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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2015 Cannes Film Festival Wish List - Part 1: France and Italy


By mid-April Thierry Fremaux and the new festival president, Pierre Lescure, will announce the 2015 Cannes Official Selection and a few days after the parallel sections Quinzaine and La Semaine de la Critique will do the same. All this will happen in less than a month, but today I'm sharing my wish list with films that I hope will make Cannes not only in the official selection but in any of the parallel sections or activities.

The more we get close to the official selection announcement, the more buzz about the selection appears in several languages. Perhaps the most interesting from the latest news are the ones that speculate about the opening film. Many were speculating about Tomorrowland or Mad Max: Fury Road as the most likely options. In paper both look appealing as the first means George Clooney will be on opening day activities, the second means Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron doing the same; consequently, both assure wide world press coverage. But buzz about release date has changed the perspective as first has a USA release date of May 22 (France May 20), second has USA release date of May 15 (and multiple country release date of May 13, including France).

So, a third movie has become now the buzz target as has a release date of May 13 in France: Belles Familles by Jean-Paul Rappeneau. In my opinion will be nice to have a French film opening the festival as well as have Mathieu Amalric, Marine Vacth, Karin Viard, André Dussollier, Gilles Lellouche and Nicole Garcia in the opening ceremony red carpet.

So if festival goes back to its cinema roots then a non-Hollywood Actors/Celebrities related film should open the festival but unfortunately there is always the possibility that for "strategic" reasons press coverage will prevail against great cinema. Sigh.

So let's go back to the list. In a sense my wish list is about predictions but more important is about the films that I'm looking forward to see eventually, no matter if they make it to Cannes or not.

The French Directors
Below you will see a distilment of my previous post as there are too many French films to be considered and we know that NOT many will make it to Cannes as they have to consider films from all over the world. As a matter of fact buzz claims that organizers tend to select the French films last, after choosing films from all corners of the world. Nevertheless I will be happy if all of the following could make it to Cannes no matter the section of the festival.

Emmanuelle Bercot - La tête haute (Standing Tall)
Acclaimed director of 2013 Elle s'en va (On My Way) with Catherine Deneuve that premiered at 2013 Berlinale has a new film with Catherine Deneuve, Sara Forestier, Benoît Magimel and newcomer Rod Paradot, La tête haute (Standing Tall). Film tells the story of a young delinquent coming of age (from 6 to 15years-old) and was promoted last year by Elle Driver in Cannes market, along with Diary of a Chambermaid that went to 2015 Berlinale. So there are high probabilities that Bercot latest film could premiere in Cannes, as film release in France is scheduled for late September 2015, a date that has become "crucial" for launching awards contenders.

Catherine Corsini - La Belle Saison
Director has 19 films in her filmography but perhaps is better-known for her much honored film Trois Monde (Three Worlds) that was in 2012 Cannes Un Certain Regard. Me, I know her from before as she has films dealing with LGBT themes like 1994 Les Amoreux and 2001 Cannes Palme d'Or in competition La répétition with Emmanuelle Béart and Pascale Bussières; plus mainstream films like Partir with Kristin Scott Thomas. With her latest film, La Belle Saison, Corsini returns to tell a LGBT story and this time her leads are Cécile de France and Izïa Higelin. Not sure film will make it but surely is must be seen for me. Film release is scheduled for August 2015 but production delivery is set for "Spring 2015" so maybe there is a possibility that we could see Cécile de France in Cannes.

Arnaud Desplechin - Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse
I suppose we can call Desplechin a Cannes regular as has five films that premiered in competition for the Cannes Palme d'Or. The last one was 2013 Jimmy P., so definitively his latest film with a France release date of May 20 seems doom to be in Cannes. Starring Mathiew Amalric and André Dussollier film plunges into the past of the characters that inspired his acclaimed 1996 Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) (My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument) that opened in competition at 1996 Cannes and the film where Mathieu Amalric won the César for Most Promising Young Actor! With the release date plus film strong credentials seems it has to be Cannes bound.

Philippe Garrel - L'ombre des femmes (Shadow of Women)
Will clear the air: I'm no Garrel fan but do recognize his strong position in great French Cinema. Sigh. He has been more a Venice fest regular than Cannes but has one film La frontière de l'aube that was in competition at 2008 Cannes. Could his latest film make him visit Cannes again? Maybe, as France release date is set for May 2015, which obviously suggests more Cannes than a regular cinema opening.

Louis Garrel - Les deux amis
If I don't enjoy films by his father, I highly enjoy Louis Garrel amazing, mind-blowing performances and imagine that his debut feature film HAS to inherit some of his greatness, so no surprise, I'm already "dying" to see this film. Co written with his regular director, Christophe Honoré, film is a free adaptation of Caprices de Marianne by Alfred de Musset and tells the story of Vincent (Louis Garrel), a film extra who has only known Mona (Golshifteh Farahani), a sales assistant in a train-station sandwich shop, for one week but is already head over heels in love with her. But she has a secret... Seems Garrel had a hard time finding production money but finally film is ready and maybe will make it to Cannes.

Maïwenn - Mon roi
Her last film, Polisse, opened in competition at 2011 Cannes and went to win the Jury prize, so with thiese credentials there is always a possibility that her films will make it to Cannes. Her latest film, Mon Roi is set to be released in France in that window reserved for awards films, late October 2015, so the fact also helps the high Cannes buzz that surrounds film. The cast is fantastic, take a look: Vincent Cassel, Louis Garrel, Isild Le Besco and Emmanuelle Bercot; film tells about a woman healing from a passionate but self-destructive love story (sounds SOOO French!!!).

Guillaume Nicloux - Valley of Love
His previous film La Religieuse (The Nun) opened in competition at 2013 Berlinale and honestly, was not easy to watch, except for the outstanding performance by Isabelle Huppert in another very disturbing role. This film also stars Isabelle Huppert, so it is must be seen for me - no matter what. Could make it to Cannes? I do not know as director is not Cannes regular or festival frequenter (exceptions is 2013 Berlinale and 1992 Locarno), so chances seem very low.

Gaspar Noé - Love
Ah! Gaspar Noé! A very complex director with extremely complex films but I always see his films. No surprise then when I say that he is a Cannes regular since 1991 when he won an award for his short film Carne. Then we have in 2002 his extremely disturbing yet mesmerizing Irréversible premiering in competition at Cannes and his next feature film, equally disturbing Enter the Void also premiered in competition in 2010 Cannes. After many shorts, he has his newest feature film that many are betting will premiere in Cannes too. Imagine will be as disturbing as his style is; storyline claims that is a sexual melodrama about a boy, a girl and another girl. Of course is must be seen for me.

Jacques Audiard - Dheepan (Erran)
My last French Director hast to be Jacques Audiard one of my most admired contemporary French directors with films that blew my mind like The Prophet and Rust and Bone. Most speculate that film will NOT be ready for Cannes but lately French press is reporting like if film will be ready, so let's hope French press is right and his film makes it to Cannes.

The Italian Directors
Not many Italian possibilities but remarkably ALL five are from Italian and World cinema "monsters"! Come on, imagine an official selection with Bellocchio, Garrone, Moretti, Sorrentino and Guadagnino, outstanding, isn't? My problem is that most films are not in Italian and yes, that changes my expectations diametrically. But let's be clear, no matter what, I will be watching ALL five films just because the director.

Nanni Moretti - Mia Madre (aka Margherita)
I highly enjoy Moretti as an actor as well as a director and fortunately he likes to direct himself in fantastic films like -for example- La stanza del figlio or Habemus Papam. He also directs himself in Mia Madre, a film that also has John Turturro and Margherita Buy in lead roles. What confuses me is that film has a release date in Italy of April 16, so be sure that will be monitoring that date if comes before the Cannes official announcement. Nevertheless Nanni Moretti Cannes credentials are impeccable as he already has a Palm d'Or with outstanding La Stanza del Figlio, a Best Director Palm for Caro Diario, a Carrosse d'Or and six films that have been in competition for Cannes top award.

Marco Bellocchio - L'Ultimo Vampiro (The Last Vampire)
Film formerly known as La Monaca, or Il Confessore or La Prigione di Bobbio, film tells a story based on the true tale of a 17th century noblewoman forced to become a nun, but whose free-spirited love affairs inside the convent lead to incarceration. The best part is that the nun is played by none other than Alba Rohrwacher! Bellocchio has a very extensive filmography with around 42 films, most opening in one of the three big festivals; for example, his latest film Dormant Beauty premiered in Venice and from his recent films perhaps the best-known is Vincere that opened in competition at 2009 Cannes. So Bellocchio has impeccable Cannes credentials and let's hope his film makes it to Cannes even when there is no published release date yet and films is still recorded in post-production.

Matteo Garrone - The Tale of Tales
Film is in English again and yes has a release date of May 14 but is in Italy as France is scheduled to December 2. Still what makes film attractive to me is that is an European production (Italy, France and UK), with a interesting cast Vincent Cassel, Alba Rorhwacher, Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Toby Jones and more, plus based on  (1634-1636) books by Giambattista Basile, known as The Pentamerone, Lo cunto de li cunti over lo trattenemiento de peccerille, The Tale of Tales or Entertainment for the Little Ones. Yes, is the book with stories that later Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm adapted to become Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, etc. Then we have to consider that Garrone last two films, Gomorrah and Reality, opened in competition at Cannes and both films went to win the Grand Prize of the Jury, so chances are that if film is ready HAS to go to Cannes.

Paolo Sorrentino - The Early Years
Another English-language film by an Italian director that already did an English-language film that was odd to say it softly, as probably you remember This Must Be the Place with Sean Penn. But he has many outstanding films like Le Conseguenze dell'amore, L'amico di famiglia, Il Divo and La grande belleza that by the way ALL premiered in competition at Cannes with outstanding Il Divo winning the Jury Prize. Sorrentino has impeccable Cannes credentials and with La Grande Belleza winning the Oscar in 2014, he has become a very popular director -which usually leads to nothing good, sigh. But fortunately this is an European production (Italy, France, Switzerland and UK) so there are chances that will be interesting. Film has a well-known cast with the likes of Rachel Weisz, Michael Caine, Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel and more; tells a story described like this: "a retired orchestra conductor is on holiday with his daughter and her friend in the Allps when he receives an invitation from Queen Elizabeth to perform for Prince Philip's birthday", most interesting is that has an original story written by Sorrentino. If film is ready, don't doubt will be in Cannes.

Luca Guadagnino - A Bigger Splash
As someone told me "Dakota Johnson is all over the place, all over the news and in many films" and well, seems is true, but no doubt that will be great for her to be in Cannes after just being in Berlin. Yes, film is in English and Dakota Johnson is one of the leads along with Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts and Ralph Fiennes. Film is a remake of outstanding 1969 La Piscine by Jacques Deray with Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, Maurice Ronet and Jane Birkin in the lead roles. Do not like remakes, especially from films that "marked" me; but there are always exceptions and hope Guadagnino film will be an exception and not the rule. Perhaps film's main drawback is that Guadagnino still has not make it to any of the big three festivals, not even with great Io Sono l'Amore; so, possibilities tend to be in the low side.

Dislike long posts and this one already is very long for me, so this is the end of Part 1 of my Cannes wish list.  Expect a second part.

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