Emmanuelle Devos, Valeria Golino) IMDb Movie Info
14-year-old Hervé is an average teenager who lives alone with his mother and struggles to cope with his urges, unprepossessing physique and mediocre intellect. He just gets by at school, surrounded as he is by his best buddies. Going out with girls is his major preoccupation. Sadly, in this field, he keeps striking out. But he never says die. One day, without really knowing how, he finds himself in the good books of Aurore, one of the prettiest girls in class. Surrounded by a gallery of saucy, wild characters, Hervé tries to grow up in this little world in perpetual movement, this world of adolescence in which emotions must be dominated.

Carcasses, Denis Côté, Canada, 2009 (filmed at St-Amable- must be seen!)
For more than 40 years now, Jean-Paul Colmor has collecting hundreds of automobile carcasses on his lot. More than just recycling and selling car parts, Colmor has created an unthinkable site, full of memories. Every day he visits his lot, carts scrap iron, inventories his parts and other rusting gems. His little house is no less strange: a kind of shelter where one can make out the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom in the jumble. One day, others arrive, eager to share some of Jean-Paul's solitude and eccentric fringe existence.

*Daniel y Ana, Michel Franco, México, 2009 IMDb Producers Site
Daniel and Ana, brother and sister, best friends. Both are at pivotal, defining moments in their contented lives. Ana is about to be married; Daniel is a gregarious teenager discovering his personal and sexual identity. Yet their harmony is instantly shattered when they are kidnapped and something shocking happens which forces them to confront their desires and fears. Suddenly their old lives are a distant memory. Now, nothing they have known will ever be the same again.

De helaasheid der dingen (La Merditude des Choses), Felix Van Groeningen, Belgium, 2009 (this movie is listed in the press release but not listed at their site, so I’ll be checking to find if is or not in competition – but I just love the title in French!) IMDb Movie Site Trailer
Gunther Strobbe, 13, share's his grandmother's roof with his father and three uncles. Daily, Gunther is steeped in ambiance of frenzied binges, shameless womanizing and unending bumming around... Gunther looks likely to suffer the same fate. Unless he can find a way to get the hell out of there.

*Eastern Plays, Kamen Kalev, Bulgary and Sweden, 2009 Movie Info
Two brothers who've lost all contact are suddenly brought together when they have opposite roles in a racist beating: while Georgi who's recently joined a neonazi group participates in the violence, Itzo witnesses and rescues the Turkish family.
Georgi, now being asked to participate in larger events, starts to question his implication in the movement and Itzo wonders if the beautiful Turkish girl he saved could be his ticket out from his sad life in Sofia. Only by reuniting will the two brothers be able to assess what they really want from life.

*La Famille Wolberg, Axelle Ropert, France, 2009 IMDb cineuropa allocine Movie Info
He can deliver a breathtaking speech on the American soul to flabbergasted schoolboys, get mixed up in the private lives of his citizens, and even get his 18-year-old daughter to swear that never, but never, would she leave home. Meet Simon Wolberg, mayor of a small provincial city, madly in love with his wife, an interfering father and provocative son. This man is driven by an obsession with his family. Which leads him to test the force and fragility of these bonds.

Go Get Some Rosemary, Benny and Josh Safdie, USA, 2009 allocine
After months of being alone, sad, busy, sidetracked, free, lofty, late and away from his kids, Lenny, 34 with graying frazzled hair, picks his kids up from school. Every year he spends a couple of weeks with his sons Sage, 9, and Frey, 7. Lenny juggles his kids and everything else all within a midtown studio apartment in New York City. He ultimately faces the choice of being their father or their friend all with the idea that these two weeks must last 6 months. In these two weeks, a trip upstate, visitors from strange lands, a mother, a girlfriend, "magic" blankets, and complete lawlessness seem to take over their lives. The film is a swan song to excuses and responsibilities; to fatherhood and self-created experiences, and to what it's like to be truly torn between being a child and being an adult.

*Here, Tzu-Nyen Ho, Singapore and Canada, 2009 allocine Movie Site Trailer
Here follows the journey of He Zhiyuan, a middle-aged man who struggles to make sense of his reality. Reeling from the sudden death of his wife, he loses the will to speak and is interned at Island Hospital. There, he meets strident kleptomaniac Beatrice with whom he forms an inexplicable bond. As He adjusts to life within, he is selected for an experimental treatment, which forces him to confront the devastating truth behind his past, present, and future. Meanwhile, a filmmaker visits Island Hospital to document the lives of the staff and patients.

Humpday, Lynn Shelton, USA, 2009 (is beyond gay???) IMDb Movie Site
It's been a decade since Ben and Andrew were the bad boys of their college campus. Ben has settled down and found a job, wife, and home. Andrew took the alternate route as a vagabond artist, skipping the globe. After a night of perfunctory carousing, the two find themselves locked in a mutual dare: to enter an amateur porn contest. But what kind of boundary-breaking porn can two dudes make? After the booze and "big talk" run out, only one idea remains - they will have sex together... on camera. It's not gay; it's beyond gay. It's not porn; it's an art project. But how will it work? And more importantly, who will tell Anna, Ben's wife?

*I Love You Philip Morris, Glen Ficarra and John Requa, USA, 2008 (total gay interest with an interesting cast like Ewan McGregor, Rodrigo Santoro and Jim Carrey… I’ve been avoiding this film but perhaps now I’ll give it a try, as seems is “too risqué” for American audiences, which only means that there is a chance that I’ll like it) IMDb
The true story of an ex-cop, ex-husband, ex-insurance swindler, ex-model prisoner and eternal lover of cellmate Philip Morris. Steven Russell will do anything to avoid being separated from the man of his dreams. Which means not rotting away in prison. How far can one go for love? Quite far if you believe the incredible story of Steven Russell, an escape artist whose romanticism gets the better of him.

*J’ai tué ma mère, Xavier Dolan, Canada, 2009 (from a 19 years old actor turned director that wrote the script when he was 17… have to see his film - is gay interest) Wiki
Hubert Minel doesn't love his mother. The 16-year-old haughtily regards her with contempt, and only sees her tacky sweaters, kitsch decorations and the breadcrumbs that get stuck on the corner of her lips when she munches. In addition to these irritating surface details, there is also his parent's cherished mechanisms of manipulation and guilt. Confused by this love/hate relationship that obsesses him more and more each day, Hubert drifts through the mysteries of an adolescence both marginal and typical - artistic discoveries, illicit experiences, the opening-up to friendship, sex and ostracism.

Jal Aljido Motamyunseo (Like You Know It All), Hong Sangsoo, South Korea, 2009 IMDb allocine
Not rich, nor famous, Ku Kyung-nam is stick with the label of an 'art-house film director'. When he attends the festival in a small town as a jury, he bumps into an old friend Bu, who has settled in the town. Over drinks Ku is dragged to Bu's house and meets his wife who claims to know all about his films. The next day after a long night of heavy drinking, Ku returns his hotel and find a message from Bu which says "never to come near us again". But he can't remember what happened last night...

*Karaoke, Chan Fui Chong, Malaysia, 2008 allocine
Set in a village estate of a Malaysian palm oil plantation - Betik returns home.During the day, Betik helps shoot karaoke videos, while at night; he lends a hand to his reluctant mother at the family's karaoke joint. This is the place where he falls for Anisah. A job, a love and a family. His return home comes together quickly. But life isn’t so innocent. Everybody wants something. Subtle manipulations driven by self interest and personal desires seep through yet the songs continue to be sung. Unwavering. The home has changed. The palm oil trees have grown in endless symmetry. The landscape rusts and the nostalgia turns.

Navidad, Sebastián Lelio, Chile and France, 2009 (Could this movie have some lesbian interest? - maybe...) IMDb Info Movie Info
It is Christmas Eve in Santiago de Chile. Three teenagers with different problems at home end up spending the holiday together. Alejandro is 17 and comes from a working class family. He is Aurora's boyfriend, an upper class 18 years old girl as beautiful as she is confused. That day, he decided to join her in the search of objects and mementoes from her dead father's house before it is occupied by the new owners. In this place, at the foot of the Andean mountains in the outskirts of Santiago, the crisis they are living as a couple explodes. When the situation seems to reach a dead end something unexpected occurs: they find an intruder in the house. A vulnerable girl, Alicia is only 16. She had run away and sought refuge in the abandoned house of Aurora's father. During the process of taking care of her, they gradually find an exit to their own impasse. Alejandro and Aurora start to feel a growing fascination for the enigmatic Alicia, who increasingly becomes the personification of their desire. It is a night of initiation and loss of innocence after which they will begin to take the control of their own lives.

Ne Change Rien, Pedro Costa, Portugal and France, 2009 (seems this is the feature film from his honored short, but I’m not sure) allocine Director Site
Ne change rien began as part of a friendship between actress Jeanne Balibar, sound engineer Philippe Morel and Pedro Costa. Jeanne Balibar, singer, from rehearsals to recording sessions, from rock concerts to classical singing classes, from an attic in Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines to the stage of a Tokyo café, from Johnny Guitar to Offenbach's La Périchole.

Oxhide II (Niu Pi Er), Liu Jiayin, China, 2009 (wow I want to see Oxhide I with 23 static interior shots! She has to be a very interesting director) allocine Movie Info
A table; A dinner of dumplings; A family of three members; Nine steady scenes which were shot around the table, between every scene there was 45 degree; 132 minutes of real time. That is everything about Oxhide Ⅱ. Just like Oxhide, the director and her parents played the three members of the family again. There is no fourth person in the shooting scene, except the cats.

La Pivellina, Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, Austria and Italy, 2009 Movie Info
Abandoned in a park, the two-year-old girl Asia is found by Patti, a circus woman living with her husband Walter in a trailer park in San Basilio on the outskirts of Rome. With the help of Tairo, a teenager who lives with his grandma in an adjacent container, Patti starts to search for the girl's mother and gives the girl a new home for an uncertain period of time.

Polytechnique, Denis Villeneuve, Canada, 2008 IMDb
Based on the true story events that occurred on December 6, 1989, at the Montreal's Polytechnique School, the movie tells us about that specific day through the eyes of two students, Valérie and Jean-François. Their life has been changed forever, when a young man entered the school with one idea in mind: kill himself and take with him as many women as possible.

Le Roi de l’Evasion, Alain Guiraudie, France (gay interest?) IMDb allocine Movie Info
Armand Lacourtade, a 43-year- old farm equipment salesman, can no longer bear his homosexual bachelorhood. When he meets Curly, a plucky teenage girl, he changes orientations. With everyone pursuing them, they defy dangers of all kinds to live their forbidden love. They make for a strange pair. But it this what Armand dreamed of?

La Terre de la Folie (Land of Madness), Luc Moullet, France allocine
A native of the Southern Alps, Luc Moullet took note of the fact that cases of mental illness were particularly numerous in the region. Murder, dismemberment, suicide, immolation among his family, friends and the various "criminal affairs" of the last 100 years. Moullet studied the causes and consequences of these local psychic phenomena. "The great-grand-nephew of the great-grandfather of my great-great-grandmother one day took a pickax to the village mayor, his wife and the forester, who was guilty of having moved his goat 10 yards. It provided a good starting point...There were other manifestations of the same kind in the family."

Yuki & Nina, Nobuhiro Suwa and Hippolyte Girardot, France and Japan, 2008 (interesting plot) allocine Pic & Synopsis
Yuki, 9 ans, apprend que ses parents se séparent. Le père de Yuki est français, sa mère japonaise. Elle devra suivre sa mère au Japon et tout laisser à Paris, à commencer par sa meilleure amie, Nina. Ensemble, elles inventent des stratagèmes destinés à provoquer la réconciliation des parents. Finalement, la fugue leur semble être la seule issue, et la forêt leur nouvelle destination.

*Films competing for the Camera d’Or Prize (1st films)

Special Screening: Montparnasse, Mikhaël Hers, France (This is a medium-lenght film -58 minutes- a psychological drama)

To check the official press release that includes the short films in competition please go here.

The official information about each film (including shorts) is up at their site, if you want to check it please go here.

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